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Geissele Airborne Charging Handle: Ambidextrous Design

Everyone once in a while I find myself looking at 24 hour sales or specials like Veterans Day sales and splurge a little on a new part or accessory. This week was no different when I saw my friends at Primary Arms were running a sale on Geissele parts. Well since I needed a new charging handle for a project I decided to spend some cash and pick up a part I have been eyeballing for a while now, the Geissele Airborne Charging Handle

Geissele ACH vs Standard Charging Handle

The tried and true GI Issue M4/AR-15 charging handle has worked fine for years and will continue to do so for decades I imagine. Many users however want a little more meat to grab onto or prefer an ambidextrous design that allows the user to use two fingers to grasp the handle. One of those users was the United States Armed Forces who approached Geissele and asked them to reportedly design a charging handle to meet their particular units rather unique needs. So the legend says and the result is the Geissele Airborne Charging Handle or ACH as it’s commonly known. What makes this charging handle so different than the stock one we have all come to lover or hate as the case maybe ?

Geissele side by side with the OG Charging Handle
Photo:Rick Dembroski

The Differences

The obvious difference between the two is the ambidextrous design of the ACH versus the single latch design of the original handle. While this would appear to be the only difference between the two it didn’t exactly turn out that way. Check out the numbers and stats below.

Weight ACH: 1.4 Oz

Weight Original: 1.1 oz

That was honestly a bit shocking and I double checked both numbers and they are accurate. The other interesting thing on the ACH is that it does in fact have a slightly smaller height profile compared to the original handle. This thinner profile yet heavier weight was interesting but not a real concern and honestly something 99% of people on earth will not notice or care about in my opinion, but it’s a noted attribute.

There is no difference in length between the two charging handles that I could tell which is to be expected. There is however a different in the finish of the two handles. Geissele uses a finish that meets Mil-A-8625 Type 3 Hardcoat Anodized, which offers a high level of wear and corrosion resistance as well as an amazing shiny black finish. The Geissele is made of an aircraft grade 7075-T6 Aluminum compared to the mil spec 6061 Aluminum most other handles are made of.

The original charging handle uses what I expect is a run of the mill durable anodizing that offers a flatter less shiny finish but will also offer years of faithful service without the shine and bling bling looks of the Geissele. The difference in raw materials and finishing coating I expect is what leads to the higher cost of the Geissele ACH.

This view shows the ACH on bottom and the more squared off body of the handle is obvious as is the slight difference in the front ends. Original charging handle on top

Function, Price, Colors and Thoughts

We have shown you a few of the differences between the original charging handle and the Geissele ACH but what do we actually think about it ? Well it’s not cheap but you get what you pay for. The ACH is ridiculous easy to operate and releases and cycles my Noveske M4 with hardly any drag. It operates well from either side using one or two fingers as designed. It’s hard to use many more words than that. It simple works and glides like a dream during all my drills during range and off range testing.

The price for the Geissele ACH is roughly $79-89 depending on sales and which site you choose to shop from. At the time of this article it is available in the shown black and a Desert Dirt Color for the same price. Some people might balk at the price but I have no issue with it because #1 Geissele products have never let me down and #2 I enjoy keeping my fellow Americans employed producing great accessories for my toys.

Geissele ACH Installed on Authors Noveske

Perfect for Christmas

Even though I got this on Veterans Day thanks to a great sale price from my friends at Primary Arms, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up more for my other AR-15’s in my stable. However I am waiting till after the holidays because I asked for them from my family. If you have a friend or family member who loves their AR-15 rifle this might be the perfect gift that you know they will use. After all when was the last time you purchased something that you was made by Americans for Americans and supports the 2nd Amendment ?

About the Author /

Rick Dembroski spent 10 of the best years of his life as a USAF Civil Engineer, traveling the globe, drinking beer, and causing chaos. His superiors dubbed him "King of Useless Knowledge" a title that he still loves to this day. After his military career he chose to stay in the frozen north of Alaska and currently works as an Emergency Management Specialist combining his love of chaos with preparedness to ensure people know how to survive disasters.

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