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Knife Edge
12-18-2011, 9:46 PM
Lots of discussion as of late on reciprocating charging handles and not surprising most unfamiliar with them are first to post it as a "con" in an alternative weapons thread.

I'd like to share my point of view having recently switched from a SCAR 16s back into a AR-15 for a recent carbine course, a switch I only made for CA compliant reasons.

I will use the 16s as an example, the 17s is nearly identical.

Pro: Without taking your head off the cheek rest an instant assessment of the weapon's bolt can be made. If you missed that distinctive stroke of the bolt locking back on the last round, the charging handle will tell all. If it's back, you are likely empty. If the handle has stopped in the mid-position, problems. With the charging handle forward, in battery or locked up. The SCAR in particular has two distinctive cutouts in the charging handle slot at either end that quickly tell the operator where the bolt currently is; again anything between indexed forward or full aft is an issue.

Secondly, when preparing for an engagement a reciprocating charging handle is nice in that it gives the operator positive movement of the bolt fore AND aft allowing for a press check (I took this term from the semi-auto pistol world), Not that an AR-15 can't do this, but a prudent operator will use the forward assist (a separate device) afterwards to ensure the bolt went all the way into battery. The loudest noise in an engagement is a click.

Lastly, a reciprocating charging handle reduces the total parts count and eliminates the forward assist, a work around to no other way of getting the bolt forward into battery when the lugs become excessively fouled.

As far as optics, most manufacturers of good mounts have started the process of shifting their quick release levers to the rights side, opposite of the ideal location for a charging handle. Maintaining the charging handle on the left allows for faster reloads by making a magazine insertion and a rearward swipe of the charging handle one continuous motion. During a reload the rifle is only canted 30 to 45 degrees towards the support hand to facilitate a magazine exchange. On an AR, an item like the magpul BAD lever allows for quick release of the bolt, but asking the trigger finger to perform two unrelated tasks in alternating succession is still a work around and in my opinion, a recipe for an inadvertent discharge at the wrong time, think extremely high stress. This is the same reason most trainers will tell you not to have the support hand trigger finger operate flashlights, etc.

Con: The unfamiliar shooter who doesn't embrace the latest weapon handling fundamentals may find a digit somewhere in the path of the handle. A 16s will break a thumb, a 17s will likely remove it. Nevertheless, revolver guys quickly adapted after a few nicks by the slide of a semi-auto pistol, this progression will be no different but likely quicker in the carbine world.

While I appreciate the history, legacy and what the AR-15 has evolved into, in reality a replacement is before us. Having used both and only bound by the limitations of this great golden state, there is in my humble opinion, no comparison. Please remember that rifles like the 16S were designed by modern day operators doing everything other than taking a box of 100 rounds to the bench and spending a sunny afternoon plinking away at clay pigeons. The professionals that use these rifles day in and day out made their wants known, they want a reciprocating charging handle, it's surely in the pro category.

lates....

darqhelmet
12-18-2011, 9:58 PM
I love reciprocating handles. Always have. More positive info and control of the weapon system.

Noah3683
12-18-2011, 10:07 PM
But but but it's dangerous:rolleyes: ignorance is bliss. Nice write up :thumbsup:

m03
12-18-2011, 10:29 PM
Con: The unfamiliar shooter who doesn't embrace the latest weapon handling fundamentals may find a digit somewhere in the path of the handle. A 16s will break a thumb, a 17s will likely remove it.

Interesting statement. Being into AKs, I've had a digit stung by the charging handle on occasion, but it was never very serious. Are there any reports of actual broken bones with the 16S?

Regardless, I still prefer reciprocating CHs.

NorCalAthlete
12-18-2011, 11:07 PM
Very nice write-up, and great points made.

MrPlink
12-19-2011, 12:09 AM
Interesting statement. Being into AKs, I've had a digit stung by the charging handle on occasion, but it was never very serious. Are there any reports of actual broken bones with the 16S?

Regardless, I still prefer reciprocating CHs.

Ive heard it is likely with the 17, but not so much with the 16

starsnuffer
12-19-2011, 9:07 AM
But we live in a country that promotes protecting ignorance and dumbassary! We make motorcyclists wear helmets?? Who cares if they're too stupid to wear them themselves and die, that's natural selection! We have faux news instead of real information, so ignorant people can say "yar beebebeeble!" and have a bunch of other ignorant people nod and say "hararph!" We have destroyed our education system and replaced it with test score improvement methods, so that we can move our standards to the lowest common denominator. Hell, we have even given awards for participation and told our children that "everyone is a winner" so we can promote the devolution of our species into the next generation!

And now you're proposing that you give our soldiers a weapon that might give them a hangnail if they fail to RTFM? Are you INSANE!

-W

pc_load_letter
12-19-2011, 9:11 AM
switched from a SCAR 16s back into a AR-15 for a recent carbine course, a switch I only made for CA compliant reasons.

I don't get it...why could you not run a CA compliant SCAR in the class. My SCAR is CA compliant?

Just curious. Nice write-up!

$P-Ritch$
12-19-2011, 10:05 AM
One other con, however unlikely, but still a con, is that when shooting from an awkward position or crowding cover too much can obstruct the charging handle and induce a malfunction. Also, in regards to the optics mounts it seems there's a few people out there making some pretty solid looking angled CH's to give a bit more clearance for your knuckles.

Lastly, yes, "operators" put in a lot of feedback into the design of the weapon, but that does not mean it is perfect for everyone in any situations. Those men are individual with different styles, tastes, and preferences just like everyone else. Just because that is what came off the drawing board does not mean it is the best for you and I exactly. When my unit first fielded the SCARs there were some guys who absolutely loved them, some who were indifferent, and some who hated them.