The charging handle is one of those components of a weapon that is never given a second thought until it is needed. This component, which is also known as bolt handle, is a manually operated method to pull a shell from the magazine into the chamber when it is empty.
It is essential to also clear a cartridge that fails to fire. In this case, the bolt handle will catch the cartridge and eject it when the handle is pulled back and released. While it is fairly simple in operation and action, it is a component of a weapon that can be replaced for one that is easier and more convenient to operate for the shooter.
Working the Bolt Handle
There is very little pressure needed to pull the charging handle back to either chamber a round from the magazine or to eject a failed to fire round. With a well-designed handle, the movement should be easily completed using the fingers or the palm of the hand, without the need to play a lot of attention to the process.
The one issue to keep in mind is that once the bolt handle is pulled back, continue pulling it all the way back, even if the round is ejected. This is required to create the movement needed to push the bolt forward and strip the next round from the magazine into the chamber.
Never Control the Return
There is no need and no benefit to attempting to control the return on the charging handle by holding it or preventing it from moving forward once it is released. Typically, if the handle is pulled all the way back this will not be an issue, but some shooters with the bad habit of just pulling it back to eject the round may find this is an issue they need to correct.
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