More than any other firearm, the AR-15 platform often finds itself heavily accessorized. In fact, it’s regularly referred to as a “Barbie doll for men.” While my play time with dolls was generally more about coming up with increasingly better parachute designs to float them downstairs from the second floor and less about the dolls themselves, I admit I enjoy customizing an AR-15 now and again. Right around Christmas time last year I picked up this Strike Industries Ultimate Selector Switches kit and have been playing with it ever since. It’s probably high time for a review. . .
For $39.95 you’ll receive 10 selector switches of various sizes and shapes, in one of three colors (black, gray, FDE, although FDE is actually $10 less at the moment), a heat-treated steel safety bar, two end bolts, and maybe a hex wrench. It’s an ambi safety bar, and any of the switches will mount to either side. Put one on each side, or leave a side empty.
The switches themselves are made of nylon reinforced polymer. Obviously the strength of these was my primary concern, but in normal use over a long enough amount of time to make a human being from scratch — well, with the help of a partner — and a few thousand rounds through a single one of the switches I haven’t experienced a hiccup of any sort.
Obviously, the first thing I tried to do was break one of the switches. I chose the “knobbie medium” since it’s as thin as they get and I also wasn’t particularly interested in actually using it. I could get the polymer to flex a little, but that was it. It’s extremely strong.
Granted, the weak point is going to be the connection between switch and safety bar. A bar on the switch indexes into a slot on the safety bar, and they’re held together with a bolt. Maybe with a hammer or something I could get this to strip, but I couldn’t do it by hand.
Still, not sure I’d take this into battle but I’d gladly run it — continue running it, that is — on an AR for target shooting, hunting, competition, etc.
I’ve been running the “knobbie long” on my thumb side, as it allows me to rest my thumb on top of the knobbie part sort of like riding the safety on a 1911 or my CZ SP-01. I’m used to that feel and I like it.
The safety is easily reengaged by just pulling back on the front of the knob with my thumb.
A unique feature of the double-sided switches is that you can engage the safety by pushing the top of the switch forwards instead of trying to pull up on the bottom of it. It’s definitely easy to do, but I haven’t run those enough to say whether or not I like or prefer that method.
I’ve traditionally avoided and removed most ambi safeties, as many of them contact my trigger finger while firing, which is an annoyance. Well, the “short thick” switch does no such thing while also allowing easy safety reengagement with my trigger finger, plus operation from the right side for lefties or for other-shoulder shooting practice.
I’m still using the standard, 90° throw safety bar that came with the kit, but Strike Industries’ 45°/60° combo bar also works with these switches and is sold separately for $13.94. Nothing special about the bar itself, really. It operates as smoothly and as crisply as any.
You gotta love options! For $40, the Ultimate Selector Switches kit sure gives you a lot of ’em, and for $14 more you’re now able to switch between 90°, 60°, and 45° throws. Ten switches, one side or both sides, and three colors is a lot of accessorizing! Oh and they work really well, too.
Specifications: Strike Industries Ultimate Selector Switches (copy-paste from SI website)
– 1 x Extended Long Push Switch / Length: 1.6”Width: 0.31” Thickness: 0.24”
– 1 x Extended Short Push Switch / Length: 1.32”Width: 0.31” Thickness: 0.24”
– 1 xHigh Profile Standard Switch / Length: 1.10” Width: 0.31” Thickness: 0.24”
– 1 xLow Profile Standard Switch / Length: 1.10”Width: 0.31” Thickness: 0.18”
– 1 xHigh Profile Short Switch / Length: 0.81”Width: 0.31”Thickness: 0.24”
– 1 xLow Profile Short Switch / Length: 0.81”Width: 0.31”Thickness: 0.18”
– 1 xLong Knobbies Switch / Length: 1.10”Width: 0.30”Thickness: 0.26”
– 1 x Medium Knobbies Switch / Length: 1.10”Width: 0.31”Thickness: 0.34”
– 1 x Short Knobbies Switch / Length: 0.85”Width: 0.30”Thickness: 0.26”
– 1 x End Cap / Length: 0.47”Width: 0.46”Thickness: 0.14”
– Ten different polymer switch options
– Machined, heat-treated safety bar
– Completely customizable to your needs
– U Groove inside fluting for high visibility paint
– Extremely light weight
– Round edges for comfort and smooth manipulation.
Ratings (out of five stars):
Overall: * * * *
I dig options, customizing, and functionality, and this kit hits in all of those categories plus a lot of the switches look pretty cool and/or can be used in a novel way. No real complaints, other than my own reservations about them being polymer despite their demonstrable strength. SI’s website does say they can become weak in extreme cold environments and that you should only use your finger to operate the switches, as they aren’t rated for hard impact. Of course, were they aluminum or steel the kit wouldn’t be under $40.
 In the interest of being as thorough as possible, I tossed the previously-abused switch into the chest freezer to chill out at -12º F overnight…
Then snatched it out and immediately tried to break it. I could no longer flex it at all, either between my thumbs or pressing it down on the edge of a counter, but there’s no way on earth I could break it by hand. I smacked it with the infrared thermometer a bit but got worried about damaging the thermometer. So, into a bench vice it went, and it broke on the second thwack from a hammer. I remain impressed. An aluminum one would have broken with similar effort.