Is Installing The Magpul B.A.D. Lever A Bad Idea?

Authors For Rifles Gear Reviews Robert Sadowski
Is Installing The Magpul B.A.D. Lever A Bad Idea?

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Installing the Magpul B.A.D. (Battery Assist Device) Lever is bad. Bad in a good way, like John Shaft kind of bad. There are a multitude of aftermarket accessories you can add to your AR. They range from useless gizmos and gadgets to damn useful accessories. Installing the Magpul B.A.D. Lever streamlines reloading and simplifies bolt locking, making it a valuable addition.

The B.A.D. lever is shaped like the letter “L” and weighs about one ounce. It doesn’t have much bulk and sits close to the lower receiver to not accidentally snag on anything. The B.A.D. lever allows a right-handed shooter to manipulate the bolt catch with the firing hand.

Installing the Magpul B.A.D. Lever

I chose a Springfield Armory Saint Victor with a mil-spec bolt catch for B.A.D. lever installation. In reality, it takes more time to explain how to install the B.A.D. lever than it does to clamp it onto the existing bolt release of your AR. It might take longer to perform the function check after it is installed than the actual installation. No mechanical aptitude is required and it comes with its own Torx wrench. First, make sure your rifle is unloaded. Then lift on the bolt catch of your rifle and place the back plate of the lever under your existing bolt catch.

step 1 Installing The Magpul B.A.D. Lever
Step 1: Place the back plate of the B.A.D. lever under your existing bolt catch.

Then place the B.A.D. Lever on top of the existing bolt catch to sandwich it between the lever back plate and the actual lever. Next, tighten the screw with the wrench. Done. That simple.

Installing the Magpul B.A.D. Lever
Steps 2 and 3: Sandwich the mil-spec bolt catch between the B.A.D. Lever and back plate, then tighten the screw with the wrench.

Careful Is Key

That easy. Remember not to gorilla the screw or tighten it too much as it could strip. Magpul has some thread lock on the screw which is a good idea. If you want to use a dab of blue Loctite to secure the lever and back plate together, feel free to use a dab because you don’t want it to rattle loose and fall off under extensive firing. I didn’t add any extra thread lock when I installed mine, but I do check the screw when I clean the rifle.

Left side of AR15 with Magpul B.A.D. Lever installed.
The Magpul B.A.D. Lever curls into the trigger guard from the left side of the rifle. You can use the B.A.D. from the left or right side of the rifle.

How The Magpul B.A.D. Lever Works 

The Magpul B.A.D. lever allows you to manipulate the bolt catch from either side of the rifle using the L-shaped lever. The L-shaped lever fits inside the top of the trigger guard and slightly protrudes out the right side of the receiver. You can press the paddle on the B.A.D. lever up or down with your shooting hand, assuming you are a right-hand shooter, and depending if you want to lock back the bolt or close the bolt. You can also use the B.A.D. lever from the left side like the mil-spec ping pong paddle bolt catch. 

Right side of AR15 showing Magpul B.A.D. Lever
Once installed, the Magpul B.A.D. Lever fits inside the trigger guard with a small paddle exposed on the right side of the rifle.

AR-15 Bolt Catch Function Test

After the B.A.D. lever is installed it should be easy to press and not bind. To function check the lever, make sure the rifle is not loaded, then pull back the charging handle to cock the rifle and release it. The BCG should fly forward. Next, pull back the charging handle to cock the rifle and press the B.A.D. lever up and release the charging handle. The B.A.D. lever should hold back the BCG. With the BCG locked back, press down on the paddle of the lever from the right side of the gun and the BCG should fly forward. Lock back the BCG again and press the B.A.D. lever from the left side. The BCG should fly forward.

The Magpul B.A.D. Lever on an AR
The Magpul B.A.D. Lever is low profile so there is no worries that it will snag.

Running the Magpul B.A.D. Lever

During a reload, a right-handed shooter drops the mag with the trigger finger and grabs a fresh one. While your right or firing hand is doing that, your left or support hand should be grabbing a fresh mag like a can of beer and inserting it into the magwell. With the magazine seated the support hand thumb presses the bolt catch to slam home the BCG on a fresh round.

With the B.A.D. lever, as soon as the support hand seats the magazine, you can slam home the BCG by using the trigger finger of your firing hand to press down on the B.A.D. lever paddle. Since your support hand is not pressing the bolt catch you skip that step and shave time off your reload. In competition or in a defense situation, the less time it takes to reload can mean winning or losing. 

Reload with Magpul B.A.D. Lever
With the Magpul B.A.D. Lever you can close the bolt with your trigger finger and shave time off your reload.

The B.A.D. lever also makes it super easy to lock back the bolt. As your support hand pulls back the charging handle, use your trigger finger to lock the bold with the paddle. Yep, that’s easy. 

Locking the bolt back with the Magpul B.A.D. Lever.
Locking the bolt back with the Magpul B.A.D. Lever is very easy. Pull back the charging handle and press up on the paddle of the lever.

Is the Magpul B.A.D. Lever Worth It?

Magpul B.A.D. Lever paddle.
The paddle on the Magpul B.A.D. Lever is serrated on both sides for no-slip contact.

For a quick and useful AR hack, the Magpul B.A.D. lever is useful. The cost is only $32.95 off the Magpul website and that is an inexpensive investment for some added speed. The B.A.D. lever changes your manual of arms, but it’s smooth and fast to use. Your muscle memory will need to change. Even if you are an old dog and don’t want to learn any new tricks, the B.A.D. is bad, but in a good way.

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  • Tom April 1, 2024, 5:39 pm

    Works great for High Power matches (legal for CMP rules and NRA I think). When chambering a round for single shots (off hand and slow fire prone), the B.A.D. lever makes life so much easier. Specially on slow fire prone. You don`t have to reach over the top to hit the bolt release.

  • MeSeaHunt April 1, 2024, 11:25 am

    WHY is this something that someone thought was NEEDED on this platform…… NEVER knew it was an issue???

  • Jon April 1, 2024, 9:57 am

    I guess time will tell, but at first glance it appears to be the classic “Ingenious solution to a non-existent problem…”

  • Jay April 1, 2024, 8:55 am

    The only problem I had with mine was the screws had too much thread locker on the screw threads. This caused the threads to strip ruining the piece.

  • Gomez Addams March 30, 2024, 1:24 pm

    Does not fit on BRN-180. Otherwise useful.

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