Do You Lube the Charging Handle?

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

There’s a right and wrong way of taking care of a firearm, and new gun owners often struggle to figure this out. The bottom line is that even the best charging handles need maintenance. One of the questions many ask is, “do you lube the charging handle?”

Do You Lube the Charging Handle?

Lubing the inside and outside of a charging handle is essential for keeping the weapon working correctly. All the friction points should be lubricated.

The simplest way to go about it is to pull the charging handle back enough to expose the locking lugs and put a few drops of oil on it. Then, you can rub it in with your fingers.

Adult loading an AR 15 with a well lubed charging handle

Some gun owners prefer using a lot of lubricant on weapons. The only downside to this is that the weapon can get gunkier after use. But if you don’t mind putting a bit of extra effort into cleaning your firearm, you can run your weapons wet.

If you’re using your weapon in hot and dry conditions, such as in the desert, it’s best to run your weapons wet.

Is It Possible to Over Lubricate an AR-15?

Yes. If you have too much lubricant on your weapon, it will spray a mist of the lubricant every time you pull the trigger. Soaking a firearm with that much lube is not a good idea since it only makes cleaning up messier. If you like running your weapons wet, use only a little extra oil or lube.

How Do You Lubricate the Bolt?

Lubricating the bolt correctly is critical to ensure the longevity of a firearm.

Here’s how you should approach it:

  • Oil the Locking Legs -A firearm may have between two and four lugs. First, you must wipe them clean with a rag or paper towel. Next, dab some oil or grease on a screwdriver and spread it on the lugs. A coat thin enough to cover the metal should suffice.
  • Move On to the Cocking Piece -The cocking ramp is present on the back of the bolt, and the firing pin rides on it whenever the bolt is opened. Wipe off the old lubricant and gunk with a rag or paper towel. You can then apply lubricant to it using a screwdriver. Depending on the weapon you own, you will need to remove the shroud to lubricate the cocking piece.
  • Lubricate the Extraction Cam -You will find the extraction cam at the root of the bolt handle. It is responsible for creating a rearward movement of the bolt when it is rotated open. To prevent your charging handle to get stuck or get damaged from friction, you must lubricate this part properly. Depending on the weapon you own, the camming surface may be on the bolt handle or the receiver. These are the parts you must lubricate.


Cleaning and lubricating the charging handle is necessary if you want your firearm to serve you for years. The easiest way of going about it is finding the areas that deal with friction and lubricating them.

James Forrester is a lifelong gun and firearms owner, and an even bigger advocate for gun safety. He created with the purpose of sharing helpful tips and educating others on how to keep guns and weapons safe and secure.