Most of my AR-15 rifles use standard hardware. But I like my 14.5 rifle to look cool. So I’ve experimented with some upper and lower parts to get a more aggressive aesthetic. In my experiments, I tried out the Strike Industries Lightweight Forward Assist.
...It didn’t work out for me. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t work out for you. It’s actually a very cool forward assist. I’ll get into the issue I had in more detail shortly.
But, first, let’s talk about why this is a good forward assist.
Strike Industries Lightweight Forward Assist Review: How Much Weight Does it Really Save?
Spoiler alert: I didn’t weigh this forward assist and compare it to a standard forward assist. So I’m not sure exactly how much lighter this forward assist will make your rifle.
However, I’m relatively certain that you probably won’t notice the difference between this forward assist and a stock forward assist when it’s on your rifle.
That said, I checked out other aspects of this forward assist, as well.
The most noticeable thing about this forward assist is the visual design. This is obviously not a standard forward assist.
It’s up to you to decide whether or not this forward assist looks cool. But it does add a more aggressive aesthetic to your upper receiver.
The other thing I looked at was the finish (because I’m a grump about finishes).
This is an aluminum forward assist—that’s how they get it to be lighter than a standard forward assist—so the finish is a hardcoat anodized finish.
And the anodized finish is very nice. It’s smooth and even.
The surface isn’t quite as glossy as the anodized finish that you get on high end receivers. But it’s also not chalky like the finish you get on budget receivers. The finish is a semi-matte that pairs well with any upper receiver.
Also, the design matches up pretty well with most enhanced upper receivers like the Aero Precision M4E1 or V Seven upper receiver. But it’s not too aggressive to use on a standard AR-15 upper receiver.
Ultimately, this forward assist gives your rifle a more aggressive look. And it works on any upper receiver, regardless of the finish or design.
In ordinary operation, this is a standard forward assist.
Only the end cap is enhanced. The piece that interfaces with your bolt carrier is the same as a standard forward assist. It’s even machined from the same tool steel that you’d find in a mil-spec forward assist.
So, if you’re right handed, using this forward assist is basically the same as a mil-spec forward assist. The only difference is that you’ll feel the serrations a bit more (if you actually need to use the forward assist), because they’re pretty aggressive.
However, I’m left-handed. And that’s why this forward assist didn’t quite work out for me.
See, the head is slightly flared. And it’s flared just enough that I would occasionally catch my knuckle on it when I ran my charging handle. The problem was severe enough that it scraped my knuckle. It even gave me a blood blister a couple of times.
If you’re not left-handed, this won’t be an issue. And maybe there’s a way for left-handers to run your charging handle without getting your knuckle bitten. But I never found a technique that avoided that. That’s why I ended up using a different Strike Industries forward assist.
I guess the good news is that 90 percent of people are right-handed. So this Strike Industries forward assist will work just fine for 9 out of 10 people. Sorry, lefties.
If we’re being honest, you’ll rarely use your forward assist for assisting. It’s really just there for aesthetics anyway. So you might as well get a forward assist that looks cool. And the Strike Industries Lightweight Forward Assist looks cool.
Sadly, if you’re left handed, this forward assist likely isn’t for you. But there are other options, if you want a cool looking forward assist.
But, for all the rest of you, get a forward assist that looks cool, because the forward assist pretty much just sits there anyway. It might as well look cool while it’s doing that.