The “AK” Selector Lever for the AR-15 – Five Reasons Why I Like It

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.

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.





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.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

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


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  • AZgunner

    The standard AR selector (and ambidextrous versions) is one of the most ergonomic and intuitive designs ever. This isn’t an example of trying to fix that which isn’t broken. This is an example of trying to change that which is already perfect.

    • Flounder

      Eh, some people get the texture and contour wrong. Meaning you go to manipulate the safety and it slips! I would love to see this come to market if for no other reason than having more options that are DIFFERENT than the normal. I am cool with that! I LIKE options! They make me happy. Will i buy this? probably not.

      • Jared Vynn

        If/when I get an SCR I would probably get this. Or if I do a pistol build with a fairly short barrel with that new short Pantheon Arms buffer tube so I can use my offhand to sweep the safety off before firing it one handed.

    • Preacher

      … and how many weapons did you op…oper… operated?
      If every country should give it a shot:
      Sorry – I´m German. Nothing beats HK G36. Old CATME/G3/FAL Programs were quite some good influence.

      • Dracon1201

        And yet the AR is still supreme.

      • Logic

        I guess its a joke, the G36 is heavy and unergonomic.

      • OldHand241

        Preacher, I can’t speak for AZgunner, but since I am _an_ AZ gunner, maybe I can shed some light.

        When I entered the U.S. armed forces, my service had just changed from the M1 carbine to the M16; so that was my first experience with a “military” arm. In later years, I shot the the national match course with a variety of rifles including an M1 Garand. I really like the Garand safety system used on the M1, M14 and Ruger mini-14. It requires no change in grip to release the safety and minimal change to reengage it.

        I’ve also had occasion to shoot and HK91 (and 93). They reminded me of the Townsend Whelen quote: “Only accurate rifles are interesting”.

        I fitted a commonly available ambidextrous safety onto my son’s AR15 (A4 configuration). What we promptly discovered was that the standard sized lever on the right side impinged on the trigger finger. I guess I should have discovered that shooting left-handed, except I don’t normally shoot left-handed, ’cause I don’t see all that well from my left eye. I played with the lever length and discovered that removing about 1/3 of the length was sufficient to stop the impingement and allow sufficient leverage to freely release it. Now, do we want to shorten the left side? I’m tempted to shorten the detent spring a coil or so.

        So why would I want a safety with an even longer lever? Even if it points the other way? It might be okay for a range rifle; but on a field rifle, it’s just one more darned thing to snag on stuff.

    • randomswede

      How dare people have preference?
      Today they are changing their rifles in a way they think suits them with their own money, tomorrow they’ll come force you to change your rifle to suit them!

      Since this is the internet; this post contains sarcasm and hyperbole.

    • Paul Labrador

      This is about trying to make a buck off of something that “looks cool”….

  • snmp

    Could you call it “Remington 8 style saftey” simply cause the AK safty is base on Remington model 8

  • anonymous

    Nyet! AR-15 rifle is fine!

    • I prefer the Franklin Armory binary trigger.

      • Rogertc1

        AGREE I’VE GOT THE FRANKLIN GEN 2 AND GEN 3. LOVE EM. ALSO GOT THE DOUBLE TAP TRIGGER.

  • Jared Vynn

    This would work well for where pistol grips are banned. Many of the non pistol grip offerings can make reaching the standard safety hard or impossible for your grip thumb, such as the recent hera thumb hole or not a thumb hole stock (for where even thumbholes are banned.

  • Jared Vynn

    Nathan another big pro for this safety is if you are injured or lacking normal fine motor control you can more easily disengage the safety. Say if your dominant hand is injured you could use your offhand to sweep the safety lever down against your leg to disengage it.

    • CommonSense23

      Why wouldn’t you just engage the safety as a lefty does if you are required to switch hands.

      • Jared Vynn

        Lack of fine motor control from injury, adrenaline, or lack of training.

        • Sunshine_Shooter

          If you have lost that amount of motor control, would you not also be incapable of correctly manipulating the trigger?

          • Jared Vynn

            Not necessarily, the trigger is easy to work, it’s all the other controls that can be difficult as they recquire more motor movements.

        • CommonSense23

          So all the things you just said are going to effect this safety as well. It’s not like I’m using fine motor control to use the safety as a lefty. If you don’t train any system is going to be a issue. And that applies to adrenaline also.

          • Jared Vynn

            Get a bucket full of ice water and soak your off hand and forearm for a minute or so, than try to use only it to turn the safety off while supporting the rifle without using your other hand or arm.

            Just one hand lifting and shooting a 7 lb rifle isn’t easy, but throw in stress or awkward controls and it gets even harder. It’s not as hard as trying to rack a pistol slide one handed but it isn’t too far off.

          • CommonSense23

            Yeah, thats not that hard. You are overcomplicating stuff to justify a retarded product. Also racking a pistol one handed is extremely easy.

          • Jared Vynn

            Not overcomplicating a thing. You just lack the imagination and/or experience to understand that sometimes what may seem simple can become difficult under a stressful situation.

            Can you lift, support, and disengage the safety on an ar15 with your left hand without looking or fumbling for the safety selector? Not without using your thumb I would wager, which would compromise your grip on the rifle. It would be far faster and easier to simply be able to swipe the rifle against your leg or a nearby surface to disengage the safety with a lever and not lose your shooting grip. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself, try it with a greased up hand as well, try it while running.

          • CommonSense23

            I highly doubt you have more time behind a rifle than I do. Yes I can easily lift the rifle and bring it up one handed while disengaging the safety. You are playing the what if game that is the favorite of mall ninjas.

          • Jared Vynn

            I’m calling it, you are full of it. Have a nice day, if you want to have any discussion with me please be honest in the future.

          • CommonSense23

            Calling me out for what? If you are left handed and your left hand or arm is disabled. Use your right hand like every other righty. If right handed and it’s disabled. Flick the safety off like a lefty does when grabbing the pistol grip. Its that simple. Don’t overcomplicate it.

          • Jared Vynn

            Didn’t say calling out, said calling it. Good day.

          • Jared Vynn

            And now I know you are full of it. Have a nice day, if you want a discussion please be honest in the future.

  • mechamaster

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/704f6ed7409b6e2a92e79a4ad83a7c2e7225d85161ae3b44c6100c4adbd33ab6.jpg

    Match it with AR-AK hybrid. For someone who want “AK-Style” in AR-platform.

    • Bean Guy

      Get a reciprocating side charging upper and you got an AK!

      • whamprod

        Buy a SCAR. You get a reciprocating side charging upper and a 45º safety lever throw……and a gas piston, CHF barrel, side folding stock, and sights ridiculously high over the bore……….and it’s only 3X the cost of an AK! Best of both worlds, right?

    • El Duderino

      “I like my AK, but it’s too easy to clean…”

  • The Dude (Noveske Fan)

    “If it’s fixed, break it” the creators of the ark safety

    • Gregory Markle

      The really sarcastic phrasing of this concept is: if it isn’t broken, fix it until it is.

  • furious Horde

    WHAT? … the witch hunt is on guys! get this damn commie! *grabs pitchfork*

  • DW

    I raise you 45 degree selector lever. Good day.

    • Gunn

      BINGO. Best thing since sliced bread. Especially if you have tiny manlet hands with small thumbs that struggle to reach normal safeties.

      Not that I would know anything about that, no sir.

      • noob

        Another advantage of the 45 degree throw hk style safety and the ar15 safety is the “safe” position is with the lever to the rear.
        Why does this matter?
        The earliest ar10 prototypes and the Portuguese built Sudanese contract ar10 rifles had safe in the middle, single with the lever to the forward and full auto with the lever pulled all the way to the rear – easy to take off safe and you can’t mix up the modes.

        If you are low crawling and dragging the rifle along by the forearm that selector lever has a tendency to snag on the dirt and go to the rearmost position.

        In an modern 90 degree throw ar15 or a hk 45 degree throw safety that position is safe.

        With this lever or the early ar10 it would come off safe. And then all you need is a twig in the trigger guard.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/29f22d5f7596043568489b45286ec2f4afdd223c583b03271748f122356ef6b0.jpg

        • Gunn

          Had no idea! Thanks for sharing.

  • Cal S.

    “If you can’t operate the safety on an AR, you shouldn’t be trusted with a gun!”

    Sorry, just using an AK operator’s words against them.

  • The “AK” Selector Lever for the AR-15 – Five.5 reasons why it’s a stupid idea”

    1. It solves a non existent problem.
    2. It creates another point of failure.
    3. It creates another place for to get hung up in the rifle.
    4. It’s the preferred safety of communists and whabbist terrorists.
    5. It looks dumb as hell…
    5.5 …and it’s the only part needed to make a semi auto AR15 fully automatic.

    • Ebby123

      1. I wasn’t aware preference was a problem.
      2. It has the same number of parts as any other ambi-safety.
      3. Potentially. Though saying it could happen is not the same as showing that is is likely to happen.
      4. Really? Strawman is full of straw. The AK is used across the world.
      5. Preference, though I kind of agree.
      5.5 I.. er… wut? Sarcasm I assume.
      6. AKs are better than AR-15s, hence this safety is superior in every way. *troll face*

    • Evan

      This is just the latest iteration of the recent trend of making ARs worse. Put it up there with skeletonized receivers, auto magazine ejectors, silly and flimsy rail replacements like M-Lok and KeyMod, and various other garbage they’ve been making over the last five years or so. Since nobody can think of any way to make ARs better anymore, they seem to figure that making them worse is a good substitute, and there’s always plenty of mall ninja fools to buy whatever craptacular accessory or aftermarket part they can make.

  • GI

    Taking my LEAST favorite part of the AK and adding it to my AR?

  • Evan

    No possible need for such a thing.

    • Ebby123

      No possible way you can provide data to support that statement.

      • Evan

        What data do you need? It’s taking a control that is so good it literally set the standard for virtually every rifle designed since, and discarding that to mimic one of the worst controls in the industry. This is just another part in the idiotic trend over the last five years or so to make ARs worse and hope that people will be stupid enough to buy nonsense like this just because it’s new.

        • Ebby123

          “What data do you need?”

          Empirical data that encompass all firearms users and proves none of them could, in any eventuality, find a use for this item.

          Don’t make hyperbolic statements as fact because you’re not personally titillated by a new product.

          I think what you were trying to say is “I can’t think of any use for such a thing.”

          • Zack mars

            What a great argumemt, I’m going to crate a product that mounts to a pic rail, and shines dildos because people demand it!

          • Ebby123

            He made the false statement. I just asked him to back it up. 🙂

  • DanGoodShot

    Personally, I care more about function. I could give two craps less what platform it looks like it should be on. If its ergonomic, functions great and doesn’t get all snagged up on everything and it’s an improvement over what’s already there. Then why not use it?

  • Brett

    Maybe if it was on a SCR and the other way around.

  • Darren Hruska

    Being left-handed, just hearing “ambi” gets my interest.

  • Bigg Bunyon

    Classic example of a solution in search of a problem.

  • Rich B

    Where do you buy one???

  • mazkact

    For me it would be confusing as hell. I have AR muscle memory and for other “platforms” when I grab up one of my AR’s my hands know what to do. I make sure any AR I have be it 5.56,22LR or even airsoft have the same safety that function the same way. I think muscle memory is a good thing.

  • spencer60

    I like it. I put an AK ‘style’ safety on my Scorpion Evo and it works great. This would be a lot more intuitive than the little rotating dial…

  • Bill

    This is all fine and dandy-we live in a land where you pays your money and you takes your choice. For my money (and decades of muscle memory), however, this looks like an answer to a question few people are asking.

  • Brian M

    I like it. It solves my single biggest ergonomic complaint about the AR15, and that is the awkward, fiddly safety.

  • whamprod

    Vat if AR hass thoord bangedy-bang-bang option?

  • J Bolan

    Did I miss something in all the yrs since my early 80’s entry into Army boot and many yrs in 3rd Batt? Was it just me, or does the original M16/AR15 safety lever work perfectly and in the perfect position ergonomically?

  • Paul Labrador

    Why would you replace one of the most ergonomic selector levers out there for one of the worst?

  • maodeedee

    The only reason I can think of why anyone would make a modification like this would be to make your AR look so ugly that no one would ever want to steal it.

  • Richard Lutz

    Getting sick of stupid gimmicks. Members of the unorganized US militia need to get a rifle that is as close as possible to the one used by the US Army. Namely the FN 15 Military Collector M4.

    • izhmash

      Found the FN employee lmao.

  • jeff

    Shakes head, closes article.

  • El Mac

    Pretty hard to reade article. Too much ridiculous use of the word “platform”. It’s a rifle forr fook’s sake!