Muzzle brakes tame recoil, but almost without fail take an already-loud gun and crank up the noise, blast, and, most notably, concussion levels experienced by the shooter and those around him or her even further. For shooters wanting a more pleasant experience, the choice is either permanently sacrificing recoil reduction by using a tamer muzzle device or purchasing one that comes with a proprietary blast shield. Indian Creek Designs has resolved both of these concerns with their Blast Forwarding Device, or BFD.
The BFD installs and removes very quickly and easily, and is a near-universal design. It can be used with any muzzle brake, compensator, or flash hider with a 1-inch or smaller diameter. The brake of your choosing when you want it, a blast shield when you don’t.
The first step is installing the mounting collar onto your rifle’s muzzle. The collar isn’t threaded on the inside, so it’s a very easy matter of just sliding it on. Again, because it isn’t threaded internally, it’ll fit on any 1/2-inch diameter thread pattern; most commonly that’ll be 1/2-28 and 1/2-36. There’s also a version for muzzles threaded 5/8-24 or 14mm.
With that done, install the muzzle device of your choice via your method of choice. Crush washer, shim, etc. The BFD mount collar is now clamped firmly in place, and the muzzle device doesn’t know any better. The mount collar overlaps the barrel by about 0.65″, so make sure you have clearance for it. ID of the mount collar where it overlaps the barrel is about 0.779″.
In addition to a 1″ maximum outer diameter for your muzzle device, the length of that muzzle device is another consideration. Sure, it can extend out the front of the BFD to an unlimited length, but for the BFD to be as effective as possible the brake should stay within it. I’d suggest sticking to muzzle devices of approximately 2.25″ OAL or shorter if you want the front to be flush or recessed with the front of the BFD. Of course, the front can stick out as long as the last baffle/port is still inside, so there’s some fudge room in the measurements here.
On The Range
I joked in the video that BFD may as well stand for Big F’ing Difference, because a big f’ing difference it does, indeed, make. Totally night-and-day for the shooter, and based on the maple tree that was abused by my brake, for anybody around the shooter. In five seconds it switches from a chest thumping, blast spitting brake to a very effective linear compensator. Then back to the brake just as quickly.
Shooting a competition stage, target shooting outdoors, or otherwise looking for that recoil reduction and muzzle stability? Run the bare brake. Shooting indoors or on a range with people to either side? Pop the BFD on.
It’s also about as good a choice as possible — given a suppressor isn’t an option for whatever reason — if you’re forced to fire a gun without hearing protection, such as in a home defense situation. While it doesn’t reduce the volume of the gunshot at all, it does focus that volume, blast, and concussion forwards and away from the shooter. The difference is massive.
The BFD is machined from Type III hardcoat anodized aluminum, which is great because it’s lightweight. In this application it’s also plenty strong enough and sufficiently durable. Indian Creek Design says they’ve tested it with thousands of rounds of magnum calibers running aggressive muzzle brakes and it holds up great. But, I’d still like to purchase a version with a steel mounting collar. Since it’s clamped between the muzzle device and the barrel, and it’s receiving the BFD shield over and over as I screw it on and take it off, I want extra insurance against screwing up those threads. With a lightweight, aluminum, easily-replaceable shield going on a comparatively difficult-to-replace mount, I’d like the mount to win a cross-threading fight.
When I got my BFD this option didn’t exist, but it looks like Indian Creek Design is rolling out a thread protector. Obviously that’s a great idea for range time sans blast shield.
One last gripe: the anodizing on my fairly early-production unit is a bit glossy for my taste, and it also has a purplish hue in some light (my camera exaggerated it a bit). As I’d expect the vast majority of these will end up on AR-pattern rifles, it would be nice if the finish closely matched that of typical, aluminum AR parts such as receivers — more of a matte black.
The Indian Creek Design BFD mount is easy to install initially — if you can install a muzzle device you can install this thing — and from there the blast shield is extremely easy and quick to put on and take off. The difference it makes is completely night-and-day. It’s lightweight and near-universal, working with any muzzle brake, compensator, or flash hider on the market with a diameter of 1″ or less.
Specifications: Indian Creek Design Blast Forwarding Device
Weight: 2.6 oz
Finish: Type III hardcoat anodizing
Fits: Available for 1/2″ and 5/8″ (14mm) muzzle thread diameters. Works with any muzzle device 1″ in diameter or narrower.
MSRP: $79.95 for mount plus shield. $29.95 for additional mounts (swap one shield between multiple rifles).
Ratings (out of five stars):
Efficacy * * * * *
It works great. BFD = Blast Forwarding Device = Big F’ing Difference.
Convenience * * * * *
Near-universal design; use the muzzle device of your choice. Easy-on, easy-off. BOOM to boom.
Fit & Finish * * * *
Machining is great. Everything is spot on about it, threads are clean, flats are square, no machine marks, and fit is exacting. I’m not a fan of the high-gloss, very slightly purply anodizing. I’ll probably hit it with some fine grit sandpaper then spray paint it with high-temp engine paint. Wouldn’t mind the option to get a steel mount, and maybe a steel or even titanium shield, and maybe a Cerakote option.
Overall * * * *
The BFD is extremely effective and convenient. No more compromising on muzzle device choice, having to sacrifice recoil reduction and muzzle control in order to avoid blast and concussion. I can now switch back and forth between those two worlds almost instantly. There is room for aesthetic improvements to be made to the blast shield, and even if Type III anodizing provides some fairly amazing surface hardness, I’m not convinced an aluminum mount is the best option.
The .223 ammunition used in the making of this review was provided by CapArms. Their sponsorship of most of TTAG’s review-related ammo needs is a huge help, allowing us to review more guns and more gear more thoroughly.