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Forward Assist!!??

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  • Forward Assist!!??

    Is the forward assist on AR type rifles really necessary anymore!? With todays design/engineering technology I would think that it would of dissapeared after the A2 model!? I may have used the forward assist on an AR once in the last 15yrs.
    Is it still a need for military/police under harsh conditions? or is it there for some other reason that I just may not be seeing or understanding?

    Just wondering?
    NRA Life Member

  • #2
    I think they are still there because they look cool. I have used the one on my Colt that I have had since the 80's exactly 0 times. When ever I look at AR's I always check to see if it has one and if it does not I just move on. Been seeing more and more without the last year or so. They just look unfinished to me for lack of a better word without them.

    "If guns cause crime, all mine are defective." ~ Ted Nugent


    • #3
      I wouldn't buy an AR without it. Comes in handy when you haven't used enough lube after shooting couple hundred rounds. Maybe I need to buy a Colt.
      Last edited by Ed308; 12-12-2012, 08:13 PM.


      • #4
        I use mine regularly, but could probably do the same by pushing on the bolt with my thumb.

        I chamber a round when I respond to critical incidents. Thankfully I haven't had the need to fire at one yet. Just giving the charging handle a pull leaves a ding from the firing pin on that primer. I'm afraid that light little hit over and over may set a primer off someday. If I have the extra few seconds, I ride the charging handle forward then use the forward assist to ensure that the bolt is in battery.

        In some cases, I'm afraid the forward assist will make a jam go from bad to worse. It already happened to me once in training with the duty gun.


        • #5
          There are many ARs available to buy..... I believe if you want a quality dependable AR, regardless of manufacturer, it needs to be a true mil spec 5.56.

          There are a number of civilian entry level versions offered in "mil spec" .223.

          A true mil spec AR is 5.56 Nato and it has a forward assist (as well as other features) as per mil specs.

          Everyone makes their own decisions as to what to buy and what to spend their money on.

          I won't buy an AR (new or used) with no forward assist because the rifle, despite manufacturers claims, is not mil spec. That makes a forward assist necessary IMHO....

          When and if I need to sell the gun I believe a mil spec AR will bring me a better price....



          • #6
            There are exceptions to every rule. While not nearly as common, VLTOR does make a few uppers w/o a FA, and I trust their quality, and they are considered a top tier manufacturer. I suppose the difference here is, they are making milspec or better uppers, but have the option of leaving off the FA, not that they are making them without them as a means of costs savings or something.

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            • #7
              Personally I prefer the FA. I own an SP1 that lacks the feature and when dry/dirty, the bolt may not go into full battery. I don't like the idea of sticking my finger into the ejection port to fix the issue either.

              The other school of thought I've heard is the FA can easily make a bad jam worse. The idea being if the round didn't properly chamber the first time and cause an intereuptiom in the cycle of operations, would ou really want to force the bolt to close on a possibly suspect round? 52K PSI is a lot of pressure next to your face!

              I see both sides of the coin for sure. Proper PMC on quality rifles should negate its use anyhow.


              • #8
                Originally posted by BShootin View Post
                Is the forward assist on AR type rifles really necessary anymore!?
                I just bought my first AR-15 lower last week and while looking for uppers I saw that they had some that did not have the hole for the FA. That got me wondering the same thing about whether the FA was still needed for general use. While I may have been in the military for 9 years during that time I only touched an M16 twice. I was in a special command and we used M870 shotguns so most of my military range time was doing the annual M870 qualification.

                Needless to say my knowledge of M-16's/AR-15's is next to nil. So I've been searching the web about the pro's and con's of leaving off the FA. From what I've seen a lot of people want the FA because it keeps the rifle looking as close as possible to it's military counterpart. But in my case I didn't join the AR-15 club because of looks, I became interested in the platform due to it's ability to be built in a wide range of cartridges. And after seeing the slightly sleeker lines of uppers without the FA sticking out of it I felt the gun looks better without it. This won't be a problem for me as I don't plan on putting it through more then occasional range use.

                Anyhow, thanks for asking this question. It was interesting to read the replies to it and why others felt it was good to keep around.


                • #9
                  I wouldn't buy an upper without the FA unless it was a side charger. Very handy when didn't pull the charging handle all the way back to fully **** the AR. Give the FA a little push with your thumb and your ready to go.


                  • #10
                    Yeah the standard design incorporates it and the notch in the BCG is designed to support it so no reason NOT to have it. Its original usage was primarily to support weapons that were dunked in water (think Vietnam here) and getting water in the barrel. Even if you were to point the weapon down, you could get a vacuum near the bullet tip thus not allowing all the water to clear the barrel. Pull the trigger and BOOM. So the FA was added so troops could slighly pull back the charging handle with the muzzle pointed down and this would break the vacuum and release the remaining water. But now you dont have a fully seated bolt and you had no way to push it back in without completely racking the charging handle again so - Forward Assist!
                    Life NRA Member, USCCA, IDPA. Glock 23/17/27. 5.56/.223/.204 Ruger/6.8SPC II


                    • #11
                      My rifle has it. I don't use it. The same as the airbag in my car's steering wheel.


                      • #12
                        But one day, your life may be save by it just like an airbag could save you.
                        Sorry couldn't resist!


                        • #13
                          I am of the mindset that I would rather have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.


                          • #14
                            I have had the FA on all my previous AR15's and use it almost every time after I load a fresh mag and chamber a round.

                            I bought a Smith and Wesson M&P15 Sport last month and it does not come with the FA and dust cover. So far I have not had the need for the FA in the Sport after shooting a couple of hundred rounds through the rifle. But still, in general I prefer upper receivers with FA and DC.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BangBang View Post
                              I believe if you want a quality dependable AR, regardless of manufacturer, it needs to be a true mil spec 5.56.
                              I never though about it this way, but it makes sense. For many civilian uses, mil-spec is a starting point to tune from, so I never really considered it as an asset for a weapon to be mil-spec.



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