When it comes to firearm ergonomics, the AR-15 platform is held in high regards. While many of the controls on a standard AR can be made ambidextrous, the bolt catch has been hard to duplicate. As a right handed shooter, locking the AR open can be a pain. I usually have to juggle the gun, so that I can depress the bottom of the bolt catch, then yank the charging handle with the other hand. While it can be learned to be done quickly, it sucks. However, Redi-Mag released a product that aims to correct this, the Redi-Catch.
Who is Redi-Mag, and What is the Redi-Catch?
Redi-Mag is an Oregon based company that has been making products since the late 1970's. They came into popularity with the Redi-Mag, a device that allowed a second magazine to be stowed on an AR. However, the item of topic for this article is much more recent.
The Redi-Catch is a replacement magazine release that adds in a bolt-catch to the activation. It was released in 2014, and had a bit of a rocky launch due to patent related issues. That's all in the past now, and the product is available for purchase.
The idea is simple; add a recess and an S-shaped spring to the magazine catch, that sits behind the bolt catch. When you hit the magazine release, the bolt catch gets pushed outward and is activated. A pull of the charging handle will now lock the bolt carrier group to the rear. It is really basic, but does it work?
Using the Redi-Catch
The installation of the Redi-Catch is very simple. Simply replace your standard magazine release arm with the Redi-Catch, then tuck the S-spring behind the bolt catch. Redi-Mag includes a stick to help with doing so, but I found it to be simple enough without it. Once installed, I never had the spring pop out of its hole in the magazine release.
"Simple" might seem like it is being overused, but it precisely describes the Redi-Catch. It just works. Clearing malfunctions has become easier, and locking the gun open is much quicker. The "new" motion of just dropping the mag and pulling the charging handle is very intuitive, and easy to work into the malfunction clearing protocol. Pressure needed to fully depress the magazine release is slightly more than before, but it is not too much.
There is only one "catch" with the Redi-Catch, and it is the price. The Redi-Catch sells for $44.95. The build quality is top notch and all, but it is just a magazine catch arm, and a spring. I don't see why it costs so much. I'm only complaining because now I want to install this on every one of my ARs.
Should You Buy the Redi-Catch?
I've reviewed a lot of "optional" AR parts and accessories. Whether it be pistol grips, safeties, stocks, or rail covers, you had options for alternatives. Don't like the BCM rail covers? Try out the Railscales. However, there is no real alternative for the Redi-Catch.
I think that the Redi-Catch enhances the AR enough to deserve a strong look. I bought one, and would like more, but the steep price is a hard pill to swallow. If you use the AR a lot, and would like to upgrade the worst element of the ergonomics, this is your ticket.