If you are the type of person who can cite current CQB doctrine as easily as your birthdate—you should probably seek professional help. Luckily, I am that help! CQB doctrine dictates that the operator manipulates the charging handle with their support hand only. This eliminates the need to take your hand off the pistol grip, but may—depending on the buttstock and head placement—require the operator to lift their cheek from the stock. However, properly positioned, you should not have to lose a proper cheek weld.
The downside of this method would be the extra stress placed on the roll pin used by standard charging handles. However, extended tactical latches such the Gunfighter from Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM) have made this method much easier. BCM specifically designed the BCMGUNFIGHTER Charging Handles and extended latches to take the force from the roll pins and displace it internally on the charging handle during support-hand-only manipulation.
The extended latch has a built-in backstop, as does the charging handle. When engaged, the backstop limits travel thus reducing the stress placed on the roll pin. The reduced stress in turn eliminates the roll pin as a weak point in the system, which makes the entire system more reliable. Another benefit of the BCMGUNFIGHTER Charging Handle design is the increased handling. Because the design keeps the force inside the body of the handle—when pulled directly to the rear—it does not angle off to the outboard side, which results in much smoother operation.
The BCMGUNFIGHTER Charging Handle is offered in three different sizes—small, medium and large. Size matters; so make sure you check to ensure the handle you order is for your caliber. All latches are constructed from 7075 T6 aluminum and are Mil-Spec Type III Hard Coat Anodized.
There may be personal reasons, but in my opinion, if you are going to make the change, you should go big. In the heat of the moment, the last thing you want to rack is the charging handle and have your hand slip. Much of this is going to be accomplished through technique—perfected through practice. And while I admit my hand has never slipped from a standard-size charging handle, I would not want to bet my life on it in a high-pressure situation. The large is a .25-inch bigger than the medium and I’ll take it.
Share your take on CQB or the BCMGUNFIGHTER Charging Handle in the comments below.