Although I’m not left handed, I’ve been practicing shooting with my non-dominate hand for a few years now. Many military units, security forces, and S.W.A.T. teams have been doing the same for God knows how long. In order to appease the lefties as well as those who train to shoot with either hand, a few companies have rolled out ambidextrous charging handles for the AR platform. Most of these products do a decent job but until now, none of them had been built specifically for ambi use. Instead, they are all modifications of existing products. Each of these modified charging handles have added springs, pins, or extended handle extensions. Some of them have even drilled and/or cut the original charging handle to install their new parts. All of this creates weak points in the products. The TacOps-1 Ambidextrous Charging Handle from Mech Armor Defense Systems, Inc. has none of this.
CNC machined from a solid piece of 7075 T-6 aluminum, the TacOps-1 ambidextrous charging handle offers an extended grip on both the right and left sides. This allows for clearance around most optics. However, it does not extend so far as to cause problems with your other gear. While all competing products utilize multiple pins and extra pieces, Mech Defense opted for the K.I.S.S. strategy. The design uses only 5 parts including a single latch which extends to the rear of the charging handle then bends to provide a point for your right thumb to depress it. This causes the latch to rotate on the single roll pin and release without the need for extra parts.
The 7 pound spring ensures positive engagement of the latch which is overkill in most cases. However, the standard charging handle designs do not take into account the added pressure from suppressors and such which can cause weaker springs to unlatch and send the handle back at your face. Inserted and capping off the spring is a brass pin which keeps debris from getting into and around the spring itself. The latch pushes against the self lubricating brass pin allowing for easier operation along with less wear and tear over time.
I’ve been using The Tac Latch but have had some problems with the handle being too long and hanging up on my sling while maneuvering. I can also see how The Tac Latch could easily bend or break if my rifle were to be dropped or knocked over. The TacOps-1 is much more robust and can clearly take a lot more of a beating than any of the other charging handles I’ve used. It’s considerably more comfortable to use than my Mod 4 BCM Gunfighter and easy to use with or without gloves.
Mech Armor has provided their TacOps-1 to a number of police, military, and firearms companies for testing and evaluation. From everything I have read, it has passed all test thrown at it with flying colors and the company stands behind the product with a lifetime warranty.
No matter if you’re right or left handed, the TacOps-1 is a great charging handle. At this point, this is the only rear charging handle I will be using.
A special thank you to Jason, from Guns & Ammo Garage, who helped out with the video portion of this review.