For an AR-15 owner, tweaking the gun with parts and accessories is both fun and exciting. The safety selector is one of the parts that should not be overlooked, as it is a vital component along with the trigger and the grip.
Obviously, gun safety is extremely important for every gun owner, and having the right safety selector can not only make your shooting smoother and faster but also safer for yourself and those around you.
Read on to find out more about the advantages of using an ambi safety selector and reviews of these and more!
Quick Comparison Chart of the Best Safety Selectors for the AR-15
Battle Arms Development Inc. AR-15 Ambidextrous Safety Selector Blue
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DPMS AR-15 Ambidextrous Safety
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V Seven Weapon Systems - AR-15 57/90 Degree Ambidextrous Selector
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Colt Ambidextrous Safety Selector Lever, Full Auto
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Knights Armament - AR-15 Ambidextrous Safety Kit
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Why Upgrade to an Ambidextrous Safety Selector
An ambidextrous safety can be used by both left-handed and right-handed people. But not everyone will like or need one. For example, someone who is right-handed and only shoots occasionally at a range will probably not require an ambidextrous safety.
If you’re not pressed for time, the stock AR-15 selector switch is adequate for your needs. But when speed is needed, you’ll thank your lucky stars for an upgraded ambi safety selector. If you’re left-handed or want to share your gun with someone who is, then the ambi selector is definitely a good idea.
An ambidextrous safety switch makes it much faster to “safe” a weapon than a standard selector. You can apply the safety easily using the whole hand rather than a fine control with your thumb. Having the controls as easy to operate as possible is necessary when time is of the essence. For people who are involved in tactical situations, ambidextrous safeties can help in transitioning hands and shoulders.
45 vs 90 Degree Safety Selectors
The introduction of a safety selector with a 45-degree angle between the Fire and Safe positions for the AR platform has met both praise and condemnation. The idea behind it is that instead of rotating your safety 90 degrees as in a normal AR or M16, you need to flick it about halfway there. This is supposed to make it easier to manipulate.
However, some AR owners are staunchly in the 90 degrees camp as they have years of training and muscle memory developed on the standard selectors. They do not consider it worth it to unlearn their old habits to train with the new selector, even if it adds to their speed.
On the other hand, many AR-15 owners welcome the chance to easily manipulate their safeties without facing any issues operating their guns.
Are There Disadvantages to an Ambidextrous Safety Selector?
One disadvantage of having an ambi selector is that regardless of whether your trigger finger is on the trigger or off, pointed forward alongside the lower, the easy-to-reach safety lever can and most likely will hit your finger.
Manufacturers overcome this by offering scalloped triggers or making the levers shorter. This helps the safety clear the trigger finger of the right-handed shooter.
Another issue is faced when operating the gun with one hand. There is no problem shifting your firing hand to work the safety when your other hand supports the bulk of the gun. However, it is awkward to shift your grip and work the safety while holding up your rifle with just one hand.
Most disadvantages of ambidextrous selectors can be overcome by clever design.
Quick Take - The Best AR-15 Safety Selectors
These are our recommendations for the best safety selectors for the AR-15:
Reviews of the Best Safety Selectors for the AR-15
We’ve rounded up the best ambidextrous safety selectors for the AR-15, keeping in mind factors such as design, build quality and ease of function.
With a name that can be shortened “B.A.D.A.S.S.” you’d expect an extraordinary selector from this manufacturer. From the many 5-star ratings they’ve received, it looks like they’ve achieved that goal.
This selector is made from heat-treated 12L14 steel, parkerized and available in black or flat dark-earth colors. The well-machined safety selector has oversized levers on both sides of the receiver for easy ambidextrous operation. The large surface area means the selector can be operated while wearing gloves and eliminates fumbling in the dark. It comes with screws and a wrench for installation.
This aesthetically-pleasing switch is durable, easy to install and a good value. However, you may need to do some filing to make it fit your gun.
This safety selector from DPMS comes in two models; the LR-08C is for full auto rifles only and the LR-08B is for semi-auto AR-15s. This selector has the same lever on both sides of the receiver. It swings through the same arc as the standard safety. It will not interfere with grip position or thumb placement. It is made of steel and has a black finish.
It’s easy to install and fits well with most guns. And it’s a good value for the price.
This selector from V Seven Weapon Systems is the only one on our list that is made of grade-5 heat-treated titanium. It can be installed in either 57° & 90° Lever Throw Options. The selector is compatible with both AR-15- & AR-10-style rifles and comes with a lifetime warranty.
It comes with screws for installation and the core is coated black while the lever maintains its natural titanium finish.It has a really cool look. More importantly it’s safe and lightweight.
This ambidextrous AR-15 safety from Colt is made of mil-spec steel and fits full-auto M16 rifles. It consists of two parts; a selector and a screw, but does not come with an Allen key. The main part is colored differently from the right part which is black.
The color difference is rather odd but it’s a good value. It’s safe, tough and simple to install and compatible with a variety of rifles
This selector kit is made from steel and fits standard AR-15 or SR25/LR-308 receivers. It contains three different right-hand levers, allowing you to choose the exact size or position that suits you. You can select from a full-size right-side lever, a low-profile, semi-scalloped lever that is minimally obtrusive, or an indicator arrow that gives instant visual verification of the rifle's firing mode.
It is easy to install; you simply remove a recessed setscrew to swap the right-hand lever.
This easy-to-install kit is a good value, looks nice and works with many guns. However it tends to rust quickly. And if you really want your gun to look good, be aware that the color is more of a phosphate grey than a dark black.
How to Install the Safety on an AR-15:
Replacing the stock safety on your AR-15 will make for faster shooting, improved safety, and true ambidextrous performance. When you’re ready to install a new safety, follow these steps, and refer to our video for visual reference:
Ensure your new safety is nearby and ready, such as our recommended Battle Arms Development Inc. AR-15 Ambidextrous Safety Selector.
Ensure you have a set of hex keys. You will need one to remove your grip, and another for installing the safety.
Make sure your rifle is unloaded, with a disconnected upper and lower receiver. We only need the lower receiver.
Loosen the grip using a hex key. The proper key will depend on your grip, which is why we recommend starting out with a set of keys. A standard pistol grip will likely need a longer armed version.
Remove the grip’s screw, being mindful of the detent and spring.
Cock the hammer to remove the safety and place in your new safety.
Reinstall the grip, making sure the spring and detent are in proper position.
Screw in the safety’s other side.
Finish putting the rifle back together. Congratulations! You now have a new safety on your AR-15!
Every AR-15 owner should buy an ambidextrous safety selector based on their personal needs. What works for you may not work for someone else with years of training on a standard safety selector.
If you are left-handed or want to be able to switch off the safety smoothly and quickly with both hands, consider one of the top options listed above. You can also look around for a selector that fits your own needs better.