Review: Battle Arms Development – Ambi Safety Selector – Short Throw

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 rotates only 45 degrees to "fire".

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.

The "safe" position remains the same as with any other selector.

Expected Improvement

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.

Unexpected Improvements

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.

The ability to "ride" the selector is a welcome ergonomic improvement.

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.

The index finger can easily move the selector to "safe" as it moves away from the trigger.


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


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.

You can order your own BAD-ASS-ST from the Battle Arms Development website.

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6 Responses to Review: Battle Arms Development – Ambi Safety Selector – Short Throw

  1. Joe F November 29, 2010 at 18:18 #

    Great review. I’m sold! I’ll have to pick one up and try it out.

  2. Justin Jangraw November 29, 2010 at 18:49 #

    Great review. Once again you’ve led us to a new product line. We’ve contacted BAD and will hopefully have this up in front of our customers shortly!

    Thanks again

    • matthewdanger November 29, 2010 at 22:42 #

      That is great news Justin. is getting better all the time!

  3. Roger Wang November 29, 2010 at 22:06 #

    Thank you Matt, as usual, your eloquence and the depth of the review put our own statement to shame 🙂

    I would take the opportunity to say that the 45 degree short throw isn’t for everyone. The speed at which it can be manipulated is one of its best features, ironically, it’s also one of the oft-cited feature to pay a great deal of attention to. Often, for folks that have been trained on the conventional 90 degree selector, the 45 degree short throw is so fast that the weapon is ready before the shooters THINK it is. This is mostly a training issue. When we pick up an FN FAL, HK 9x, HK G36, SCAR, or XCR with short throw selectors, we don’t have to adjust. But when the same short throw selector is on an AR, it seems odd.

    We believe a short throw selector is much more ergonomically sound, this is evidenced by many existing European and newer US platforms, it is definitely not new, and we do not take credit for the short throw selector.

    In time, we may see a general movement for the AR platform in that direction. Not only in modularity and versatility, but also in ergonomics, whether you’re right or left handed.

    Thank you Matt.

    • matthewdanger November 29, 2010 at 22:44 #

      Thanks for providing the BAD-ASS-ST for review and for dropping by Roger!


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