My Magpul BAD Lever, the how and why.


My defensive AR-15 is on duty for home defense 24/7 and I have it set up to work as efficiently as possible.  It has a fully loaded Magpul PMAG inserted and the bolt is closed on an empty chamber.  A Trijicon MRO sits on top and an Elzetta light is mounted on the left side toward the muzzle just behind a Great Lakes Tactical Commander Muzzle break.  The rifle also has an ambidextrous safety and a Magpul BAD Lever.

The BAD Lever is the part of my rifle that gets the most cheers and jeers for sure.  The Battery Assist Device attaches to the bolt catch paddle on the left side of the rifle and extends down the receiver and then through the trigger guard to the right side of the rifle.  It’s a bit ugly and it has lots of people worried when they see it on my gun.


Why BAD Levers have a bad reputation.

The bad reputation of the Battery Assist Device comes from the fact that it passes through the trigger guard and the idea that it encourages your trigger finger to do more than one thing.  I can see why folks are a bit worried about both these aspects of the bad lever.

When it comes to extra stuff in the trigger guard I’m generally not a big fan.  Extra stuff can lead to extra problems and when we are talking about the direct vicinity of the trigger, extra problems can be extra bad.  So keeping the trigger guard clear is a good idea unless there is a really good reason to clutter things up.  We will talk more about that in a bit.

Your trigger finger has an important job to do and this is the second big reason people get worked up about the BAD Lever.  You finger either needs to be pressing the trigger or not pressing the trigger and both of those tasks are critically important when they need to be done.  Adding any additional work to an already overworked and under compensated finger can be a bad deal.

And so, the bad rep of this little lever and those like it persists with little consideration for the upside of the BAD Lever.

So let’s explore that side of the argument.

Why I want a BAD Lever on my AR.

The reason is simple.  I want a bad lever to help me deal with complex malfunctions where the bolt needs to be locked to the rear.  If you have spent any time with the AR15 you probably know tow things;  

First, the gun (as cool as it is) isn’t quite as reliable as many of the defensive handguns we depend on.  It isn’t the malfunction machine that some clam it to be, but it isn’t as reliable as a top notch defensive handgun.

Second, the manual of arms can be a bit difficult to deal with especially when you have to lock the bolt to the rear.  With the standard set of AR controls your firing hand must come off the grip to either operate the charging handle or to manipulate the bolt catch.  It isn’t efficient and I don’t like it.  The BAD Lever, and other devices like it allow you to keep your primary hand on the fire controls of the rifle and lock the bolt to the rear.  That right there is the whole reason I have a Battery Assist Device on my rifle.

How I Use my BAD Lever.

The way I use it is simple.  Any time I need to lock my bolt to the rear, I use my trigger finger to press the BAD Lever up while I draw the charging handle to the rear.  This lock the bolt to the rear while keeping my firing hand in position on the rifle.  Some folks use the BAD lever to send the bolt home on a reload.  I don’t.  I don’t find the standard methods of releasing the bolts to be a problem.  The tool is simply for helping me to easily and quickly lock the bolt to the rear.

The fact that I only use the tool to lock the bolt to there rear means I only use it when I am not firing the gun.  This simplifies the work that my trigger finger has to do and only employs it when it isn’t getting ready to shoot.

Final Thoughts:

I recently wrote an article about the American Defense Manufacturing UIC Ambidextrous AR lower.  It would eliminate the need for a BAD Lever.  I don’t have one (yet) and I certainly think it is a more elegant solution.  At the same time.  The two products achieve the same goal.  They both improve the manual of arms used to operate the AR15.  It isn’t often that more hardware simplifies things, but, in my opinion, the BAD Lever and the UIC are tools that can really make the operation of our defensive rifles more simple.

What are your thoughts on the BAD Lever?

  • Joseph

    Ironically enough and purely by coincidence I just recently installed one of these on my MCX 556.
    My first range trip thereafter was to shoot 23 different powder/bullet combinations to ascertain just what I should be reloading before I whip out 7500 rounds of something sub par.
    So I get to the range and having loaded up several different mags with 5 shots each,I begin shooting 5 shot groups for each load variant.
    For the first time ever after about 6-7 different load combinations my bolt won’t remain open on an empty mag and I’m having to rack the charging handle to get it to remain open for insertion of a chamber flag as per club safety rules.
    At first I thought perhaps it was the heavier rounds/powder combination and my gas block/piston reacting differently to my handloads.
    After 5-6 failures it suddenly dawned on me that perhaps it was this device.not to mention upon inserting a new mag into the firearm the bolt would close by itself.
    So having removed this BAD lever my problem will hopefully vanish as quickly as it appeared.
    I did happen to notice during installation of this thing that it was very close, if not touching my mag release button on the left side of the firearm.
    I have a feeling that the recoil impulse from that last round was just enough to interfere with the bolt held open on the empty mag function especially if it made contact with the left side mag release. Having to grind a bit of the bad lever is not on my to do list and should my next range trip prove my assumptions correct,this puppy will be either going back or be given unto another ar i have should it not exhibit the same interference from the mag release.