You may have noticed that more manufacturers are slowly starting to offer ambidextrous controls on their firearms. Whether we’re talking about rifles, pistols, or shotguns, I believe ambidextrous controls are a great feature to have.

If you’re right-handed, you may be wondering why you’d want or need ambidextrous controls. After all, the majority of firearms are designed with right-handers in mind, correct?

Even though that is true, there are a few solid reasons why you should consider an ambidextrous build.

ambidextrous safety

Notice the ambidextrous safety which makes it easier to manipulate for left-handed shooters. Source: quora

Common Controls

To help you better understand what exactly I’m referring to, here’s a quick breakdown of the most common ambidextrous controls by firearm platform: 

Rifles: safeties, magazine releases, and charging handles

Pistols: safeties, magazine releases, and slide stops/releases

Shotguns: safeties

Injury & Accessibility

For those of us who are not in law enforcement or the military, the thought of being injured in a defensive scenario and still having to use our firearm may not cross our minds often. Not many people expect to find themselves in a firefight while injured.

man with handgun

You need to be prepared in case a zombie bites your strong arm! Source: businessinsider

Unfortunately, if you do find yourself in just that type of situation and your dominant hand or arm is incapable of performing, you’ll have to be able to use your weak side. That means if you’re right-handed, you need to be able to shoot left-handed and vice versa. 

Having your respective controls accessible from either side of the firearm allows you to have a leg up in what will likely be an already very difficult situation. 

Preparing for something like this brings me to my next point.

Training (Yourself & Others)

Having those ambidextrous controls allows you to train from both sides. You don’t want to find yourself in a potentially dangerous situation and be using your weak side for the first time. 

You need to get out and train to stay prepared for whatever may come your way.


You may not always have an entire training class who is right-handed. Source: dallassnipertraining

In addition to your own training, having ambidextrous controls gives you the ability to train other people without worry. Is your best friend left-handed while you’re right-handed? No problem, you can both shoot your firearm with ease. 

Simply having a firearm won’t protect you; you need to get out and train with it

My Top Recommendations

If you do a simple Google search for something like “ambidextrous charging handle” or “ambidextrous mag release,” you’re going to find yourself sifting through a sea of results. 

While there are many great options out there, I’ve been lucky enough to test out a ton of them. I want to provide you with my top recommendations in an effort to save you some time and to provide a starting point for your search. 

Of course, what makes a product ideal for me may be different than it would for you, so I always recommend doing your own research and testing as well. 

Charging Handles

Whenever anyone asks me which charging handles I would recommend, two instantly come to mind: the Radian Raptor and Aero BREACH.

radian raptor charging handle ar15
Radian Weapons Raptor AR-15 5.56 Ambidextrous Charging Handle
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There are several Raptor variations, so whether you need a lightweight one, a heavy-duty one, or one optimized for suppressed rifles, you’re covered. You can also find them in your favorite color finishes, such as FDE and OD Green.

Ambidextrous Controls

Having so many color options makes it hard to choose just one! Source: radianweapons

The BREACH has fewer models, but you can order them with small or large levers and in several color options, such as Kodiak Brown and OD Green.


There is absolutely no shortage of awesome ambidextrous safeties on the market for your AR-15. I have three that I find myself switching between, with no true favorite: 

  • Armaspec SFT45/90
  • Radian Talon 45/90
  • Strike Industries Flip Switch

You really can’t go wrong with any of them and they are all typically able to be found under $60.

Armaspec’s safety selector

Armaspec’s safety selector features deep grooves for maximum grip. Source: armaspec

Since so many handguns come without manual safeties and are more model-specific for aftermarket parts, this component is one where you’ll have to do more digging to find the exact one for your configuration or to see if there is even one available.

Magazine Releases

Here we’ll have to differentiate between ARs and handguns.  

For your AR-15, I highly recommend the CMMG Zeroed extended and ambidextrous magazine release. Its high-quality steel construction and extended surface area with aggressive serrations make it durable and very easy to manipulate in any condition. 

Ambidextrous magazine releases for handguns are not as common as they are for AR-15s, but there are many reversible and extended options. If you’re looking to upgrade your pistol’s magazine release, consider checking out Tyrant CNC or Hyve Technologies. Whether you’re looking for your favorite Glock or M&P magazine releases, both companies will have you covered and offer a ton of color options.

Tyrant CNC

The Tyrant CNC mag releases also have a unique texture pattern. Source: wingtactical

Final Thoughts

Regardless of whether your firearm comes with ambidextrous controls or if you have to add them after the fact, they can play an important role in your proficiency with your firearm and can help prepare you to best defend yourself. 

While all of these components are very easy to swap out yourself, if you feel uncomfortable doing so, contact your local gunsmith for help. It’s better to be safe than sorry. 

As always, stay safe, train hard, and have fun.