Best AR-15 Ambidextrous Safety

If you’re a right-handed shooter, chances are you haven’t spent much time thinking about shooting with your left hand. However, there are definitely situations in which being able to fire your gun with your non-dominant hand can come in, well, handy. In this article, we’ll talk about why you might want to upgrade your rifle with an AR-15 ambidextrous safety. We’ll also review five great upgrade options for you to consider.

ProductOur RatingScenario
BATTLE ARMS DEVELOPMENT INC4.8/5Best Overall
DPMS PANTHER ARMS3.7/5Budget Friendly
V SEVEN WEAPON SYSTEMS4.9/5Editors Pick
KNIGHTS ARMAMENT4.0/5Alternative #1
COLT3.5/5Alternative #2

WHAT IS AMBIDEXTROUS SAFETY?

An ambidextrous safety is one that you can access on both sides of the gun so that you can operate it with your right or left hand. Left-hand dominant shooters will especially appreciate being able to control the safety from either side of the rifle.

WHY WOULD I WANT AN AMBIDEXTROUS SAFETY?

It’s clear why left-handed gun owners would want an ambidextrous safety, but what about the majority of shooters who happen to be right-handed? Why would they want to be able to access the safety with their left hand?

It turns out, there are a few very good reasons that rifle owners might like to have an ambidextrous safety. First, if you ever go to the range with friends or family, you probably share guns. If anyone in your group is left-handed, he or she will really appreciate being able to access the safety with his or her dominant thumb.

Second, you may prefer to flip the safety on and off with your pointer-finger rather than your thumb. Most people are right-hand dominant, so safeties are often on the left side of the gun so you can use your thumb to engage and disengage the lever. If you favor using your trigger-finger to control the lever, an ambidextrous safety would be more to your liking.

Lastly, if you’re in an emergency and your dominant-hand is not able to shoot – either because you’ve been shot or injured in that hand or because the assailant has your hand pinned – you’re certainly not just going to give up. If your safety is ambidextrous, you can still protect yourself by firing with your non-dominant hand.

Some shooters like to practice with both hands in case of an emergency, or just for fun. Purchasing separate guns for left and right-handed shooting is an unnecessary cost, especially when you consider how easy and affordable it is to upgrade to an ambidextrous safety.

POTENTIAL CHALLENGES WITH AN AMBIDEXTROUS SAFETY

Nothing’s going to be perfect in every situation, and safeties are no exception. If you’re not used to having the safety on both sides of the gun, there’s a chance that the lever could get caught on your clothes as you shoulder and un-shoulder your rifle.

Use caution whenever you’re testing out a new accessory and make sure that you’re still following all of your gun safety habits.

Depending on your grip, your pointer-finger might come in contact with the safety when it’s off the trigger. Some people don’t mind that, but some people do. It’s a matter of personal preference, so test out different lever sizes to find what feels best for the way you grip your rifle.

FEATURES OF A GOOD AMBIDEXTROUS SAFETY

Depending on the conditions you’ll encounter when you’re shooting, you may want either a small or large safety paddle. If you’re going to shoot while wearing gloves, you’ll want a larger paddle. However, if your trigger finger is always butting up against the paddle, then you’ll probably prefer a smaller one.

When you upgrade your safety, you may discover one that comes with multiple lever sizes so you can choose the one that’s perfect for your needs and your hand. People with larger hands often do fine with a small lever, but people with smaller hands will appreciate having a larger paddle that they can reach more easily.

Many safeties come with deep grooves, which can be beneficial in an emergency. If your hands are shaking with nerves or if you have to use your non-dominant hand, you’ll appreciate having something that your finger can grip.

The safety should have a resistance that’s ideal for you. You shouldn’t be able to flip it too easily, but it shouldn’t take a lot of effort to flip either. It has to be the Goldilocks of safeties so that it’s just right for you.

90-DEGREE VS 45-DEGREE SAFETIES

Often, rifles come from the factory with a safety that flips a full 90-degrees to activate and deactivate. However, you can also purchase safeties with a shorter travel. 45-degrees is a common travel swing, but you find safeties that travel a variety of lengths.

Some people like having a shorter travel because it takes less effort to flip the lever on and off and saves microseconds in an emergency. However, some prefer having the full 90-degree flip because they’ve developed muscle memory for it.

Some manufacturers make their safeties adjustable so you can set them to 90-degrees, 45-degrees, or anything in between. If you’re not sure which setting you prefer, an adjustable safety might be a smart choice for you.

REVIEW OF THE BEST AR-15 AMBIDEXTROUS SAFETIES

ar-15 ambidextrous safety

Let’s explore five different safety selector upgrades to see which is right for you.

BATTLE ARMS DEVELOPMENT INC. AR-15 AMBIDEXTROUS SAFETY SELECTOR

The B.A.D. safety comes with two lever sizes, but both are “oversized” compared to other selectors. The levers are interchangeable so you can install the larger paddle on your thumb-side, whichever side of the gun that may be for you. The smaller lever is large enough to flip with your non-dominant thumb in an emergency, but not so large that it will interfere with your trigger finger on your dominant hand.

The levers each have deep grooves to ensure that no matter the situation, whether it’s stressful or just rainy, you’ll be able to quickly and easily throw the safety on and off. The grooves are an essential piece of the overall design and one that’s hard to switch away from once you feel the difference.

The price of the B.A.D.A.S.S. is a little high compared to other options, but what else can you expect from a product with that acronym? B.A.D. improved their new selector models to snap into place when you flip the lever, so you can be sure that it’s engaged and disengaged properly.

POSITIVES RECAP FOR THIS PRODUCT

  • Deep grooves on the levers, so it’s always easy to flip the switch.
  • Multiple lever sizes for customization.
  • You can install the levers on whichever side of the safety you prefer.

NEGATIVES RECAP FOR THIS PRODUCT

  • The price is a bit high for such a small part.

DMPS AR-15 AMBIDEXTROUS SAFETY

The DMPS safety is an excellent option for those who like to have identical levers on either side of the rifle. The trigger is simply and classically designed. It has the standard 90-degree safety swing and essentially no options for customization. If you prefer a simple design that functions as it should without all of the bells and whistles, you’ll probably favor the DMPS over the B.A.D.A.S.S.

There are adequate grooves in both of the levers, so your finger shouldn’t slip off. Also, neither paddle is so large that it’ll rub against or abrade your trigger-finger.

If you choose to purchase the DMPS ambidextrous safety, make sure you select the correct model. DMPS makes a version for AR-15s and one for M16s. The M16 is the fully automatic, military version of the AR-15, so the safeties are not interchangeable. Select carefully!

POSITIVES RECAP FOR THIS PRODUCT

  • Simple, easy design.
  • Adequate grip makes it easy to flip the lever.

NEGATIVES RECAP FOR THIS PRODUCT

  • No options for customization.

V SEVEN WEAPON SYSTEMS AR-15 57/90 DEGREE AMBIDEXTROUS SELECTOR

Like the B.A.D.A.S.S. selector, the V Seven safety features two different lever sizes. As the name implies, you can also choose how far you want the lever to travel when you flip it. You can set it for a short throw (57-degrees) or a standard throw (90-degrees). If you like being able to customize your rifle accessories, this might be the safety for you.

V Seven makes their AR-15 safety out of titanium for incredible strength and durability. The levers and core are corrosion-resistant as well, so this safety is built to last.

One potential drawback of this selector is that the outer edge of both levers is as smooth as butter. If you’re wearing gloves or fumbling with the safety for any reason, your finger may slip off the paddle. In normal shooting conditions, like at the range, this shouldn’t be an issue. However, if you’re using your AR-15 for home defense, you may want to consider a different alternative.

POSITIVES RECAP FOR THIS PRODUCT

  • Two lever sizes so it won’t catch on your trigger-finger.
  • Two options for throw travel, either 57 or 90-degrees.
  • Made from top-of-the-line titanium.

NEGATIVES RECAP FOR THIS PRODUCT

  • The outer edge of the lever is smooth so your finger may slip off when you’re trying to flip it.

KNIGHTS ARMAMENT AR-15 AMBIDEXTROUS SAFETY KIT

The all-steel Knight’s Armament safety looks similar to DMPS’s safety upon first glance. However, the Knight’s version comes with three different options for the right-hand lever. You can choose one that mirrors the full-size left-hand lever, one that’s a lower profile with scallops, or one that a simple indicator arrow.

If you’re not sure which right-hand paddle to choose, try them all. Once you have the safety installed, the levers are quick and simple to change.

One area where Knight’s could improve is to make the left-hand lever adjustable like the right. As is, this is a good safety upgrade for people who want the option of using their non-dominant hand in an emergency. However, someone who is left-handed or who wants to practice shooting with his or her left hand regularly will probably prefer customization on both levers.

POSITIVES RECAP FOR THIS PRODUCT

  • Three different options for the right-hand paddle.
  • Strong, steel construction.

NEGATIVES RECAP FOR THIS PRODUCT

  • No customization for the left-hand lever.

COLT AMBIDEXTROUS SAFETY SELECTOR LEVER, FULL AUTO

Like some of our other suggestions, the Colt selector has two different lever sizes. Both the left and right levers have an adequate amount of grip to make it easy for you to throw the switch.

The selector is made from military-grade steel and features Colt’s legendary quality. You’ll also notice that there’s no ambiguity about whether your safety is on or off. The switch clearly snaps into place at either safe or firing mode.

Lefties will appreciate that the levers are interchangeable so they can put the larger lever on whichever side they prefer. Compared to the selector from Knight’s Armament, the Colt would be a good choice for rifle owners who want to spend a considerable amount of time practicing their left-hand shooting as well.

The challenge with this lever is that Colt brand items are in high demand and it can be hard to find the ambidextrous safety in stock. If you do find it, you’re in for a treat because this is an excellent upgrade option.

POSITIVES RECAP FOR THIS PRODUCT

  • Made from military-grade steel at Colt’s legendary quality standards.
  • Two lever sizes are interchangeable between the left and right side of the safety.
  • Good grip to the throw, so you’ll always know if the safety is on or off.

NEGATIVES RECAP FOR THIS PRODUCT

  • Colt accessories, especially the ambidextrous safety, can be a challenge to track down at a retailer.

CONCLUSION

Whether you’re looking for a simple ambidextrous safety like DMPS’s offering or something super adjustable like the options from B.A.D.A.S.S. and Knight’s Armament, upgrading to a new safety selector can make shooting your rifle more comfortable. When the lever fits your hand well, you’re able to use your firearm more safely.

Safeties are a relatively affordable upgrade and are easy to install, so they make an excellent first upgrade for new rifle owners. They also give you more options in an emergency and make it easier to share your firearm with others.

Whatever your reason for upgrading your safety, we hope you found the AR-15 ambidextrous safety you were seeking on our list.

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