The Best Safety Selectors for your AR-15 – 2020 Guide

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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!

Comparison of the Best Safety Selectors For the AR-15

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Pads are deeply grooved for an ultra-secure grip under stress or when hand is wet
  • Large surface area lets you operate the safety while wearing gloves, and eliminates fumbling in the dark
  • Machined, heat-treated steel safety selector puts oversized levers on both sides of the receiver for easy ambidextrous operation
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  • Compatible With Both Ar-15 & Ar-10 Style Rifles (Semi-Auto)
  • Convertible Ambi Features Both 57° & 90° Lever Throw Options
  • Allows Customer To Choose Between A Short Or Standard Throw
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  • All-steel construction to handle hard use, with smooth, positive operation
  • Knight's semi-auto safety lever gives true ambidextrous selector operation to your AR
  • Comes with three different right-hand levers, so you can choose the exact size/position to suit your personal shooting preferences
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  • Consists of two parts; a selector and a screw
  • Made of mil-spec steel and fits full-auto M16 rifles
  • Safe, tough and simple to install and compatible with a variety of rifles
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  • LR-08C is an ambi selector/safety lever for M16-type full-auto rifles only
  • Swings through the same arc as the standard safety; will not interfere with grip position or thumb placement
  • Puts the same, easy-to-operate safety lever on both sides of the receiver for fast, easy operation by left-handed shooters or when shooting with the weak hand
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What is a Safety Selector?

A safety selector is used to ensure that your rifle is safer to shoot. At the same time, it is an accessory that can be used to make shooting much faster and smoother than rifles that don’t have a safety selector in place.

How to Choose a Safety Selector?

Finding the right safety selector doesn’t have to be a chore. Knowing the features and characteristics that make one stand out is key. This way, you can distinguish a great one from a model that is considered crappy and unreliable. Here are a few things to look for while choosing a safety selector:

Price

The price tag isn’t really a feature or characteristic, per se. But a lot of budget shoppers hold it to such importance. As you look for a great safety selector, find one that will be the best you can afford in terms of quality and performance. Never, under any circumstances, should you sacrifice quality for the purpose of saving a few dollars.


Material

The best thing about an accessory is the material it’s made from. Especially when it is one that is proven to take on all kinds of scuffing and scratching. Most of these safety selectors are made from materials like polymer, aluminum, or any other material proven to be high in quality. It will usually depend on the manufacturer. 

Installation

Most of these safety selectors will be easy to install. So if you don’t have any gunsmithing skills whatsoever, do not worry. You won’t need those kinds of skills, nor do you need to enlist the services of a professional to have these installed. Most will usually take minutes to install. 

Review of the Best Safety Selectors for the AR-15

The following is a list of the five best AR-15 safety selectors currently on the market. As you go through each one, be sure to note the features and characteristics that stand out. You should also take note of the pros and cons, as well. This will help you make a decision on which safety selector will be best for you.

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. Let’s begin by taking a look at the first item on our list: 

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Fits most AR-15 rifles
  • Fit and finish are well-done
  • Great for left-handed shooters
  • Great for upgrades or building projects

Cons

  • Fitting may be required
  • A little pricey for most users
  • Some rough edges may need to be sanded down

What Recent Buyers Report

New buyers were pretty impressed with the functionality of the safety selector. But the happiest was the handful of left-handed shooters. One lefty shooter said he was able to use the selector without having to struggle with whether or not the rifle was safe to shoot. Most have concluded the safety selector was easy to install and to operate.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This little unit is made from bar stock steel, so it’s proven to be really tough. It’s even designed to fit not just AR-15 rifles, but also AR-10s, as well. No matter which rifle you use, this ambidextrous safety selector definitely gives you the best firing ability possible, regardless of which hand is your preferred shooting hand.

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 five-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.

Who Will Use This Most 

This will obviously be used by left-handed shooters. But don’t write off the right-handed shooters, of course. This will be best used by those who want a safety selector that will be smooth moving and easy to operate. 

Bottom Line

The Battle Arms Development Ambidextrous Safety Selector might be one of the best in the business, but left-handed shooters will likely enjoy it most. If you want a safety selector that will last you a long time and make firing your rifle a lot smoother, this little unit might stand out as one of your favorites.

Pros

  • Flawless fit and finish
  • Perfect for left-handed shooters to use
  • It can handle extreme heat since it is heat-treated
  • Easy to install for most users, it only takes a few minutes
  • Insanely lightweight and doesn’t add any additional weight

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

Most new buyers were happy with this safety selector. One of the hidden features they noticed was that it resists all kinds of heat after extended periods of use. They also reported the safety selector being nice and smooth when switched to either side of their rifles. Installation took minutes and was quite effortless, according to one user. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Once again, this is an ambidextrous safety that will mostly be beneficial for left-handed shooters since most safety selectors out there only allow movement from right to left. This will frustrate or even confuse a left-handed shooter, leaving them wondering about how safe it is to fire the rifle. 

This selector from V Seven Weapon Systems is the only one on our list that is made of grade-five, heat-treated titanium. It can be installed in either 57° & 90° Lever Throw Options. The selector is compatible with both AR-15 and 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.

Who Will Use This Most 

This will probably be easy to use for left-handed shooters (of course). But since it can be switched quickly and smoothly, this might be a great safety selector for those who are using their rifles for competition or hunting applications. No matter what you use it for, this safety selector will make sure you can switch this safety selector on or off in a matter of seconds without getting stuck.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a safety selector that is solid, easy to install, and quick to use for either handed shooter, the V Seven Weapon Systems AR-15 Ambidextrous Selector might be the best accessory you’ve invested in yet. Once installed, you’ll never have to guess which direction will make it “safe”.

Pros

  • Super quick to install
  • Durable and built like a tank
  • Extremely fast to operate
  • Perfect for competition shooting, hunting, or target shooting applications
  • Low-profile design. It doesn’t get in your way while using your AR-15 rifle

Cons

  • Fitting may be required
  • Some say there is a “mushiness” to it
  • Color might contrast with the finish of your AR-15 rifle

What Recent Buyer Report

Most new buyers were looking for an upgrade safety selector that was way better than a factory default selector. Sure enough, the found it with this ambidextrous safety. A handful of new buyers called this a must-have accessory for their AR-15 shooting safety courses. One user said his instructor recommended this to him because of how fast it can move around and stay in place.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This might be one of the strongest-built safety selectors on the list so far and it might also be the fastest. No matter which way you switch it, it can go from “safe” to “live” in a matter of seconds. It won’t be stubborn to make adjustments, so you won’t miss an opportunity to land that kill shot you’ve been waiting on all day for. 

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, 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.

Who Will Use This Most 

This will likely be the safety selector of choice for those using their rifles in applications where timing may be a factor. For example, if you’re a competitive shooter that needs to switch from “safe” to “fire” in the quickest amount of time possible, this might be the safety selector that will serve you best.

Bottom Line

The Knights Armament AR-15 Ambidextrous Safety Kit might be exactly what you’re looking for if you need a safety that can quickly go in either direction. This would be the perfect accessory if you want to keep from wasting time struggling with a safety.

Pros

  • Quick to install
  • Fits most AR-15 rifles
  • Super durable material
  • Great for any application
  • Quick “safe” and “live” switching

Cons

  • Some fitting may be required
  • Sanding may need to be required for smoothing out edges
  • A few users have reported missing part of the safety selector upon shipment

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new buyers were satisfied with this safety selector. Once installed, they were able to quickly move this around in each direction to ensure it was working. Not only was the movement smooth, but it wasn’t too easy or too hard to move. One user said he’s confident that that the safety selector will do its job in keeping the gun free from any accidental discharges.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This safety selector is perhaps one of the closest things you can get to a universal safety selector. It can fit most AR-15s of any caliber with ease and will only take a matter of minutes to get the job done. Not to mention, it’s an ambidextrous safety, so left-handed shooters will prefer this model.

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, simple to install, and compatible with a variety of rifles.

Who Will Use This Most 

This is a general-purpose safety selector that will be easy to use, even for newbies. So if you’re new to using an AR-15, knowing how to use it will be pretty straightforward. This also is great to add on if you’re building an AR-15 completely from scratch.

Bottom Line

If you want a simple and easy to use safety selector, look no further than the Colt Ambidextrous Safety Selector as your best possible option. It’s durable, lasts a long time, and might be the only safety selector you’ll need for a long time.

Pros

  • Excellent quality
  • Fast installation time
  • Really easy to operate
  • Works great with most AR-15 rifles
  • Can fit rifles with oversized pistol grips

Cons

  • May not work well with some AR trigger assemblies
  • Some say it might be a too oversized for their rifle
  • Since it’s angled, sliding it back and forth may be a little difficult

What Recent Buyers Report

This may look like some cheap and flimsy safety selector but new users begged to differ. They were happy with the overall quality and managed to fit this on their AR-15 rifles without a single issue. One user said the transition between his dominant hand and his weak hand was quite easy.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This safety selector is probably one of the most affordable on the list but it’s anything but a cheap, flimsy safety selector. After all, it’s made from high-quality steel and has a black matte finish to prevent scratches and scuffing. It’s durable and functions as advertised. In short, it’s a simple safety selector that can be the perfect upgrade compared to your standard safety selectors.

This safety selector from DPMS comes in two models; the LR-08C is for full-auto rifles only and the LR-08B 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. It’s also a good value for the price.

Who Will Use This Most 

If you’re looking for the perfect factory replacement or you just need a simple upgrade, this might be exactly what you’re looking for. Once you’ve installed this, it will stick with you for the long game and will move quickly from one mode to the next.

Bottom Line

The DPMS AR-15 Ambidextrous Safety is a simple, easy to install design that you can add to your rifle in no time. Add this puppy on and you’ll have a safety that will work much better than those factory defaults that are unreliable and hard to operate. 

Why Upgrade to an Ambidextrous Safety Selector

An ambidextrous safety can be used by both left-handed and right-handed people. However, 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, 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-degree 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 will most likely 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, while 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.

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:

  1. Ensure your new safety is nearby and ready, such as our recommended Battle Arms Development Inc. AR-15 Ambidextrous Safety Selector.
  2. Ensure you have a set of hex keys. You will need one to remove your grip and another for installing the safety.
  3. Make sure your rifle is unloaded, with a disconnected upper and lower receiver. We only need the lower receiver.
  4. 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.
  5. Remove the grip’s screw, being mindful of the detent and spring.
  6. Cock the hammer to remove the safety and place in your new safety.
  7. Reinstall the grip, making sure the spring and detent are in proper position.
  8. Screw in the safety’s other side.
  9. Finish putting the rifle back together. Congratulations! You now have a new safety on your AR-15!

Conclusion

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 best. 

About Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis the managing editor at Gun Mann and when he isn't writing about guns he is more than likely tinkering with them. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. As a lifelong gun owner he knows his stuff!

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