One of the main purposes for adding a carry handle to your AR-15 is to elevate the rear sight. A carry handle is not just for carrying. They come in handy for many AR-15 owners, and most are designed to not interfere with the original sights on your rifle.
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the four best AR-15 Carry Handles available today. Let’s begin.
Best Budget Buy
|GGD AR-15 Carry Handle with A2 Rear Sight||
||$67 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|Colt AR-15 Carrying Handle Assembly||
||$172 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|GGD AR-15 Carry Handle w/ Rail Mount||
||$82 Shop NowClick to read my review|
|AERO PRECISION - AR-15 A2 DETACHABLE CARRY HANDLE||
||$79 Shop NowClick to read my review|
Here’s the thing about the market for carry handles: we are quite limited on what is available, compared to most other accessories. Normally, we have hundreds of choices, but there aren’t many brands that make AR-15 handles.
There are both negative and positive sides to this. On the one hand, this means that getting a good price will be difficult because there is little competition among brands. On the other hand, the carry handles mentioned are all pretty similar, so you can (for once) choose based on the lowest price and your favorite brand. You can also select a carry handle based on minor details such as color and appearance that aren’t usually considered essential.
Feel free to jump to the conclusion to get our top pick.
Buyer’s Guide to the Best AR-15 Carry Handles
Here are a few things to consider when purchasing a carry handle for your AR-15.
Carry Handle Type
First, you’ll need to decide which style of handle you prefer. There are two main types of carry handles: fixed and detachable. Fixed carry handles are attached to the receiver and cannot be removed, while detachable carry handles can be removed and replaced as needed.
You’ll also need to decide on the material of the carry handle. Carry handles are typically made from aluminum or steel, so it’s essential to choose a durable material that can withstand wear and tear.
Carry handles come in various sizes, so choose one that will be comfortable for you to carry.
Heavier handles will be more difficult to carry, so it’s important to choose one that’s lightweight yet durable.
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GGD AR-15 Carry Handle with A2 Rear Sight
Our first pick is made up of 6061 aircraft grade aluminum and steel with an anodized finish, making it both sturdy and functional. The length of its handle is five inches and the base length is seven inches. It weighs nine ounces.
Also, it comes decked out with an integrated A2 aperture rear flip-up sight. The rear sight is easily adjustable and can be used as a main or backup sight. With a full-length clamping bar and two thumb nuts, installation is quick and simple.
It is compatible with all flat-top rifles and carbines equipped with a Picatinny base. It also comes in three colors: Black, Flat Dark Earth, and Olive Drab Green.
This handle is barely heavier than some other options, but a top-heavy rifle is a critical consideration for this type of accessory. You can use all standard optics and it can withstand harsh weather and a lot of recoils.
It is a fantastic AR-15 carry handle for the price and it comes with lifetime warranty.
- Fully finished aircraft grade aluminum and steel
- Can utilize original sights
- Easy to attach
- Available in Black, Flat Dark Earth, Olive Drab Green
- Lifetime warranty
- Slightly heavier than others
Colt AR-15 Carrying Handle Assembly
This Colt carrying handle is made from forged aluminum in a hard, anodized finish in matte black. The hardware is made of steel, which has been parkerized. The carry handle itself is a traditional design, allowing for Picatinny rails and optics to be attached to the top. This carry handle is made from the same material as military rifles, so you know you’re getting a high-quality product.
The elevation of the Mil-Spec rear sight can be modified, and the regular A-2 adjustments allow for additional elevation and windage adjustments. There are also two apertures in the rear sight: one small and one wide. Similar to the previous option, this AR-15 carrying handle attaches easily through a full length and two thumb nuts.
The Colt’s handle also features a sleek look. It’s completely black and has a much more refined appearance than the DPMS alternative. The design and rugged construction of this carry handle is incredibly durable, so you can expect it to be completely shock proof.
We also like the rear sight and will happily use it as a backup sight alongside our rifle’s original sight. It’s a little more expensive than the Aero one, but it may also have a more appealing look that many gun owners might prefer. It comes down to personal preferences.
- Full-finished handle
- Two aperture rear sight
- Sleek, black appearance
- A more expensive option
GGD AR-15 Carry Handle w/ Rail Mount
The third AR-15 Carry handle on this list is constructed with sturdy aircraft-grade aluminum and is finished in black. The material has an extra strong shock absorption ability. It measures about seven inches in length and two inches in width and weighs around half a pound.
This carry handle measures about 5.3 inches at its base and 6.89 inches in length. It weighs just over half a pound. It’s tough and long-lasting, and it’s light enough that it won’t add too much weight to your AR-15 setup. It easily attaches to any flat-top rail-equipped rifle. The built-in rear iron sight is windage and elevation adjustable, and the rear sight has a large and Small rear aperture. This is also shock-resistant — a must-have feature for an attachment like this.
It also comes with a standard rail mount, which fits onto the carry handle without affecting the usage of the rear sight. This rail mount is 5.2 inches and is compatible with all Picatinny and Weaver optics, like scopes, flashlights, and red dot sights.
At first glance, this handle appears identical to any other carry handle you might find online, except with the bonus of a free rail mount included. It has a quick-release nut and is very easy to mount and dismount. Although it is finished, we don’t believe it has been finished with a highly protective coating. With this option, you’ll likely get some minor scratches along the way. All of the features on this AR-15 carry handle, on the other hand, are fairly standard, and it attaches and works flawlessly.
The price might make you lift an eyebrow. But for its price, we happily live with a scratch or two, especially as it comes with a free rail mount.
- Sturdy construction and quick release feature
- Comes with a free rail mount
- Available in different colors
- May get scratched
Aero Precision AR-15 A2 Detachable E-Carry Handle
This aftermarket carry handle is constructed of an aluminum handle anodized in a matte, black finish and parkerized steel sight parts. There is a full-length bar for attaching to your AR-15, as well as two thumb nuts. The nuts have additional grooves for hand tightening, and they accept nickels and quarters, so you can get it nice and tight without needing a tool.
The carry handle provides enough height to use the factory sights, and there is an iron sight that makes a perfect backup sight. A platform on the top of the carry handle may be used to mount optics such as ACOGS or Picatinny rails for other scopes.
We couldn’t really tell the difference between the Colt carry handle and this one. This carry handle is made of forged 7075 T6 aluminum. It has a nearly identical look to most of the others. The thumb nuts for connecting to a rail are the main difference in this option. These thumb nuts offer a little more room for tightening, which is great for a rifle that never tires of recoil.
This is a fine carry handle, just nothing special and a bit more expensive than the other options.
- Durable construction
- Thumb nuts have extra grooves for tightening
- Full length bar
Our Favorite AR-15 Carry Handle
|GGD Detachable Carry Handle w/ Rail Mount and Rear Sight||
||$82 Shop NowClick to read my review|
The Colt carry handle is a great choice for the best AR-15 carry handle. However, I would personally go for the GGD AR-15 Carry Handle w/ Rail Mount as you get the most bang for your buck with a great handle and a rail. This carry handle will never be affected by recoil, and you should expect it to last a reasonable time without cuts or scrapes. The sleek, black look will complete the appearance of your AR-15, all in all, you can’t really go wrong here.
Guys, or gals, good comparison except for one thing: there is no reason for the piece of metal that ties the two mounting points together and covers the rail under the handle except to make the removable basically useless AS a carry handle. I’m old and old school and started out with M16 and have carried iterations of the weapon for thousands of miles. I’m just 5’8″-5’9″ and have fairly small hands and when all these flat top ARs started showing up I bought the removable handles and could barely get my hand thru there. Forget gloves and hell, I sleep in gloves….kidden, but wear em whatever mission specs are. I thot they must come in sizes like low mount and high mount. As you know that’s a nope. So I finally figured out the problem and why younger guys don’t like em. So I hacksawed that piece of metal out. If had way to remove that piece of rail it would be bout full size opening as my first Colt which I still have. Course need to file the cut parts and maybe spray em to match. I called every manufacturer of carry handles and told them idea/solution. They all thanked me, kinda and did nothing except a place called Lion Gears that I found later by accident. You will not find the handles with any known search words unless you know about Lion Gears BMCH18 Lightweight AR15 carry handle. Only a few places carry them. Cheaper than Dirt has best price at $24 and company also makes an open end handle that works good in some applications. I tried to get Lion Gears to add some key words to search engine but didn’t seem interested. They sell lots more quality items. So give one a try and at least spread the word….either about them or to get out the saw or Dremel. Military sez its NOT a carry handle but luckily I have spent nearly 40yrs working with em , not for them. And where the hell else you gonna grasp ur tactiCOOL AR to carry it for days on end or just from house go truck or police vehicle with 10lbs of gadgets attached. Hope this makes it to yall and that you give it a try and put the carry back in the handle. ANY brand handle after 10 minute modification. Thanks. Keep up the good work and powder dry. We in for rough times. rick
Hi Rick, thanks a lot for your advice! Much appreciated! We are sure many people will find this helpful.
I believe you may have just saved me a lot of aggravation. Thank you. 🙂
I own Colt AR15A4 and have a Vortex 6x18x44 scope on it now.It shoots well but this rifle just looks so much better with the open sight handle on it.This spring I’m going back to the factory open sight .My Armalite AR10 came with no sights and I’m running a Romeo 5 dot and MaTech irons for back up.Im also interested In how good I can get with the iron sights on the AR15A4.
i really wish i could get a carry handle with factory fit matched drop in pic rail to hold a quick scope mount on top of the handle that’s parallel without any filing needed ..and an aluminum possibly billet machined carry handle with allen head screws flush set in the handle with holes to use a nail or anything to detach the handle or some other minimalist attachment method not 2 big huge annoying “”cabinet knobs” that snag on stuff ..
When building my AR pistol years ago I was going iron sights only – it’s a 100m truck gun so a $250 red dot wasn’t practical – they ALL break. BUIS and the like were just becoming common yet were expensive – just as the pricing above shows. I used a clamp on FSB with B5 handguards and then bought an A3 carry handle, and promptly cut the excess off making it a simple clamp on rear sight – milspec. $35 surplus. This was a common solution 6-7 years ago and still works.