Juggernaut1

In gathering another 29 muzzle brakes and compensators for the forthcoming AR-15 Muzzle Brake Shootout #2, I received a few through unsolicited offers by manufacturers and chose many others based on TTAG and YouTube commenter requests. The JuggerBrake fell into the latter category, and, on multiple levels, it’s unfortunately one of the worst products I have ever encountered. . .

I feel compelled to mention that the folks at Juggernaut Tactical (JT) have been extremely nice. They seem like stand-up dudes. Juggernaut also makes other products like AR receivers that have solid reputations, and based on the flawless quality of the machining and finish on the JuggerBrakes I have every reason to believe they are very nice. JT initially suggested the problems with my Long Range JuggerBrake may be an isolated fluke related to improper heat treatment. I’ve expressed interest in testing another one if they’d like, but I also noted that the Right Hand JuggerBrake they sent, which I believe to have been manufactured at a different time due to different logo & text on the bottom, exhibited the exact same issue.

Bottom line, however, is that regardless of how nice the rest of JT’s product line may be, the JuggerBrake falls on its face. Hard. And for two completely independent reasons, either of which I’d consider a fatal flaw.

Material

When I first picked the brake up I was shocked by its light weight, so I jumped over to the JT website expecting to find out that they’re making these from titanium. Nope, the JuggerBrakes are made of aluminum. T6-6061 billet or not, aluminum is not acceptable for a muzzle device. At least that was my assumption at the time, but obviously they think otherwise so despite some misgivings and concerns I was certainly more than happy to give it a shot.

After TWO rounds of Federal 5.56 through my 16″ bbl AR-15, erosion was obvious around the bore through each baffle. No joke. Two shots (2) had eaten away at the aluminum.

Here’s a photo of the Right Hand brake before firing. The edges around the bore are clean and crisp.

JuggerBrake_RH_0rnds
Click to enlarge

Here’s a photo after two shots. Two.

JuggerBrake_RH_2rnds

The edges are being eaten away by the heat and pressure of the gasses. However, if you think that’s bad, it was even worse in the Long Range version of the JuggerBrake, which vents significantly more gas at each baffle. Unfortunately I didn’t have a “before” photo that showed the bore clearly, but the machining really was perfect. Since two shots showed so much erosion, I put another 16 rounds through it while filming some shots on camera for the CMC Trigger review video.

So, after a grand total of 18 rounds of Federal 5.56 fired through a 16″ barrel, the JuggerBrake looked like this:

JuggerBrake_LR_18rnds

JuggerBrake_LR_18rnds_closeup

When the tax stamp comes back to SBR my Lancer L15 Lower, I’ll be borrowing an 11.5″ bbl upper and putting up to 90 more rounds of 5.56 through this JuggerBrake to see what happens. I say “up to,” because I’m honestly not sure it will hold together for that many rounds.

Bottom line: aluminum is not okay for a muzzle device. This may even be unsafe, depending on how much the baffles resemble shrapnel when they finally break off during firing. For once, misspelling “brake” as “break” might be apropos.

Performance

Talk about overcompensating! The Long Range JuggerBrake’s “Air Blade” design slams the muzzle of the rifle downwards.

By that I mean it pushes the muzzle down so damn hard that the standard-profile barrel on my AR can literally be seen bending downwards in the rifle rest part of the slow-mo video (about 41 seconds into the vid above…best to watch the barrel an inch or so behind the brake to see its movement) before recoiling back up hard enough to bounce the rifle on the rest.

Actually, taking screen shots from one frame to the next from the offhand shooting slow-mo, it sure appears to be flexing the barrel here as well. Sure, this could be a trick of the lighting or sensor or something, but here’s a GIF of unedited (other than cropping) screen shots from the video, literally one frame to the next frame (240 fps):

JuggerBrake GIF

When actually shooting, it violently slams the muzzle downwards hard enough and sharply enough to make controlling the rifle difficult and to cause the stock to jump upwards and ram my cheekbone (the rifle was basically pivoting around the pistol grip). It was definitely uncomfortable and actually a bit painful, and in a way I have never experienced with any firearm — vertical impact into the cheekbone. On the 11.5″ pistol upper, which should produce gas pressures about 35% higher than the 16″ upper, I just might shoot myself in the foot. And not in the proverbial way.

Jugger Flame

The pistol upper will also result in much larger fireballs, which is hard to imagine because they’re already fairly blinding out of the 16″ barrel. Not only is there plenty of fire — which I actually think is awesome and lots of fun for all but actual, “tactical” purposes — but basically all of it goes straight up. It completely obscures the sight picture and it’s bright enough and has enough pressure to dazzle the shooter, even in daylight.

Oh, and since I’ve already completed Muzzle Brake Shootout #2 and have all of the data in front of me, it’s worth mentioning that the JuggerBrake Long Range placed 21st out of 34 brakes and compensators in a straight recoil reduction test (the JuggerBrake Right Hand was 29th).

Conclusion

No. Avoid. Watch this space to see how it fares on the 11.5″ upper. Actually, any bets? Winner who most closely guesses how many more rounds are necessary until physical failure of the JuggerBrake will win the destroyed JuggerBrake, a Right Hand JuggerBrake, and a Left Hand JuggerBrake. Suggested uses include keychains, Christmas tree ornaments, paperweights, or gag gifts. Or they’d do just fine on a .22 LR.

I can’t help but notice that JT’s own rifles appear to ship with a different muzzle brake on them.

RATINGS (out of five stars):

Quality: zero
Aluminum is not okay for an AR-15 muzzle brake. The anodizing doesn’t hold up to the heat, either, but it doesn’t much matter when its substrate is blasted away anyway.

Performance: zero
Feels like somebody’s striking the top of the muzzle with a hammer. Not so hot on recoil reduction, either, compared to much of the competition. It is light, though.

Overall: zero
Zero stars. Sorry, JT. There’s just no other option. It’s far from inexpensive ($99), but it’s quickly eroding away to physical failure and it’s harder to shoot a rifle with it installed than with anything else on the muzzle (or with nothing on the muzzle) that I’ve ever tried — and I’ve shot over 70 muzzle devices on my AR now. It may even be unsafe.

 

52 Responses to Gear Review: Juggernaut Tactical JuggerBrake

  1. I often wondered just how much of an effect a custom-style muzzle brake could have on the accuracy and controlability of an AR. Now I know.

  2. even as recoil sensitive as I am post-rotator cuff and labrum surgery, I can’t see the point of a muzzle break on an AR in 5.56…let alone a bad muzzle brake. They’re already the softest shooting gun you can get and muzzle rise is minimal (maybe on auto it’d be an issue?)

    • Yeah, I mean, they may have soft and comfortable recoil but they do recoil, which is apparent when you watch somebody shoot full auto without realizing just how far forward their weight has to be to compensate. Two or three rounds knocks most folks well onto their heels, often necessitating taking a step rearwards for balance.

      I think muzzle rise is actually a function of recoil, not really a function of the mechanics of the rifle. The stock is on your shoulder, and 90% of your body is under that. When the rifle pushes back on your shoulder, your torso leans back, causing the muzzle to go up. Reduce recoil and you reduce muzzle rise. Alternatively, you can keep the recoil and drive the muzzle down instead, but that has to be done to the correct degree, which varies for every shooter. Put the butt of an AR-15 against a tree or something else that’s immovable, or set it level on a rest, and fire a round with a bare muzzle and there’s no rise. The bore is inline with the action is inline with the shoulder stock, and recoil impulse is straight inline with that. IMHO, muzzle rise happens because one’s shoulder leans back, and that happens as a result of recoil.

      • Put your back against a concrete wall and shoot, muzzle rise still happens. Its a combination of rifle mechanics and shooter interaction with the rifle

        • Well yeah, one’s shoulder curves away at the top and most people (especially new shooters) hold an AR up particularly high on their shoulder. So even if you don’t physically lean back, the actual axis of the bore through the buffer tube is high enough to cause the rifle to “roll” up your body, whereas held against a flat surface or suspended by strings or whatever it has no such tendency. I just don’t think it’s really part of the mechanics of an AR as much as it is the mechanics of an AR being held by your average person…

  3. That. Looks. Awesome. A jackass I may be, but a mall ninja I am not. If it was not so dangerous and expensive I would totally get this.

  4. Yikes! That flexing barrel can’t be good.

    Attempting to use that brake at an indoor range will likely get you an invitation to leave and a bill for ceiling tile replacement.

  5. I must have missed the gryphon armament M4SD muzzle device in your videos, but I do like that comp since it doesn’t erode into oblivion, looks like an A2 flash hider, and reduced recoil enough to satisfy what I envisioned a $80 dollar brake should do.

    This thing looks like the epitome of ” that’s not good.”

    • I haven’t tested that one. Wasn’t in the first muzzle brake shootout and isn’t in the second, unfortunately (Spike’s Dynacomp Extreme, which is a very similar design, is in it though). If there’s a third, it’s certainly on the list.

  6. I’d be curios to know where all those bullets are flinging. Building a brake that reduces recoil, rise, and flash, without increasing the report heard and felt by the shooter and any bystanders, has already been done many times. It’s called a suppressor (silencer). There is no free lunch. Something has to give.

  7. It looks like they overlooked some very important aspects of how a muzzle brake works.

    1: Tight, large, angled baffles are very efficient at directing flow in the direction of the baffles, not opposite to the original gas flow.

    2: Asymmetric baffles create torque

    3: Leaving no room to create turbulent flow leads to extreme muzzle flash

    If you put all 3 of these into one muzzle device design, you get the JuggerBrake.

    Put a second set of baffles on the other side, and you will have a great fireball maker.

    There is a reason that the best muzzle brakes in the last round up have pretty large ports. They allow the gas to mostly bounce backwards, rather than being redirected into a jet going away from the barrel.

    • Gas blocks are a little different. The gas is already constrained by your barrel port. If a gas tube can be made out of aluminum, so can a gas block. The pressure drop between the two is negligible.

      • All the AR-style gas tubes I’m familiar with (including mil-spec ones used by our armed forces on M16/M16AAx and M4/M4Ax weapons) are made of stainless steel.

  8. The only muzzle device I need on all of my .223/5.56 rifles is the YH Phantom QD mount. Go suppressed or go home. Muzzle brakes are fine for competition and requiring 2 layers of hearing protection, but little else.

  9. ” it sure appears to be flexing the barrel here as well.”

    The barrel flex may explain why it eroded so fast.

    Pressure strong enough to flex the barrel was ‘biting’ into the brake hard enough (Newtonian action-opposite reaction.) to rip up the aluminum.

    I kinda doubt any materiel outside of alloys like Inconel could handle that.

    • From Muzzle Brake Shootout #1, it was apparent in the slow-mo that the BattleComp also flexed the barrel downwards, although to a lesser extent than this one for sure. Vuurwapen Blog documented fairly strong overcompensation w/ the BattleComp as well. At any rate, that steel holds up to it fine for some number of multiple thousands of rounds.

      However, steel absolutely DOES degrade over time when used as a muzzle brake. Especially when used as a sacrificial blast baffle for a suppressor. It was the recollected images of horribly eroded brakes from use as sacrificial blast baffles that gave me that initial “freak out” when I learned the JuggerBrakes were made of aluminum.

      • “However, steel absolutely DOES degrade over time when used as a muzzle brake.”

        Yes, I agree nearly any metal will eventually erode used as a muzzle brake. Iconel is less than 10 pct Fe, it’s mostly Ni, balance Cr, Mo, few others. It’s one of the most durable superalloys and a real be-atch to metalwork. If you’ve seen the Homer Hickam movie ‘Rocket Boys’ Hickam had to use Iconel when the steel they were using for their rocket nozzles was getting chewed up.

        The very design of that brake dooms it, it seems to me.

        As a TTAG reader, thanks for warning us before we spend our cash on that …

        • I have some background in performance car parts design & manufacturing. Definitely came across Inconel and other brand name super alloys for turbocharger turbine wheels & housings, exhaust valves, and other parts. Good stuff for sure.

  10. THANK YOU – for this (and all other reviews) but with this one (despite being extremely professional) I really laughed hard all the way through.

    The only open question I might have is:

    Can we see what sort of action we can get out of the tri-barb tactical breaching face? ; P

  11. Ugggh, more muzzle brakes for mag dumpers to pull up next to you at the range. Don’t make me get out my M44 Mosin to pay you back!

  12. I hope you tried out the cheap Chinese ebay brakes in your test. My $30 stainless brake works amazingly well and was machined nicely too. Very similar to the Miculek brakes.

    • It might be interesting to see it slowly dissolve shot – by – shot…

      One round, one pic.

      Take wagers on how many shots until it falls off.

      • I’d like people to make wagers (see Forrest below), and I do intend on finding out. I’m not going to take a photo after every darn shot, but maybe every 5 or 10…

  13. I’ll wager 60 more rounds before pieces start flying off. Definitely record that, we could all use another chuckle!

      • Actually that’s not the case. The “air blades” on the LR brake are even in thickness from the bore to the outside edges. Of course, once the bore opens up large enough I could see the erosion slowing down significantly. We’ll see… I’m willing to put up to another 90 rounds through it (because the boxes of Federal 5.56 I have are 90-round boxes and it’s $34 a pop and that’s more than I should probably spend on trying to break a brake anyway haha).

    • NFA regulation makes that hard. It would have to be somewhere where all of the manufacturers came together with their product and it was done with them present…

  14. In the interest of full disclosure and “equal time” and whatnot, I did hear back from Juggernaut. I thought they had given up on replying to me with more information or on sending a different example if this one was thought to be out-of-spec, as was initially suggested, but it turns out my contact there had a nasty flu bug and that delayed the response for some time. However, he did respond and it sounds like I am using the Long Range brake incorrectly. To be fair, the website says nothing about anything of this sort, but after some searches online I did see Juggernaut had posted in an M14 forum that the LR brake is made for shooting off of a bipod and that the bipod should be ‘loaded’ to prevent the downward force of the brake from bouncing the rifle. Anyway, in the most recent response to me they said:

    You mentioned you have two main concerns and one of them is the long-range brake massively overcompensates. We didn’t know what type of shooting you would be doing in this go around so we threw in the long-range/sniper version of the JBrake. Yikes, the offhand shooting with a short barrel is not what this brake is intended for. This is intended only for shooting off the bench or on the ground where the rifle is supported. Furthermore, the barrel length is at least 20” for long-range (multiple 100’s of yards) shooting. You are using only a 16” barrel and you made the comment of what it would be like on a pistol length barrel. This is clearly not the intended application for the long-range/sniper JBrake.

    Getting back to the erosion concern. You may know that we introduced the JBrake several years ago for the M14, as an accessory to go with the Rogue chassis. The design and material used is the same now as it was when first introduced. Excessive erosion is not a problem customers are concerned about and I would say the lack of discussion of this in the public forums confirms it is not a major issue. However I’m not saying the erosion does not take place because some does.

  15. When is that muzzle device shootout #2 coming out? I’ve been holding off on a decision for a brake for my new build until I hear what you have to say about the next batch!

  16. I had one of these brake with their M1A1 bullpup kit. After several rounds it flew off down range. I found it about 20 ft down range. It struck one of the baffle and the thread is completely strip. I would give it minus rating.

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