charging handles for ar-15 bootleg

Parts of an AR-15: Charging Handle

Most people have never heard of a charging handle, even some who are acquainted with firearms. This is because a charging handle is only found on semi-automatic and fully-automatic rifles, such as the AR-15 and the M2 machine gun. If you own a pistol, the slide serves the same function as a charging handle, which is why many gun owners may be confused by the term as well.


Bootleg’s mission is to offer you the highest-quality AR parts and accessories so you can build your own AR. ARs are versatile firearms, are relatively simple to build once you get the hang of it, and they are easily customizable, making them enjoyable to shoot. We offer most parts you’ll need, such as handguards, carriers, upper receivers, parts, and more, including charging handles. Below, we’ll go over charging handles and their uses. Shop our AR-15 accessories today!


What are Charging Handles?


Charging handles are crucial to the operation of your AR-15. This upper receiver AR part allows you to cock the hammer and move the bolt into the ready position. Let’s start with their functions, which will explain a lot of why they are needed.




  • Allows you to eject the spent shell casing
  • Allows you to eject a shell casing that misfired
  • It loads the next round from the magazine or one that you feed into the chamber
  • It clears a jammed bullet, two bullets that tried to feed at once (known as a double feed), or a misfired bullet
  • You pull it back to ensure the firearm is unloaded
  • It can act as a forward assist by moving the bolt
  • It can be used to release the bolt, such as the case for when the last round is fired


As you can see, there are many integral functions of your firearm that a charging handle performs. If your charging handle is not working properly, neither will your AR be. If you purchased a pre-assembled AR-15, the charging handle is great for your occasional afternoon shooting, but not great for hard use. Plus, if you’re left-handed, you may need to invest in an ambidextrous charging handle so you can reach it better. You can access it from either the right or the left side, which is why this type is preferred for tactical use.




Like all man-made pieces of machinery, charging handles can wear out, especially if you shoot your firearm a lot. Metal fatigue is a big factor that can prematurely wear out charging handles. Metal fatigue is the weakening of the metal due to the repetitive loading of the firearm. Small cracks can form, and once a crack forms, it only gets bigger and then eventually results in the whole piece breaking down. Tactical charging handles tend to be bigger for firearms that are typically used by the military so that they can be operated easily while wearing gloves and protective clothing. 



Building your own AR-15 can be both challenging but incredibly fun. There are many parts that fit together much like Lego sets, but once they are all assembled, you have an incredible firing machine that can be used for personal protection, shooting competitions, hunting big game, and just for fun. AR-15s are precision pieces of machinery that when assembled and operated correctly are a wonder to behold.


Bootleg offers the best AR accessories for your AR-15. From our Bootleg Enhanced AR-15 Upper Receiver made from the best forged 7075 aluminum that is used in space application to our Bootleg CamLok M-Lok Handguards that will protect your hands from the heat of the firearm while firing, as well as provide you with a better surface to grip, Bootleg offers the AR accessories and parts you need to either replace parts that have worn out on your AR or to custom-build your AR from scratch.


We offer a 5.56 Charging Handle that is made from the highest-grade aluminum and that is Type III hard-anodized so it remains light and durable. It is possible to wear out your charging handle as well from misuse or improper use in conjunction with the bolt release. If you find this the case, your local shooting club can help you with proper form.


Bootleg is your go-to AR accessory store. Visit us online, and order today!

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