In this fifth installment of this series on updating the AK, I will be looking at selector switches. While these may seem insignificant at first, there is actually a significant ergonomic advantage to be gained here.
The standard AK selector is a thin lever that rides flat against the receiver. It is moved up for “safe” and down for “fire”. The biggest issue with it is that the user usually can not maintain a firing grip while operating it. One method of operation requires the user to keep their thumb hooked on the grip while their other four fingers sweep the selector downward. Another technique has the user carry the AK with their weapon hand (strong hand) on the magazine and their thumb resting on the selector, the thumb is used to sweep the selector down and then the hand is moved to the grip.
The two above techniques may work and they may be “traditional,” but they are not efficient. I prefer to use an enhanced selector switch that has a small extension on it for use with the index finger on my right hand. This allows me to maintain a firing grip while operating the selector.
It is good practice to run your finger straight against the receiver to avoid accidentally contacting the trigger. These upgraded selector levers allow me to do that and naturally sweep the selector to “fire” in the same motion as I would normally use to move to the trigger. When it is time to “safe” the AK, the same motion in reverse works to move the selector to the “safe” position and get my finger off the trigger.
The best upgraded selector that I have used is the SWIFT Lever by Blackjack Buffers but they are no longer manufactured. It used a relatively long tab with a 90 degree bend and works very well in both directions (up and down). You may be able to find them on the secondary market. Now I use the Kreb’s Custom Enhanced Selector Lever. It is nearly as good as the SWIFT Lever (and that is saying a lot).
I consider one of these selector levers a must for any AK. The ergonomic and efficiency gains cannot be ignored.
I think the “Bump Safe” from Dublin AK Systems shows promise. In case you haven’t heard of it, it features a lever that sits behind the pistol grip. When on safe, sits midway down the grip. When the grip is grabbed properly, the top of the hand pushes the lever flush against the bottom of the receiver, putting the weapon on fire. It also features a lip on the left side that allows the user to pull the lever down when removing their grip from the rifle.
It looks really innovative and intuitive. The only real drawback that I see is that you can’t have your hand on the pistol grip while it’s on safe.
I will check that out. Thanks Trevor.