If you’ve taken advantage of the 2016 High Power rules change that permits mounting a scope on your AR-15 Service Rifle, it’s a good bet you immediately discovered the need for hanging yet another gizmo on the gun. Magpul’s got it.
Democratic controls OK, the B.A.D. Lever maybe not be a “need” so much as a “highly desirable accessory that will enhance the quality of the competition experience for right-handed AR shooters.” The generally accepted estimate is that one out of every six persons is left-handed. This being so, firearms controls are predominantly designed from the get-go to accommodate the right-handed majority. The M-16/AR-15 democratically distributes controls on the left (bolt hold-open/release), right (magazine release) and rear (charging handle), but ejection is to the right so that brass doesn’t fly across the face of the right-handed shooter, so we can consider the rifle as being right-handed.
The B.A.D. Lever kit comes complete with a wrench and nylon thread locker on the screw.
The annoyance to the right-handed competition majority is in the bolt release on the left side; when we’re slung-in in the prone position, we can’t operate it with the left hand unless we un-sandwich the hand from between the sling and forearm, or else raise the right elbow from the shooting mat to reach over the scope to operate the release. Either choice breaks our locked-in foundation, requiring we “re-set” after every shot in slow fire and between magazine changes in prone rapid, which can eat into our allotted time. This has also been an issue shooting the AR with the handle in place, but Service Rifle competitors have had to live with it until the scope rule change came accompanied with a rule allowing the attachment of a lever to operate the bolt release from the right side.
Left to right Magpul’s right-handed bolt release lever gizmo offering is the Battery Assist Device, to which Magpul marketers cleverly assigned the acronym “B.A.D. Lever” in accordance with contemporary lexicon that has redefined “bad” to mean “exceptionally good.” More pragmatic Magpul engineers made the B.A.D. Lever ridiculously easy to install; if you can turn a screw, you have the required mechanical aptitude to accessorize with the B.A.D. Lever. And the Magpul kit includes the Torx wrench to fit the screw, so you don’t even have to go to your tool box. Installation instructions are apparently written by technicians, rather than marketers or engineers, so they’re easy to understand, and experienced AR tinkerers will find the installation pretty much intuitive, anyway.
Magpul’s B.A.D. Lever attaches to the bolt release paddle, extending through the trigger guard, which allows for manipulation with your trigger finger.
In operation, the lever attaches to the bolt release paddle and extends downward from the left side and then to the right through the trigger guard in front of the trigger, allowing the trigger finger to trip the bolt release with downward pressure, and to hold the lever up to lock the bolt in the open position. With the B.A.D. Lever installed, the right elbow never has to leave the shooting mat and we can stay locked-into our position. The lever is far enough forward, and the 5.56mm/.223 Rem. cartridge recoil so light, that the lever does not interfere with the trigger finger when shooting. Still, there’s a small learning curve involved in staying conscious of not inadvertently tripping the lever during handling until that new aspect of the rifle becomes programmed into your autopilot.
Magpul machines the B.A.D. Lever from billet aluminum and hard anodizes it; a manganese phosphate Parkerizing protects the mounting screw. The screw has a spot of nylon thread locker already dabbed onto it to keep it in place, so you don’t have to torque it down gorilla tight, which can strip the lever’s aluminum threads and ruin your day. The lever will not fit the AR-10 or most polymer and other “non-milspec” receivers.
There’s been a lot of changes in High Power since the days we sniffed disdainfully at the M-16 as a “mouse gun” that obviously could never be competitive with the M-14 at 600 yards. Will we one day see High Power rules permit an AR-15 magazine release for the left-handed shooter? Because the wise man eventually learns to never say, “never,” instead, let’s just say there could be a one-in-six chance of that happening.