How effective are muzzle brakes on ARs?


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gunnutery
January 25, 2014, 11:42 PM
So I saw this brake for sale and for once it seemed affordable. I've been building my first AR15 and I like the look of muzzle brakes, but I've never thought 5.56 produced much recoil to begin with.

http://www.aimsurplus.com/product.aspx?item=XALGSCB&name=ALG+SCB+Single+Chamber+Muzzle+Break&groupid=6

So, how effective or noticable is a muzzle brake on an AR15?

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primalmu
January 25, 2014, 11:44 PM
I don't see the point. Even the lightest .223 rifle is only going to have a modest increase in recoil compared to a .22 LR IMO. Personally I think your money would be better spent picking up a few PMags instead.

rcmodel
January 25, 2014, 11:45 PM
Very effective if you tune them to cancel out twist and muzzle climb.

And don't mind getting your ear drums blown out from the increased muzzle blast right in front of your face.

rc

HammsBeer
January 25, 2014, 11:46 PM
A 5.56 is plenty loud already, I wouldn't want to make it any louder.

chris in va
January 26, 2014, 12:01 AM
Some muzzle brakes actually make the gun recoil down.

barnbwt
January 26, 2014, 01:33 AM
As effective as anything provided you don't develop a flinch from them. As loud as some of them are, I don't see how that is possible.

TCB

NWcityguy2
January 26, 2014, 01:43 AM
Muzzle breaks can be extremely effective. They do make the gun much louder though. The load concussion does take getting use to but the mild, straight back recoil makes it worth it. I don't shoot mine at the range next to other people though, it is not considerate.

davidahill
January 26, 2014, 01:51 AM
Hello,
I have a muzzle break on my AR that blows all of the blast out of the front of the break, it really saves the people next to you from being blown away noise wise from each shot. Dave. 01/25/2014

Rusty Luck
January 26, 2014, 02:31 AM
Well David do share my friend.

cfullgraf
January 26, 2014, 08:34 AM
So I saw this brake for sale and for once it seemed affordable. I've been building my first AR15 and I like the look of muzzle brakes, but I've never thought 5.56 produced much recoil to begin with.

http://www.aimsurplus.com/product.aspx?item=XALGSCB&name=ALG+SCB+Single+Chamber+Muzzle+Break&groupid=6

So, how effective or noticable is a muzzle brake on an AR15?

AAC makes a similar single chamber muzzle brake as the ALG and I really cannot tell any difference of recoil with a 223 Remington AR with and without the ACC muzzle brake.

I bought the AAC brake to try but also it is alot shorter than typical flash hiders. I wanted the shorter overall length and plaine thread protectors do not ring my bell.

I have a 20" barreled AR with a multiple chamber muzzle brake on it and I can feel a little bit less recoil than a similar rifle without.

For the shooter, my 20" rifle is a little noisier but the ear protection handles that well. It is noticeable, barely. Not like a larger caliber rifle with a muzzle brake might be.

As far as someone next to the rifle, I cannot say.

As long as you do not have to permanently attach the brake to the rifle, it is easy to change if you do not like it.

hentown
January 26, 2014, 08:36 AM
brake!!!!!

Carl N. Brown
January 26, 2014, 08:46 AM
@hentown: sometimes I too get annoyed at misuse of terminology. I have also found that some people actually do use voice-to-text software that has problems with homophonic words: its for it's, their for there or they're, break for brake.

hentown
January 26, 2014, 08:52 AM
Back to the OP's question: If you're shooting @ long range, e.g., 400 yds, then using an effective brake will permit you to see your shots through your scope.

gotigers
January 26, 2014, 09:51 AM
Very effective. I have a SKC Titan on my 3 gun AR. The 5.56 does have little recoil to start with, but when you are shaving of fractions of a second a brake helps a bunch. My AR does not move when fired. I can double tap as fast as I can hold the gun steady. The recoil is not a factor with a good brake.

68wj
January 26, 2014, 10:04 AM
I don't think you will be competitive in runaround shooting games (3 gun, etc), but I find no need otherwise. It is less about felt recoil than muzzle rise for followup shots

Krusty783
January 26, 2014, 10:17 AM
I don't think you will be competitive in runaround shooting games (3 gun, etc), but I find no need otherwise. It is less about felt recoil than muzzle rise for followup shots


This. Muzzle brakes may not do much to address muzzle rise and they are not considerate to those shooting next to you. If you're shooting in some of the "tactical" positions like you would in a carbine class, the muzzle can be right next to the ground or your leg. In either case the blast from a muzzle brake can be an issue by blowing a lot of dust or the blast hitting your leg can actually be painful. (There's a thread on m4c started by a guy who put a brake inside his rail, so the muzzle was at the end of the rail, and the blast actually split his rail apart!)

For these reasons, some folks choose to get a compensator like the Battlecomp, Dynacomp, MAMS, or other ones. They offer some recoil reduction. But mainly focus on mitigating twist and muzzle rise.

But, if you plan on getting a suppressor, you can go ahead and get the muzzle brake mount for it so you'll have a brake that takes some of the impact instead of the suppressor.

Owen
January 26, 2014, 10:28 AM
vuurwapen blog has been doing a fairly detailed series on AR muzzle devices.

There are a number of posts, so i think it will pay to spen some time over there.

http://vuurwapenblog.com/?s=muzzle+brake

W.E.G.
January 26, 2014, 10:30 AM
There is a reason why our armed forces us the device you see on every M4.

68wj
January 26, 2014, 11:00 AM
There is a reason why our armed forces us the device you see on every M4.
What is it?

Owen
January 26, 2014, 11:30 AM
What is it?

Are you seriously asking that?

It's a really good device. Its hard to beat as a flash hider, and its not stupid loud.

Torian
January 26, 2014, 11:49 AM
Very effective if you tune them to cancel out twist and muzzle climb.

And don't mind getting your ear drums blown out from the increased muzzle blast right in front of your face.

rc

Or right next to you. I had a guy with such a device on his MINI-14 at the range last month. He set up next to me and I could no longer shoot.

Torian
January 26, 2014, 11:50 AM
There is a reason why our armed forces us the device you see on every M4.

We don't use muzzle brakes on our M4s, we use flash-hiders.

benEzra
January 26, 2014, 01:59 PM
Very, very, very effective at converting gas jet velocity into noise, blast, and muzzle flash. Also effective at reducing the already-very-mild .223 recoil and muzzle jump. The question to ask is whether, for your intended purpose (plinking or target shooting? USPSA/IPSC/3-gun? defense of home?) is worth the increased concussion and flash.

Unless this is a dedicated sports gun, I'd be much more inclined to go with a good flash suppressor than a brake. A brake can make a pleasant-shooting .223 downright unpleasant to shoot, or to shoot next to, and I certainly wouldn't want to fire one indoors. I believe the loudest gun I have ever shot next to was a .223 with a 14.5" barrel and a brake.

If you don't care for the plain A2 flash suppressor (I don't), there are plenty of other options. Here is one that's very well regarded:

http://www.advanced-armament.com/BLACKOUT-Non-Mount-Flash-Hider-556mm_p_449.html

Or the Smith Enterprises Vortex (the one my AR came with):

http://www.smithenterprise.com/products06.05.html

Or the YHC Phantom:

http://www.brownells.com/rifle-parts/barrel-parts/flash-hiders/phantom-5c1-comp-flash-hider-prod24939.aspx

Torian
January 26, 2014, 02:42 PM
Very, very, very effective at converting gas jet velocity into noise, blast, and muzzle flash. Also effective at reducing the already-very-mild .223 recoil and muzzle jump. The question to ask is whether, for your intended purpose (plinking or target shooting? USPSA/IPSC/3-gun? defense of home?) is worth the increased concussion and flash.

Unless this is a dedicated sports gun, I'd be much more inclined to go with a good flash suppressor than a brake. A brake can make a pleasant-shooting .223 downright unpleasant to shoot, or to shoot next to, and I certainly wouldn't want to fire one indoors. I believe the loudest gun I have ever shot next to was a .223 with a 14.5" barrel and a brake.

If you don't care for the plain A2 flash suppressor (I don't), there are plenty of other options. Here is one that's very well regarded:

http://www.advanced-armament.com/BLACKOUT-Non-Mount-Flash-Hider-556mm_p_449.html

Or the Smith Enterprises Vortex (the one my AR came with):

http://www.smithenterprise.com/products06.05.html

Or the YHC Phantom:

http://www.brownells.com/rifle-parts/barrel-parts/flash-hiders/phantom-5c1-comp-flash-hider-prod24939.aspx
Agreed on all counts. I have a vortex on my M21. Can't live without them.

gotigers
January 26, 2014, 02:54 PM
The A2 flash hider is just that, a flash hider. I am not going into why the military uses it vs a brake. The A2 flash hider does very little to help with muzzle rise or recoil. I have both and shoot both enough to know my SJC Titan reduces both to the point of not noticing it and the A2 flash hider doesn't reduce either. The titan reduced my splits by half. In long strings of fire that adds up.

As far as not considerate to the person shooting next to me. At my range more shooters have brakes than don't. It is part of shooting these days. Besides, the M1A next to me is not pleasant either.

If you're going to shoot 3 gun precision steel, get a good brake. Maybe also for long range steel matches. Otherwise, a brake is not needed. Definitely not needed for home defense, if you ever want to hear again. Least of your worries at that moment, but still something to think about.

J_McLeod
January 26, 2014, 03:05 PM
I have two ARs. Both have a 16" barrel, one has a carbine gas system and standard A2 brake. The other has a mid length system and a Rainier XTC. (https://www.rainierarms.com/?page=shop/detail&product_id=1684) To me, the rifle with the Rainier device has noticeably less recoil and muzzle climb. I haven't noticed it to be any louder either. I'll probably buy a second one for my other rifle. Frequently the combination of a 14.5' barrel and a muzzle brake can be very loud.

gotigers
January 26, 2014, 03:06 PM
I just read the http://vuurwapenblog.com/?s=muzzle+brake. The statement below is just silly.

The BattleComp exhibits significant downward forces on the muzzle, driving it off target, and inhibiting the shooter's ability to keep the muzzle directly on target between shots.

I agree with everything else the blog states, but that quote is just silly. The rifle will have a bipod or a shooter hand supporting the rifle from below. I have never had a brake inhibit my site picture of my target. In every instance, a brake has helped my site picture for follow up shots. Also, why would most successful match shooters use a brake? Answer, because it helps.

68wj
January 26, 2014, 04:04 PM
Are you seriously asking that?

It's a really good device. Its hard to beat as a flash hider, and its not stupid loud.
Well, I was seriously asking him to expand on his A2 comment. I wanted to know if he feels that it has the effects of a brake or some other analysis of its use in the military.

Torian
January 26, 2014, 05:11 PM
Well, I was seriously asking him to expand on his A2 comment. I wanted to know if he feels that it has the effects of a brake or some other analysis of its use in the military.
To answer your question: no it does not function as a muzzle brake based on my experience.

The whole point for us is less noise and less muzzle flash/blast. Light and noise discipline are key...and a muzzle brake would defeat the purpose...particularly on a light recoiling caliber like the 5.56. The A2 does a moderately good job of both...but there are far better alternatives out there...such as the vortex.

243winxb
January 26, 2014, 05:23 PM
Waste of $ even on a M16A1 carbine with 14.5" bbl. on full auto. This one reduced recoil, made more noise, pushed the muzzle down & right, off target. (left hand shooter) On full auto, let the butt bounce off your shoulder, loose hold. This way the muzzle cant climb as easy. Rifle just sits there and vibrates. Bench shooting or off hand. http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/Items%20for%20Sale%20%20-Gunbroker/M16A1Brale.jpg http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/Items%20for%20Sale%20%20-Gunbroker/th_SaleItems016.jpg (http://s338.photobucket.com/user/joe1944usa/media/Items%20for%20Sale%20%20-Gunbroker/SaleItems016.jpg.html)

gunnutery
January 26, 2014, 09:27 PM
Thanks for all the replies and insight. It's interesting that there ARE positives for a brake on a 5.56 AR. I wasn't sure if it was just something else to throw money at or if there were actual benifits. I think for what I need, the downsides outweigh the benifits. I'm trying to build a well rounded AR for SHTF (not trying to direct the thread that way, just advising the intended purpose) and it sounds like that appication would both benifit AND detract from attaching a brake.

This has been very enlightening.

gotigers
January 26, 2014, 10:00 PM
For your purposes, I think you made the correct choice. Neither of the ARs I would use in a SHTF or HD situation have brakes.

Jersey Joe
January 26, 2014, 10:08 PM
Someone mentioned being able to see your shots through your scope. If you're shooting for precision, you more than likely have a heavy barrel which reduces recoil and muzzle jump.

Tirod
January 27, 2014, 10:20 AM
Be careful, as the thread has discussed. Just because it screws onto the end of the barrel, similar looking muzzle devices do different things.

A flash hider does that - reduces or eliminates the flash at night. The modified M16 flash hider eliminated the downward slots to reduce kicking up dust. It throws a lot of sound forward.

Brakes are something else. Yes, they very much can push the barrel down enough to be just as bad as no brake. You don't get to use a bipod much in three gun, they aren't issue in the military, and if you are standing squared up with armor plate, your off hand is simply propping up the end of the barrel. Enough force down can and will overcome the pressure up. You'd have to hold it with a firm grip that would quickly fatigue the users.

Some muzzle devices can also redirect the sound to reduce the amount of noise thrown toward the user. I bought a Black River Tactical Covert Comp: http://www.blackrivertactical.com/product.html

The results of testing posted on the ARP website showed it reduced perceived noise at the shooter's ear a few decibels, less than the standard M16 flash hider. I built the gun for hunting, and I don't wear hearing protection for the one or two shots I might fire in a week long season. Since a suppressor was off the table (tho legal in MO,) I got the next best thing. Recoil reduction was not a priority, even with a 6.8. It works as tested. Under a concrete canopy at a local range, forgeddaboutit. You are toast.

Not all brakes are noisier, not all brakes are even brakes. The real description for the category is "muzzle device," and they do not all work the same. Some are much worse than others for the money, and it seems the more aggressive the looks, the higher the price. I suspect testosterone influences the buying decision more than research and common sense. For the 10X increase in price, it's a serious race gun expense most never see, they don't shoot good enough to notice. It's a Barbie doll accessory.

Orion8472
January 27, 2014, 10:48 AM
I opted against a brake and for flash hiding. Smith Vortex.

hatzing
January 27, 2014, 07:56 PM
The effect of the muzzle break really isn't anything notable on an AR-15. The AR already has extremely low recoil, all the muzzle break really does is make the gun louder honestly.

gotigers
January 27, 2014, 09:04 PM
The effect of the muzzle break really isn't anything notable on an AR-15. The AR already has extremely low recoil, all the muzzle break really does is make the gun louder honestly.

You, obviously, have never measured split times on target, before and after a brake. I have, A good brake DOES significantly help. I have the SJC Titan. It is a beast. I've had the Miculek as well. It is also very good. Other good brakes are the Cooley and Rolling Thunder.

Like I said earlier. If brakes don't work, then why do most successful 3 gunners use them.

Everyone that shoots my 3 gun AR is amazed how much less movement there is with my AR vs theirs.

That doesn't mean a brake should be used for any other reason than a match. I would not have a brake on any kind of AR for defensive purposes.

Scojen
January 27, 2014, 09:17 PM
I have a brake just like the one in post # 30 say what you want I also have a tri burst trigger set on a Colt Match H bar at 25 yds you get a triangle pattern in the prone position it will keep all three in a 1.5" circle at 100 yds. on an IPSC target you get 6" group. Works for me.

NWcityguy2
January 27, 2014, 10:14 PM
The effect of the muzzle break really isn't anything notable on an AR-15. The AR already has extremely low recoil, all the muzzle break really does is make the gun louder honestly.

You'll see comments like these online from random shooters but you won't hear them in real life from 3-gun competitors. The muzzle brake is the single best way to reduce recoil and muzzle rise. It is more effective than any one of the following... rifle length gas systems, extra rifle weight, adjustable gas blocks and low mass bolt carriers.

The only single thing more effective at controlling recoil than a brake is proper shooting technique.

d2wing
January 28, 2014, 11:13 PM
The reason for the flash hider in the Military is to reduce muzzle flash, captain obvious. It dissipates the gas so your position is less obvious in a firefight especially at night. It is designed so more gas is directed upward and to the sides to stabilize the muzzle and reduce muzzle climb in full auto and reduce dust. Also it is to protect the muzzle in mud and snow. It is not a muzzle break as it doesn't direct gases to the rear. I hope this clears things up for you.

CSC_Saint
January 28, 2014, 11:39 PM
As a smaller guy, and having lost a lot of strength due to injury the last couple years, I've noticed a few things, that apply to me and maybe not others: 5.56 has more felt recoil than .223, and more muzzle jump, it also seems much louder(but 5.56 may have left me too deaf to hear how loud .223 really is). Mid-length gas systems seem to have significantly less recoil and noise than carbine length. Muzzle brakes don't seem to rid muzzle climb, just felt recoil, flash hiders don't do jack about felt recoil or muzzle climb, and compensators seem to do the best about muzzle climb.

A combination of using .223 with a mid-length gas tube with a S&W elongated A2 style hider seems to be the best in recoil/muzzle climb mitigation that I've used. It's a shame S&W doesn't seem to offer it by itself, they tout it as being proprietary and the latest greatest, but it only comes on the VTAC 2, which I just happened to buy for my wife(really for me)

benzy2
January 28, 2014, 11:46 PM
In my experience I find that while an AR is soft recoiling, it does have noticeable recoil which slows shot splits down with the standard birdcage. I don't use a muzzle brake on my ARs but I'm also not competing for time or willing to accept their drawbacks for their benefits.

If muzzle rise is an issue, a proper brake is a real benefit. If you can live with the way a standard flash hider feels, keep it and enjoy it. Really comes down to what you want most out of the rifle.

Tirod
January 29, 2014, 12:09 PM
I wouldn't go so far as to say that non competition users have no need for a brake. Hog hunters in Texas are in that position - multiple shots at a target rich scene and no time to waste putting them down.

So, if it works on live game, it's not necessarily wrong for combat. However, the armed forces have their budgets and reasons to not bother. In Korea, a suppressor is standard issue to every soldier, and the trend is spreading beyond the upper tier users here. Many states are now allowing suppressed hunting, which is the defacto standard in Europe for any shooting outdoors in most countries. We are just hampered by political concerns.

So the scene is changing a bit every year. Plenty of good reasons to use them, comp, brake, or suppressor.

hentown
January 29, 2014, 06:36 PM
I have two ARs. Both have a 16" barrel, one has a carbine gas system and standard A2 brake. The other has a mid length system and a Rainier XTC. To me, the rifle with the Rainier device has noticeably less recoil and muzzle climb. I haven't noticed it to be any louder either. I'll probably buy a second one for my other rifle. Frequently the combination of a 14.5' barrel and a muzzle brake can be very loud.

The "standard A2 brake" isn't a brake; it's a flash suppressor. They're not the same.

B!ngo
February 2, 2014, 04:43 PM
This is all true regarding the use and value of 3-gun shooters. I've been in touch with some highly rated 3-gunners and they've recommended the Titan to me in the past.
But the other truth is that not many of us are running in 3-gun matches. In 3-gun, you're not surrounded by other shooters, your cares are much more focused on clock time not sound pressure levels, flying dirt or peripheral impact to others.
The net is, to me at least, that a brake for a typical .223 firearm, in most civilian modes of use is more pain than pleasure. But if the time-on-target really matters, you're not surrounded by and not going to inconvenience others, and don't care about the sound yourself (which though louder can be covered by your own ear protection) then go for it.
I, for one, have Titan that I'd be willing to sell :)
B

You'll see comments like these online from random shooters but you won't hear them in real life from 3-gun competitors. The muzzle brake is the single best way to reduce recoil and muzzle rise. It is more effective than any one of the following... rifle length gas systems, extra rifle weight, adjustable gas blocks and low mass bolt carriers.

The only single thing more effective at controlling recoil than a brake is proper shooting technique.

gotigers
February 2, 2014, 05:13 PM
I have more than one AR. My 3 gun AR has a brake and my SBR has a brake/can mount. The others have flash hiders. So, there is no reason not to have one on my 3 gun AR. Most 3 gun shooters, have more than 1 AR. If you're shooting 3 gun, you should expect loud brakes. Even in USPSA, most of the open shooters have brakes. Those open pistols are loud. I would never be offended by the noise. Otherwise, find another shooting sport. No offense, but we will have brakes on our guns.

As I said earlier, I don't see a need for a brake outside a match and I would not use one on a HD or SHTF AR.

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