The AR-15 platform has been likened to "Barbie For Men" due to all the accessories that can be installed. Many of these accessories are pointless or cause more issues than they solve (magwell grips, for example.) However, every now and then a company makes something that really stands apart and performs better than the original design or solves a significant design flaw.
On the standard issued M-16, there is a nasty little issue with the charging handle's undersized roll pin. This pin holds the latch and spring in place.
Because the M-16/AR-15 is such a modular platform, regardless of what you think about it (5.56 v. 7.62 etc.) you must agree that over the years the use of the platform has become significantly more aggressive - and accessories and original equipment has had to catch up. A prime example of this is how the military used to train the troops with the M-16. They were always taught to charge the weapon with the right hand (removing the hand from the trigger and racking the slide. This was a task the original design of the charging handle did well as the troops would grasp with their thumb and forefinger or “claw” grip the handle and rack it back. Never were they instructed to rack the bolt with the support hand. And never was there an issue with the charging handle. However, as training evolved and changed and troops began to leave their trigger hand on the weapon while racking the charging handle with their support, the handles started bending and breaking because of the new grip troops were grasping with. Manufacturers tried to address this concern with a multitude of oversized handles - many of which failed in action causing cuts or other injuries to the shooter.
Bravo Company USA has come out with and is offering a charging handle called the "Gunfighter" that has 3 different sizes or "mods". It is CNC machined from 7075 T6 Billet Aluminum and hard coat anodized per MilSpec Mil-A-8625F, Type III, Class 2.
This thing is SOLID. If you are in a SHTF situation and you have a nasty hot mess of crap in the action and the bolt just wont lock back - you could honestly KICK the charging handle back without worry. I personally like the Mod 4 as it is right between the small (mod 5) and the large (mod 3) and doesn't stick out too much but still gives me the extra space I need to grip and rack.
While it IS expensive (click on the above link for current prices) It works. It works well and it looks BEEFY.
If you are building a new AR or simply looking for an upgrade to your current system - I'd highly recommend the BCM Gunfighter Charging handle. Here are a few of mine, uninstalled:
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