The previously reviewed Battle Arms Development – Ambidextrous Safety Selector (BAD-ASS) was an evolutionary step for the AR-15 selector. It set the standard for quality and functionality that we expect from a selector. Now, with the addition of the Battle Arms Development – Ambidextrous Safety Selector – Short Throw (BAD-ASS-ST), that evolution is being taken a step further.
The BAD-ASS-ST is a safety/selector for the AR family of weapons. It uses the same excellent modular levers as the original BAD-ASS, the same bullet proof materials, the same precision manufacturing, and the same high quality finish. However, it has one small but very significant difference from the BAD-ASS and every other semi-auto selector on the market – it only travels 45 degrees between “safe” and “fire”. Most, if not all, other semi-auto selectors travel 90 degrees. So how much difference can 45 degrees really make? Plenty, but more on that later.
The BAD-ASS-ST exhibits the same ultra crisp action that the original BAD-ASS possesses. The precision machining and the stainless steel KNS safety detent that is included with the BAD-ASS and BAD-ASS-ST really serve to clean up the feel of the selector. This crisp feel is very noticeable, especially if you are used to a spongy cast selector.
Battle Arms Development recommends that the BAD-ASS-ST be used with two SHORT levers. The length of the standard lever is only necessary to aid in keeping contact with the thumb through the longer 90 degree arc. This extra length isn’t needed with the short 45 degree arc so the short lever works quite well. The BAD-ASS-ST that I was provided came with these short levers.
I knew the short throw selector was going to be faster. It has to be because it only travels half the distance of a normal selector. What I didn’t know was how much it would change how I interact with the selector and even hold the carbine. Sure, it is faster but just how much faster would be difficult to measure. It certainly feels faster but feelings can be deceiving.
Surprisingly, at least to me, it wasn’t the speed of the selector that has endeared me to it. The selector does two things that no other selector can due to it’s short throw. It allows you to easily rest your thumb on the selector switch and it makes moving the selector to the save position faster and easier. Let’s look at both of these in some depth.
1911 shooters will probably take to resting their thumb on the selector very quickly. I find to it be an excellent way to make sure that you always know the position of the selector. The thumb stays in place even while shooting thanks to the excellent texture. The thumb feels natural in this position and is immediately ready to operate the selector should the need arise. It feels so natural that, after having spent so much time with the BAD-ASS-ST for this review, it felt very strange to not able to rest my thumb on my other selectors.
You must move a standard 90 degree selector backwards and then up in an arc in order to move from “fire” to “safe”. The 45 degree BAD-ASS-ST eliminates one of these motions. The user needs only to press up with the side of their trigger finger to move the selector to “safe”. It is lightning fast. The selector can be snapped to “fire” and then back to “safe” faster than any other selector that I have used. In fact, you can move the selector into the safe position as you take your finger out of the trigger guard in one intuitive motion. This is a phenomenal improvement.
These two improvements, along with the perceived gain in speed, contribute to a selector that feels more natural, intuitive, and more efficient.
It should be noted that this selector is designed for use with a properly marked lower receiver. The markings on a standard lower receiver will not align with the positions of the BAD-ASS-ST. It has a stainless steel pin installed that prevents it from being installed in a normal lower receiver. Battle Arms Development does not recommend modifying the BAD-ASS-ST to work in standard lower receivers and completing this modification will void the warranty. Lowers made specifically for the BAD-ASS-ST will be available soon from Spike’s Tactical. You can read more about the liability issues surrounding the BAD-ASS-ST in the Battle Arms Development Industry Forum on AR15.com.
I was expecting the BAD-ASS-ST to feel faster. I was caught off guard by how it improved the ergonomics of the grip and efficiency of the selector movements. It is so intuitive that my other ARs that do not have BAD-ASS-STs installed now feel strange. If that isn’t a mark of a well designed product, I don’t know what is.