Why would you ever want to turn an otherwise functioning semiautomatic AR-15/AR-10 patterned rifle into a bolt action rifle? Believe it or not, there are a few compelling reasons. And if you need to do that, the Kali Key will help.
Let us start with what the Kali Key is. It is basically a drop-in replacement bolt carrier group for your rifle with a removable oversized ambidextrous charging handle. The charging handle indexes into a cutout in the gas key of the bolt carrier. This ensures the charging handles stay put, locked in the top channel of your rifles upper receiver, but allows it to be removed for disassembly and cleaning.
So how does the Kali Key function? Rather than allowing gas from the rifle to travel down the gas tube, into the gas key, and around the bolt so that it can unlock the action and cycle the rifle…it just deflects that gas down over the top of the bolt carrier. Does this mean that the rifle won’t cycle when you fire it? Yes.
Why is the charging handle so large? This is to aid in you manually charging the rifle. As I mentioned above, the rifle won’t cycle when you fire it. The Kali Key effectively makes it a bolt action rifle. Requiring you to manually remove the spent round and load a new round every time you want to fire the gun. This is accomplished, and aided, by pulling the oversized charging handle to the rear, ejecting the spent casing, releasing it the charging handle and letting the bolt carrier, under the tension of the buffer spring, sent the bolt forward stripping a new round and loading the rifle once again.
Yes, we just “broke” an otherwise functioning semi-automatic rifle and made it a single shot. I’ll be honest, when I first saw this, I thought it was ridiculous. Why would someone ever want to do this to their rifle? Well, as it turns out, there are some compelling reasons which make this a pretty genius piece of gear depending on where you live.
Let’s start with the birthplace of the Kali Key, California. They have some ridiculous gun laws in that state, to include all kinds of “Assault Weapon” laws. Well, the Kali Key eloquently side steps these because it turns your rifle into a “Bolt Action” rifle in a matter of seconds.
Or let’s look at another use case. In certain states, due to hunting regulations, you can’t hunt with a semi-automatic rifle. So now, rather than having to purchase a separate rifle for hunting, you can take your already zeroed, ergonomic and familiar rifle, drop in the Kali Key and be legal to hunt in the aforementioned states.
Here is the magic to all of it though, it is a drop-in part. There is no requirement for fitting, milling or anything else. You literally separate the upper and lower receiver, remove the bolt carrier group and charging handle, replace it with the Kali Key, and now you’ve gone form a semi-automatic rifle to a bolt action rifle. To go back to the other way, simply reverse the process.
All of this being said, how is it to shoot the Kali Key? It is interesting. Being used to your rifles cycle of operation and recoil impulse, it takes a second. After that, easy as day. Every time you fire, you just grab the oversized charging handle, slingshot it and fire again. It takes a couple of shots and then it is second nature. Almost like doing an immediate action drill. 🙂
While I definitely don’t think this is something for everyone, I do think it is a lifesaver if you happen to live in a Freedom-Reduced State. The ability to own a legitimate rifle, that simply requires a bolt swap is huge. More and more people’s gun rights are eroded, the Kali Key offers an easy way to comply with them and not put yourself at risk.