Devil Dog Concepts, Hard Charger AR15/10 Charging Handle System
Devil Dog Concepts, Hard Charger AR15/10 Charging Handle System
By Toby Melville
The AR15 is arguably the most ergonomic and shooter interface friendly platform in firearms history. One of the points of the AR15 that separated it from other platforms is the ambidextrous charging handle. This engineering design makes the platform efficient. The pursuit of perfection is persistence focused on practicality; this creates an inevitability to advance the platform.
Over the last 15 years, there have been a host of “good ideas” or concepts tried to improve both weapons and tactics. While those based on simplicity and efficiency have stood the test of time, the others have failed to take off or have not even left the launch pad. The growth of the AR charging handle has been a slow boil. There have been a host of charging handle latches and charging handles that have come and gone. Some of the designs have honestly advanced the platform, derived from competition, these designs have grown in the professional community and aid the end user in being more efficient when malfunctions occur, or other needs require the manual of arms to be performed.
I too have been known to use enlarged charging handles or latches. In fact, one of my preferred upgrades is a simple enlarged latch that replaces the latch on a stock charging handle. The use of a slightly larger latch or handle truly aids the end user in a multitude of ways. The Academy of Man dictates that larger is better, but we have seen some reverse of this often-accepted theory in Tacademics; size matters but only as it is needed. The issues that oversized charging handles cannot be overlooked. Often, the oversized charging handles end up getting caught on kit or can even cause out of battery issues in some cases.
The final issue with the AR charging handle is that it is so universal it’s still in the way when its used. Meaning, that the end user must come off the weapon and optic in order to use the handle. While the rod of the charging handle must travel somewhere, and rear bound is its only destination it’s the offsetting of the charging handle and awkward position of the user’s hand to get to the charging handle in a hurry that makes it unnatural. Often, the older designs or forward charging handles attached to the bolt carrier or those that parallel H&K with non-reciprocating designs are coveted by AR owners and users.
So, the paradigm has been set, Devil Dog Concepts observed with great envy and decided to do something about this shortcoming. Devil Dog Concepts created the Hard Charger System.
The Hard Charger is a bolt on user level upgrade that requires no gunsmithing or armorer level interface. If the individual can take apart an AR for field cleaning or attach an optic, the end user can install this system in less than a minute. This upgrade once installed becomes abundantly clear. The Hard Charger is a bolt on system utilizing the receiver’s picatinny rail to hard mount the system in response to the torque that will naturally occur during use. The other half is the replacement of the charging handle itself. A one for one swap, the two halves interface together creating a seamless system that is efficient, easy to use, and rock solid. The Hard Charger provides several other options for mounting the picatinny rail attachment and it provides several options for the style and size of the charging handle too.
Consider the ability to stay on the weapon and to remain behind your optic. There is a lot to be said to persist on target while at a minimum look over your glass while clearing a malfunction or simply recharging the weapon. Another critical detail is the distance that the user’s hand must travel to charge or lock the bolt carrier group back is simplified by the shorter movement needed to interface with the charging handle and can be accomplished with one hand. One of the SCAR’s greatest attributes and a significant complain is the forward mounted charging handle but many do not like the fact that it reciprocates. The Hard Charger is forward mounted, and it is not reciprocating. This allows the end user to have the benefit of the location but removes any worry about the movement. I personally never had an issue but when in some shooting positions the reciprocating charging handle can get caught up causing malfunctions. The Hard Charger eliminates these issues.
The Hard Charger can be purchased as a basic package, this includes the forward mounting mount with charging handle rod and standard large charging handle. Options include various charging handle designs ranging from smaller or longer variants, middle or rear picatinny mounts for the charging handle, and a complete kit I refer to the Box of Chocolates. The Hard Charger is a precision engineered and machined product, with the quality control is in keeping with the highest standards.
Using the Hard Charger is the definitive proof. What originally seemed like a solution for a non-problem quickly awoke me to a relevant issue. It did not take long to not only see the relevance of the product but its potential for use on AR platforms. What I personally liked about other non-standard platforms quickly evolved into a “why didn’t I think of this?” Much like the Dead Foot Arms folding AR stock system, products like these are quintessential upgrades to a product that was designed and introduced almost 70 years ago. Some upgrades allow the AR platform to evolve and give it the key characteristics that are beloved by so many on other platforms.
The system is easy to install, and the quality of materials coupled with design make the Hard Charger anything but cheap and poorly executed. Operation is virtually identical mechanically; the charging handle pushes the op rod into the locking latch and the unlocking process and operation is the same. The only difference is the ability to operate the charging handle from the front of the upper receiver. Charging the weapon becomes significantly faster and easier. This isn’t even a matter of opinion, the fact is there is less manipulation of the firearm and hand movement to charge the weapon, the Hard Charger really is an obvious advantage. It was at this point; I drank the Cool-Aide. The Hard Charger system is legitimate and a noteworthy upgrade for the AR platform that will only enhance the user’s interface with their firearm.
After a lot of use I can say without hesitation the Devil Dog Concepts Hard Charger System is without a doubt an important upgrade to virtually any AR platform. Though currently there is not an option for a right-side left-handed variant, those with the Devil’s Hand are going to have to suffer with the original designed charging handle options. As I always say there is no free lunch, with anything you do there are bound to be draw backs, the system does use up rail space, so the argument is a loss of critical rail space, but a riser is an excellent way to maneuver around such issues to make up for the loss of rail space. I would personally recommend this product for any serious user or professional. In fact, there are a host of products that will greatly enhance the end user’s adaptability and interface with their AR. I think the Hard Charger is a game changer and gives the end user one more coveted feature not naturally found in Eugene Stoner’s design.