Gear review: The AXTS Talon Ambidextrous 45/90 Safety Selector
Nathan “Mad Duo Nate” Murr
AXTS Weapon Systems is perhaps best known for the Raptor Ambidextrous AR-15 charging handles. However, they also make and sell a selection of other parts that are designed to be an improvement over that part’s original design. One such product is the Talon 45/90 ambidextrous safety.
The Talon was designed to allow the shooter to easily switch from a 90 degree safety throw to a 45 degree short throw. This is an attractive option to competition shooters and those looking for an edge in speed without sacrificing safety. The Talon is easily installed by removing the factory safety selector and small parts such as the detent and spring. The Talon comes as a complete kit, requiring you to use the AXTS spring and detent for proper function. This is actually a bonus for dudes that like to build their own AR-15s from the ground up. The Talon installs easily into your lower receiver, with its main “drum” dropping into the safety selector hole. Both sides of the drum feature a dovetail, which the selector levers themselves slip onto. The drum can rotate so that it aligns for 45° travel, or 90° travel during the initial install, or can easily be adjusted later. This can even be accomplished in the field, without removing the safety from the lower.
Perhaps the best feature of the Talon is that it’s a screw-less design. There are no ridiculously small Allen head screws or wrenches to strip, fall out, or fail. The safety levers are each retained via their own spring and locking detent, which facilitates locking the levers onto the drum. This is easy to do with the supplied wire tool, but if it goes missing you can use a small punch, nail or paperclip. For those that wish to use the AXTS Talon on duty or defensive weapons, you won’t have to worry about the levers coming loose or falling off. The Talon comes as a two-lever kit, or as a full kit with different sized levers. They are made in made in Oregon from 7075 aluminum, and have a selection of different finishes to color match your favorite gun.
Initially I was hesitant to use a short throw or fully ambi safety, primarily because of the design flaws mentioned earlier. I think it’s stupid to compromise the way your finger engages the trigger by hooking awkwardly around a safety that is likely to be rarely used. But the smaller sized levers didn’t interfere with my primary shooting hand or how I engage the trigger, which makes me enjoy the benefit of an ambi safety.
Shooting support side, the smaller levers are still easy to engage and only slightly obtrusive to finger placement on the trigger. If one wishes, they can purchase additional levers to have two of the same sized levers on their gun, or to fine tune their setup to their particular shooting grip. The thing that has surprised me the most, was how much I liked the short throw mode of this safety. For a long time I thought short throw safeties are a gimmick, or not worth the money. Having used the Talon primarily in this mode, my opinion on the matter changed. The “sooner rather than faster” approach to things applies well to disengaging your safety on presentation, and it actually feels more smooth with the short throw. It makes sense, as the less distance it takes to move something, the faster it is to accomplish the task. Another aspect is the size and shape of the lever themselves. The design allows for an easier purchase with your thumb or trigger finger, with or without gloves.
The swing of the lever being disengaged is smooth, fast and easy, and is nearly idiot proof.
Lastly, the Talon design allows for future improvements if desired. You could buy a larger lever and cut it down to a custom shape if needed, or a custom lever could be easily fabricated by a local machine shop. Overall, I Iike the AXTS Talon. It now lives on my primary carbine, and will likely stay there. The downside? Sometimes the small things are the most expensive. The standard kit has a price tag higher than a stripped lower receiver right now. But considering the precision, quality and strength of the unit, its understandable for a US made product. You can find the Talon Here on the AXTS website, or from many big dealers online.
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About the Author: Nathan “Mad Duo Nate” is a former USMC Sergeant who is now a nasty civilian. He lives largely on nicotine, whiskey and hate and can be frequently found orating Kipling poems to frightened hipsters. Inventor of the Gripstop, renowned procrastinator and renowned adventure protagonist, Murr is a graduate of the Camp Lejeune School for Wayward Boys. A combat veteran of multiple tours in Iraq and Africa, he was a Marine NCO, Infantry Platoon Sergeant and Scout Sniper team leader. Murr is a fully qualified American Jedi, handsome badass and world-renowned field barista (true story – he’s brewed great coffee on at least four continents). As anyone who has spent any time talking gear with him, Murr is something of an idiot savant when it comes finger-fucking stuff to make it work better. Mad Duo Nate only chain smokes when he’s drinking and only drinks every day. We reckon he is probably best described as a sociopathic philosopher with vestigial cutthroat (though poetic) tendencies. Thus far Murr’s writing has appeared in such places as here on Breach-Bang-Clear, on Military.com, in field shitters and portajohns on at least 3 continents, in RECOIL Magazine and of course Penthouse letters. (Grunts: vestigial) You can contact him at Nate(at)breachbangclear.com or follow him on Instagram @gripstop.
I’ve been using the TALON’s for a year and also own a set of the other brands. I personally find the AXTS TALON’s easier to manipulate and install. Currently in use with a Geissele Trigger. Eric A. provided customer service personally.
I love these safeties and after my HORRID experience with Battle Arms’ customer service department, I love them even more. They are fairly local to the Portland OR area which is a huge plus.
I like the modularity, the easier of install, the smoothness of actuation and no screws to install or lose and no corny levers. They just work.
I’ve used them with CMC, Timney, Mil Spec, MEGA Arms, ALG and several others with no issues.
These folks are ahead of the curve when it comes to design and that’s one of the many reasons I will support them!
Love the Talons and have 3 sets. If you call them, they will switch out one of your levers for free if you send it to them (i.e. exchange your short one for a long one so you can have 2).
I did have an issue with a set not working with a 2 stage Geissele SDC trigger (barrel groove wasn’t deep enough to let the trigger get pulled enough to let the sear release). I was only in one of my lowers so It may just have been tolerance stacking coming into play. Either way, 10 min with a file deepened the barrel groove enough to make it shoot flawlessly, and now that gun has the least over travel of any of my AR’s.
Good word on the podcasts too Nate!