The SilencerCo Gas Defeating Charging Handle (GDCH) is the latest entry into the suppressed AR-15 gas busting charging handle market. However, this charging handle has a unique approach in the way that it attempts to mitigate and redirect gas away from the shooter’s face.
Why did I get the new SilencerCo GDCH?
First, I originally had a BCMGUNFIGHTER charging handle with the Mod 3B latch on a 2A Armament Balios Lite pistol build and it closed nicely (tightly) into the upper receiver. However, because there was a tiny gap beneath this BCM charging handle, a small amount of gas and debris was still hitting me in the face. And because of the BCMGUNFIGHTER charging handle’s design, I was unable to glue a flat piece of rubber to the bottom rear of it. Therefore, I tried gluing a 1/64″ sliver of rubber to the top rear of the lower receiver that sits underneath the BCM charging handle, but it was torn off by the bottom of the charging handle as the charging handle was pulled rearward and across it.
Second, I was curious to see if the SilencerCo Gas Defeating Charging Handle would solve this problem since it utilized a U-shaped, rubber O-ring seated in a channel beneath the charging handle.
Features and Specs of the SilencerCo GDCH
- Rubber O-ring seal along bottom end to mitigate gas blow back
- Large, ambidextrous levers
- Machined from aircraft grade 7075 aluminum
- Finished in Type III Hard Anodize
- Weight: 1.25 oz
Price of the SilencerCo GDCH
MSRP is $114. The street price is also $114.
The SilencerCo GDCH is well-machined. Anodized finish is smooth and even. Levers are a comfortable size and have a curved design. The left lever of the SilencerCo GDCH actuates smoothly and easily. However, pulling on the right lever is a bit gritty and actuates with some resistance…definitely not as nice as the left lever.
As noted earlier, I tried the SilencerCo GDCH on a 2A Armament Balios Lite (billet receiver set) pistol build. Unfortunately, due to the tight tolerances of this particular lightweight receiver set, the SilencerCo charging handle would not fully close into the upper receiver as the bottom half of the rubber O-ring was preventing it from doing so. Since the O-ring sits inside a U-shaped channel along the bottom rear of the charging handle between the levers, I decided to cut off a portion of the O-ring and re-insert it inside the channel of the charging handle. Problem solved!
Does the SilencerCo Gas Defeating Charging Handle work equally well with all Receivers?
From my experience, the new SilencerCo Gas Defeating Charging handle may not work optimally with some AR receivers. For example, on the Balios Lite receiver set, as noted earlier, the bottom section of the O-ring needed to be cut/removed in order for the charging handle to fully close into the upper receiver. The remaining portion of the O-ring fit snugly against the top rear of the lower receiver beneath it and thus did a pretty good job preventing gas from escaping into the shooter’s face.
On a different billet receiver set, the O-ring did not even touch the top rear of the lower receiver beneath it such that there was still a small amount of space from which gas would escape.
On yet another billet receiver set, after pulling back on the SilencerCo charging handle and letting it return into the upper receiver, the O-ring did not touch the top rear of the lower receiver beneath it such that there was a very small gap of space. I then noticed that if I pushed down on the top of the charging handle, the O-ring would then seat against the lower receiver beneath it, sealing the small gap of space.
Obviously, the SilencerCo GDCH may not seal the bottom gap optimally with all billet receiver sets due to variations inherent in many of these designs. I’m guessing the SilencerCo GDCH was instead made to work best with a standard MILSPEC forged receiver set, since it is more widely used and has less design variation than billet receiver sets.
At the Range
After shooting about 120 rounds of 5.56 NATO 55 gr FMJ (M193) suppressed through a 2A Armament Balios Lite build, using a YHM Turbo (Gen 1) and a YHM Turbo T2 (Gen 2) along with an Aero Precision adjustable gas block, it significantly reduced gas to the eyes. And there was definitely no more debris hitting my face unlike my experience with the BCMGUNFIGHTER charging handle.
That said, I also use the Griffin Armament SN-ACH (Suppressor Normalized Ambi Configurable Handle) on all of my other AR hosts.
How does the SilencerCo Gas Defeating Charging Handle compare to the Griffin Armament SN-ACH?
After I glued a flat piece of rubber to the bottom of each of my other Griffin Armament SN-ACH charging handles and glued half of a rubber O-ring along the top U-shaped section of the Griffin charging handles, I would say that it now offers roughly the same degree of gas mitigation as the SilencerCo GDCH.
However, at a street price of about $73, the Griffin Armament SN-ACH costs about $41 less than the SilencerCo GDCH. Keep in mind that the Griffin SN-ACH also has a gas diverting vent which redirects gas to the right side, so this may not work for left-handed shooters.
The SilencerCo Gas Defeating Charging Handle definitely reduces a significant amount of gas to the eyes and face. Would I buy another? It depends. For a Balios Lite billet receiver set, yes, because I know it can work after cutting off the bottom portion of the O-ring. However, on other billet receiver sets, as noted earlier, the SilencerCo GDCH’s rubber O-ring does not always seal the gap between it and the lower receiver beneath it, thus defeating the purpose of getting this charging handle. I actually prefer the Griffin Armament SN-ACH, even though with that charging handle, I still have to make some modifications to maximize its gas mitigation effectiveness.