Bullcharger Side Charging Converter Makes Your AR-15 Run (Almost) Like an AK
Eve Flanigan 02.27.19
Out of Tennessee comes a new product that may prove to be the cat’s meow—though it’s named after a dog—for some AR shooters. The Bullcharger side charging converter is an attachment for the existing charging handle that can make operating a flat top AR pistol or carbine more efficiently.
The Bullcharger side charging converter handle is similar to that of an AK’s, but mounts to the left side of the receiver instead of the right. Advantages include the ability to maintain a cheek weld and, depending on magnification and stability, a view through the optic or sights while running the handle. Anyone who’s struggled to reach the wings of a charging handle that’s covered on top by a scope can appreciate the easy access of the Bullcharger handle. And although it’s not an advertised benefit, I suspect the Bullcharger will be a boon for people with hand or arm issues that interfere with use of a normal charging handle. Its location close to the rifle’s center of gravity, and gross-motor operation are sure to overcome certain physical limitations.
Although it attaches to the opposite side as an AK charging handle, the Bullcharger mimics the charging aspect of AK operation, and may appeal to shooters who are accustomed to that platform.
On the downside, the Bullcharger side charging converter creates new potential for catching on gear or clothing for right-handed shooters who carry the carbine or pistol across their chest.
Installing the Bullcharger is relatively simple, assuming there are no existing accessories on the rail. A seven-inch riser rail secures to the rifle’s Pic rail with two screws. Any optical accessories, including a rear iron sight, must be removed before installation. There are no changes needed to the existing charging handle, in fact the Bullcharger itself activates the real charging handle.
The charging handle is attached to the rail on the left side. At rest, its handle is on the same vertical plane as the front of the magazine well—6.5 inches in front of the grip of the standard charging handle. When the Bullcharger side charging converter handle is pulled rearward, its padded rod pushes the charging handle powerfully backward. Its effect is added leverage and easier charging or unloading.
At first, I was concerned that manually locking the bolt back would be more difficult with the Bullcharger in the way. But it’s actually easier, a left hand-only operation. Caution is warranted when slapping the bolt release; keeping the fingers pointing forward prevents the handle from striking them on its way forward.
The upside of the Bullcharger is that it makes a fine motor skill—running the charging handle—into a gross motor one. It can be operated using either the pinky or thumb side of the fist. I found both these methods easy. Plenty of shooters with wrist or hand issues might find it makes AR operation easier.
For those who struggle with a too-low optic, the raised platform rail of the Bullcharger should solve the problem, raising the mount by half an inch. Its protruding handle also eliminates the hassle of reaching under the optical lens side of a scope to access a standard charger.
These benefits come with a potential trade-offs. Rear back-up iron sights will not align properly with front ones using the Bullcharger, unless it’s set well forward—a difficult but not impossible placement for BUIS that shortens the sight radius. Installation on a scoped AR requires removal of the existing optic, and re-zeroing of any precision optic—a potentially cumbersome process depending on the mounting system. The Bushnell TRS-26 red dot on the Savage MSR 15 Recon (page 38 of the Savage catalog) used in this review was even more comfortable to use when set on the Bulllcharger’s taller rail. Of course, close-range precision shots require a bit more holdover than without the Bullcharger.
A potential drawback of the Bullcharger is that the handle could impede or get hung up on gear or clingy clothing. The stiff, canvas-like shirts I often wear to the range did not present a problem, but a fleece coat or strappy chest rig could present difficulty raising the gun into action quickly.
The Bullcharger could well be a boon for any shooter with lower arm or hand function challenges, as well as for shooters of small stature. It uses leverage effectively, both to move the bolt and in placing the functional part where the handler can easily grab the handle close to the rifle’s center of gravity. Many shooters under a certain height, present company included, struggle to run a charging handle with the weight of the rifle being mostly in front of it. This solves that problem while adding only a few ounces of weight.
The Bullcharger side charging converter is American designed and made. It’s named in honor of company owner Laurie’s beloved Bull Terrier, also the company mascot. With the riser rail as shown, the Bullcharger retails for $95.99 and is available only via direct order from www.cljinnovations.com.