The design objective for the AFC is a stronger, more durable ambidextrous charging handle that can withstand repeated mortaring and a better means of deflecting gas and debris from the shooter’s face and eyes when shooting with a sound suppressor.
ACF (Ambidextrous Charging handle, Forward Controls) was in development since mid-2018, with its features mostly fleshed out in 2018. As in the case of many of FCD’s designs that spend a long time in development, this time was well spent, FCD doesn’t believe in using customers to beta test products.
The ACF’s design is based on the TDP charging handle because like many other original designs, the charging handle is underappreciated for its simplicity and brilliance. ACF improves on the TDP design but retains its best features.
- The width of the T handle is barely wider than its TDP counterpart. The sole reason ACF’s T handle is wider is to provide protection to the latches.
- FCD retained the gentle rearward sweeping slope of the T handle and avoided a forward cant. A forward cant is more snag prone, FCD also wanted the users to be able to let go of the latch without having to make an exaggerated motion to get his hand out of the way of the latch. In this, FCD again followed the original design.
- ACF is significantly taller/thicker than the TDP design. Both the front strap and the curved back-strap of the ACF are aggressively serrated. The back strap’s slight curve follows the curve of the user’s thumb. The tall profile of ACF’s T handle is designed to provide more surface area without making the T handle wider, which FCD deliberately avoided. Wide T handles are levers with mechanical advantages not needed, they also promote pulling the charging handle back at an angle. Small T handles encourage the user to pull the charging handle straight back, along the bore. Another benefit is the user’s fingers are closer to the charging handle’s main body. When the user pulls the ACF back, one’s finger clears the forward assist’s rim.
- A “constant motion” latch on either side of the T handle. The name derives from that the latches don’t come to a hard stop prematurely, but will instead continue to move into the ACF’s T handle when mortared. When a user needs to mortar the weapon, no stress is placed on the latches. Though the solid pins FCD uses are immensely strong, the latches and the ACF body are both aluminum. A design that allows the latch to hit a hard stop, or bottom out, invariably stresses the material around the pin holes. Imagine trying to slam a revolving door, it keeps rolling.
- ACF uses solid pins, and the pin holes are semi-blind holes (larger on top, smaller on the bottom) that will not allow the pins to fall through.
- A taller and better gas deflection fence. ACF’s fence is taller than the upper receiver and is horseshoe-shaped to conform to the area of the upper where it meets the charging handle.
- ACF’s T handle is immovable and fixed in place like the TDP design. Like the TDP design, the fixed T handle is strong and has no moving parts.
- Material: Machined from 7075 aluminum.
- Finish: Type III hard coat anodized.
- Made in the USA.