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AR-15 Safety Selector

AR-15 Safety Selector

Almost every semi-automatic rifle has a safety selector, which serves the essential purpose of keeping the gun safe when carrying it. On a standard AR-15, the safety selector is located on the left side. Though it isn't a common part for people to consider upgrading their AR-15s, there are several aftermarket safety selectors that can offer significant advantages.

How Does an AR-15 Safety Selector Work?

The AR-15 fire control group consists of four main parts, not including springs and retention pins. These parts are:

  • Trigger
  • Disconnector
  • Hammer
  • Safety Selector

The safety selector has a cylindrical block with a square cutout in the middle. It rests above the backend of the trigger. When the safety is engaged, the curved side of the cylindrical block makes contact with the back of the trigger and prevents it from being pressed enough to allow the disconnector and trigger sear to release the hammer and hit the firing pin.

However, when you rotate the safety switch and put it on fire, the cutout in the cylindrical block rests above the back of the trigger, which leaves enough space for the trigger to be depressed to the point where it releases the hammer and fires the rifle.

Why Install an Aftermarket AR-15 Safety Selector?

The safety selector is an essential control on any AR-15. Though the stock safety selector is decent enough and it gets the job done, there are several benefits to installing an aftermarket safety selector.

These safety selectors are built better, they can be ambidextrous or have a short throw, and they can also add to the aesthetics of an AR-15. Some aftermarket safety selectors are made to be more ergonomic. They are easier to engage and allow shooters to operate their rifles faster.

What Is an Ambidextrous AR-15 Safety Selector?

Typically, the stock safety selector is located on the left side of an AR-15, which makes it easy for right-handed shooters to engage. However, left-handed shooters may have to shift their grip to manipulate the safety switch. An ambidextrous safety selector has a lever on both sides of the rifle, so both left and right-handed shooters can use it easily.

What Is a Short Throw Safety Selector?

On a stock AR-15, the safety selector has to be rotated a full 90 degrees to move it from “Safe” to “Fire”, whereas a short-throw safety selector may only need to be moved 45 degrees. This allows the shooter to flip the safety selector a lot faster and easier, allowing them to get their first shots more quickly when the rifle is carried at the “Safe” position.