Radian Weapons Talon: Small Upgrades = Big Changes

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Radian Talon safety/control group upgrade

Small changes can make for big improvements. Seemingly minor additions or modifications to a shooter’s weapon often make a difference out of small proportion to their size. Such is the case from the Radian Talon.

The Radian Talon safety/control group upgrade is just one of several options available from Radian Weapons.

The Radian Talon safety/control group upgrade is just one of several options available from Radian Weapons.

This article is from October of 2018.

The Radian Weapons Talon Safety is a small, futuristic replacement for the AR-15’s safety lever. It really does do wonders for both left-handed shooters and those who’re just looking to make their weapon manipulation a little faster.

Before getting into the details, first a short explanation of how to install the RWS Talon to your favorite black rifle.

Radian Talon Installation

First, unload and clear your rifle, then separate the two receiver halves.

Remove the plunger and factory safety as shown in the first image, above.

Both the Talon ambi safety and the original OEM one are held in place by a spring-loaded plunger that is captured inside the pistol grip. This means gun owners making the upgrade will have to first remove their pistol grip before removing or installing their replacement safety.

Radian Talon Installation: First, remove the pistol grip, and be careful to make sure you don't lose the retention spring.

First, remove the pistol grip, and be careful to make sure you don’t lose the retention spring.

Once the grip is removed, one should replace the original spring and plunger with the included ones in the kit. The Talon Safety will slide right in. After the Talon safety is inserted into the lower receiver, replace the pistol grip. Be sure to line up the safety spring.

At this point, the Talon lacks any levers and can’t be manipulated yet.

Four safety levers of Radian Talon, safety axis separated.

Four safety levers of Radian Talon, safety axis separated.

Decisions, decisions

So in this case, we have four separate levers to choose from. Two long, one medium, and one short. The long levers are roughly the same size as factory ones.

These levers are secured by spring-loaded plungers just the axis they pivot on. The plunger is under a great deal of tension, so Radian Weapons includes a special tool for depressing the plunger.

Radian Talon tool for depressing safety retention plunger.

Radian Weapons includes a special tool for depressing the safety’s retention plunger. Once the plunger is pressed in, simply slide whichever lever you want onto the safety axis and you’re good to go.

Radian Talon installation: A small spring-loaded plunger holds the various levers of the Radian Talon in place.

A small spring-loaded plunger holds the various levers of the Radian Talon in place.

This is where the Radian Talon gets really interesting. Shooters can change the throw distance from the standard 90 degrees to 45. Just loosen the pistol grip screw enough to take tension off the safety. Then, rotate it 180 degrees and do the same for each safety lever.

It’s deceptively complex, yet still reliable. More importantly, it means shooters can change their setup to fit their current loadout.

Live-fire Testing

In testing, shooters with small-sized hands struggled to actuate the small and medium safeties without shifting their firing grip. Shooters with either medium or large-sized hands had no problems with the small or medium, but some found the large lever impeded their trigger finger when the gun was on safe.

Installing the 'small' lever on the right side of your AR-15 is ideal for medium and large-handed shooters.

Installing the ‘small’ lever on the right side of your AR-15 is ideal for medium and large-handed shooters.

Personally, the perfect setup for me is the large lever on the left side of the gun, and the small on the right. This strikes the perfect balance of usability and unobtrusiveness.

Radian-Talon - The large lever is very close in size to the original.

The large lever is very close in size to the original.

I determined this with just the lower in my hand flipping the safety on and off while rewatching Black Hawk Down. Two observations: After 20 minutes of use you’ll start to get blisters, and after five minutes of flipping the lever, your wife will leave the room because she can’t hear the movie.

Overall, the Radian Weapons Talon Ambi Safety is a solid replacement for the factory lever. It’s not cheap, but it’s very well made and damn comfortable. I especially like the 45-degree throw combined with a long/short levers

The Ronin Operator 4.25" sports a retro two-tone finish, with forged alloy frame that helps reduce overall weight.

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Jim is a freelance writer for dozens of firearm publications, the host of the YouTube channel Burst Review and the youngest author to write a cover story for Shotgun News in its 86-years of operation. Jim loves anything that goes, ‘boom’ but particularly enjoys military firearms from the Cold War and WW2. When he’s not slinging lead downrange he can be round hiking in the mountains with his wife Kim and their vicious attack dog, Peanut.

  • Archangel

    Doesn’t look useful for those of us with binary triggers in our ARs – those use 3-point selectors (safe, fire, binary fire)