ALG_SCB

Some of you may have seen the original version of my 5.56 Muzzle Device Shootout. I didn’t include ALG’s Single Chamber Brake (SCB) in the recoil measurement testing. I kept the SCB out of the recoil test because ALG lent the device to me as part of their testing & evaluations program, which was mentioned in the article. My interpretation of their program’s policy: no comparos. After my article was published, it became clear that leaving out the ALG Single Chamber Brake – supposedly at at the company’s request – was a huge issue. All hell broke loose . . .

Avoiding manufacturer, advertiser, and sponsor bias is the reason many of us began reading and trusting TTAG. I first came here for the honest reviews that I had a very hard time finding anywhere else. Viewed in that context, my decision to leave out the ALG Single Chamber Brake was a mistake. When Dan and RF learned of the issue (which flew under their editorial radar) they agreed with my decision to pull the post. And rightly so.

Every firearm, every product, every experience needs to be held to the same standard and measured against the same metrics. If the SCB couldn’t participate in all parts of the testing, it should have never appeared in the write-up. If a manufacturer can’t handle that, then they don’t get to play. Or I purchase/beg/borrow/steal the part elsewhere, something TTAG has done many times in the past in order to test products with zero preconditions.

Leaving out information is a violation of the trust and the truth that we all came here for. I thought that “some” was better than “none,” and I was wrong. I heard that loud and clear, and won’t make this mistake a second time.

To make matters worse, I basically misunderstood ALG’s policy. They do not knowingly provide product specifically for the purposes of a comparison being done, since they believe the amount paid for products influences perception. In the interest of eliminating bias and keeping things truthful, they prefer all products in a comparison be purchased.

Statistical measurement and other objective testing (e.g. recoil sled testing) is a non-issue. When I contacted them about this problem, they said, “We would love the results to be shared with everyone and never had any intention of hiding any of the information found in your research.”

So I’m hanging onto the ALG SCB until I can gather up another batch of muzzle devices and offer an even more comprehensive – and complete – article. The ALG SCB will be included in the testing on video and in the table (or graph, as y’all seem to prefer graphs), just like everyone else.

For my second attempt, I’ll also invite “the big names” to the party: Surefire, Battle Comp, PWS, AAC, SilencerCo, QC, Effin-A, maybe Lantac, Miculek, etc. If they aren’t cool with this sort of heads-up test, I’ll buy their product.  Meanwhile, thank you for keeping both myself and The Truth About Guns honest.

52 Responses to Housekeeping: Muzzle Device Comparo Correction

  1. For being one of the more vocal “critics” of your article yesterday I will say it now: very well written retraction it demonstrates a clear understanding of what we were all getting at yesterday. It took a little while but it appears you get it now, and it takes a lot of guts/ pride swallowing to put your hands on the table and take your raps like you just did. So, thank you for your honesty and I look forward to the new test when it happens.

    • For the record, although I wasn’t entirely pleased with the way the original test was presented, at no time did I get even the faintest impression that Jeremy was NOT being honest with us. In fact, you could argue that it was his honesty in stating the reasons why the ALG was not originally tested/reported that upset many of the folks, but we have to give credit where credit was due; I saw no dishonesty in the original test or article.

      Thanks for the follow-up article, and thanks for reminding me why I come here; honest reviewing, and reviewers (occasionally) taking feedback from the readers to heart, even if it’s not very pleasant feedback.

  2. Muzzle brakes on a 5.56 never made a lot of sense to me. I’d be much more interested in seeing a test like this on a bigger caliber like a .308.

    • Agreed. I’ve used them, and mostly replaced them with simple flash hiders, since the increase in blast and noise is not worth it. There is so little recoil anyway. My .308? I’d love some help, shooting prone I have to readjust my position every few shots.

    • To each thier own… or are you putting on your fud and say we don’t need flash hiders either?

      Purpose of a brake on any gun is to get more rounds on target faster, or to have recoil controlled so you can spot your own shots. Maybe it’s a “gamer” thing but just think of this: an Full auto AK fires 6 rounds per second. So hitting faster is important in other things than just games.

      • A bit faster than 6 rounds a second from personal experience.

        Personally I hate muzzle brakes but then again I have had tinnitus since I was aware of myself so I am a careful around damaging my ears even more.

        Using a muzzle brake will damage your ears in the future. I wouldn’t recommend it. If you need better control/less felt recoil then go for a limbsaver or a suppressor.

      • Not everyone is into mag dumps, or has NFA firearms that need assistance with controlling muzzle climb. If you hit what you want, where you want, there should be no need for a follow up shot. And if you are target shooting, what’s the hurry? Unless you are shooting at something that shoots back, in the dark, you don’t really need a flash hider either. That said, there are several flash hiders that are very effective in controlling muzzle climb. In an article I read that did documented testing of various hiders, the second most effective was the good old A2. I can’t recall the name of the most effective without finding the article, but it was a well known three prong design.

        • A lot of gun games require multiple shots to the same target, which is why in the post you’re replying to he mentions “gamer”.

          I don’t think he’s implying anyone needs it for defense, but in the case of most practical shooting gun games, everyone is looking for small competitive advantages. At $100 or well under, I don’t see why most folks shooting gun games that do require follow ups wouldn’t have them. It’s easy to spend $100 on gear in the world of competitive shooting.

      • Oh no, I just don’t feel that a 5.56 generates enough recoil that I see much of a difference with a muzzle brake. I run straight up flash hiders on all my 5.56 rifles and if I could, I would run suppressors on them as well.

        Now, .308 generates a lot more recoil, and I put a comp on my M110 clone. Right now, I’m using a ratchet mount comp so I can play with my buddy’s suppressors when I go out of state to visit him, but I’d like to know if there are other options that do a good job of both flash and recoil suppression.

        • BCM Gunfighter Mod1 762 comp is supposed to be pretty good, wont knock the flash down as much as a hider and wont knock the recoil down as much as a brake.

          On comparisons that included the BCM comp for 556 rifles, sentiment falls somewhere in the neighborhood of it has a touch more recoil than something like an FSC556 and a touch more flash (makes sense as it doesnt have the prongs after the blast cone like the FSC does), but WAY less side blast and concussion. I don’t think PWS makes an 762 variant of the FSC so the BCM comp would be a good option.

  3. Good retraction. Well stated.

    Flash hiders as well as compensators, please?

    Decibel measurements on devices would be much gusto

    • +1

      Everybody loves recoil reduction, but almost everyone (and everyone around you) HATES the loudness factor being quadrupled.

        • They do make the gun louder for the shooter and anyone close to the shooter due to the sound that would normally go forward getting redirected to the sides.

      • I have heard that especially with brakes on larger magnums, hearing damage can occur even with earplugs in due to the massive concussion transmitting through the bone structures around your ears. If you shoot anything with a brake/comp on it (or shooting anything indoors) the recommendation is plugs and muffs. Heck I have even heard of people complaining about sinus pain from the concussion from brakes on a big magnum.

        Its why I leave the indoor range if some cowboy shows up with their 300mag or anyone shows up with Mosin, dont like having a headache for the rest of the day.

  4. Balls to you Jeremy, that’s how you make good.

    Seriously, if you need some peer review in regards to setting up and executing the experiment or otherwise assistance with making some pretty graphs then contact me, we’ll JMP it out. Please do us a favor and don’t defile TTAG by posting Excel graphs, this site is better than that.

      • Proper experimentation deserves proper visualization. Treat data as if it was your wife or girlfriend, dress her up nice before you show her off.

    • Thanks, NotoriousAPP. I would like to make the next test better — and it may include ALL of the brakes in the event that the first “shootout” is scrapped entirely instead of being reposted with ALG removed (ALG will be in the next test no matter what).

      I’d definitely like to pull the trigger in a more legit, remote manner. Instead of the GoPro on 120 fps and low resolution for the entire thing, I’ll probably do most of it in HD on a nice camera and supplement with one shot for each muzzle brake in slowmo via GoPro set up closer and right off to the size of the muzzle so muzzle movement can be seen more clearly. I’ll use higher quality ammo that contributes less variance to the results.

      Then you want the raw data so you can compile it into a sweet looking chart of some sort? Not gonna lie, I may just be boring enough that a simple table like what I did would probably surface again, or I’d make an Excel bar graph to be fancy hahaha. If you’re actually interested in assisting with the data and giving me some tips on setting up the test in a better manner, I’ll e-mail you (to the e-mail addy you enter when you make your comments here) and we can chat.

      Despite the rather ad hoc and non-scientific nature of my sled test, I was very pleased and surprised with the consistency and repeatability of the results. I ran it bare muzzle over a dozen times and it was over 7″ and under 8″ every single time, clustering primarily quite tightly around the average number that appeared in the table. Additionally, the fact that the two VG6 brakes, which are designed identically in the parts that are made to reduce recoil, both averaged to the exact same number made me smile. I think the test was pretty darn valid. I’m sure a good amount of any variance was due to the ammo, which definitely deviates ~100 fps above and below its average velocity. I want to eliminate the silly pen firing trick so the test looks more legit and no claims of purposeful or accidental skewing of results from that could be made, but the truth is I think the consistency of the results show that it actually worked quite well.

      • It would be interesting to see velocity data plotted against sled movement for each shot fired per comp – ie 1st shot 2700fps 6″ back, shot #2 2750fps 6.25″, etc. That would show if the variance is due to ammo, and also if some comps showed more sensitivity than others.

      • Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I thought the info presented in table format was just fine.

        Maybe I need to see the same info in the graphic format, just to see what I am missing…

      • @Jeremy S…..Sure, you can hit me up at the email address I use for my posts. You could go a lot of ways with this: measurement systems analysis for your measurement equipment and methods, source of variation study to quantify the amount of variation contributed by each of the components of testing (i.e. trigger pull, expt setup, ammo, muzzle brake, etc.). As you mentioned before, you’re not getting paid to do this so no need to make a no income career out of this.

        Either way, hit me up, let’s chat.

  5. I would add a vote for the flash suppressor comparisons, also. I put a Micor Industries flash suppressor on my KelTec 16C, and have been quite happy with it. It certainly succeeds in pretty much eliminating the flash, and I would like to see if it increases velocity/accuracy.

    • And if you’re able to do that, compare it with and without the silencer mounted. I’ve wondered where the muzzle brake falls when covered by the silencer! I have the flash suppressor only, so unaffected by the silencer, but I’m still curious!

      • Brakes don’t change the dB level in a suppressor, they only serve to act as an extra blast baffle, and increase suppressor longevity.

        Think of one as a sacrificial anode on an outboard motor.

  6. “You have done well my son”

    In the interest of objectivity and full disclosure of results you have made the right choice. Your retraction is well written and thought out. Thank you.

  7. Thanks for listening, and thanks for coming right out. It’s this sort of honesty and forwardness that we want to see from a good gun blog.

  8. Alas I never actually got around to reading the original. Isn’t the answer to keep the review up but eliminate any references to the ALG. Not reading the original, I’m not sure how much that entails, but testing values observed for the other devices should still be valid.

  9. Thank you Jeremy, and TTAG, for taking steps to make this right.

    I know criticism hurts, especially when you honestly think you’re doing the right thing, or the best you can. I appreciate the thoughtful response and look forward to reading the new review.

    • Thanks. My thought process was basically “well, I can’t include it in one part but I can include it in all the rest so I’ll just make a note of that and put the brake in there anyway.” I thought that would be acceptable, and I was definitely wrong. It does NOT fit TTAG’s policy, and obviously that comes first and foremost.

      • Here’s the thing … You gave a full disclosure about the conditions you were under, and that’s to be applauded no matter what. I wish more places did that.

        The article itself, I thought, was clearly written both from the standpoints of results preseentation and the disclaimer.

        As you note, the issues came pretty much exclusively from the policy side … and those can be harder to flag when you’re in the middle looking out.

        Again, thanks, and please keep up the good work!

  10. Proper experimentation deserves proper visualization. Treat data as if it was your wife or girlfriend, dress her up nice before you show her off.

  11. Want to see EffinA tested fully. Also would like to see it with reversed plug method where you have all plugs installed and then only remove the minimum count of plugs to control flip (versus the typical case where I see people removing all plugs and installing a few plugs to control things)

  12. “Lent”? I thought you were given TWO of them?

    If the problem was that you withheld some info, why not simply relase the info? Then do a fullblown test later?

    Why make us continue to wait for the data we wanted included and remove the data we have already seen?

    • I cannot back up the info I would give, and my personal integrity was already called into question for not including ALG in that test in the first place. After I edit a YouTube video and it goes up, I delete the raw video from my laptop. It takes up way too much space (a 10-minute YT video for me often has like an hour of raw, full size video on my system). I did write the numbers down but I can no longer prove via video that the brake actually did what it did. If it did well or decent I’ll be asked to prove it and if it didn’t do so well then it’ll look like an actual conspiracy to hide the results. From where I’m sitting, it feels like a lose-lose scenario no matter what. I’ve dug myself into enough of a hole already and I’d rather not make it worse if at all possible.

      I’m going to do an even better test in the future, with the input received from some TTAGers and with a bunch of new brakes, and the ALG will be included in every way.

  13. Please include some linear compensators in your next text (or a perhaps a separate test). I’m using a
    – BRT (Black River Tactical) Covert Comp
    A quick search turned up these:
    – DPMS – LEVANG LINEAR COMPENSATOR
    – KIES Blast Master Linear Compensator
    – Hera Arms Linear Compensator
    Just trying to minimize potential damage to my hearing (and that of those nearby).

  14. This is going to get expensive for Jeremy if he has to buy a bunch of compensators; remember to add in the ammo to be put through those, his time, etc.

    So let me make a suggestion to my fellow readers.

    If you strongly want to see a particular compensator or other muzzle device tested, send one to Jeremy (maybe care of TTAG global HQ?) postage paid both ways. Include a statement to the effect that this is your personal hardware, you want it back afterwards, and that Jeremy is free to publish the test results no matter what they are. That should, I hope, avoid some of the issues with testing “free” stuff…

    That will cover the hardware side, at least, and will hopefully cut down on the … um … lamentations that a particular brand and model weren’t included.

    • Thanks for saying that, John, and I would be very pleased to borrow and return any muzzle devices from anyone who wants to see theirs in the test. The only caveat is that sometimes it can take a couple months and I wouldn’t want to borrow anything that somebody wasn’t 100% totally cool with not seeing for a while. If anyone would like to donate something for review or contact me for another reason, you can e-mail me directly at GunsAndGearEJ20 at google’s e-mail service.

      However, please let me be clear that my goal is still going to be getting muzzle devices directly from the manufacturers for this test. That is, donated (or maybe loaned) to TTAG for the purposes of being in this test — Only accepted with no strings attached! Free rein to test however I want! — and for the purpose of being later used by TTAG as a giveaway or prize. For instance, as a prize in the “weekend photo caption contest” or some other user-submission contest, etc. Any muzzle devices that have been specifically requested and really should be in the test due to reader demand, but cannot be sourced from the company for whatever reason (either they don’t want to donate or loan one or they will only do it with a precondition of any sort), will be purchased at retail if need be. Don’t worry about me, as TTAG has agreed to foot the bill for that. I’ll also try to borrow them locally or through the TTAG readership if possible, but buying them is not really an issue.

      Hopefully this does not cause concerns for you about bias of any sort. I can only say that I am not personally affected either way. If they’re donated, I’m giving them to TTAG to give away as prizes. I don’t get paid or compensated for that in any way, and I don’t get paid at all to write reviews. If they have to be purchased, TTAG is going to pay for that and TTAG will give them away or sell them or whatever it so chooses, but either way it also doesn’t affect me. Same with borrowing one and then giving it back. My ONLY motivation is to test them as accurately as I possibly can and to then review them as objectively as I possibly can. The previous review was comprised 100% of brakes donated by the companies for the review, with the exception of the Rainier Arms Mini Comp that I took off my Tavor. This did not stop me from pointing out manufacturing flaws, lackluster finish, general silliness, etc.

      Sort of related to this: in the past when I have reviewed a product, including ones I previously owned or purchased myself for my own reasons and then later decided to review, etc, I have informed the manufacturer that I was publishing a review on their product (or sometimes the review had already been published) and asked if they wanted to offer a coupon code for TTAG readers. Many of them thought it was a great idea and provided 10% or 15% off coupons, the info for which I would then add to the review, and some of them declined and so the review went up as-is. I figured if there was a chance some folks might make purchases based on a review, why not try my hand at saving them some money? Again, no kickback to me of any sort but it just seemed like a cool thing to do. Some readers naturally thought this was sketchy but the reviews were already written and went up exactly the same no matter what.

      A review for TTAG can mean a donated muzzle brake that then turns into a giveaway, which is going to make whoever wins it pretty happy. I’d like to facilitate that.

      I realize there is a lot of cynicism all-around and I don’t hold that against anyone! There are a lot of reasons to be cynical. Please just realize that I do this (shooting, writing, reviewing) purely for fun. I don’t get paid for it; it actually costs me a decent amount of money just like any other hobby. The whole point of it for me is reviewing things honestly, and if something is a flaming piece of crap I’m going to say so no matter how it got into my hands. I’m in no way related to any firearms or parts manufacturer or retailer anywhere, nor do I have any real “brand loyalties.” My gun safe looks like the dang UN of eras and manufacturers. By way of example, I carry a Taurus or a Beretta or an HK (TCP, Nano, P7, respectively and mostly just depending on attire and situation), unless I’m hiking in the woods and then it’s a GLOCK 20SF, and I compete with a CZ (modified SP-01). ….If I can talk a company into donating a product for a TTAG review and that product is going to turn into a prize/giveaway, that does actually make me happy. But it doesn’t benefit me in any other way and it sure as hell won’t keep me from reviewing it honestly (and it demonstrably has not in the past. For instance, the horrendous ZiP 22, which actually got zero stars in one category. I spoke with the owner for like 90 minutes on the phone. Nicest guy ever. He sent me all sorts of upgrade parts for it in a nice case, sent a t-shirt, tried to troubleshoot the pistol, sent me ammo to try it with, explained that it was a new endeavor, blah blah blah, I really like the dude a lot. Seemed smart and very genuine. But… the gun sucked hard and that’s what I wrote.).

      ^^^ I hope that makes sense and doesn’t incite further frustrations. I can’t prove my integrity or motivations beyond reiterating that this is a hobby for me and I do it precisely to provide the honest reviews that I came to TTAG a few years ago to read myself. I have an engineering and product design background and have been shooting since I was a kid, recreationally and competitively a bit as well, and I feel like I can write and compile a decent review for those reasons, and I enjoy doing it. Well… usually enjoy doing it haha 😉

  15. Good stuff, Jeremy S. I’m always a big fan of your reviews. Well handled on this one, as always sir….

    I’m preferential to Flash Hiders myself, but understand you’re kinda keeping this one mostly to brakes… I only really run a break on AK …and bolties (as a suppressor QD). For me, the short stuff (SBR/AR and AK pistols) seems to demand a FH/blast director/linear comp-type set up like KX3, FerFrans CQB, or the SSS 51t QD brake shield for AAC – if you don’t want to be shunned at the range, or go flash blind in any low light situation. Definitely a reason .mil goes with FH over brake for most apps. But of course, brakes still have their place… Anyway, guess i’m just being selfish and hoping you a mega-FH review some day. But digging your reviews either way so thanks and peace out.

  16. Thank you for being up front and honest. It’s a tricky situation. Miscommunication is easy and you handled it well. I’m also glad to find out that Geissele’s policy makes some sense.

    As to the tests, the information is great. I would love to know how much recoil is mitigated, how much downforce is generated, how much flash is generated, and what the sound levels are, beside and behind the gun. I’m looking forward to seeing the results (there was an excellent article on the subject some time back, but it didn’t test the comps I’m interested in).

    I’d also love to see a test of the VG6 Delta included in the results. I’ve bought one on the theory that, for the fairly heavy 20″ barrel gun I’m putting together, I don’t really need much recoil mitigation, but would love some extra downforce for fast follow-up shots. But, at the same time I don’t want a bunch of extra noise or side-blast.

    Just while writing this, I had a neat idea for testing downforce. If you mount the gun on its side, and place a pin into the table behind the stock so that the gun cannot move backwards, you can measure the amount the muzzle climbs after a shot by how much the front of the sled rotates (you might have to be able to measure both directions – I think some comps produce so much downforce that the barrel might even dip). It would need the gun to be low to the table and/or the sled would have to be wide, so that it shifts instead of rocking. Also, depending on how much or little the sled rotates upon firing, the pin might have to be placed at the lower corner of the butt pad to accentuate the movement for easy measurement.

    I hope this helps! Thanks for what you’re doing here!

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