One issue that many AR users run into, especially with today's often over-gassed guns, is a hot blast of gas to their face. This is particularly noticeable when using a suppressor. Not a deal-breaker, mind you, but one that puts a crimp on creating a more comfortable and enjoyable shooting experience.

While visiting with SilencerCo in Utah last October, we sat down and talked about that sometimes aggravating problem. It's one that the company had been low-key working on in its Gas Defeating Charging Handle program. 

Jacob Turnblom, one of SiCo's engineers, told Guns.com that he had purchased several AR-pattern charging handles billed as reducing gas blowback over the years, for his own use. Most of these handles used side ports or channels to divert those remnant gasses away. Even before that, a common hack for users was to put RTV silicone sealant around the top edge of a GI-style handle, to try and buffer the gas away. 

"I shoot almost exclusively suppressed," Turnblom said. "So, I was really just on a mission to see if this was just all snake oil or if one of these actually worked better than the other."  

With that, he started a project where he pitted every charging handle he could find that was advertised as having a gas-taming enhancement, loaded them in a stock Colt M4 with a GI handle, and ran the tests. 

"We took some really close up high-speed video, down in our test range, of the backs of these charging handles, to see if they lived up to the hype," he said. 

They didn't. Even the handles with ports and channels meant to divert the gas away from the users' face still had lots of gas coming back – but also had extra gas coming from the port as well. 

The root problem was a sheet of gas coming from underneath the charging handle, not gas leaking out from the top edge of the handle as others had gone after. Attacking the jet at its source, SiCo evaluated several ways to block that bottom sheet and finally came up with an O-ring channel wall along the bottom of the handle that worked and worked well. A simple fix that has been decades in the chasing. 
 

SilencerCo Gas Defeating Charging Handle
The SiCo GDCH, marked "17" compared to a GI-style handle. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)
SilencerCo Gas Defeating Charging Handle
The GDCH has a proprietary design feature that incorporates an O-ring seal to prevent gas from escaping from the most prominent point of egress. This seal mitigates the amount of gas that is blown back into the shooter’s face. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)


"It’s the first suppressor-optimized charging handle that actually keeps gas out of your face. I'm excited about it," Turnblom said. 
 

Last October, while touring SilencerCo, we extensively ran a prototype of the GDCH on an AR build (RRA lower under a Daniel Defense MK18 upper) with a can installed. There was a noticeable difference between the SiCo gas reducing handle and the more GI-style handle that was on the carbine to begin with. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)
Since then, we've been testing it on several AR platforms with a similar experience, seen above in a Diamondback DB15 pistol. In addition to significantly redirecting blowback, the GDCH offers ambidextrous levers when charging or clearing a platform. Made in-house by SiCo in America, it is machined from aircraft-grade 7075 aluminum and has a Type III hard anodize finish. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

 

Asking price of the SilencerCo GDCH is $114.

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