Carry handles are an old-school accessory you can get for your M4 to make it look like a classic Vietnam-War-era weapon.
Besides the aesthetics, the main function of a carry handle is to serve as a robust rear sight. There are a few options out there with different features, so follow our guide to the best M4 carry handles.
We have also given you some tips and suggestions on what to look for if you are looking for a carry handle for your M4.
Comparison Chart of the Best M4 Carry Handles
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How to Choose an M4 Carry Handle
As with all firearms components, I think you will agree that the top priority is reliability. The rule of thumb for finding a reliable product is to go with a reputable manufacturer and a proven model.
One common question in the carry handle field is whether you should buy one from Colt. The short answer is no, you shouldn't. You would be paying two to four times too much for a logo and mediocre quality.
One of the many distinctions in carrying handles is mil-spec versus commercial. The key difference between the two is that the rear sight on a mil-spec carry handle is 0.835 inches from the top of the base to the bottom of the rear sight and a commercial carry handle is 0.795 inches.
You will need to match your front sight height accordingly. Otherwise, the rear sight in any carry handle should have two apertures and standard adjustment dials.
Benefits of Investing in a Great Carry Handle
Carry handles started out as something akin to a trigger guard for the AR-10's charging handle. This function has long been obsolete, although detachable carry handles are still a requirement for mil-spec M4s. Few people backflip in joy at the functionality of carrying their firearm around like a briefcase.
This provides poor muzzle control and makes you look silly, people just don't do it. Attachment systems also exist to mount accessories such as sights atop your carry handle, but this is redundant and out of fashion since this is what your top rail is for. Nevertheless, carry handles do have one benefit.
The is no more solid and stably-mounted style of rear aperture sight. If you want the most reliable form of sighting system possible, a carry handle is the way to go.
Review of the Best M4 Carry Handles
There aren't as many options out there as for most other M4 components, but picking the best M4 carry handle can still be tricky. Here is our list of the best options out there.
DPMS Carry Handle
DPMS started out in 1985 as a government contractor providing rifle parts to the U.S. military. Today they have expanded into the second largest manufacturer of AR-15-style rifles in the U.S.A. This Minnesota company employs many veterans and supports some of the best competition shooters.
This is a mil-spec carry handle, meaning the rear sight height is 0.835 inches and needs to be paired with an F-marked front sight. Although the carry handle is made of aluminum, the A2-style rear sight has all steel parts. The rear sight assembly is finished in gray, in contrast with the black carry handle.
The carry handle finish seems to have a bit of everything. It is hard coat anodized, Teflon-coated, and Parkerized. It is seven inches long and weighs nine ounces. One nice touch with this carry handle is the full-length clamping bar.
Two large, ergonomic thumb nuts give you easy attachment and removal with a reliable zero. This carry handle fits all rifles with a Picatinny rail. This is an excellent quality option which is very hard to beat in the small market for M4 carry handles.
This is a very hard carry handle to beat. The manufacturer has been around a long time and is as reliable as any. The top features of this carry handle are the full-length clamping bar and the high-quality rear sight.
2. Palmetto State Armory Carry Handle
Palmetto State Armory is a great choice for any modern sporting rifle component. As one of the nation's top firearm retailers, they have a wealth of sales data on what people want and what works most reliably. They use this data to produce many of their own components, particularly in the black rifle field.
Going with Palmetto State Armory, you get the satisfaction of buying components made in the U.S.A. from a domestic company. User satisfaction with PSA components is very high, despite their relative affordability. This is a mil-spec carry handle, so be sure to match it with a corresponding front sight, one that is taller and F-marked.
This carry handle is machined from forged 7075-T6 aluminum, standard for modern sporting rifles. PSA has thrown in all the little details you would expect, including staked thumb screws, an A2 aperture, and 6/3 windage drums. Nevertheless, there is no brand name or logo on the carry handle, just a square forge mark. Of course, this unit also works with M16A4, M4A1, and AR-15 rifles.
Palmetto State Armory is always a solid choice in modern sporting rifle components. The top features of this carry handle are the standard, mil-spec features, like the A4 aperture. Besides, the price is very reasonable. The ability to use it on pretty much any flat-topped black rifle makes this a versatile choice.
Best Colt M4 Carry Handle:
A2 Detachable Carry Handle
Aero Precision is a company out of Tacoma, Washington that focuses on aluminum components for the military aircraft industry. They have branched out into firearms components out of the passion of many of their personnel. You may be wondering how the best Colt carry handle isn't made by Colt. Well, trust us, you're getting a lot more for your money with this option.
Aero Precision has a great reputation that can be seen in their uncompromising anodizing and the tight fit of many of their components. This carry handle is made of high-end, mil-spec 7075-T6 aluminum alloy. This is tougher and better than the common 6061 alloys that are often used.
As with Aero Precision's other products, this carry handle has outstanding mil-spec hard coat anodization. The A2 rear sight is fully adjustable for windage and elevation.
It also comes with dual apertures, giving you the best in peep sight accuracy at both close-range and longer ranges. Compatibility is a great feature of this carry handle, as it can be mounted on a wide variety of modern sporting rifles. The weight is a standard, if slightly light, 8.96 ounces.
The top features of this carry handle are the quality materials and the well-designed rear sight. This is an unbeatable option for an M4 carry handle.
4. HJ-TAC Rear Sight Carry HandIe
This is an excellent, yet affordable, product from HJ-Tac. One nice thing to have with a carry handle, or indeed any firearm component, is versatility. With its universal Picatinny rail, this carry handle can be mounted on practically any modern sporting rifle.
Otherwise, everything about this carry handle is pretty standard. It has standard side nuts for quick and simple installation and removal. The height above bore is also mil-spec, so look for an F-marked front sight to pair it with.
The adjustable rear sight comes with standard apertures in two selectable sizes, one for close-range and one for longer ranges. The construction makes use of the kind of aluminum alloy you would expect with a standard matte black finish.
HJ-Tac provides this carry handle with a satisfaction guarantee. They note that their design has been torture-tested and proven by consumer use. The dimensions of this carry handle are 1.6 by 1.8 by 6.8 inches. The weight is a nice, light 8.6 ounces.
If you're looking for an affordable and broadly compatible carry handle, this is a great choice. The top features of this carry handle are the two apertures and the universal Picatinny rail. Although the brand is relatively unknown, the construction is solid and reliable. The torture testing and satisfaction guarantee are nice added bonuses.
Whether you want a rock-solid rear sight that can go through the apocalypse and stay true or just like the old school aesthetics, we're sure you'll find the M4 carry handle for you on our list. Remember to have fun and shoot safe.