Rob Pincus

Reloading an AR-15

Rob Pincus
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Understanding how to reload the AR-15-type rifle, carbine, or braced pistol is very important if you stage one for home defense. The way you reload should be congruent with the context of use, without visual reference, making sure the magazine is seated and running the charging handle. Rob Pincus demonstrates the proper reload procedure step by step.

The Reload

While shooting the AR, you will recognize by kinesthetic feel when the bolt locks open and the weapon is empty. As the empty magazine drops to the ground, bring your weak hand back to your spare magazine. Pull the spare magazine out of its mag pouch, index the front of the magazine, find the edge of the magazine well, push the magazine in, and make sure it’s seated. Come back up (still with the weak hand) and run the charging handle to get the AR back into battery.

Then you can continue shooting or put the safety on and leave the AR in the ready position.

Eyes Up

Note which steps Rob performs without looking at what he is doing. Through your rifle training and practice, you should perform this procedure enough times that you can do it by feel and keep your eyes on the threat. Doing it by feel means you will also be able to perform the reload in low or no light.

Keep the AR Down Low and Close

Rob lowers the AR and brings it in close to his body while doing the reload because a real-life situation will probably not have the wide open space of a shooting range. He may be moving, around a car, back behind cover, in a narrow hallway, or any other confined space in a house. He can move much more efficiently with the gun down low and close in to the body.

He may turn the AR in slightly to find the magwell.

If you have questions about shouldering an AR pistol with brace, check out our video on this topic.


Rob demonstrates the reload again, with close-up camerawork.

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7 Responses to “Reloading an AR-15”

  1. William Bell

    I know that holding the grip with the right hand is what the majority of shooters do but I am left eye dominant and use my left hand on the grip. Take a few minutes and show how it works from the other side.

  2. Frank Stabler

    Commented twice here asking the same question about using the charging handle instead of the release. So far they haven't even published my comment.

  3. Frank Stabler

    I'm really interested to hear Rob's explanation of why he used the charging handle rather than the bolt release.

  4. Kevin

    Hi, I'm not that familiar with an AR(I just purchased 1) but if you are empty shouldn't the bolt lock back and you would use the bolt release to load first round?

  5. Frank Stabler

    I was also wondering why not use the bolt catch. I'm very interested in his reasoning.

  6. zan

    Hi, normally if the last firing, and for reloading, we don't need to pull the charging handle again, only push the bolt catch. Except the weapons no mechanism of Holding Opening Device (HOD). Thanks.

  7. Jesse

    Curious why he opted for using the charging handle after bolt lock rather than the thumb for bolt release. Other than initial loading or malfunctions what would be the benefit over the other? Seems faster and more fluid to run the bolt release, for myself anyways

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