I met Steve, the inventor of the HABU charging handle and owner of Falcon 37, in his home in North Carolina. He was surrounded by the evidence of a military life well lived and of his dedicated, entrepreneurial spirit. Steve served in the Marine Corps and had truly never stopped being a Marine in both his mindset and his physical fitness. It was this tactical drive and attention to detail that led him to creating the HABU.
A little about me. I retired after 25 years in the Army. I put on a Green Beret when I was 21 years old in 1995 and was sent off to 1stSFG in FT Lewis, WA. I eventually made my way to a Tier 1 SMU at Ft. Bragg where I initially served as a direct support medic, then after a rather long, painful walk, finished my career as an operator. I learned my lessons the hard way over nine combat deployments and countless training events and venues around the world.
The HABU charging handle is a genius piece of kit in its simplicity. It’s the kind of thing that everyone thinks they might have thought of before, but didn’t. It is a drop-in replacement for the standard M4 charging handle and works on all AR platforms. Falcon 37 has them in both 5.56 and 7.62 models. By removing the small catch latch on the left-hand side of the charging handle and providing the large surface to grab, it reduces the amount of dexterity required to actuate the charging handle. With practice, this will reduce the time required to rack the weapon and get back in the fight.
When performing the standard immediate action drill: tap, rack, bang, you must come off the weapon completely, rotate it slightly and snag the charging handle at just the right angle to disengage the latch. The HABU charging handle removes all these movements and reduces it to a simple mass to wrap your hands over, exactly like charging the slide on a semi auto pistol. When both charging handles are shown to a novice shooter with no habits, it immediately makes more sense to use the HABU. I know I will get some hate mail no matter what I say, because everyone does it “right” and “better” but give this one a chance.
Honestly, I went out to use the HABU with a little bit of “why do I need this?” going through my brain. When prepping to shoot and dry firing, I immediately liked the improved cheek weld it provided. That solid piece extending back over the buttstock tube was a really nice perch for the side of my mug. This is especially true for slightly elevated red dot optics. For any of you who complain about the lack of the charging handle to place your nose against like your Drill Sargent told you to, please go back to picking your favorite flavor of crayon.
Running through some immediate action drills really made the convenience of the HABU stand out. My only complaint is the 25 years of muscle memory had me grabbing for the handle for quite a while. This is just another excuse to go the range and shoot more and retrain your brain, kind of a win-win.
I immediately saw the huge value of this piece of kit in a reduced dexterity scenario. If you are operating in the extreme cold the HABU is a must. As I get older the definition of extreme cold keeps creeping closer and closer towards 65 degrees. Soldiers and hunters operating in the cold wearing heavy gloves or even mittens can operate their charging handle with the HABU. All you cold weather 18C’s and 18B’s in 1stand 10thGroup order these handles for the whole team, immediately. For those forward thinkers and contingency planners, this would also be an outstanding device to have if your hand became injured.
Using the Combat Chicken Mitten that I acquired from the Dollar Tree, I was able to charge the weapon effortlessly with zero dexterity. I was trying to simulate the worst situation possible and it passed with flying colors just palming it through the oven mitt without using my thumb. Again, if I were going out in the cold, worried about falling on long movements and injuring my hand, or prepping for the inevitable apocalyptic crash of modern society, why not make everything a little easier and drop a HABU handle in your rifle, just in case?
- Easy to assemble and put into action
- Improved cheek weld
- Decrease effort and time needed for immediate action drills
- Decrease dexterity needed to operate rifle in times of duress/injury
- Everyone was jealous on the range and wanted to know how to get one
- Needing to reprogram my old brain
- Can’t smoke privates for finding black residue on their charging handle spring
- People on the range speaking to me because they wanted to know how to get one
The HABU charging handle is a solid piece of gear. It will make your life easier and could be the difference in a low dexterity situation that you either planned for or did not. With practice it can get you back in the action faster and provide a better cheek weld while doing all of this.
Check it out at www.falcon37.com and tell Steve I said hello.