In the AR niche, there seems to be a trend towards the deletion of the forward-assist mechanism. Is that a good thing? Does it really matter?
As many of you have read my articles will know, it really isn’t my job to decide, but I will give you some facts and opinions.
First, Some Facts
- Fact: of all the AR’s I own (and it is well into the double digits), only one does not have a forward assist.
- Fact: the only time I ever use it is if I do a chamber check, then need to push the bolt the rest of the way forward to ensure it is in battery.
- Fact: several friends who spent several tours in the sandbox said that it was a GREAT method of getting off one, maybe two more shots on a super fouled chamber, but then you were COMPLETELY locked up.
Now, Some Opinions
If you are using it as a range toy or a 5.56 precision platform, a forward assist is completely unnecessary.
There is never going to be a time when you need to immediately bring the gun into action despite adverse circumstances.
You do bring a basic cleaning kit to the range, right? You also don’t want to have to use pliers to remove a live round, right?
Are you using this AR as your SHTF gun? Is this your duty weapon and chamber checks are part of your daily routine?
If so, giant pile of yes, for the forward assist.
It is something that will be used and can quickly fix an out-of-battery situation caused by a chamber check.
Is using it to ram a round into battery in any other circumstance smart? No.
Conclusion: AR-15 Forward Assist
For me, possibly the most important aspect of this is, where do we find this choice?
I may be wrong, but I’ve only ever seen it on super price-conscious budget guns.
If the lower has to be adjusted in order to bring down the price, how much else has been skimped on?
For me, that just isn’t a place that I want to be, regardless of the utility or lack of, inherent in a forward assist.
What do you think of the forward assist? Let us know in the comments below!