Friday, July 30, 2010

Praxis: The BCM Gunfighter Charging Handle for AR15/M4/M16

OK, folks, will anybody who has ever had problems with their Eugene-Stoner-designed Mouse Gun charging handle please raise their hand? (Mine's up.) The solution below is a little pricey (Fifty bucks per) but does provide a solution to the most common problem.

Meet the Bravo Company Manufacturing BCMGUNFIGHTER Charging Handle. From the factory description:

When the AR15 system was first introduced to and fielded by the US Military in the 1960s, the manual of arms for an infantryman was significantly different than what currently exists today. To charge the rifle the shooter released their hand from a firing grip, grabbed each side of the charging handle with the thumb and forefinger or the first two fingers , (while applying pressure to the latch) pulled the charging handle all the way to the rear, and then released it to charge the weapon.

Like everything else in the last 45 years, tactics and weaponry have undergone a continuous evolution. Red dot optics get the shooter on target quicker, shorter barrels allow the operator to more quickly negotiate tighter urban areas, and operator's manipulations of the weapon system have become much more efficient and faster. The current manual of arms has the operator maintaining a firing grip almost continuously while manipulating the weapon with the non-dominant hand in an effort to more quickly get the weapon ready to fire. With that premise, most weapon manipulations are done only with the shooter's support hand; to include operating the charging handle.

In order to perform an immediate action or charge the carbine, current CQB techniques have the operator racking the charging handle to the rear using their support side hand only. This is done in one swift and strong movement. With the operator's firing grip maintained, the weapon again has a loaded chamber, and the shooter can immediately bring a hot weapon back into the fight.

The current use of extended tactical latches has made this movement much more efficient. The only drawback to this type of manipulation is all the force used to rack the charging handle rearward goes into the extended tactical latch and is then transferred into the roll pin. With this scenario, the entire operation becomes contingent on the sheer strength of this tiny 1/16th roll pin, and its' ability to take continuing blows. Repeated and forceful support hand only racking of the charging handle eventually can lead to breaking the roll pin and loosing the latch completely. With the latch blown out, the charging handle will not stay secured to the receiver as the bolt is moving back and forth during each cycle of the weapon's action. Not a good situation on a two way range. . .

The BCMGUNFIGHTER Charging Handle and extended latches feature internal redesigns to direct the force off of the roll pin and into the body of the charging handle during support hand only manipulations. This new design has a built in backstop engineered into the extended latch and into the charging handle. As the latch is opened up, its' travel is limited by these flat surface backstops. With this travel limiting feature, the stress is taken off the roll pin, and is now redirected into the entire body of the charging handle.

The BCMGUNFIGHTER Charging Handle offers two significant advantages.

1. Since the tiny roll pin is no longer the weak point - it is an stronger system and tactical latch will stay intact even under repeated support side only manipulation.

2. With the force kept inside the body of the handle, when the handle is pulled directly to the rear, it moves directly to the rear and does not angle off to the outboard side. A much smoother operation.

On the cutaway computer drawings you can see the inside machining of the latch. It shows the 3 inside contact surfaces. (The 2 semi circular cuts are to aid in the removal of dirt and debris that can get inside the handle.)

On the bottom view you can see the outside of the latch itself. It is actually as thick as the handle. This provides 2 additional contact surfaces to insure the force is maintained inside the handle and offers the operator more contact surface to manipulate the handle.

Manufacturer Suggested Retail Pricing $47.95


Unknown said...

I bought one for my carbine and I love it. It is an OUTSTANDING addition, especially with the modern style of operating the bolt.


sisu96 said...

These are indeed nice charging handles and I have several of them. I appreciate them greatly on my 22lr trainer upper. BCM in my experience offers solid gear.

Justin said...

I bought one of these. They are nice.

If speed is your concern, and rock solid reliability, get one. Especially if half of your year is winter, as is mine (great w/big gloves).

I run a medium sized bcm handle on my irons-only AR.


Rhodes said...

Ahh the Stoner Rifle in all its glory. Nice change for the weapon would have handy a few decades back.

Me? I will stick with the M1 and my 308 AK(Yes Virgina they make them) as Im still a bit miffed at Eugene.

Unknown said...

Haven't had a charging handle failure yet but dang it, $50 seems kind of steep.

MikeH. said...

Fifty dollars is a good investment over a .10 cent roll pin.

And while you have that bolt / carrier assembly out to replace the charging handle, take an extra couple of minutes to tap out your SOLID extractor pin and replace it with a ROLL pin. The solid pins can, and do, break on rare occasion. A roll pin is quite a bit beefier.


Dakota said...

My old Colt SP1 has never had a hiccup in 30 + years of service.

Anonymous said...

$50 is cheap, considering that these charging handles apparently also act as a "gas buster" if you're using a suppressor.

One of these is going on my build.

Anonymous said...

I have NEVER had a problem with my charging handle. In more than 25 years of Army service in Combat Arms, I've NEVER had a problem with the M16/M4 charging handle.

The B Co charging handle is nice, especially with the large finger grip. I'm going to install one on my incoming DPMS AP4 .308/7.62. However, I truly believe the 50 beans spent on it is better spent on ammo and/or silver.

The Bravo Company charging handle is the answer to a non-existent problem.


Anonymous said...

For all of its reputation, I never did see broken parts on the M16A1's we were issued in the late 80's and early 90's. There were a lot of bad magazines, though.

The big problem with the M16 is that it is not idiot proof. I saw many soldiers who did not know how to operate or maintain their weapon properly.