Why You Should Get a Side Charging AR15 Upper thumbnail image

Why You Should Get a Side Charging AR15 Upper

5D Tactical - 19th Jul 2023

Are you a firearms enthusiast looking for a new and unique addition to your collection? Side charging AR-15 uppers are becoming increasingly popular for their ergonomic design and the distinct edge they provide to precision shooters. This article is a guide for beginners and experienced shooters, exploring side-charging AR-15 uppers in detail. Stay with us as we explore why this unique firearms component is making waves in the gun community.

What is a Side Charging AR-15 Upper?

A side-charging AR-15 upper moves the charging handle from the back to the side of the rifle for operation. This design tweak offers a unique blend of functionality and convenience that has steadily gained popularity among shooting enthusiasts.

A side-charging AR-15 upper is different from the standard one. It has a handle on the side instead of at the back. This handle is used for charging the firearm.

This configuration, which mirrors some features of an AK-pattern rifle, is often considered more intuitive and efficient, especially during high-stress situations where rapid manipulation is crucial.

Advantages of a side charging handle AR15 include:

  • Increased ergonomics: The side charging handle offers an easier grip and operation, which many shooters find more comfortable and intuitive.
  • Faster cycling: Due to its location, the side charging handle can allow for faster cycling and be beneficial during rapid reloading.
  • Less movement required: Unlike rear charging action, side charging AR15s don't require a significant shift in the shooter's position, which can help maintain steadier aim and control.
  • Less interference with LPVOs or other optics: It can be difficult to charge an AR-style rifle when you have a large scope sitting above the charging handle. This completely removes that issue by placing the charging handle on the side of the rifle.

Potential Disadvantages:

  • Need for proprietary parts: Side charging uppers often require specific bolts and handles, which might not be interchangeable with standard AR-15 components.
  • Adjustment period: If you're accustomed to traditional rear charging handles, it might take some time to get used to the side charging mechanism.
  • Snagging: One of the nice things about standard ARs is that nothing is protruding from the side of the rifle to get snagged on clothes, plate carriers, chest rig, etc. This can be a turn-off for some shooters as it can impact bringing the rifle to a firing position.

Which Side Charging AR15 Upper Should I buy?

Deciding what to purchase can be difficult. Fortunately, there are numerous excellent choices offered by firearms manufacturers. These manufacturers have recently introduced some new options for us.

Brownells BRN-180 Line