The AR-15’s forward assist has long been a topic of debate among shooters. Some shooters seem to think it is absolutely necessary. Some think it’s unnecessary or even dangerous.
On one hand, I get the arguments for the user of the forward assist for administrative functions like cleaning up after a “press check” or for the sake of reliability since it gives the ability to chamber a round that otherwise did not chamber on its own. On the other hand, the other side says you probably shouldn’t chamber a round that wouldn’t chamber on its own and there is already an assist built into the AR-15’s bolt carrier (the chamfered cut that allows the shooter to push the bolt forward with their thumb).
I understand both sides and occupy the middle ground, generally considering a forward assist to be nice to have but not necessary. Honestly, I don’t really think about it much unless I am rifle shopping/building.
Recently, I came across a post on AR15.com that adds a new wrinkle to the old argument. It highlights a few cases (some documented, some anecdotal) of forward assists breaking (or at least the forward assist roll pin). As you might imagine, having the forward assist pawl running around inside your AR-15 action is not good for your rifle with issues ranging from stoppages to cracked upper receivers! Read the thread here: AR15.com
Where do you stand on the AR-15’s forward assist?