Faxon Backstrap for MSR

Faxon Logo

Faxon Firearms will show a new product at the SHOT Show called the Backstrap for Modern Sporting Rifles.

The Backstrap sounds like a grip safety typical to the 1911 handgun. According to Faxon, the “Backstrap is a passive system to disable fire control on a Modern Sporting Rifle” and is “similar to John Browing’s design.”

According to the company the Backstrap is designed for competitors and tactical operations.

Faxon will sell the Backstrap assembly as a kit that will include a lower receiver, grip and the Backstrap part itself. No MSRP has been announced.

Is this something you would be interesting in having for your AR-15?

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/.


  • Esh325

    So how I’m understand this is that it will be a AR15 lower that disengages the safety when the grip safety is grasped like a 1911? So I assume the lower receiver will lack a manual safety then because the idea is that you don’t have to worry about taking off safeties anymore and just firing?

    • The backstrap is completely independent of the manual safety. It can be used with our without it. Shooters can remove their manual safety if they so choose (but we will not recommend it).

      • Gunna

        Hmmm… that would have been the biggest win I could see from putting such a device on my rifle. Any chance it could actually be adapted to disengage the manual safety? Perhaps with a more concious push of the strap.

        If not, something that might be an advantage is that if the manual safety is engaged the backstrap cannot be depressed. This would provide a very tactile indication that the rifle is still safe (other than just checking with your thumb/index finger of course 😉 )

        • We thought about it, but ultimately went to the 1911-style. We wanted it to be independent.

  • Nicks87

    Hmm. Take the worst part of the 1911 and add it to an AR15? What a horrible idea.

  • echelon


    Another answer to a question nobody asked…is there even a market for this?

    • What do you think? Do you see space for it?

      • echelon

        I personally don’t. Have you guys done market research or had people clamoring for one? I’m asking this honestly.

        I’m all for being innovative and whatnot, but this just doesn’t seem like something that I could see a lot of people wanting and/or using.

        • Honestly, yes. We were asked to solve a problem of NDs in particular situations. Past that, we have been quietly asking around it does seem there is a market for it.

          It will not be for regular shooter, but there is a segment who do see value it in (not other comments in this thread).

          Our thinking is why not help people and if it doesn’t hurt the core rifle design, why not put it out there?

          • echelon

            That sounds promising. You probably have more of a pulse on the industry than any of us schmoes on teh interwebs. 🙂

            Honestly, as I’ve been thinking about it, if this was an option in lieu of the standard safety it might be useful. I’m a lefty and many models of firearms do not come with standard ambi controls so a lot of times safeties do not get put back on if they are in a hard to reach spot or difficult to manipulate. If this was an option to simplify technique while still making it difficult for the firearm to discharge negligently then it could be pretty cool.

            In my mind though, this is the opposite of the KISS principle if it is added on top of the manual safety. You are adding mechanical complexity into the design and if that mechanical part should fail it could also cause the firearm to not discharge when it needs to, which could lead to a loss of life in a defensive situation. I think this is demonstrated in the pistol world very clearly with Glocks and other striker fired pistols that don’t have any external safety levers. And there are other SA, cocked and locked guns that do not have the grip safety and are in essence more simple in design and function than a 1911 while still arguably just as safe.

          • Carlos Velazquez

            No offense intended, but the easiest way to avoid a ND would be to keep your finger off the trigger until you need to fire. Sounds more like a problem that can be solved with proper training.

  • The only backstrap I’m interested in is Venison backstrap cooked up with some butter and garlic!

    • Now we are hungry…

    • Marty Ewer

      That was my first thought upon reading the title to this article. Mmmm… Delicious backstrap… (in Homer Simpson voice.)

  • Forest C. Adcock

    I’m interested, but skeptical.

    II will admit that it’s a neat idea. Moon shoes were a neat idea in the 90’s as well, but all they wound up doing is sending kids to the hospital with broken ankles. I’d be interested to see the mechanics, but I still don’t think it’s going to be a useful item as I don’t see how it will stop ND’s from happening.

    • While we all train to engage and disengage manual the safety, not all train to the point of muscle memory. Heck, when I was in the Corps, we rarely even touched it unless we were on the range. It wasnt until after I was out did I actually train hard.

      Past that, there are a lot of shooters who simply don’t train. I am sure we have all been flagged by that idiot carrying their rifle around the carry handle or the front handguard.

      • Bolide

        Sure but dopes carrying the rifle by the handle or the front handguard can’t shoot you, but the guys who swing the rifle around holding it on the pistol grip with their finger on the trigger certainly could. People that unconcerned with safety won’t buy an extra safety, and it would likely be deactivated by their habitual grip anyway.
        Go ahead and bring it to market though, new ideas are great! And maybe diversification will bring down the cost of ARAK uppers so that I can afford one?

  • Grindstone50k


  • Hi TFB!

    A pleasure to back here and working with you guys a new products and ideas.

    Here’s the scoop and let’s get it out of the way. This is not meant for all shooters, only those looking for that something extra. As we can see from the comments already here, most do not see a use for it and that is OK with us.

    Like Richard stated, its based on the same idea as accepted passive safety systems already in use like the 1911, XD, etc. It is completely independent of the standard manual safety (again, like the 1911).

    Who could use it?
    1. MIL/LE- We get first-hand stories all the time of officers who swear their rifle was safe, but had AD’s/ND’s because their nylon clicked the safety off and likewise pulled the trigger. This would require a hand on the rifle to operate and would avoid these issues.
    2. Competition Shooters- Considering most series require that a weapon system be on safe when not in use, why not make it easier? I (Nathan) have been eliminated from matches because I either did not safe it or it became disengaged during ditching.

    And lastly,

    3. You! (If you want it).

    We designed this to be completely removable. If you don’t want it on your firearm, take it off and its a regular AR-15.

    We would love your additional feedback on it.
    -What shape would you like?
    -What grips would you like it compatible with?
    -What are requirements that you see for it?

    • Drew Coleman

      -What grips would you like it compatible with?
      I think I can go out on a limb and say that Magpul grips will be a priority.

      I think this is a neat idea (any pictures yet?), and there will be criticism. I can certainly see some use cases though. Police may like it, and heck I might consider it on my home defense rifle since it’s almost always out and unlocked and under my bed. Would be nice in case I forgot to turn the safety on or something.

      • Our prototypes have been floating around. No pictures yet of the final product.

    • BuzzKillington

      Your post did prevent my intended “Why?” comment, but I do now have an actual question. Will your receiver that’s included with this product be required for its use, or is it able to be installed on any in spec receiver?

      • It would require some modification. A gunsmith would be able to do it easily. We will be offering billet and forged lowers directly from us.

  • David Sharpe

    Hell no, I don’t like the backstrap safeties on my 1911s so why would I want one on an AR?

    It’s a product looking for a market.

  • blackspike2710

    The fact that it is only included with a lower receiver implies that the lower has been modified in some way. Makes me worry about compatibility with standard lowers.

    • Yes, a lower has to be modified, but it does not interfere with standard components. If you purchase a lower that will be compatible, can can ignore the feature and build it like any other AR.

      We will be offering forged lowers here in the future.

      • blackspike2710

        Sorry. Not good enough. The only way this will sell is if it is priced the same as other standard lowers. Which I doubt.

        • Pricing has not been determined, which is why we love the feedback.

          Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!

  • WasThere

    It would definitely have its uses, average civilian defensive rifle, meh. someone on patrol? Yup. But let’s not forget, every high about the ar15 is modular, why not safeties?

  • A grip safety is one thing… Nathan at Faxon. But too simplistic to get a large following.
    You want to make something interesting that will grab a lot more attention? Make a SAFE ACTION system from the AR and turn it into a Striker Fired system.
    Now THAT would be interesting.

    • Great suggestion. Something to put in our back pocket.

      We do have a tendency to go “off the rails” will ideas (as you can see), so I see us at least looking at it in depth.

  • tazman66gt

    How would this part interact with a stock or aftermarket trigger group, or the trigger packs like Wilson or Timney? Also, are they going to offer an ambi lower option if this gets to fruition?

  • Ben

    I actually sorta like this, but also sorta don’t. On one hand, it could make for safer run and gun courses. But on the other hand, you should always engage your safety before moving anyways, and I feel like this could cause people to become lazy with their manual safeties.

  • Doug Ralph

    My company looked into doing this exact idea two years ago. We did a large consumer survey and discovered two things:
    1). Individual gun owners will not buy “training wheels” for their rifles. We received a very consistent response of “I don’t need it” despite our efforts to focus the marketing toward preventing unintended accidents and safer home/vehicle storage (instead of focusing on preventing user negligence).
    2). Even in our primary focus group of Mil/LE (the most liability-conscious), customers did not want to replace the entire lower receiver to get the small add-on feature. The cost/reward ratio was disproportionate. However, there was evidence that a more cost-effective solution could be successful for govt/agency sales. Beginner and Youth shooting programs were also very receptive if we could offer a cheaper option.

    I wish Faxon all the best in their efforts. Perhaps they can tap into something we did not anticipate.

    • Doug- Thanks for the note and encouragement. We really appreciate you sharing your previous studies and we will let you know how it ends up.

  • Squirreltakular

    This is going to create more problems than it solves: More moving parts, another potential failure point, messing up muscle memory, possibly not engaging if the shooter’s hands are too big or are wearing gloves, potentially preventing the shooter from using using the short-stock method while popping corners, preventing the thumb-to-the-side method some long distance shooters like, probably more…

    However, if you find a market and can profit from it, more power to you! I love the ARAK design!

  • santi

    I am positive that Faxon wouldn’t have put this out on the market if the statistics were not there to say it would be necessary to those who seek added safety. After all is it not the most important aspect? I could never codemn people who want that for themselves no matter how ascinine it may seem to others.

  • John Daniels

    The world is laughing, and not in a nice way…