The 4 Best AR-15 Carry Handles

The 4 Best AR-15 Carry Handles

If you own an AR-15, there are many reasons for getting an attachable carry handle. These accessories can come in handy for many gunowners, and most are designed to not interfere with the original sights on your rifle. We’ve put together this review of the best AR-15 carry handles on the market, and we’ll let you know which we think is the best buy.
Here’s the thing about the market for carry handles: we are actually quite limited on what is available, compared to most other accessories. We normally have hundreds of options to choose from, but not many brands make AR-15 handles. In addition they are banned on Amazon, which limits the market significantly. This has its negative and positive aspects. On one hand, this means it will be difficult for you to get a good deal on price because there is little competition among brands. On the other hand, the carry handles listed are all fairly similar to each other, and you (for once) can actually base your purchase on the lowest price and your favorite brand, instead of more pressing matters. You can even choose a carry handle based on little details that aren’t normally on the top of the priority list, such has color and appearance.
Feel free to get a little picky about which AR-15 carry handle you want to purchase, and happy shopping!

TAC Vector Optics AR-15 Carry Handle

TAC Vector Optics AR-15 Carry Handle

Materials – The first AR-15 Carry handle on this list is made of an entirely steel construction that has been finished in black. This carry handle is about seven inches long, and it weighs just barely over half of a pound. It is rugged and durable, but light enough that you’re not adding too much weight to your AR-15 setup. It easily attaches to a Picatinny rail, and it has space on the top for an additional Picatinny rail attachment. The built in rear iron sight is adjustable for windage and elevation, and the carry handle has been proven to be shock proof – a necessary feature for an accessory such as this one.

Performance – The TAC Vector handle, at first glance, looks like any other carry handle you’d see online. What makes us raise an eyebrow is the price tag, but we’ll get to that later. This carry handle is one of the only options that isn’t made with aluminum and is instead made with steel. Although it is finished, we don’t believe it has been finished with a highly protective coating. It’s possible you may get some scratches along the way with this option. However, all of the features this AR-15 carry handle provides are fairly standard, and it attaches and functions very well.

What we say – Vector optics offers this option for a reasonable price, that is nowhere near the price of all other carry handles. It’s definitely the low-budget option on this list and definitely worth a try.

  • Lowest cost
  • Constructed of steel
  • Shock proof and lightweight
  • Questionable price
  • May scratch easily

DPMS AR-15 Carry Handle

DPMS AR-15 Carry Handle

Materials – Our second option for you is made of a combination of a high grade aluminum handle, in a hard, anodized finish, with steel sight parts in a parkerized finish. This handle is also coated in Teflon. It is only seven inches in length and about nine ounces in weight. The rear sight is Mil-Spec, A-2 style, and suits very well as either the primary or a backup sight. Installation is fast and easy with a full length, clamping bar and two thumb nuts that are easy to grasp. This carry handle is also the perfect height to utilize the original front sight. It fits all flat top rifles and carbines with a Picatinny base.

Performance – Ah! Now this is what we are talking about! The DPMS AR-15 carry handle is constructed with high quality materials by high quality talent. This handle is just barely heavier than some other options, but a top heavy rifle is a really important consideration for this type of accessory. However, you can expect this product to last a long time and to continually stand up against rough weather and a lot of recoil. As far as appearance goes, there’s a bit of a two-toned look going on with this option, and we would prefer a sleeker and more low profile carry handle. When you only have little details to compare, color might become an important consideration.

What we say – Quite a bit more expensive than our first option, we still talk about an average price for carry handles. This is why the previous option made us a little weary. It is a fantastic AR-15 carry handle for the price, if you can spare the cash.

  • Full finished aluminum and steel parts
  • Can utilize original sights
  • Mil-Spec rear sight
  • Multi-toned appearance
  • Slightly heavier than others

Colt AR-15 Carrying Handle Assembly

Colt AR-15 Carrying Handle Assembly

Materials – The Colt option 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 the same component used on military rifles, so you know you’re getting a solid design and quality. The Mil-Spec rear sight can be adjusted for elevation, and the standard A-2 adjustments allow for additional changes in elevation and windage. The rear sight has two apertures: one small and one large. Similar to the previous option, this AR-15 carrying handle attaches easily by way of a full length and two thumb nuts.

Performance – We mentioned appearance before, and we’re much happier with the look of the handle made by Colt. It is entirely black and has a much sleeker look than the DPMS option. The design and tough construction of this carry handle is incredibly durable, so you can expect it to be completely shock proof. We really like the rear sight, and we would happily use it as a backup sight, along with the original sight on our rifle. This one does have a higher price, and even a few dollars can be a game changer in this review.

What we say – It’s a little more expensive than the DPMS one, but it may also have a more appealing look that many gunowners might prefer. As stated before, it comes down personal preferences.

  • Full finished handle
  • Two aperture rear sight
  • Sleek, black appearance
  • More expensive option

High Standard AR-15 Detachable Carry Handle

High Standard AR-15 Detachable Carry Handle

Materials – This aftermarket carry handle is, much like the other options, constructed of an aluminum handle, that has been 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 to squeeze out those last bits you might struggle with, using just your bare hands. There is an iron sight that makes a great backup sight, and the carry handle gives enough height to utilize the factory sights. The top of the carry handle has a platform for attaching optics, such as ACOGS, or Picatinny rails, for other scopes.

Performance – Between the Colt carry handle and this one, we barely found any differences. This carry handle is made of the same materials, has an almost identical appearance, and is similar in cost. The main difference in this option are the thumb nuts for attaching to a rail. These thumb nuts offer a little more room for tightening, which is great for a rifle that never tires of recoil.

What we say – As mentioned before the last option comes in the exact same price range as the Colt carrying handle. It’s the most expensive option, but only by a few dollars.

  • Very durable construction
  • Thumb nuts have extra grooves for tightening
  • Most expensive option

Our Favorite AR-15 Carry Handle

If you couldn’t tell by the way we were describing it, our top pick for the best AR-15 carry handle is the one by Colt. Three of the four options in this review were all in a similar price range, so we don’t feel guilty about picking the “most expensive option” for this round. It still is a very reasonable price for a carry handle, and you’d be buying a high quality product. The standard is even in the name! Recoil will never be a challenge for this carry handle, and you can expect a long life from it without scratches or scrapes. The sleek, black look will complete the appearance of your AR-15, all in all, you can’t really go wrong here.

  1. 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

    1. Hi Rick, thanks a lot for your advice! Much appreciated! We are sure many people will find this helpful.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 ..

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