Safety First: The Best AR 15 Safety Selector

Last Updated on August 24, 2022.

Getting the best AR-15 safety selector is hands-down one of the easiest, most affordable ways to make your AR-15 more user friendly.

AR-15 safety selectors go for around $20 to $75. It takes literally minutes to install a new safety selector, and this little piece of metal can actually make a big difference in how well you can run your rifle.

How much difference can a tiny part make?

I’ve flipped a ton of safety selectors, installed almost as many, and I have my favorites…However, there are a few features that I’ve found are good to have and others that are downright necessary.

Best Choice

Radian Weapons Talon safety selector

Specifications:

Hand:

Ambidextrous

Mechanism:

Ambidextrous

Degree throw:

45 or 90

Pros:

  • Perfectly shaped– for turning your safety on and off with your thumb.
  • No screws– the selector levers secure to the barrel with pins.
  • Simplest and most durable system – It can’t come loose, and you can disassemble this safety selector with a paperclip.

SPOILER—if you’re just just to know which is the best AR-15 safety selector, so you can get that one and be done with it, get the Radian Weapons Talon Ambidextrous Safety SelectorIt’s pretty much the best safety selector you can get. Full stop.

If you prefer something else, or just want a different aesthetic, we’ve got all the OTHER best AR-15 safety selectors ready for you to check out.

Comparison Table

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Table of Contents

First, just so you know what you’re getting into, here’s how to install your new AR-15 safety selector.

How to install an AR-15 safety selector

This is the quick, simple way to install an AR-15 safety selector:

  1. Remove your AR-15 pistol grip. You’ll need a long allen wrench or screwdriver, depending on what type of screw secures your pistol grip.
  2. Remove the safety selector detent spring and detent. The spring may come out with the pistol grip. And the detent itself may stay inside your lower receiver. Turn your safety selector to push the detent out a little bit and help remove it from the lower.
  3. Pull your safety selector out of the lower receiver. If you already have an ambidextrous AR-15 safety selector, you’ll have to remove one of the safety selector levers.
  4. Put your new safety selector into the lower receiver. Attach the ambidextrous selector lever, if you’re installing an ambidextrous safety selector.
  5. Turn your safety selector to the “SAFE” position.
  6. Insert the safety selector detent in the lower receiver. You can put a tiny dab of automotive or gun grease on the detent to keep it from falling out of the lower receiver while you’re installing the pistol grip.
  7. Insert the safety selector detent spring into the pistol grip.
  8. Reinstall the pistol grip. Make sure the safety selector detent spring is aligned with the safety selector detent hole and that the spring goes in to put tension on the safety selector detent.
  9. Test your safety selector to ensure that it positively clicks from “SAFE” to “FIRE” and back.

That’s it. Less than 10 steps. Less than 15 minutes.

Also, if you feel that your safety selector is too mushy when you click it from “SAFE” to “FIRE” and back, there’s a good chance that it’s the fire control detent or safety selector spring that’s causing the slop.

If you change those, you’ll often get a more satisfying click when you operate your safety.

Ambidextrous safety selectors: Does an ambi safety selector even matter?

All the best AR-15 safety selectors are ambidextrous safety selectors. That’s because an ambi safety selector makes a difference in how well you can operate your rifle.

If you’re left-handed, the benefits of an ambidextrous AR-15 safety selector are obvious.

However, if you’re right-handed, the reasons for using an ambi AR-15 safety selector are less obvious.

Basically, having a safety selector lever on both sides of the gun makes it easier to actuate your safety without breaking your firing grip.

If you have a standard safety selector, it can be tough to put your rifle back on “SAFE” when you’re done firing without releasing your grip.

If you have an ambidextrous safety selector, you can “SAFE” your rifle with the knuckle of your firing hand, which is more efficient than you might think. Take it from a lefty who's been doing these things for a long time.This technique might not be for everyone. However, having a safety selector lever on both sides of your rifle also makes offhand shooting much easier, but you probably guessed that already.

The best AR-15 safety selector reviews

These are the best safety selectors I’ve found, and I’m picky about safety selectors because I’m left-handed.

So you can confidently purchase any one of these… Especially if you’re right-handed.

Overall

1. Radian Weapons Talon Ambidextrous Safety Selector

Key Specs:

  • Hand

Ambidextrous

  • Mechanism

No screws

  • Degree throw

45 or 90

Pros:

  • No screws to come loose, assembles with pins and can be disassembled with a paperclip
  • Excellent shape makes it easy to actuate your safety
  • Configurable for 45 and 90-degree throw

Cons:

  • Takes a little time to break in
Check on OpticsPlanet
Other Options

Just kidding. But the Radian Weapons Talon safety selector is seriously good.

It’s perfectly shaped for turning your safety on and off with your thumb (or bumping it onto “SAFE” with your trigger finger knuckle). It can be configured for a 45 or 90-degree throw.

It also looks cool.

The thing that I really like is the safety lever locking mechanism. There are no screws on the Talon safety selector. The selector levers secure to the barrel with pins.

It’s the simplest and most durable system for attaching selector levers. It can’t come loose, and you can disassemble this safety selector with a paperclip.

The only downside is that this selector can be a bit stiff at first. You’ll have to break it in. I put a tiny dab of grease on the safety selector detent to make the action a little easier while the selector breaks in.That’s not even a problem, though. It’s just me whining. For the money, you can’t beat the Talon.

Budget

2. CMMG AR-15 Safety Selector

Key Specs:

  • Hand

Ambidextrous

  • Mechanism

Assembles with screws

  • Degree throw

90

Pros:

  • Excellent manufacturing and quality control
  • Excellent tactile click when safety clicks from “SAFE” to “FIRE”
  • Maintains classic AR-15 aesthetic

Cons:

  • A bit pricey for what is essentially a mil-spec safety selector
Check on OpticsPlanet
Other Options

If you just want a standard AR-15 safety selector that has an ambidextrous lever, get the CMMG AR-15 Safety Selector. It’s literally just a mil-spec safety selector with a lever on both sides.

Yes, the offside lever is secured with a screw, which I’m not crazy about. Throw a little LocTite on it, and you shouldn’t have a problem.

The main complaint I hear about this safety selector is that it’s kind of expensive for what is essentially a mil-spec safety selector.

CMMG parts are supported by excellent quality control and manufacturing processes. That’s why CMMG stuff can be a bit pricey.

However, if you’re looking for something a little less expensive, the XTS XTS-SSL Firearm Safety Selector is pretty much the same thing, for about $10 less.

My only word of caution about this safety selector is the standard selector levers. This lever has a 90-degree throw, which causes the selector lever to rub against your hand when it’s in the “FIRE” position.

It’s not a huge deal. If that’s an issue for you, a safety selector with a short offside lever or a 45-degree throw will usually solve the problem.If you’re not picky about these things, this safety selector is a legitimate upgrade that’s not that expensive.

Value

3. Battle Arms Development Ambidextrous Safety Selector

Key Specs:

  • Hand

Ambidextrous

  • Mechanism

internal, captured screws

  • Degree throw

60 or 90

Pros:

  • Internal, captured screws are an incredibly durable locking system that’s still easy to install
  • Rounded aesthetics look great with mil-spec upper and lower receivers
  • Configurable for 60 and 90-degree throw

Cons:

  • Horizontal serrations can feel a bit too aggressive
Check on OpticsPlanet
Other Options

The Battle Arms Development Ambidextrous Safety Selector solves the problem of the safety lever rubbing your firing hand when your safety is off: the selector lever on the offside is short, so it doesn’t touch your hand when it’s in the “FIRE” position.

This safety selector can also be configured for a 60-degree throw, which keeps it even further from your firing hand while you’re shooting. It’s still totally accessible for putting your rifle back on “SAFE.”

However, the best thing about this safety selector is that it has internal, captured screws.

It’s a much more secure design than external screws, but it’s just as easy to assemble as a safety selector with standard screws

This safety selector is on par with the Radian Weapons Talon selector.

It’s just a little bit less aggressively styled, which I think matches the aesthetic of a standard lower receiver. It’s also a little bit less expensive than the Talon safety selector.One could make the argument that this is a better selector than the Talon. Regardless of the argument, this is definitely an outstanding safety selector.

Colored

4. Amaspec ST45 Short Throw Ambi Safety Selector

Key Specs:

  • Hand

Ambidextrous

  • Mechanism

Assembles with screws

  • Degree throw

45

Pros:

  • Comes in a ton of different colors
  • Super simple installation
  • Looks great on standard and enhanced lower receivers

Cons:

  • No 90-degree configuration
Check on Optics planet
Other Options

The Armaspec ST45 Short Throw Ambi Safety Selector is a good option if you want something that’s not black (though it comes in black, too).

There are other safety selectors that come in multiple colors. This one is the most affordable, though.

The serrations are decent. It has a 45-degree throw. It’s easy to use, overall, and it looks cool.I recommend using LocTite on the screws. Other than that, this is an affordable option if you’re building a rifle with a color scheme in mind.

Modular

5. Strike Industries Safety Selectors

Key Specs:

  • Hand

Ambidextrous

  • Mechanism

Assembles with screws

  • Degree throw

45 or 90

Pros:

  • Incredibly customizable
  • Comes in multiple colors
  • Aesthetic options to match any receiver set

Cons:

  • Aggressive styling may not match your taste
Check on Optics planet
Other Options

Ergonomics is one of the things that Strike Industries does really well. The thing that stands out on all the Strike Industries safety selectors is how easy they are to actuate.

They click from “SAFE” to “FIRE” really crisply. However, the selector levers on all the Strike Industries selectors are exceptionally easy to reach and push around with your thumb or knuckle.

They also come in a few different colors—though not as many as the Armaspec selectors. And the aesthetics are a pretty good match for most lower receivers.

Unfortunately they use screws, but it’s a small price to pay for such an easy-to-use safety selector.

Left-handed shooters

6. Forward Controls Design Ambidextrous AR-15 Safety Selector

Key Specs:

  • Hand

Ambidextrous

  • Mechanism

No screws

  • Degree throw

50 or 90

Pros:

  • Vertical serrations are perfect for smooth safety actuation
  • Roll pin assembly is bombproof
  • Aesthetics look excellent on standard lower receivers

Cons:

  • Roll pins make it difficult to remove this safety selector

The Forward Controls Design Ambidextrous AR-15 Safety Selector is one of my favorites. The design is incredibly well thought out, and it’s exceptionally durable.

There’s also a 50-degree model, if you prefer a shorter safety actuation.

Anyway, the Q-Lever design really works.

Putting the tail of the lever slightly closer to your thumb makes it easy to push the safety selector around.The short Q-lever on the offside is the perfect length to keep it from bumping your hand while you’re shooting.

However, the thing that makes this safety selector so durable is also the worst thing about it….

The selector levers secure to the barrel with roll pins, which are difficult to install and remove. Once this safety selector is installed, it’s definitely never going to come loose.

However, it’s one of the few enhanced safety selectors that perfectly complements the look of a standard lower receiver. You’ll probably never want to take it off.

Lightweight

7. V Seven Weapon Systems Hybrid Selector

Key Specs:

  • Hand

Ambidextrous

  • Mechanism

Assembles with screws

  • Degree throw

57 or 90

Pros:

  • Excellent black nitride finish
  • 57 degree throw is short enough for increased efficiency, but helps ensure the safety properly engages with even aftermarket triggers
  • Serrations make actuating your safety super smooth

Cons:

  • Screws should definitely be secured with Loctite
Check on Optics planet
Other Options

If you’re trying to save ounces, the V Seven Weapon Systems Hybrid Selector is one of the lightest safety selectors around.

It saves weight by using titanium, rather than aluminum. So it’s practically as durable as a steel safety selector.

It can be configured with a 57 degree throw. The weird throw length is to ensure that it does its job of making your rifle safe when it’s on “SAFE,” while keeping the selector out of the way when it’s on “FIRE.”

This safety selector is a bit pricey, though. It may not be worth it if you’re not really concerned about weight, because this selector only saves you an ounce or two, but it’s lighter all the same.

Also, keep some LocTite on hand for the selector lever screws.

Short-throw

8. Timney 49er Ambidextrous Safety Selector

Key Specs:

  • Hand

Ambidextrous

  • Mechanism

Assembles with screws

  • Degree throw

49

Pros:

  • Incredibly crisp, satisfying click
  • 49-degree throw mostly keeps the safety levers out of the way of your firing hand
  • Very lightweight for a steel safety selector

Cons:

  • Standard length levers still touch your firing hand a bit when the safety is on “FIRE”
Check on Optics planet
Other Options

The Timney 49er Ambidextrous Safety Selector probably has the most satisfying click of any safety selector on this list.

I’m not sure what Timney did, but this thing feels really satisfying when you click it from one position to the other.

It’s also relatively light for a steel safety selector, because they’ve skeletonized the selector levers.

As the name suggests, it has a 49-degree throw, which is nice, and it mostly keeps the selector lever out of your way when the selector is on “FIRE.”

However, both selector levers are the same length. So it will touch your hand in the “FIRE” position.

It’s also held together with screws. You’ll need to throw a bit of LocTite on it.Though, it’s still an incredibly well-made safety selector with a better actuation feel than most.

60 degree

9. MVB Industries Ambi Safety Selector

Key Specs:

  • Hand

Ambidextrous

  • Mechanism

No screws

  • Degree throw

60

Pros:

  • No screws to come loose, assembles with pins
  • Short offside lever stays clear of your firing hand
  • Excellent aesthetics look great on enhanced and standard lower receivers

Cons:

  • A little pricey

I would put the MVB Industries Ambi Safety Selector on the same level as the Talon safety selector or the Battle Arms Development selector if not for the price. This safety selector is similar to those other selectors, but it’s slightly more expensive.

This one is held together with pins, just like the Radian Talon. It also has a 60-degree throw, with a short lever on the offside.

It’s durable and ergonomic. Two thumbs up for that.

The aesthetic is also very nice. The squared off look goes well with many enhanced and billet lower receivers.

If you want something that looks cooler and works better than a mil-spec selector, but isn’t too aggressive looking, this one strikes the right balance. You’ll just have to pay a bit more to get that balance.

Aesthetic

10. Fortis SS Fifty Super Sport Safety Selector

Key Specs:

  • Hand

Ambidextrous

  • Mechanism

No screws

  • Degree throw

50 or 90

Pros:

  • No screws to come loose, and assembly is super easy
  • Serrations deliver decently smooth safety actuation
  • Available in multiple colors

Cons:

  • Aggressive styling may not match the look of your lower receiver
Check on Palmetto
Other Options

Rainier Arms makes great stuff. And the Fortis SS Fifty Super Sport Safety Selector is a great selector that looks super cool.

The throw levers are slightly shorter than standard throw levers, on both sides.

Combined with the 50-degree throw, the levers are short enough to mostly not touch your firing hand when you’re shooting. Though, the levers are long enough that it’s easy to actuate your safety.

Additionally, the levers secure to the barrel with a clever locking system that doesn’t use any screws, which is the way to go.

However, I personally think that the aesthetic is best with a billet or enhanced lower receiver. This safety selector has a very squared off, aggressive look. For me, it’s a little out of place on a standard lower.That’s all subjective, though. Functionally, this safety selector is excellent, and you won’t have any issues in terms of performance.

The Final Shot

Radian Weapons Talon Ambidextrous Safety Selector

Key Specs:

  • Hand

Ambidextrous

  • Mechanism

No screws

  • Degree throw

45 or 90

Pros:

  • No screws to come loose, assembles with pins and can be disassembled with a paperclip
  • Excellent shape makes it easy to actuate your safety
  • Configurable for 45 and 90-degree throw

Cons:

  • Takes a little time to break in
Check on OpticsPlanet
Other Options

Installing a better AR-15 safety selector on your rifle isn’t a huge upgrade. It won’t turn a terrible rifle into a great one.

It will make your AR-15 easier to operate, especially if you’re shooting weak-hand or working in unorthodox shooting positions. Even more especially if you’re left-handed.

Also, I’m telling you, if you get the Radian Weapons Talon Ambidextrous Safety Selector, you’ll be happy with the safety selector on your rifle, full stop.

Considering how affordable and easy it is to install a safety selector, it’s a worthwhile upgrade.

You can also check:

A Comprehensive Guide: AR-15 Lower Vise Block

Shotgun 101: How to Shoot Properly