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Monday, December 26, 2016

Product Review: the Hard Charger

I've been using the Hard Charger side-charging handle system ($154.00 & free shipping) for the past 7 months and I love it to death.

I apologize if this review isn't as detailed as some of the others I've done. To a certain extent, there isn't much to say beyond "It's a side charging handle, and it does everything it says it will do and it does it really, really well," but I have endeavored to go into more detail for my readers.



What It Is
The Hard Charger is an accessory that mounts to any standard flat-top forged upper, replacing the standard charging handle and occupying the first Picatinny rail slot. As you can see from the photos of my AR, you can still mount optics with the Hard Charger and their installation does not prevent its use.

It also comes with a selection of handles (one all-metal, one coated in cushioned plastic) which gives the shooter the ability to tailor the system to his preferred shooting style and comfort level.
Hard Charger with red/green dot sight and BUIS.
Hard Charger with BSA Sweet .223 scope on a QD mount.
What It Does
As the embedded video shows, the Hard Charger gives an AR-15 operator the ability to work its action using his left hand (or belt, or other body parts, or bits of the environment, or etc) while still retaining the ability to use the charging handle in the traditional manner.

While I do not expect to use this in combat with a wounded arm, I like being able to chamber a round without fumbling around and under my scope's eyepiece for purchase. I can also see the appeal in working the bolt without having to take my hand off the pistol grip.

Installation
This is ridiculously easy:
  1. Open your AR-15 for maintenance;
  2. Remove the bolt carrier group and charging handle;
  3. Install the Hard Charger receiver on the picatinny rail;
  4. Insert the pull handle into the Hard Charger receiver;
  5. Insert the Hard Charger charging handle as demonstrated in the video;
  6. Insert your bolt carrier group as usual;
  7. Close rifle and perform function check. 
Your Hard Charger is now ready to go. 

Other Versions
There are currently other versions in development, such as those which mount in the middle of the rail and at the end, as well as a version for left-handed rifles, but those are not yet for sale. 

My Verdict
As I mentioned above, I've been using it since May and I really enjoy mine. I like the options that it gives me, it does not interfere with any of my optics, and it continues to work flawlessly.

What's more, Devil Dog Concepts is veteran owned and operated. In fact, the design for the Hard Charger was formed from the combat experience of the founders both in the Middle East and as SWAT team members, and so I'm inclined to listen when combat veterans say that this is a good idea.

About the worst thing I can say about it is that, at $154, it's rather spendy.

If you are at all interested in having a side-charging system for your AR-15 rifle, I strongly encourage you to investigate Devil Dog Concepts and their Hard Charger.

Dear FTC: I received this product free for review. I did not promise a good review, nor did I receive anything in return for a good review. Also, tell your mom I said hi. 

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