3 Safety Designs on Rifles: Pros and Cons of Each

Aug 24, 2022

There are a variety of rifle safeties available on the market, each with its own unique function, advantages, and disadvantages. The three most popular are the 45-degree, the 90-degree, and the ambidextrous.

Rifles are typically designed with one of these three options:


45-degree safeties are the most popular type of safety for rifles. Often seen on AR-15-style firearms, this is a popular option for those who want easy access to their weapon while also having some level of protection.

Pros: 45-degree safeties are very easy to engage and disengage, even when you are wearing gloves. This single-sided safety is easier to reach and operate in comparison to the ambidextrous option.

Cons: Some people feel that these do not provide enough protection from accidental discharge simply because they provide less coverage than other types of safeties, such as its 90-degree competitor. Another con is that it can be less convenient for left-handed shooters.


These safeties are less common, but they offer a higher level of protection. These can be engaged and disengaged by flipping a switch or lever located on the side of the gun. This type is often used on rifles and other firearms that are designed for hunting or self-defense.

An advantage of using a 90-degree safety is that they provide a good level of protection against unintentional discharge. They are less likely to accidentally engage than other types such as the 45-degree. Since they provide a higher level of protection than 45s, they are a more valuable and even more reliable safety that will help to prevent accidents and injuries.

A disadvantage is that the 90-degree can be more difficult to engage and disengage, especially when wearing gloves, which shooters often do.

Ambidextrous (Ambi)

As the name suggests, this type of safety can be operated from either side of the rifle, making it ideal for left-handed shooters or those who want extra versatility. Ambi options are becoming more popular as they allow left-handed shooters to operate the rifle without having to contort their finger around the trigger guard.

There are several advantages to using an ambidextrous safety. This type can be engaged and disengaged with either hand, which can be helpful for left-handed shooters. On the other hand (literally), if you are right-handed, it can be helpful if you are ever in a situation where you need to shoot with your non-dominant hand.

One downside of the ambidextrous option is that they can sometimes be more difficult to operate than a single-sided safety. This is especially true for those who are not accustomed to using or installing them.

Overall, however, ambidextrous safeties offer many benefits and can be a great option for gun owners who want the flexibility to operate their firearm with either hand. Ambis can come in both the 45-degree and 90-degree options, so there are still choices you can make for your preferred level of protection.

So, which should you choose?

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing the right rifle safety, but here are a few things to consider when deciding which angle is best for your rifle safety.

The first is the position of your firing hand. If your firing hand is in the same position as it would be if you were holding a pistol, then a 45-degree safety will likely be the best option. This allows for a more natural grip and makes it easier to manipulate.

If your firing hand is in a different position, such as when you are using a scope, then a 90-degree safety may be a better choice. This keeps your finger further away from the trigger and prevents accidental discharge.

Finally, ambi safeties can be either 45 or 90 degrees, depending on how they are installed. These allow you to use the safety with either hand, which can be helpful if you are left-handed or if you need to quickly switch between shooting positions.

Whatever your safety needs are, you can visit our Build Your Own Rifle page and select the one that will best suit your custom build. You can also call us at (360) 559-6210 for more information.