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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 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.

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

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Battle Arms Development – Ambidextrous Safety Selector "HYBRID" Lever

I recently reviewed the BAD-ASS on Jerking the Trigger and I am very impressed with this selector. In fact, I was so impressed that I purchased the new “HYBRID” lever option. The “HYBRID” is one of 5 lever options that are available to users of the BAD-ASS.

The "HYBRID" lever is the perfect weak side lever.

The “HYBRID” lever does everything I hoped it that it would. It is the perfect combination of easy to manipulate and low-profile. The biggest issue with ambi selectors is that the lever can interfere with the trigger finger. This is more than a minor annoyance, it can actually prevent the selector from moving completely off of “Safe”. The “HYBRID” lever is designed to be slim at the end so it can slide under the shooter’s trigger finger while still being large enough on the leading edge to be easy to manipulate.

It works.

Check out the BAD-ASS on Battle Arms Development’s website.

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Review: Battle Arms Development – Ambidextrous Safety Selector (B.A.D.-A.S.S.)

We recently profiled the Battle Arms Development Ambidextrous Safety Selector (B.A.D.-A.S.S.) right here on Jerking the Trigger. At the time I was impressed by the unique concept but was apprehensive about the added complexity. The folks at Battle Arms Development were eager to prove that the BAD-ASS is good gear and provided me a sample to put through its paces.

The kit comes with 3 levers of the users choice, the cross bar/axis, 2 mounting screws, a KNS stainless selector detent, and a Torx Driver.

What is it?

The BAD-ASS is a unique ambi selector (safety) for the AR-15 and AR-10. It allows the user to customize the selector levers on both sides. At this time there are 5 different lever options to suit the individual needs of the user. The selector can be purchased with any 3 levers that the user chooses and other levers will eventually be available for purchase separately. The kit comes with 3 levers, the cross bar/axis, 2 screws, an excellent KNS stainless steel selector detent, and a Torx driver to mount the levers.

The parts are beautifully machined from bar stock (not cast like most safeties) and finished with an attractive manganese phosphate finish. The Torx screws are the perfect choice for this application. Small screws lack the material to make deep, durable slots for flat head screw drivers. They end up stripped and beveled much too easily. The Torx screws are an “internal drive” screw that pack a lot of contact area for the driver into a small space which makes them very hard to strip. This is especially important because the addition of a thread locker (like Loc-Tite) will make the screws very hard to turn.

The care that went into the design and manufacture of this selector is obvious.


Let me address my apprehensions up front. Shooters should always be cautious about adding complexity to their weapons. Every piece and part that you add is another opportunity for something to break. The BAD-ASS, like most or all ambi selectors, requires a screw to fasten the left side lever.The BAD-ASS also allows the user to customize the right side lever which requires another screw. So it requires 1 additional screw versus other ambi safety designs.

While the BAD-ASS does add some complexity, it is obvious that the designers took great care to mitigate any potential failure points. The levers have a thick lug that mates with a slot in the cross bar portion of the selector. This lug is locked into the slot with a screw. This means that all the normal rotational forces are transferred to the lug, not to the screw. This design all but eliminates the screw as a breakage point. The user should also apply a thread locker like Loc-Tite to the threads of the screws to prevent them from backing out, further mitigating a screw as a failure point. You might also consider witness marking the screw and lever with a paint pen so that any rotation is immediately apparent.

From left to right: Standard, Short, Thin, and mil-spec.

What’s the Point?

Even if a part is bullet-proof, it may not be worth adding to your rifle unless it adds significant functionality. The BAD-ASS does just that. Not only does it add the ability to operate the selector with the thumb of the weak side hand, but it can significantly enhance the ability of the strong hand thumb to operate the safety thanks to the well designed levers. The levers are what makes the BAD-ASS excellent.

Standard Lever

The lever that is most like the standard mil-spec lever is what Battle Arms Development refers to as “Standard”. This lever is as long as the mil-spec lever but wider and more squared. It, like all the levers, has shallow grooves to increase purchase. I dare you to miss or slip off this lever with your thumb.

Short Lever

One of the problems with all other ambi selectors on the market is that they abrade the trigger finger and , worse, they can actually have their movement impeded by the trigger finger. This is not a good situation. Battle Arms Development deals with this issue by offering an array of levers that are designed to stay out of the way of the trigger finger.

In addition to the “Standard” lever, my sample kit came with a “Short” and a “Thin” lever. The “Short” lever gives a wide, square target for your thumb, while the “Thin” lever gives a narrower target that slips under the trigger finger without being noticed.  Both levers are relatively easy to work with the weak side thumb. I found it easier for my comparatively clumsy left hand thumb to operate the “Short” lever but found that the “Thin” lever interfered less with my right hand trigger finger.

Thin Lever

Battle Arms Development also offers new “Short+Thin” levers and “Hybrid” levers. The “Short+Thin” is pretty self explanatory – it is short and thin. It is the lowest profile lever that they offer.It would basically be impossible for this lever to get in the way of your trigger finger. The “Hybrid” lever is a very slick design. The leading edge is wide and square like the “Short” lever but the trailing edge is thin to prevent interference with the trigger finger. It is the best of all worlds and, based on my experience with the above levers, it should be the perfect lever for your weak side. Pictures of these levers can be seen at the end of the review.

Putting it to the Test

Most AR-15 lower parts kits come with selectors that feel somewhat sloppy or mushy. I prefer my selectors to click positively into position and move freely between positions. The BAD-ASS is precision machined and comes with the hardened stainless selector detent from KNS which creates the most crisp and positive selector that you have ever felt on an AR-15. The level of precision and consistency that can be achieved by machining a part versus casting virtually guarantees that every BAD-ASS will be as crisp and positive as the one I reviewed. It really has to be felt to be believed.

I have been able to run this selector through several drills. I have found it to be the easiest to hit and most crisp selector that I have used. Many people like to constantly work the selector as they shoot from around barricades/cover. The well designed levers make it easy to activate the selector as your rock your upper body out around cover and back again. The “Standard” lever is so smooth and well shaped that it almost seems to leap out of the way on its own when you are doing snap shot drills from the low ready. The increased surface area, squared shape, and subtle texture combine to make the safety nearly impossible to miss even with gloves.

Both the “Thin” and “Short” levers do a pretty good job of staying out of the way of the trigger finger. They also provide large enough targets to ensure positive function with your less dexterous weak side thumb during weak side drills. That is really key. A weak side lever must do two things: stay out of the way of the trigger finger and be easily activated with your less dexterous hand. Both of these levers proved to be successful at this in my drills.

The “Short” works better with gloves than the “Thin” but I was surprised that even the “Thin” lever wasn’t difficult to hit with gloves.

This thing flat out rocks.

The Selector to End All Selectors

If you have ever trained on cornering or the use of cover you will know the value in being able to use your rifle with either hand. Given the fact that you may have limited or no use of your strong hand in an actual fight, it might be a good policy for every serious fighting rifle to have ambidextrous selectors. If you can see that wisdom in that, then the BAD-ASS is definitely for you. The clever design, quality construction, customization potential, and increased functionality of the BAD-ASS help to mitigate any additional complexity. The BAD-ASS is attractive and functional. It might just be the selector to end all selectors.

You can check out and purchase the Ambidextrous Safety Selector on the Battle Arms Development website.

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