Short barrel + long muzzle brake?


July 22, 2007, 10:54 PM

I see AR's advertised with a 13 inch barrel and a 3 inch muzzle brake, or some other such dimensions, but I can't figure out the logic. A short barrel does not perform as accurately, so aside from the notion that one has a short barrel without needing a tax stamp, is there any reason to do so?

I'm not trying to be a jerk, but I really don't understand, and I would like someone to explain it to me. Thanks.

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July 22, 2007, 11:27 PM
The 13" barrel is lighter and easier handling than a 16" barrel even with the 3" of brake on the end since the brake is lighter than 3" of barrel would be. Of course it still looks dorky.

July 23, 2007, 12:22 AM
I actually saw one like that at the range - though it was 11.5 barrel" + 4.5 brake"
It also sported a bipod and a 4x scope - though with a drop of about 2" at 25 yards I could hardly see it as a long-range weapon, not even talking about the low energy.
I could not see it as a short-range one either, with all the extra weight and muzzle blast and scope obscuring the view... :rolleyes:

On the other hand, as a toy it was great fun - at least the owner seemed to have a good time with it.


July 23, 2007, 03:00 AM
The short barreled AR is a great home defense weapon that is overlooked quite frequently. It is easier for most people to shoot than a pistol and with the extra sight radius it is usually more accurate. I agree that a short barrel is not the way to go for a varmint rig but to each his own.

July 23, 2007, 03:48 AM
Quicktime, you missed the point of his post. A 16" barrel, or a 11.5" barrel with 5.5" muzzle break is the same lenght.

Anyhow, it's generally tthwe easy way to get a BR type look without going NFA. SOme 11.5's with teh 5.5 moderators are meant to duplicate the XM177 type rifle.

July 23, 2007, 10:59 AM
I think it is a bit backwards as well. I know some of you guys say it is a weight thing, but that couple inches of barrel weights alot less than most of the "options" most guys put on those carbines. I love a good AR but less than 16" barrel you are giving up too much velocity and energy for my taste. Plus AR's cost too much money to basically make it a 100 yrd or less gun by going with short barrel. To each thier own, but that is my $0.02

July 23, 2007, 11:06 AM
A lot of people think they look more cool, as the long section of barrel past the front sight base kinda looks dorky. But you are right, the overall is the same. When I was younger I thought this as well, and had one with a long flashider and short barrel, but have gotten away from that now. Looks aside, the 5.56mm round needs a certain amount of velocity to have the terminal effects it was designed for. It has been established that barrels below 16" have lost enough velocity to eliminate most of these effects. Thus, the next rifle I build will have a full 16" barrel and relatively short flashider.

July 23, 2007, 11:23 AM
i respectfully disagree.

my ideal AR15 woudl have a 14.5" chrome lined fluted barrel or m4 profile lightweight barrel with an A2 flashhider permanently attached.

upper would be flat top, foward assist, with a carbine length HG rail and fixed front sight post.

stock would be m4 shorty fixed stock, grip would be an israel ISF pistol grip with 2 AA in the grip. optic would be eotech.

July 23, 2007, 11:24 AM
I have never seen a cite to a authoritative article on why the military used the long brake/flash-hider on the shorty "commando" model M16's.

But, my theory is that the "dorky" muzzle-extension device was necessary for two reasons. First the rifle probably wouldn't reliably cycle without some sort sort of barrel extension (gas pressure boost); and second, the fireball on those shorty guns was unacceptable for combat conditions. Surely the long brake mitigated the flashbulb effect some. One thing is for sure, the military didn't adopt it to comply with GCA '68.

I disagree that the shortness of the barrel in any way reduces accuracy. This myth has been disproven time and time again.

I do agree that the short barrel produces lower velocity than a longer barrel. To what degree this fact may be relevant depends on the intended application of the weapon. I always assumed that anybody toting an SBR was not planning on hunting prarie dogs, or entering any long-range benchrest tournaments.

The 10.5" and 11.5" barrels on an AR-type rifle make the most sense when combined with an actual sound suppressor. There, you have no muzzle flash whatsoever, and a sound level that is a bit less than a .22 long rifle. Again, whether such a weapon is of any practical use, will depend on the needs of the owner. I don't think anything wants to be on the receiving end of that at wall-to-wall carpet distances.

Fred Fuller
July 23, 2007, 12:33 PM
The muzzle attachment on the XM177 and the XM177E1 acted as both a sound moderator and a flash suppressor. It was that 'look' which inspired lotso folk who wanted kewl-looking AR carbines to get short barrels with permanently attached long flash hiders so they could have lookalikes.

Since there's no ballistic advantage to 6" of pipe hanging on a 10" barrel, I personally see no use in it. But some folks had rather garner kewl points than ballistic efficiency, more power to them.


July 23, 2007, 01:33 PM
I sort of feel the same way, but losing some weight on the barrel is appealing (my young son shoot it a bit and it's a bit heavy out there for him). However, if the law says its gotta be 16in anyway, I might as well be getting all the velocity I can from it...obviously on the fence.

However, I think a lot of people dismiss stuff they think of as "goofy", when it really is up to the individual (go figure). As long as the equipment is in the "required performance envelope", it comes down to opinions. We all got 'em, sometimes a bunch of us share similar ones, but thank God for individualism, else it'd be a truly boring world.

And, in my opinion, the XM-177 does look cool.

July 24, 2007, 01:55 AM
And, in my opinion, the XM-177 does look cool.

I think they look better without the moderator;)

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