In what perhaps many fanboys of the two platforms are viewing as the ultimate sacrilege, photos of a proposed design incorporating an AK-style safety onto an AR-15 have been setting the forums ablaze with voices of dissent the loudest while those of reason are largely ignored due to the passions aroused.
I, however, like the idea and concept. And before the pitchforks and torches are brought out again, hear me out.
First, and I think most importantly, is that I do not look at this as an AK part on the AR. Instead, my perspective is looking at the design as being AK inspired and to be evaluated on its merits of function – not derided immediately for its sacrilegious fusion of the two platforms. So, to back it up, I have outlined the reasons I like it below.
Its not an AK safety – its an AK STYLE safety
This bears only a passing resemblance to a true AK safety. A true AK style safety would require the hand to come off the grip, this does not. Instead, especially in the ambi form, it uses the thumb or the trigger finger to rotate the drum, not requiring the hand to come off the grip. As such, its only in the forward pivoting drop-down style, not a true emulation (which I would agree should be derided).
Instead, this is similar to many well-liked aftermarket designs like the “AK Style” selector available for the Scorpion. These are extremely quick to disengage and harder to engage – things I want in a safety. Its ergonomic.
While the AK’s safety selector is arguably not ergonomic, one really only needs to grab the Krebs improved version to see how adding a little ledge can make the system entirely more usable. The renderings proposed use this ledge style to make the safety easy to flick downward with the engagement point being far away from the pivot – meaning more leverage.
It does not interfere with a firing grip, even in ambidextrous form.
90-degree AR-15 ambidextrous safety/selectors are notoriously uncomfortable with the long levers sticking down and interfering with a good firing grip. At the least, they are uncomfortable for the firing finger. While various angled options “solve” this, its still a problem.
It Matches The Same Movement with Many Common Handgun Safeties
Perhaps the most effective and respected style of manual safety is that found on the 1911 and further derivative designs. By using the thumbs downward motion, one easily flicks off the safety while getting a good firing grip on the platform and further can use the safety itself as a ledge to help control recoil.
By moving the interface point forward of the pivot point, this design roughly approximates this and rather than having to move the thumb up and rotate something around, the shooter just clicks this down.
It Offers Multiple Modes of Engagement & Disengagement
The “standard” AR-15 safety is typically only engaged and disengaged one way – rotation of the firing hand thumb. This works and its consistent, but I like the possibility of having two ways of manipulating a safety, one that uses the firing hand thumb like a 1911 and the other being the firing hand trigger finger pulling the safety downwards. The shooter can pick the fastest method that makes the most sense for them.
Bottom Line: I LIke It
There are features to both the AR and AK that are “superior” to one another depending on the perspective. In this case, I contend the product does an excellent job fusing the two and improving upon the base performance of the mil-spec parts.
I, for one, would be happy to test it and see if it meets the claims. I hope (and believe) it does, but will also be the first one to admit I was wrong.