BCM Gunfighter Charging Handle


Duncan Larsen AKA FailureDrill-P099 submitted this article.


Recently I was asked if I would do a review of two Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM) Gunfighter charging handles for looserounds.com. This all came about after having numerous conversations with Shawn Thompson. We recently discussed the BCM Mod 4 medium Gunfighter charging handle. I have been using the BCM Mod 5 small charging handle for several years now and had recently purchase a BCM Mod 4. Shawn said he had used the BCM Mod 3 large charging handle and found it too large causing it to hang up on his gear.

Top View
Side View

I originally purchased the BCM Mod 5 because I did not want a latch that might dig into me or my gear. I had a lot of experience with the Badger Ordinance Gen1 square latch years ago when I was a police officer and patrol rifle instructor. I remembered during several rifle instructor courses, training days and SWAT trainings how the Badger latch would hang up on gear and dig into you hard. When purchasing one of the three sizes of the BCM Gunfighter I did not what a charging handle that was going to be overly large. The smooth profile of the BCM Mod 5 charging handle appealed to me.

Grip on standard AR-15 charging handle
Grip on BCM Mod 5 charging handle

The BCM Mod 5 has been great. The BCM Mod 5 latch is slightly larger than a standard AR15/M16 charging handle latch. I have always used my support hand, with my index finger and thumb to work the charging handle. The BCM Mod 5 gave me just a little more grip surface over the standard latch. For someone who really wants an as close to standard size latch with just a little more surface area to grab, the BCM Mod 5 might be for you. With the BCM Mod 5 you will not have to worry about it hanging up on gear or digging into you. But, when I think about why I purchase the BCM Mod 5, it was because I had a hangover from that huge Badger Ordinance latch. I was being hyper sensitive about a charging handle that was going to hang up and dig into me as I was moving or transitioning to a sidearm.

Top view of the BCM Mod 5 charging handle
BCM Mod 5 (top)
BCM Mod 4 (bottom)
BCM Mod 5 (left)
BCM Mod 4 (right)

With my next charging handle purchase I decided I needed to give the BCM Mod 4 a try. Wow I sure am glad I did. I was surprised to see it was just slightly larger than the BCM Mod 5. For as large as it looks it still does not dig into my chest or hang up on my gear as bad as other latches. I won’t say that it’s not going to hang up on some gear, but I find it is not as frequent. I think part of this is due to the angle of the latch. As far as function, for me it is the same as the BCM Mod 5, with the technique I use. As it is slightly larger you get that peace of mind of a firm grasp of the latch. For someone who uses the blade of the support hand to charge the handle it is superior. You can fully charge the handle aggressively with or without gloves. I would suggest gloves if you are training hard. The smaller BCM Mod 5 just is not up to the blade of the hand charging. I just can’t get a good, full, aggressive charge on the BCM Mod 5 with the blade of the hand technique.

Using the thumb and forefinger to work the BCM Mod 4
Using the palm to work the BCM Mod 4

Now that I have run both of the BCM Gunfighters for a while I find the BCM Mod 4 is my personal favorite. Both BCM Gunfighters will serve you well but, the BCM Mod 4 holds a slight advantage over the BCM Mod 5 for positive aggressive use. If you are going to spend the money on a BCM Gunfighter for a patrol, entry team or home defense rifle, I would go with the BCM Mod 4. Your just getting more bang for the buck. Either way a BCM Gunfighter charging handle is a must have piece of gear for a serious fighting rifle .

Duncan Larsen.


  1. Interesting… yet every time I look at an AR charging hlndae, I think about my AR180b and smile. On that, the charging hlndae fits into the bolt, and one works the blasted bolt both directions with it, as required.I have owned one AR15 in my life, which may seem odd to some people given my apparent gunniness. That was a very nice Colt H-bar, and it would easily shoot most factory ammunition into sweet little one inch groups at one hundred yards.I sold it a few weeks after it suffered a stuck case in the chamber, and there was not one blessed thing I could do at the range to get it out. All it required was a cleaning rod being dropped in from the muzzle to knock it loose, but the ‘charging hlndae’ was not up to it.Mr. Stoner realized the problem with his AR design, and came up with the AR180. It’s failure on the market had nothing to do with quality of design.

    • I’ve never understood the Internet hooahw about the AR-15. I don’t who started the nonsense about the “it shits where it eats” nonsense (was it Boston T. Wookie?), but the weak link in the AR platform has always been the charging handle.When I saw this new charging handle I knew it would be an enormous improvement.Improvement of the charging handle and the elimination of the external forward assist are great steps forward. I believe Jeff Cooper called improvement like this “incremental stack up”. :-)Shootin’ Buddy

  2. I don’t see a reciprocating chgraing handle on the wrong side of the gun as necessarily any improvement, actually. (And I’ve had as many AR-180s as you’ve had AR-15s. 😉 Is yours a Costa Mesa, a Howa, or a Sterling? Mine was the latter, but I heard the Howas were the nicest.) You most certainly can kick an AR-15 bolt to the rear with your boot, you just want to be careful about it. :D(PS: The “problem” that the AR-18 fixed is that not as many countries have the manufacturing base to produce anodized, machined, precision aluminum forgings, but everybody can tack-weld sheet metal.)

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