July, 16

Side Charging AR 15: A Comprehensive Guide to Upgrading Your Weapon

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If you are a gun enthusiast or someone who loves shooting, then you might have come across the term "side charging AR-15". But what is it? This article aims to provide an in-depth discussion about this specific type of firearm.

The side charging AR-15 refers to a modification of the traditional direct impingement gas system where the charging handle is located on the left side. This modification provides several advantages over its traditional counterpart, such as faster and smoother operation and better manipulation for left-handed shooters. Additionally, it allows for easier installation and removal of optics since there's no need to remove them when accessing the chamber.

Are you interested in learning more about this type of firearm? In this article, we will discuss everything that you need to know about side charging AR-15 – from its definition up to how it works compared with other firearms. Keep reading!

Side Charging AR 15: The Ultimate Guide

If you're familiar with the AR-15 platform, you know that it's one of the most versatile firearms on the market. With its modular design, there are countless ways to customize your rifle to meet your specific needs. One popular modification is a side charging handle.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore everything you need to know about side charging AR 15s – from their benefits and drawbacks to how they compare with traditional charging handles. Let's dive in!

What Is a Side Charging Handle?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of side-charging AR-15s, let's first define what they are.

As their name suggests, these rifles have a charging handle on the side of the upper receiver instead of on top like traditional models. This allows for faster and smoother operation when chambering rounds compared to standard versions.

Benefits of Using a Side Charging Handle

Now that we've defined what an ACSS is let’s delve into its advantages over other rifles:

Faster Reload Times

One significant benefit is faster reload times. Since you don't have to remove your hand from firing position or break eye contact with your target while reloading can be done more quickly than with an under-mounted/standard bolt release options.

Smooth Operation

Another notable advantage is smooth operation – especially if you're using gloves or optics mounted directly over where a normal charge handle would sit (which can make it difficult for operators).

With ACSSs becoming increasingly popular among shooters who want something different than standard models available through big box stores; some manufacturers offer several variants such as non-reciprocating handles which ensures increased safety in malfunction situations – Something worth considering if looking at purchasing this type setup!

Ambidextrous Operation

Finally – ambidextrous operation! Since both lefties and righties can operate these guns easily due their placement relative shooter's body, there is no longer a need for specialized left-handed rifles to be manufactured – which also means cost savings on production.

Drawbacks of Using a Side Charging Handle

While there are many benefits to using an ACSS, they're not without their downsides. Here are some noteworthy drawbacks:


One major drawback is the cost. Since the side charging handle modification requires additional machining or manufacturing steps than standard receivers, it can be more expensive for manufacturers – and consequently more expensive for buyers as well.

Limited Options

Another downside is limited options. While you'll find traditional charging handles in all shapes and sizes from dozens of manufacturers; with fewer gunsmiths or accessory makers offering variations like non-reciprocating types (which can still offer other benefits over traditional designs) , supply may not always meet demand due to market size limitations .

Comparing Side Charging Handles Vs Traditional Charging Handles

Now that we’ve looked at each type’s advantages and disadvantages let’s compare them head-to-head:

Feature Traditional Handle Side-Charging Handle
Reload Speed Slower Faster
Smooth Operation More effort required Less effort required
Ambidextrous Operation      Requires specialized versions Lefties & righties both easily operate

As you can see from the table above, side-charging handles come out on top in terms of reload speed and smooth operation whereas traditionals lose out mainly because they require users break eye contact when reloading plus most models do not cater adequately enough left-handers which makes use prohibitive if that’s your preferred hand.

While traditional options remain popular among enthusiasts who enjoy their classic design or those who prefer a lower price point; we believe it's safe say ACSSs will become increasingly common as people continue looking ways customize their firearms according personal style preferences while still maintaining reliability.

Tips for Using a Side Charging Handle

If you're interested in using an ACSS on your AR-15, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Choose the Right Manufacturer

First and foremost, choose a reputable manufacturer. Since side-charging handles require additional machining or manufacturing steps than traditional models, it's important to find someone who has experience with this type of modification.

Practice Safe Handling Techniques

As with any firearm modification that changes the way you operate your weapon make sure practice safe handling techniques while familiarizing yourself its operation so can learn how best utilize all features without sacrificing safety accuracy or consistency .


In conclusion – Side charging AR 15s offer many benefits over traditional options like faster reload times smooth operation ambidextrous design; although they may be more expensive initially due increased cost production. In contrast however there’s limited choice available under standard manufacture unless specialized parts are sourced which can also cause problems sourcing replacement parts if required over time.

Ultimately speaking – it comes down personal preference when choosing which type of handle is right for you!


What is a side charging AR-15?

A side-charging AR-15 is a type of rifle that operates on the same platform as the standard AR-15 but has a different method of charging. Instead of having the traditional rear-mounted charging handle, it has a handle located on its side.

This design modification makes it easier for users to operate the rifle's bolt more efficiently since they do not have to remove their head from their shooting position. It also gives left-handed shooters an advantage since they can easily charge and manipulate their weapon without necessarily changing how they're holding and aiming.

Side-charging rifles come in different configurations, including standard semi-automatics, long-range models, or even pistol versions. They are primarily made by small manufacturers who specialize in customizing firearms according to customer preferences.

How does a side charger work?

The primary difference between traditional rear-mounted chargers and side chargers comes from where you pull back after loading your magazine with ammunition rounds. In most cases for rear-mounts, you must pull back toward yourself while keeping your cheek weld (head placement) intact before releasing forward again.

With Side Charging technology such as that used in some models like Gibbz Arms G10 Side Charge Upper Receiver Combo Gen 2 – .223/5.56mm), however; there will be an extra mechanism present off-center which allows easy access without breaking away from firing positions or worrying about consistency when trying reload ammo quickly during critical moments.

This means that instead of pulling backward towards oneself (like with regular-style receivers), one can manipulate these specially designed handles located at various points along either flank depending upon preference – top near barrel end if right handed shooter needs greater support while firing left-handedly). With practice anyone can master this type gun become proficient handling mechanics needed no matter what angle shots being fired!

Why should I consider buying a side charging AR-15?

If you're looking for an easier and more efficient way to operate your rifle's bolt, then a side charging AR-15 might be the perfect option for you. With its unique design, this type of rifle gives you better control over how you load and unload the weapon.

Another advantage that comes with using a side charger is that it eliminates any potential distractions or discomfort caused by recoil when shooting from different positions. This feature makes it easier for left-handed shooters to use since they can easily manipulate the weapon without necessarily changing their position.

Additionally, some models come with added features such as adjustable gas blocks, which make them suitable for various types of ammunition rounds. In summary, if you're looking for an upgrade to your standard AR-15 platform that offers greater ease-of-use and versatility without compromising on accuracy or quality – then a Side Charging Ar 15 is definitely worth considering!

Are there any downsides to using a side charging AR-15?

While there are several advantages of using a side charging AR-15 variant over traditional rear-mounted chargers; like most things in life – some compromises must be made. One common downside is cost; customizations often drive up prices because production numbers aren't as high compared other mass-market guns available today.

Another drawback could arise from compatibility issues between parts when upgrading rifles already owned by customers who may not know certain factors like upper receiver manufacturer specifications needed matching correctly before ordering specific modifications online (such as Gibbz Arms G10 series).

Finally (perhaps most importantly), those accustomed handling typical firearms will need time adjusting new mechanics found only these specially designed models requiring extra dexterity & patience until becoming proficient enough comfortable daily use.

Therefore anyone considering purchasing should carefully research all options available beforehand so they have full understanding pros/cons associated choice making informed decision before investing their hard earned cash into something may regret later down road!

Can I modify my existing rear-charging AR-15 into one with a side-charging mechanism?

Yes, you can modify your existing rear-charging AR-15 into one with side charging mechanism. However, this will require a bit of technical knowledge and gunsmithing experience.

One way to do it is by purchasing a side charging upper receiver and swapping it out with the rear-charging upper receiver on your rifle. Another option is to purchase an adapter kit that allows you to add a side-charging handle onto your existing upper receiver.

It's important to keep in mind that modifying your rifle might void any manufacturer warranties or guarantees. So, make sure you are comfortable doing the modifications yourself or seek help from experienced professionals who can guide you through the process safely and efficiently.

In summary – anything customizing will require some know-how plus patience; but if willing invest time/effort towards perfecting skills needed proficient handling mechanics found only these specially designed models requiring extra dexterity & patience until becoming comfortable daily use – then adjusting may be worth exploring!

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