Forward Controls Design Teases Forthcoming EMR-A AR-15 Ambi Mag Release

It absolutely kills me every time I opt to pick up a Norgon Ambidextrous Magazine Catch. While a fantastic design, the price relative to the manufacturing cost is arguably absurd from a moral standpoint, though I fully respect one’s right to earn money on a patent.

Fortunately, it seems I am not the only one lamenting the cost of the Norgon and looking for ways to improve upon it. Forward Controls Design, known for their forward-thinking small AR firing control bits, has teased on their Facebook page their upcoming EMR-A magazine release. The Enhanced Magazine Release – Ambidextrous is an externally pivoting design that solves a few issues that I have had with the Norgon.

Specifically, the Norgon uses the existing magazine release slot which limits the size of the release button itself to the dimensions of that slot. The EMR-A opts for a larger pad, similar in size to the original magazine release. For better human-machine interface, the pad is then scalloped and vertically serrated so the shooter naturally depresses the center of the button.

Unfortunately, pricing is not available at this time but here’s to hoping that they also solve a bit of that Norgon pricing. The EMR-A will likely be offered as a bundle with Forward Control Design’s existing standard EMR buttons, replacing the Norgons currently packaged.

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Patrick Karmel Shamsuddoha

    another option is the High Velocity Arms – AMR GEN 3.5 Ambidextrous Magazine Catch / Release – Drop in Replacement

    • Rick O’Shay

      That looks pretty slick. I’d put that on my gun.

    • ARCNA442

      Was interested until I saw it’s $75.

      I’m not one to complain about the cost of quality parts, but is there any reason why ambi controls cost close to $100 when the standard versions cost less than $10?

      • Sunshine_Shooter

        Well the standard is a solid piece of metal and a spring, whereas the ambi must include a hinge or other mechanism for redirecting force applied 180 degrees (left-to-right force from the left index finger being used to move the actual release right to left).

        That, and the economies of scale. Standard releases are produced 10,000:1 (approximated) compared to ambi releases.

        And scarcity. You can pick up a standard release from any of dozens of companies, whereas there are only like 3 or 4 people making ambi releases. Since there’s so few options, they can command a higher profit margin, which they kinda need since most people don’t buy them.

        • ARCNA442

          I guess I’m mostly just wondering why the big AR manufacturers haven’t adopted ambi controls across the board and made them the new standard. Sure it might cost a few dollars more for the increased complexity, but it would give them an advertising edge over the competition.

          • Twilight sparkle

            A lot of them have, but people don’t want to pay the cost difference for nicer guns that have those parts standard, people want to pay $500 and get a craply dpms or an on sale m&p sport

          • LGonDISQUS

            Saw on Slickguns that ATI OMNIs are $307, M&P15s at $375. I was quite surprised. 🙂

          • Sunshine_Shooter


    • Sunshine_Shooter

      Why did no one talk about these options literally 3 months ago before I bought the Troy ambi release?

      • Patrick Karmel Shamsuddoha

        how do you like the troy version ???

        • Starfish

          My Troy Ambi Mag Release works perfectly. No issues, and price isn’t bad.

          • RogUinta

            No issues as long as you have no issues with Troy. Some of us don’t care to patronize companies that hire government thugs.

        • Sunshine_Shooter

          I don’t have any issues with it. I haven’t done a lot of riflery since getting it (focusing on pistol in 2017), but it seems to be a good product. As others have said, character of some of their employees is concerning to some.

    • nova3930

      Wonder how the leverage is for actuation on both designs.

  • Henry Reed

    Or you could just buy a KAC lower, which has an ambi mag release and ambi bolt release forged into the receiver….

    • raz-0

      I have a couple of mostly ambi guns set up. I initially considered a number of ambi lowers, and then decided they were a bad idea.

      1) They are a huge price premium. But more importantly…

      2) By going with a retro-fit style solution, I’m not committed to proprietary parts. With the special lowers, if something breaks and I can’t find the magic part, I have a paper weight. With a standard layout lower and retrofit add ons, I can just go back to a less awesome set of features from widely available small parts.

      • Henry Reed

        Will someone please explain to me why everyone is so paranoid about low-stress parts breaking? It’s not a bolt lug, it’s a paddle release.

        • Vhyrus

          Have you ever had a new part or item break way before it was supposed to? If you say no you’re lying.

          • Henry Reed

            No, I haven’t, because I only buy from quality manufacturers, not bargains.

          • raz-0

            1) if it’s ambi, one of the bits that is non stock is usually the bolt catch. This receives the impact of the bolt going home every time you run a mag empty. If it’s cast and has flaws it can fail in pretty short order. I have had it happen with standard parts.

            2) “No, I haven’t, because I only buy from quality manufacturers, not bargains.”

            Well, if you buy a proprietary ambi lower, you buy from wherever the hell they buy from. You have no choice.

            3) It’s not all about breakage. If it is on the list of things you might ever take apart, simple loss is also a concern.

            4) Price. me making a lower ambi with retrofits can cost me about $70 if I wait for sales. A decent ambi lower is more than a $70 premium usually.

          • Henry Reed

            It basically boils down to whether you’re content with adding aftermarket fire control accessories, or having them built into the basic structure of the design. When something on my Knight’s lower breaks, I’ll be sure to let you know. 3,000 rounds so far and counting.

          • Joshua

            Case in point LWRC. They had a run of bad ambi bolt catches where the arm that engaged the follower was short. Ended up the supplier they use made them short. The mags would be hit and miss with gen 2 pmags (which come from the factory) and wouldn’t work with Gen 3s. A lot of people ended up having to send in their lowers to get the parts replaced. You ever take seen one of those taken apart? Granted it’s held by some beefy roll pins, but it’s not for the faint of heart to disassemble with out the proper tools.

          • bobby_b

            My two most unreliable cars were a Mercedes and a BMW.

  • Vhyrus

    Troy makes one, if you don’t mind selling your soul.

    • Blake

      Yeah but the Troy one is a wonky design.

      • Sunshine_Shooter

        Mechanically speaking, it works fine.

  • Bradley

    It says $85.45 on their website.

  • RogUinta
  • RogUinta

    Arms Unlimited makes an ambi mag catch/release part for $25. SKU on their website is AU-AMR.

  • Blake

    It kills me seeing products like this come out and knowing I’ll never be able to use them as I live in (and love) California. I was hopeful that registering my ARs as “assault weapons” would allow me to use a standard mag release, but they’ve clarified that all that allows you to do is keep using the bullet button. So depressing.

    • Joby

      Get a $10 grip wrap (or fin grip), take off the flash hider and throw a $20 magpul fixed stock on it, and make sure there isn’t a grendae launcher on it. No need to register, no need for bullet button.

  • redsr

    Norgon just came off of patent protection… Botach and Arms Unlimited are both selling sub $30 norgon copies…