Ever since the magpul BAD lever came out, I loved the concept. It’s a great idea. The speed you gain from manipulating the bolt lock it back to clear malfunctions is a great thing, but I hated the way it was made. I know some of the diehard magpul fans will scream for blood, but the BAD lever wasn’t well done. I have tried them over and over. They fail to allow the bolt to lock back every time. They wiggle and loosen too easily. The screw heads would round off almost as soon as I put them on. Two of them I bought came with a torx wrench that rounded off before I could get the tiny screw tightened. One came with a screw that was out of spec. They constantly frustrated me. But I still loved the idea, even if the execution came up short in my opinion. I see the BAD lever as something fit only for a game like 3-gun. It isn’t reliable enough for hard use.
All of that has changed with the Tactical Link Enhanced Battery Assist Lever. This really is the answer for being able to manipulate the bolt with the firing hand.
This thing is big and strong and coated with Cerakote in different colors. Unlike the tiny little excuse for a screw that comes on the older product, it comes with two screws big enough to secure it and a set screw to keep tension on the parts to hold them in proper place. The screws come with a thread locking compound and are to be snugged finger tight. Unless you can’t follow simple directions, there’s no way to screw this up. These screws are not junk, and there’s no danger of them being rounded-off here.
The paddle section you need to hit with your finger is larger and extended further out than the other models. It doesn’t really seem like a big deal, but it really is easier to work with the new lever. The BAD lever was always a little small and I sometimes had to hunt around a little. Between the size and the angle it sat inside the trigger guard, it just wasn’t in the optimal spot for me to manipulate. That isn’t the case with the new paddle. You might assume that it sticks out too far and causes problems, but it doesn’t, nor does it get in the way when you don’t need it. I was a little surprised. I expected it to be like most extended parts that need me to change my methods and get used to it, but this was not the case.
It’s very easy to get to when you’re in a hurry. In strange positions I don’t find myself hunting for it.
You can see in the picture above how nice and flat the paddle is. It’s not just a nub on this part. The other styles had me having to just ram my entire finger in and lift up to make sure I connected to the lever. I like this a lot better because less is needed to hit it, but its not so easy as to get in the way and there’s no stray piece of gear somehow getting hit and shutting every thing down. It also works with and clears the Norgon Ambi catch. This is something I consider a must and it fills my need. With the EBAL, the Norgon, and KAC ambi safety, I get an all ambidextrous lower with parts I know are very high quality.
When the bolt is locked back, the BAL doesn’t wiggle or move on the gun like the BAD. It is solid thanks to the way it attaches to the ping pong paddle. It always bugged me how the BAD lever would move all around. That just added the problems to that tiny single screw that held it on and allowed more flex. It also could let the lever end up in different positions. Not so with the tactical link. It is rpck solid. The flat wide part of the paddle is easy to hit when in the locked back position and is a real pleasure. I have to admit I love this thing. If you buy into the assist levers, I really recommend throwing whatever else you have away, and swapping to this. It always locks back after the last round unlike other types that constantly frustrated me. Also, it was made for milspec parts and tested using Colt milspec parts for its R&D phase. This is very important. A lot of guys on gun boards or gun rags will tell you milspec is an over used termc(it sometimes is) and it doesn’t matter. But it simply does matter and it is important. It is a standard that parts have to be held to so that you know for certain that the part or gun will perform reliably. Some will say it is the minimum standard, but that’s not the entire story. It’s a standard that can be counted on for certain. If it’s so unimportant, then why do so many companies not meet the entire range of milspec, but still work so hard in advertising to make it look like they do? There is a reason, and it’s not because it’s unimportant. The EBAL is made to work with the milspec and be as tough and durable as the guns they intend for it to go on. The cerakote is not milspec of course, but for a part like this, finish is not as important as how tough it is, and how its made. So, don’t turn this down because it’s not made to the same black anodized milspec finish. I know I’m not the only one who appreciates the efforts of companies to give us something other than black. As you can see I chose FDE to go on my FDE anodized Colt 6940, and it looks pretty good in my opinion.
This is a heavy duty part. It’s made to be tough and work and when you use it, and it works well. I have no complaints and I like to be nit picky when it comes to parts that are supposed to help with speed. Most of the time they’re only good for something like 3-gun but not this one. This is very well thought out and it just plain works.
There is a caveat to little neat tools like the BAD lever,and EBAL but that applies to everything else added to your rifle to add performance. The rub is that if you suddenly have to use a carbine without it, you may be stymied for half a second. I only mention that to give you something to think about, not to talk anyone out of it. If the addition is worth it, then use it, but still train on a gun without it occasionally. I keep the EBAL on my main gun and will add more to others, but I will also practice with stock carbines from time to time just in case. This is something that applies to everything on a gun set up to personal taste. Don’t let that turn you away from performance enhancing parts because when set up wisely and smart, they give you a huge advantage, and if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t winning.