I am always interested in innovation in the firearms industry. However, with innovation comes a certain level of doubt that the innovation is a good idea and whether it will function the way it is advertised. While there are many new products introduced at a regular pace, few are truly innovative. Most of the time it is the same gun or part in a different color or caliber. Most companies will advertise their new products as innovative and the first of its kind, but the truth is, there is a lack of actual innovation most of the time. I’m always a sucker for a product that solves a problem, which is why the Springfield Armory LevAR instantly got my attention.
Springfield Armory LevAR
If you shoot AR-15s often, I can almost guarantee you have had a stuck cartridge from some out-of-spec ammunition. The gun completely locks up and there is no way to pull the charging handle back hard enough without slamming the buttstock against something hard while pulling the charging handle to break the cartridge free. In the firearms world, we call this mortaring the rifle, and let’s face it, it’s flat-out scary to do most of the time. This is unfortunately not uncommon, which is why Springfield Armory decided to step up to the plate.
The LevAR replaces your existing charging handle on your AR-15-platform rifles and pistols. It is a bit bulkier than a standard charging handle but works the exact same way—other than being able to unstick stuck cartridges. When deployed, it serves as a lever that will simply work that stuck cartridge out of the chamber by using several levers and a cam, which adds a mechanical advantage when operating the charging handle. Just depress the button on the right wing of the charging handle and fold the lever from the left to the fully open position. Pull the LevAR, and the bolt simply pulls back, causing the stuck cartridge to fall free.
So here is the real question. Does the thing work? To my surprise, it works perfectly. When deployed, the arm of the LevAR doesn’t get in the way of running the rifle, and it pulls the bolt back with ease to release the stuck cartridge.
I installed the LevAR in my Zev Core Elite Pistol and headed to the range to test it out. I purposely shot this crappy, reloaded 5.56mm that I always had issues with because my goal was to get a jam. As planned, after about 75 rounds downrange, I got that jam. The gun was locked up really well, and I kind of laughed as I deployed the arm of the LevAR.
“There is no way this thing will work.” I gave the handle a tug, and presto, the bolt came right back, and the cartridge extracted. I couldn’t believe it, so I had to see if it would do it again. As luck would have it, I couldn’t get the gun to jam again so I took a brass off the ground, smashed the end down, and forced the bolt forward by smacking the forward assist with a piece of wood. I am sure you are cringing by now, which was my exact reaction as well, but I had to try again. I deployed the handle on the LevAR and gave it a little tug. Boom, the cartridge popped right out again. I was speechless. The LevAR works perfectly and is super-fast and easy.
LevAR Features & Specs
Weighing in at 2.9 ounces, the LevAR weighs only 1.7 ounces more than a standard charging handle. The main body of the charging handle is aluminum, while all the other parts including the lever, button and cam are steel. The fact that these additional parts are steel adds to the strength of the lever and the camming mechanism. When you don’t need the LevAR, it works just like a regular charging handle. The only difference you will notice is the added bulk over a normal charging handle. The bulk is not a bad thing, it just throws you off the first few times you grab a hold of it. The Springfield Armory LevAR has an MSRP of $99. It won’t break the bank and will definitely save you time and a whole lot of effort at the range, in a gunfight or during a competition. For more information, visit springfield-armory.com.
This article originally appeared in the June-July 2022 issue of Ballistic Magazine. Get your copy today at OutdoorGroupStore.com.