If you prefer an AR-15 for home defense but aren’t too keen on the idea of keeping a round chambered, Hornady offers the Rapid Rack, an easy-to-use charge assist handle that not only allows you to quickly chamber that first round but also provides a visual empty chamber indicator until you do.
So here’s the scenario: Your AR-15 sits in a safe or another secure location in your home, full magazine inserted but with Rapid Rack in place. Just by seeing it like this you know a few things instantly: 1) the AR-15 does not have a round chambered, 2) there’s a full magazine ready to feed rounds into the chamber, and 3) if you have to act quickly to chamber that first round, you have a large, red handle to grasp to make it happen.
When you do grasp the Rapid Rack and yank it back, it pulls the bolt back and then pops out of the way, allowing the bolt to spring forward as it picks up a fresh round. And with all the leverage afforded by Rapid Rack’s extra length, it’s easier to pull pack than when using the normal charging handle, too.
Installing Rapid Rack requires you to ensure your AR-15 is unloaded, safety on, and chamber clear. Lock the bolt back and insert Rapid Rack into the empty chamber. Slowly let the bolt close on Rapid Rack, ensuring the extractor engages the rim at the rear of the device. Then, put in a loaded magazine and you’re done. Rapid Rack’s bright red handle tells the story. Instantly.
Rapid Rack retails for $12.48.
— Mark Kakkuri