Posted on July 1st, 2014 by ar15news
A few months ago I was given the opportunity to review a new charging handle from Armageddon Tactical. The charging handle is called the GMS-15 which stands for Gas Management System. The GMS-15 is an ambidextrous charging handle for the AR-15 that features a really cool gas management system and a pretty unique look. I’ve spent the last couple of months with it to see how well the Gas Management System works, how well it functions as an Ambi Charging Handle and to see how durable it is.
I’m always up for reviewing some cool new AR part but its not often that you get asked to review a charging handle. You typically think of a charging handle just being a charging handle. However when I first got it in my hands I was pleasantly surprised. It not only looks pretty unique but feels nice and solid. As you can see in the picture below the GMS-15 looks nothing like your standard charging handle.
GAS MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
The Gas Management System on the GMS-15 is pretty cool. If you’re at all familiar with how a charging handle works you know that the hole at the front of the charging actually goes around the rear end of the gas tube putting it in direct line with the hot nasty gasses that are shot back into your upper with every round fired. With nowhere else to go, quite often those same gasses can be expelled out through the charging handle opening and right into the shooters face. This is especially true for suppressor users as gas blow back can be almost unbearable at times.
The GMS-15 fixes this issue with a vertical port and chamber at the rear of the charging handle. The chamber sticks up a bit taller than a normal charging handle and is machined in a way that it seals off the charging handle opening. Once the gas is redirected through the port and into the chamber, it has nowhere else to go but out throughout two small vents that force the gas away from the shooters face. It’s basically saying “Hey Gas, come on over here and exit through this hole.”
I personally don’t own any suppressors (that reminds me I need to fix that) but I can tell you from the few hundred rounds I was able to shoot behind this charging handle in multiple different guns, I didn’t experience any gas blow back at all. As far as I can tell the GMS-15 did a great job of redirecting any gasses away from my face. The next step will be to send the charging handle to a buddy of mine who does own some suppressors and see what he thinks.
AMBIDEXTROUS FUNCTION OF THE GMS-15
One of the cool parts of the design is that it has no levers to pull on which completely does away with the typical weak roll pin issue you find on your standard AR-15 charging handle. Instead of levers that your hand has to hit to release the latch, you just pull on the head of the charging handle itself. The head and shaft of the charging handle are two separate pieces. With the bolt closed, the shaft has pressure against it which allows the latch to release when you pull back on the handle head. I was able to manipulate the charging handle from either side by pulling straight back on it with the side of my index finger which is how most people do it. I was also able to work it using the palm of my hand as well.
The only snag I ran into (which really isn’t a snag) is when doing reloads left handed with the bolt held open on an empty mag. When shooting right handed you get used to the bolt release on the left side of the lower making it easy to release the bolt and start shooting again. Lefties have to either take their hand off the firing position and hit the bolt release, do some funky over or under move with their right hand to hit the bolt release OR pull back on an ambi charing handle in which case the reloaded mag will force the bolt catch to move allowing the bolt to go forward into battery. With the GMS-15, when the bolt is held back there is no pressure holding the shaft of the charging handle in place so the latch won’t release. This is why they built in what looks like a button on the back of the charging handle head. In reality it is the rear of the charging handle shaft that you can press your thumb on to manipulate the charging handle when the bolt is held open and it works perfect, just with a different technique. This is shown in the following picture however I used my right hand to demonstrate to not block the picture.
The GMS-15 mostly machined from billet 7075-T6 aluminum and has a heat treated 4140 Steel latch. From the minute I held the GMS-15 it seemed very solid. A few months later it still feels as solid as day one. The coating on the charging handle is a Teflon infused Anodizing which definitely feels a bit smoother than your standard ano. So far it is holding up very well with no spots wearing off or flaking, etc.
I took my time on this one as I wanted to really make sure to give you a review after use not just a review after snuggling with it on day one. I’ve definitely enjoyed using the Armageddon Tactical GMS-15 charging handle. Its just a good solid piece of kit that works as described. You can expect this new charging handle to sell very well, especially with those who use a suppressor when shooting. The design of the GMS-15 is really cool and unique. There are lots of ambi charging handles on the market and I would put the GMS-15 right up in the mix at the top but not necessarily the King taking into consideration the left hand operation issue with the bolt held open. However, when you add in the awesome Gas Management System it definitely puts it into a different category as an ambidextrous gas blocking charging handle. If you are a suppressor user or even better yet, a left handed suppressor user, this would be a great charging handle to take a look at.
The Armageddon Tactical GMS-15 charging handle is currently available for purchase from Impact Weapons Components, Tactical Link and Armageddon Tactical. We’ve partnered up with Impact Weapons Components for years now and they’ve even given us our own discount code.
Impact Weapons Components is the least expensive route because of our discount code. If you plan on buying one of these charging handles or any other item from IWC, be sure to use the discount code “ar15news” during check at www.ImpactWeaponsComponents.com to save 5% off your purchase.
You can also purchase the GMS-15 from Tactical Link and Armageddon Tactical.