Gear Review: Battle Arms Development, Inc. Ambidextrous Safety Selector (BAD-ASS)

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When I was asked to do a review of the Battle Arms Development ambidextrous safety selector for the AR15 weapons platform I was more than willing because this is a part that I have nearly three years of experience with and truly believe in!  I’ve also had several opportunities to test new levers, center axis sections, and end caps for the folks at Battle Arms Development to provide an operator’s feedback on what worked and what could be improved upon.

The Battle Arms Development Ambidextrous Safety Selector, or BAD-ASS, is a modular ambidextrous safety designed to enhance the safety system for both left and right handed shooters, while increasing the reliability of the weapon system.  There are several advantages to running a modular ambidextrous set-up.  First, the BAD-ASS will work for both left and right handed shooters.  Instead of the left handed shooter trying to adapt to a right handed set-up they can customize the safety to a true left hand configuration.  The BAD-ASS also provides a distinct advantage for all shooters when shooting from your non-dominant shooting shoulder by providing a safety selector on both sides of the lower receiver.  By providing a selector on both sides of the receiver the BAD-ASS greatly improves the shooter’s efficiency.  I found that I use my thumb to throw the selector from ‘safe’ to ‘fire’ and my index finger to go from ‘fire’ back to ‘safe’.   Finally, the system is available with 7 different lever configurations and an end cap for the shooter who may not need or want a lever on the opposite side but still appreciates the advantages of a precision made part.  It should also be noted that the end cap can always be replaced with a lever should the user decide to use the safety as a true ambi set-up.

Description:

The BAD-ASS comes with several key parts to make the system function smoothly including two or three detachable levers, depending on which version is purchased, the center axis section which joins both safety levers via Torx screws and is housed inside of the lower receiver, a Torx T10 L-key wrench, and a KNS Precision safety detent pin made of hardened stainless steel.

What makes the Battle Arms Development BAD-ASS system so different than any other safety on the market is the attention to detail in the design, its ability to be truly modular, materials used and its compatibility with aftermarket triggers!  Roger Wang and George Huang, owners of Battle Arms Development, Inc, spent nearly a year designing and developing the BAD-ASS system before releasing it to the public.  The BAD-ASS safety selectors and center axis section are precision machined from 12L14 solid bar stock & round stock steel.  They are heat treated to Rockwell Hardness of 48-52 and are finished in a Manganese Phosphate finish in matte black.  Newer versions are also available in Cerakoted Flat Dark Earth, OD Green, Foliage Green, Gun Metal Grey, and Hot Pink.

Right SideThe levers themselves come in seven different configurations but the most popular versions are the Standard Lever, Short Lever, and the Thin Lever.  My personal favorite set-up is the Standard Lever on my thumb side and the Short Lever on my opposite side.  The Standard Lever is approximately the same length as the USGI lever but provides a flat surface with aggressive diagonal grooves machined into them to provide more useable surface area.  The Short Lever is nearly half as long as the Standard Lever and also provides the same aggressive diagonal grooves.  The Thin Lever is the same length as the Standard Lever but approximately half as thick.  Each lever also has a thin, single parallel fluted section machined on the outside face portion of the lever to provide additional grip, reduce weight and also provides a perfect shallow channel for those that wish to add paint for easy identification of lever position.

The levers are easy to manipulate and provide a positive engagement even with gloves or wet hands.  This last point can be particularly important hunting.  Gloves are fantastic when the weather is cooler or when you are deep in the brush stalking hogs. However, gloves can marginalize some dexterity.  The BAD-ASS overcomes that.

Installation:

The installation of the BAD-ASS is very simple and identical to replacing the stock USGI safety.  You start by unscrewing the single screw inside of the grip.  Slowly remove the grip from the receiver, which will also relieve tension on the detent spring and safety detent.  Once the grip, detent spring, and safety detent have been removed, replace the existing USGI safety with the Battle Arms Development center safety axis.  Once the center safety axis section is installed, install the KNS safety detent, spring, and grip.  Now the levers can be installed by attaching them to the center axis by two Torx screws.  I typically use one to two drops of blue Loctite (non-permanent) on each screw.  The safety is now ready for operation.

Observations:

From two years of continued heavy use on patrol, on the range and while instructing, I have developed a strong respect for the Battle Arms Development BAD-ASS.   The Battle Arms Development ambi safety is a major improvement over the stock USGI safety.

BAD ASSThe safety is much smoother than the standard USGI safety.  The BAD-ASS is a precision CNC’d part, which has much stricter tolerances than a USGI safety that is a cast or MIM (Metal Injection Molded) part.  Yes, cast parts are cheap and fast to produce, but they are certainly not as precise as a CNC machined part nor are they made from the best metals.  With precise measurements and angles the channel is machined into the center axis section.  Upon close inspection the center axis channel is free from defects, burrs, and pits.  By providing a smooth channel for the KNS safety detent to move within the user is provided with one of the smoothest operating safeties currently available!

The levers themselves are also a contributing factor to the noticeable difference between the BAD-ASS and its competition.  There are currently seven different lever configurations available with an eighth one on the way.  The Standard Lever and the Short Lever provide excellent surface area and allow easy manipulation from position to position.  By providing a larger surface on the levers significantly increases the amount of surface area contact between fingers and levers thus providing more control.  Whether I was shooting in extremely hot conditions with sweaty hands or shooting with gloves I was able to quickly acquire the safety and easily engage from ‘safe’ to ‘fire’.

With seven different lever configurations, the user is offered almost an unlimited number of ways to achieve the perfect ambidextrous safety set-up.  No matter if you are a right or left handed shooter, have short fingers, or have thick long fingers you will find a selector set-up that far exceeds your expectations.

Conclusion:

The AR15 platform has been moving towards more ambidextrous parts for the last 2-3 years for obvious reasons.  Ambi parts mean quicker weapon manipulation for both left and right handed shooters while providing proper weapon control with either hand.  The Battle Arms Development BAD-ASS is a major improvement in the safety selector arena and has earned respect within law enforcement, military, and competitive shooter’s communities.  Whether the Battle Arms Development BAD-ASS is installed in a patrol rifle, hunting rifle, competition rifle, a rifle in theater – or even a hog hunting rifle – it is certainly a worthwhile investment into the overall reliability of the weapon system!


On the web:

Battle Arms Development:  http://www.battlearmsdevelopment.com/

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