AR10 Side Charge: The Ultimate Guide to Side Charging Your Rifle

Introducing the AR10 side charge, an innovative charging system that’s revolutionizing the world of precision shooting. With its sleek design and unmatched functionality, the AR10 side charge is the perfect upgrade for any AR10 enthusiast seeking enhanced control and performance.

From its origins to its unparalleled advantages and compatibility, we’ll delve into every aspect of the AR10 side charge, empowering you to make an informed decision about this game-changing firearm accessory.

AR10 Side Charge Basics

An AR10 side charge is a variant of the AR10 rifle that features a charging handle located on the side of the receiver, rather than the traditional top-mounted charging handle. This design offers several advantages over the top-mounted charging handle, including improved ergonomics, reduced risk of snagging, and increased flexibility in shooting positions.

The AR10 side charge operates by using a reciprocating charging handle that is attached to the bolt carrier. When the charging handle is pulled back, it drives the bolt carrier rearward, which in turn ejects the spent cartridge case and chambers a new round.

The charging handle is then released, allowing the bolt carrier to move forward and lock into battery.

The development of the AR10 side charge can be traced back to the early days of the AR-15 platform. In the 1960s, several companies experimented with side-charging AR-15s, but these designs never gained widespread acceptance. In the 1990s, the AR10 side charge was revived by several companies, and it has since become a popular option for AR10 builders.

Advantages of the AR10 Side Charge

  • Improved ergonomics: The side-mounted charging handle allows the shooter to operate the rifle without having to remove their hand from the pistol grip. This can be a significant advantage in close-quarters combat or when shooting from awkward positions.
  • Reduced risk of snagging: The side-mounted charging handle is less likely to snag on clothing or gear than a top-mounted charging handle. This can be a critical advantage in tactical situations.
  • Increased flexibility in shooting positions: The side-mounted charging handle allows the shooter to operate the rifle from a variety of shooting positions, including prone, kneeling, and standing. This can be a major advantage for hunters and tactical shooters.

Advantages and Disadvantages of AR10 Side Charge

AR10 side charge offers a unique set of advantages and disadvantages that distinguish it from traditional rear-charging AR10 rifles. Understanding these pros and cons can help you make an informed decision about whether a side-charging AR10 is right for you.

Advantages of Using an AR10 Side Charge

  • -*Improved Ergonomics

    The side-charging handle allows for a more comfortable and natural shooting position, especially when wearing body armor or in tight spaces.

  • -*Reduced Muzzle Rise

    The side-charging handle is located closer to the bore axis, which reduces muzzle rise and improves accuracy during rapid fire.

  • -*Ambidextrous Operation

    Side-charging AR10s can be operated by both right- and left-handed shooters, making them ideal for training or competition.

  • -*Reduced Gas Blowback

    The side-charging handle directs gas away from the shooter’s face, minimizing gas blowback and improving comfort during extended shooting sessions.

Disadvantages of Using an AR10 Side Charge

  • -*Increased Weight

    The side-charging handle adds additional weight to the rifle, which can affect balance and handling.

  • -*Increased Cost

    Side-charging AR10s typically cost more than traditional rear-charging models due to the additional manufacturing complexity.

  • -*Potential for Snagging

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    The side-charging handle can snag on clothing or equipment, especially in close-quarters situations.

  • -*Reduced Bolt Hold Open Reliability

    Some side-charging AR10s may have issues with the bolt hold open feature, which can lead to malfunctions during shooting.

Comparison to Traditional AR10 Charging Handle

AR10 side charges and traditional charging handles are both used to manipulate the bolt carrier group (BCG) of an AR10 rifle. However, there are key differences between the two designs that affect the overall handling and operation of the rifle.

Location and Operation

Traditional AR10 charging handles are located at the rear of the receiver, behind the trigger. They are operated by pulling back on the handle, which engages the BCG and pulls it rearward. Side charges, on the other hand, are located on the left side of the receiver, above the magazine well.

They are operated by pushing forward on the handle, which engages the BCG and pushes it forward.

Ambidextrous Operation

Side charges are inherently ambidextrous, meaning they can be operated by either right- or left-handed shooters. Traditional charging handles, on the other hand, are designed for right-handed shooters and can be difficult for left-handed shooters to use.

Clearance Issues

Side charges can provide better clearance for optics and other accessories that are mounted on the top of the receiver. Traditional charging handles, on the other hand, can interfere with some optics and accessories, especially when the charging handle is pulled all the way to the rear.


The ergonomics of side charges and traditional charging handles are a matter of personal preference. Some shooters find that side charges are more comfortable and easier to use, especially when shooting from awkward positions. Others prefer the traditional charging handle because it is more familiar and allows for a more consistent grip.

Summary Table

The following table summarizes the key features of AR10 side charges and traditional charging handles:

Feature AR10 Side Charge Traditional AR10 Charging Handle
Location Left side of the receiver Rear of the receiver
Operation Push forward Pull back
Ambidextrous Yes No
Clearance Better for optics and accessories Can interfere with some optics and accessories
Ergonomics Matter of personal preference More familiar and consistent

Compatibility and Installation

Compatibility and installation of an AR10 side charge depend on the specific model of AR10 you own. Some AR10 models are designed to be compatible with side charging handles, while others are not. It is important to check the compatibility of your AR10 model before purchasing and installing a side charge.

Installing an AR10 side charge is relatively straightforward. However, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure proper installation. Here are the general steps involved in installing an AR10 side charge:

Tools Required

  • Allen wrench
  • Hammer
  • Punch
  • Roll pin


  1. Remove the existing charging handle.
  2. Insert the new side charge into the receiver.
  3. Secure the side charge with the roll pin.
  4. Test the side charge to ensure it is functioning properly.

Customization and Accessories

The AR10 side charge offers a range of customization options, allowing shooters to tailor their rifle to their specific needs and preferences.

Customization Options

  • Handle Design:Side charging handles come in various designs, including extended, short, and ambidextrous options. Shooters can choose a handle that fits their grip and shooting style.
  • Materials:Side charges are typically made from lightweight and durable materials such as aluminum, steel, and polymer. Shooters can select a material that suits their weight and aesthetic preferences.
  • Colors:Side charges are available in a wide range of colors, allowing shooters to match their rifle’s overall appearance or personalize it to their taste.


  • Extended Latches:Extended latches provide a larger surface area for charging the rifle, making it easier to manipulate, especially with gloves.
  • Forward Assists:Forward assists can be integrated into the side charge handle, allowing shooters to quickly clear malfunctions without reaching for the traditional forward assist.
  • Illuminated Latches:Illuminated latches feature a small light that makes the handle easier to locate in low-light conditions.

Applications and Use Cases: Ar10 Side Charge

An AR10 side charge excels in scenarios where traditional charging handles may encounter limitations. Its unique design offers distinct advantages for various shooting styles and tactical applications.

Enhanced Maneuverability in Confined Spaces

  • The side charge handle’s placement eliminates the need to break cheek weld or adjust body position to cycle the action.
  • This is particularly beneficial in tight quarters, such as inside vehicles or during urban operations, where rapid target engagement is crucial.

Improved Ergonomics for Suppressed Rifles, Ar10 side charge

  • With a side charge, the shooter can manipulate the charging handle without having to reach over a bulky suppressor.
  • This provides a more comfortable and efficient way to cycle the action, especially during extended shooting sessions.

Enhanced Control for Prone Shooting

  • When shooting from a prone position, a side charge allows the shooter to maintain a stable firing stance without having to lift their head.
  • This results in improved accuracy and reduced fatigue over time.

Ambidextrous Operation

  • Side charges are inherently ambidextrous, allowing both right- and left-handed shooters to operate the firearm comfortably.
  • This is especially advantageous for tactical teams or military personnel who may need to switch shooting positions quickly.

Safety Considerations

When using an AR10 side charge, it is crucial to prioritize safety. Failure to adhere to proper handling procedures can lead to accidents or injuries. Understanding the potential hazards and implementing safety measures is paramount.

One potential hazard associated with side-charging AR10s is the risk of unintended bolt closure. This can occur if the charging handle is accidentally bumped or snagged while the rifle is in a ready-to-fire position. To mitigate this risk, it is essential to maintain a firm grip on the charging handle throughout the charging process.

Safety Tips

  • Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
  • Maintain a firm grip on the charging handle during the charging process.
  • Be aware of the surroundings and ensure there are no obstructions that could interfere with the charging handle.
  • If the charging handle becomes stuck or obstructed, do not force it. Seek professional assistance.
  • Store the rifle unloaded and with the safety engaged when not in use.

Ending Remarks

In conclusion, the AR10 side charge stands as a testament to the constant evolution of firearms technology. Its exceptional advantages, seamless compatibility, and diverse applications make it an indispensable tool for discerning shooters. Whether you’re a seasoned marksman or a novice seeking precision, the AR10 side charge is the key to unlocking your full shooting potential.

Key Questions Answered

What are the key advantages of using an AR10 side charge?

Enhanced ergonomics, faster follow-up shots, and improved accuracy due to reduced muzzle rise.

Is the AR10 side charge compatible with all AR10 models?

No, compatibility varies depending on the specific AR10 model and manufacturer.

What are some potential safety considerations when using an AR10 side charge?

Always ensure the charging handle is fully forward before firing, and avoid placing your fingers in the path of the bolt.