A while back I had an AR that identified as a hunting rifle and needed an optic and needed a mount. Warne provided a mount, and Nikon provided the optic. After a bit of shooting a scope equipped AR 15 I was getting really sick of that teeny tiny mil spec charging handle. With the AR market being as large as it is I knew I had plenty of options. There was the BCM Gunfighter or the Badger Ordnance model was nice, but I was drawn to the Strike Industries ARCH-EL. ARCH-EL stands for AR Charging Handle – Extended Latch. It sounds simple, and it is. Its rocking and rolling on my hunting AR. The season may be over now, but why not prep for next year?
The Ins and Outs of the Strike Industries ARCH-EL
The ARCH-EL is one massive charging handle. It’s not ambidextrous, and I personally didn’t want an ambi charging handle. I’m right handed so the latch is on the left-hand side. A normal mil-spec charging handle’s small latch is a real pain in the ass to use if you are using a higher powered scope. The Extended latch sticks out about half an inch further than a standard charging handle. The extended latch is half an inch wide when measured from top to bottom. It’s textured aggressively and curved to fit the hand.
Today we had a blast at the range, and Strike Industries was part of it. The ARCH-EL participated in my TorkMag 50 round magazine testing. The mag worked so I didn’t get to work any malfunction drills. I did, however, get lots of time to rack the gun when reviewing the Nikon Pro Staff 5 (It’s coming soon I promise.) I used a 5 round magazine so I was reloading often. The ARCH-EL is easy to grip and rip. Its wide handle makes it easy to use with modern reloading techniques. I generally prefer a simple right-handed charge and it works well for that. It’s also easy to use a bladed technique or an underhanded charge.
Most importantly, it completely clears my ProStaff 5 and allows me to have an uninterrupted charge. If something was to go wrong and I needed to clear a malfunction I wouldn’t have any issues doing so, and doing so quickly. The ARCH-EL offers me a nice bit of leverage for racking the gun. The extra leverage means less force needed which is nice when you’re shooting under pressure.
The ARCH-EL is made entirely from aluminum, but it doesn’t bend or twist in use. The use of aluminum instead of steel means there is less wear and tear on the upper receiver than a steel charging handle. There are no exposed springs and the extended latch glides rearward as the handle is pulled.One of the little things I really loved was how easy it is to do a press check. That extra leverage translates into extra control for these little tasks.
The Strike Industries ARCH-EL is an excellent charging handle, and the best part is that its one of the most affordable extended latches on the market. You can also get the ARCH-EL anodized in a variety of different colors, including FDE, red, and blue. The ARCH-EL is an outstanding upgrade to any AR 15 rifle. I will say from experience it’s perfect if you are running an optic. Even without an optic the ARCH-EL is easy to use, fast to manipulate, and its strong as hell.