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Thursday, August 25, 2016
There are certain upgrades that are almost a must when you get them. The first things I needed when I bought my AK was a set of gloves. The AK sure isn't an AR, and the sharp angles and corners can make for a rough transition for those used to shooting more ergonomic rifles.
A host of ergonomic improvements for the AK have been released over the years and one of the best ones is the CRH Extended Charging Handle from Circle 10 AK. CRH machines these for Circle 10's store and they make an excellent product.
The CRH Lightweight handle weighs in at only .7 ounce, and doesn't feel heavy enough to change the balance or handling of the rifle. Secured by a small allen-head screw, the handle slides over the original curved AK charging handle. Using thread-lock on the screw is a must to stop it working loose as the gun cycles. I found that you really want to tighten this screw down hard to ensure positive lock-up with the handle and stop it from working loose. Once properly tightened and locked in, I've experienced no issues with it working loose.
Cycling the gun with the CRH handle installed felt much more positive than with the stock charging handle. The curved design of the AK charging handle often bites your hand when you slap it to charge the weapon, teaching me to curve my hand and try to hook it rather than slap it. If you forget about this under stress, it can be a painful lesson.
The CRH handle does extend the charging handle a bit, so you need to be conscious of this when working close to barriers or obstacles, or when firing from the ground on the weapon's right side. This is an issue with all guns with reciprocating charging handles, but it dos bear mentioning.
The CRH handle does have indents for better grip, and for installing rubber O-rings if the user wants more positive purchase on the handle. My Magpul Zhukov stock attaches higher to my WASR than with most AK's so the charging handle nicks the buttpad when firing while folded. The CRH handle would prevent the gun from fully cycling while the stock is folded, but luckily Circle10AK sells a handle specifically to clear the folded Zhukov on most rifles.
During use, I can say that I like the CRH handle quite a bit. It makes it much easier to find the handle when rolling the gun over during reloads and much easier on the hands. I didn't notice any wobble or loosening during firing. Although I experienced no major issues moving around barricades, I can also say that I didn't do much of that during testing. I'll be making sure to test that out and report any issues.
If you're looking for a great extended charging handle for the AK, pick up a CRH Customs Handle. You won't be disappointed.
Posted by Ben