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BAD Levers: A BAD idea?

What is a BAD lever?

A BAD lever, (Battery Assist Device) also know as an Extended Bolt Release, is a popular AR-15 add-on made by companies like Magpul and Phase 5. Their purpose, is to release the bolt on your rifle more quickly, by moving the point of control for this feature to the strong side where it is actuated by the trigger finger.

These are common accessories for gun builders and competitive shooters. The first time I saw one of these, my initial thought was “I don’t think I’d like having anything else near the trigger”.

After watching a Facebook upload from 3 gun competitor Josh Tarrant, I’ve come to the conclusion that builders should exercise caution before including one of these accessories. Josh explains that he has trained extensively with that particular device, and yet he was disqualified from a match when his finger slipped off the BAD and onto the trigger, causing an unintended discharge.


Hazards and Malfunctions

It’s reasonable to assume that Eugene Stoner put the bolt release far away from the trigger so that chambering a round in an AR would require a deliberate motion taking place far from the bang switch.

If you train with your rifle outside during colder weather, this hardware presents additional hazards when operated with gloves. You may have trouble manipulating the lever while wearing gloves, or worse yet, cause an accidental discharge. While perusing several gun forums, it seems that a failure of the bolt to lock back on the last round is a common glitch with this accessory, which means you have lost all the speed you’ve gained, and then some.


This wasn’t designed to be an exhaustive discussion. It seems that many new shooters see this accessory and think “well why wouldn’t I want that?”. There are plenty of experienced shooters that run these accessories without trouble, but I think being aware of the potential pitfalls of this add-on is important. If you plan to use one on your gun, the Phase 5 EBR seems to be the most well-liked and dependable version. Just be mindful of the potential issues that can arise, and proceed carefully.


What do you think? Would you run one of these accessories? Drop us a comment below.


Written by Evan Hartman

Evan lives in the Midwest with his wife, son, and Siberian Husky. He is passionate about assisting others in exercising their Second Amendment rights. He has been active in shooting and collecting firearms for nearly a decade. When not working, shooting, or building, you might find him playing guitar or sipping bourbon.

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