Previous Post
Next Post

all_brakes

In the past, we compared 35 different AR-15 muzzle devices. That shootout, like this one, pitted them against each other in a sled test to see which reduced rearwards recoil energy the most. However, this time around there are [almost] no flash hiders, linear compensators, or other devices not actually designed to reduce recoil. A total of 37 brakes and compensators joined in the fun for roundup part deux, although 8 of them are carry-overs from the first test, including the previous recoil eliminating winner. . .

Again though, recoil reduction is only one of many variables worth considering — and how they’re each weighted is a matter of personal opinion and/or intended use — when choosing which muzzle device will adorn one’s rifle. In addition to the objective recoil test, all brakes are listed alphabetically below and I have stated my frank opinion on machining, fit/finish, and utility plus included any items of note as well as the relevant stats for each. Hopefully both muzzle device shootout installments will help narrow down the shopping list.

Additionally, a flash hider-specific test is coming in a few weeks!

EDIT: This is the second test I did, but it hasn’t been the last. The first 5.56 muzzle brake test is HERE, the third is HERE, the first 5.56 flash hiding test HERE, the second 5.56 flash hiding test HERE, and the first .308 brake test HERE. You may also be interested in the AR-15 Drop-In Trigger Roundup HERE.

These tests are expensive, but I’d love to do more. I’ve purchased air pressure sensors designed to log blast waves so we can compare the amount of concussion each muzzle device generates, and these will be used in test four. But I have a lot of brakes to round up for that and the funding is low. I also want to do another AR-15 trigger roundup (component triggers this time) and a couple of flashlight roundups (tactical and gun-mounted). Please consider supporting this sort of testing via my Patreon page. As a Patron you can also get free stuff, join live streams, gain early access, and more.

Recoil Testing

For many brakes and comps, felt recoil reduction is only one goal, with the other primary design intention being the reduction of muzzle movement in any other direction. A steady muzzle means steady sights, and steady sights means fast, accurate shooting. Usually the boogeyman is “muzzle rise” (which I believe is usually just the natural byproduct of rearwards recoil energy anyway). The slow-mo footage for each device in the following video does show some noticeable differences in up/down muzzle movement as well as in flash, but this test was specifically designed only for measuring recoil — rearward energy.

Keep in mind that we’re also talking about the fairly minor recoil of .223/5.56 here, and many prospective purchasers will put recoil reduction at the bottom of their list behind other considerations like aesthetics, price, flash, concussion, etc.

With my gas piston AR-15 strapped in a rest and the gas block turned to “off,” which means the action remains locked shut and 100% of the gas goes out the muzzle, I proceeded to “sled test” all of the brakes/comps plus controls of bare muzzle and standard A2 birdcage. The results were highly repeatable and consistent. In fact, the average of the extreme spreads — difference between shortest and farthest result — for everything in the test was only 0.1470 inches. Eight brakes did multiple shots with the exact same result each time.

For the record, I measured in 1/16-inch increments and chose not to round when converting that to decimal measurements later. Averages of multiple measurements were, however, rounded to 4 decimal places and recoil reduction percentages were rounded to 2 places.

With all of that said, our recoil reduction winner is…drum roll please…

 

Precision Armament’s M4-72 Severe-Duty Compensator!

PA_M4-72_1

Yes, you read that right, folks. The winner from shootout #1 is now reigning champion. King of the hill. Dominating the field once again, really, winning by a pretty decent and entirely repeatable margin. With the M4-72 on the muzzle, the test rig slid back an average of 2.3438 inches. With nothing on the muzzle, it slid back an average of 8.8438 inches. That’s a recoil reduction of 73.50% (in shootout #1, it came out to 73.84% so we’re pretty darn consistent here!).

Congrats to Precision Armament for hanging onto the crown, and for coming up with such an incredibly effective brake in such a small, lightweight package!

Recoil test results for all of the entrants can be seen in the graphs and tables below. New for Muzzle Brake Shootout #2 is a performance (percentage reduction in recoil) per dollar graph! I’ve also included a performance per dollar graph based on the first Muzzle Brake Shootout so these figures can be compared across both tests. Click on any of the images below — and on any of the thumbnail-sized photos of the brakes to follow! — to see them full-size. Additionally, the raw data seen in the table can be downloaded as an Excel doc by clicking here.

muzzle brake distance graph muzzle brake percentage graph

performance per dollar shootout 2

Muzzle devices that had zero design consideration for recoil reduction (flash hiders, linear comps, etc) were removed from this performance per dollar chart for Shootout #1:

performance per dollar shootout 1

Just the good stuff, hopefully large enough to read it without having to click to enlarge (in case of mobile browsing, etc):

brake performance

And one table with all of the data:

brakes all data

Some thoughts on test #1 vs. test #2, plus a single chart compiling all of the muzzle devices from both tests ranked by recoil reduction percentage can be found at the very bottom of this article. For now, onto the comparison of each entrant that joined us for Shootout #2!

Muzzle Brakes / Compensators

Listed alphabetically. All stated weights and dimensions are as measured by me. I noted obvious errors on many manufacturers’ sites so chose not to use any of their info across the board.

2A Armament T3 Compensator:

2A1 2A2 2A3

Flawless machining and an extremely consistent and nice black phosphate finish. The complex appearance of the baffle and port structure is really cool. It’s a dual baffle comp that vents more gas upwards than downwards to compensate for recoil-induced muzzle rise. 2A claims it keeps flash to a minimum compared to most brakes and comps. It’s small, light, and works as a QD mount for some suppressors. Also available in titanium.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: 4140 bar stock steel
Finish: black phosphate
Length: 2.12″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.86″
Weight: 2.56 oz
MSRP: $75

Ares Armor Ares Breath Muzzle Brake:

Ares1 Ares2

Easily the largest 5.56 muzzle brake I’ve ever seen, the Ares Breath is over 6″ long, 1.9″ wide, and sports four blast chambers. It’s a cast piece so it has a rough, matte feel and appearance but it’s decently clean with no obvious flaws. The threads are nicely cleaned up after casting and the bore is certainly concentric enough to avoid any hint of baffle strikes. Pinned on permanently, the Ares Breath will bring a 10.5″ barrel up to legal 16″ rifle length. It was not as loud or as fiery as I expected, but even sitting still its looks are loud enough.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: hardened steel
Finish: black nitride
Length: 6.38″
Diameter (at largest point): 1.9″
Weight: 25 oz
MSRP: $150

Bird Of Prey USA Bird of Prey Compensator:

birdofprey1 birdofprey3

Right after the Ares Breath alphabetically is another brake that’s a big deviation from the norm. The Bird of Prey is made from a series of triangular, steel plates (“wafers”) bolted together at the corners. The number of openings varies — 5 on the right and left, although in different order, and 3 on the bottom — to compensate for muzzle rise and movement. Gotta love the BoP’s over-the-top, action movie-like promo video.

If you like or at least don’t mind the aesthetics, it does actually seem to make for a decent compensator. Not particularly impressive on straight recoil reduction, placing near the bottom of this pack of brakes and comps, but the balance of gas going up vs. going down seems about right, and it isn’t overly obnoxious to be around (below average for concussion). The machining and the finish are clean and the steel has a quality feel.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: case hardened steel
Finish: black oxide
Length: 1.86″
Diameter (at largest point): 1.36″
Weight: 5.25 oz
MSRP: $124.95

CMMG Compensator, SV Brake:

CMMG1 CMMG2

There’s basically no information on CMMG’s website about its SV Brakes beyond “very effective muzzle brake, threaded 1/2-28.” Looking at data from this and the last test, its recoil reduction performance was on par with most single chamber brakes. Two ports inside the blast chamber direct gas upwards to combat muzzle rise. I don’t know what kind of steel it’s machined from, but the machining is good and it looks and feels quite nice. The finish is even and deep — I’d guess nitrided.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: steel of some sort
Finish: guessing nitride
Length: 2.125″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.87″
Weight: 2.73 oz
MSRP: $64.95

DoubleStar BULLSEYE Muzzle Brake:

DoubleStar1 DoubleStar2

The BULLSEYE is available in 0.7″, 0.75″, 0.925″, and 1.0″ base diameters to best match your barrel. This 3-chambered brake uses “V” shaped baffles to direct gas and pressure slightly rearward, which is certainly a method employed by the M4-72 to be so darn effective and it works here as well. A strong, runner-up showing for the DoubleStar! The chambers are offset a bit higher than the center of the bore, which makes the top slightly narrower than the bottom to vent more gas upwards, compensating muzzle rise to an appropriate degree. The divot on either side in the wrench flats is a pilot hole, allowing the end user to drill it through and vent gas to the left or the right to combat lateral muzzle movement (e.g., a right-handed shooter generally sees the muzzle move to the right while firing).

Machining and finish are spot on. In a sea of muzzle devices with recessed crowns, I like the domed one on the BULLSEYE if for no other reason than it’s unique.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: steel of some sort
Finish: guessing nitride. Most of DoubleStar’s muzzle devices appear parkerized, but not this one.
Length: 2.90″
Diameter (at largest point): 1.00″
Weight: 4.88 oz
MSRP: $179.99

Houlding Precision Firearms HPF-15 Curse Muzzle Brake:

HPF_Curse1 HPF_Curse2

Designed to be a good all-around brake and comp, the Curse is a dual-chamber brake with a bunch of relatively small slots instead of full-on, open ports. This keeps blast and concussion to a minimum, while reducing recoil, keeping the muzzle stable, and somewhat reducing flash signature as well. Machining shows a couple of nicks and slightly rough edges. Finish is an even, matte black.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: 1144 stressproof steel
Finish: melonite
Length: 2.95″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.975″
Weight: 4.75 oz
MSRP: $125

Houlding Precision Firearms HPF-15 Irish Curse Muzzle Brake:

HPF_Irish_Curse1 HPF_Irish_Curse2

The Irish Curse is a single-chamber version of the Curse, with an extra port on top to compensate for its smaller size. It is one of the most effective single-chamber brakes I’ve tested on the recoil sled. No machining flaws, but it isn’t as clean as some others with just a bit of roughness on edges and such.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: 1144 stressproof steel
Finish: melonite
Length: 1.95″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.975″
Weight: 2.63 oz
MSRP: $100

JP Compensators Bennie Cooley Standard-Profile:

JP1 JP2

Available in a bunch of sizes to match your caliber and barrel diameter, plus in matte black or polished stainless finish to match your aesthetic preference. The machining is gorgeous. It’s a shiny, sexy beast. It’s also an effective brake and comp — placing sixth for recoil reduction — and, in standard-profile size, is legal for competition use in the shooting sports that limit such things.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: stainless steel
Finish: polished (also available in matte black)
Length: 2.31″
Diameter (at largest point): 1.00″
Weight: 3.60 oz
MSRP: $89.95

Juggernaut Tactical JuggerBrake:

Juggernaut_all Juggernaut1 Juggernaut2

The JuggerBrake is an aggressive, modern-looking brake that’s available in 3 flavors: Long Range/Sniper, CQB Right Hand, and CQB Left Hand. While the machining and finish are really great, I can’t really advise anybody to consider purchasing this brake under any circumstance other than as a display item. It was bad enough to deserve an article of its own, so give that a look to learn of the JuggerBrake’s multiple, fatal flaws.

While the CQB brake does not overcompensate for muzzle rise, it’s still made of aluminum and I just can’t get behind that for the reasons shown in the separate review. The Right Hand version I tested on the sled certainly does compensate for a right-handed shooter’s tendency to push the muzzle to the right a little — it can clearly be seen pushing the muzzle to the left in the slow-mo.

Click here to jump to its point in the video. The slow-mo footage on this one is definitely worth watching.

Material: it’s freakin’ aluminum
Finish: anodized
Length: 3.10″
Diameter (at largest point): 1.11″
Weight: 1.97 oz (Long Range model)
MSRP: $99

Lancer Nitrous Compensator:

Lancer_nitrous1 Lancer_nitrous2

Lancer’s Nitrous comp is a 3-port brake with an enclosed blast chamber just after the threads. On the top of that blast chamber there’s a pair of holes, designed to vent gas upwards to combat muzzle rise. What makes the Nitrous unique, though, is that these holes are threaded, and the comp ships with 6 set screw “jets” allowing the end user to custom-tune downward force. Choose from any combination of no jets, two large aperture jets, two small aperture jets, and two solid plugs to get it just right.

Machining is top notch. Finish is flawless. I had very high hopes for this brake, as the first port is quite large and that first baffle is angled rearwards a bit like the M4-72’s baffles. I thought it might be the one to unseat the champ. Alas, it came in sixth, just a hair behind the JP.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: steel
Finish: black nitride or bead blasted stainless steel
Length:
Diameter (at largest point):
Weight:
MSRP: $89.99

Lantac Dragon:

Lantac_Dragon1 Lantac_Dragon2

Lantac’s Dragon muzzle brake (DGN556B) was the single most-requested brake for Muzzle Brake Shootout #2. It’s insanely popular and a lot of folks seemed positive it would win. Tied for 12th ain’t bad — tied, actually, with the POF P415 brake that’s damn similar — but it ain’t a win. Were the baffles larger in size and/or if the first two had smaller bore holes through them (for whatever reason, they appear bored for ~.30 cal whereas the muzzle hole is a more typical .223 size), I’d bet dollars to donuts it would jump up a few places. Again, of course, that’s only on straight recoil reduction.

The Dragon is sleek and somewhat understated and performs very well without excessive concussion, plus the ports on top mitigate muzzle rise. Machining is great. The unique, bead blasted-like texture of the nitride finish is pretty cool. I like the feel of it, and it looks good although it does show some superficial scuffing and such.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: hardened milspec steel
Finish: nitride
Length: 2.57″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.863″
Weight: 3.15 oz
MSRP: $140

Manticore Arms NightBrake:

Manticore1 Manticore2

Manticore’s NightBrake is designed primarily to keep the muzzle nice and steady without increasing flash or concussion, and it seems to do a solid job at this — well, except for bare muzzle-like fireballs out the front — in a compact, lightweight, and aesthetically-pleasing package. The two “strips” of ports on the bottom are solid to keep you dust-free when shooting prone and to allow the open ports on top to compensate for muzzle rise. Machining and finish are both fine, but not exemplary. It looks like QD mounts that work on an A2 birdcage would work on the NightBrake.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: 8620 steel
Finish: deep black oxide
Length: 1.88″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.86″
Weight: 2.1 oz
MSRP: $57.95

Patriot Ordnance Factory (POF) Muzzle Brake (P415):

POF1 POF2

As mentioned above, POF’s P415 and Lantac’s Dragon are fairly similar. Similar in dimensions, appearance, chamber and baffle design, and on my recoil sled rig they’re identical in recoil reduction performance. They’re both nitrided, but POF went for a deep black mid-gloss (which appears perfectly done) and Lantac a lighter-toned, satin finish. Machining on the POF is exemplary. It comes with a lock nut to make timing it particularly simple, and at $58 MSRP it’s one of the lower-priced options in this roundup.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: steel
Finish: nitride
Length: 2.2″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.86″
Weight: 2.9 oz
MSRP: $57.99

Precision Armament AFAB-Mini:

PA_AFABM1 PA_AFABM2

After playing with it for the first Muzzle Device Shootout, I decided the AFAB-Mini would likely be my choice for permanently pinning on a barrel. The machining and finish are flawless, and it has decent recoil reduction performance, excellent muzzle control performance, and appeared to be a really good flash hider as well. Plus, I think it looks cool. Well, after more R&D and time on its CFD program, Precision Armament has deprecated the AFAB-Mini and has replaced it with the AFAB-556 seen below. The new version is supposed to be better in every single way.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: HTSR 416 stainless steel
Finish: Ionbond CrCN
Length: 2.225″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.865″
Weight: 3 oz
MSRP: no longer available (was $109.95)

Precision Armament AFAB-556:

PA_AFAB1 PA_AFAB2 PA_AFAB3

The new AFAB — that’s Advanced Flash Arresting Brake — takes the old design to a slightly more extreme level, with deeper grooves and a baffle pattern inside the bore. It kind of reminds me of a Graboid (not an insult). It’s supposed to outperform the old one in flash hiding, recoil reduction, and compensation performance. On my recoil sled it actually came in a couple percentage points behind the original AFAB, which really isn’t something the ol’ shoulder dyno can differentiate. Precision Armament suggested that a “break-in” of 10-12 rounds will often bump the performance just a bit, so I may revisit this in the future.

Again, machining is as good as it gets, and the Ionbond finish is very nice.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: HTSR 416 stainless steel
Finish: Ionbond CrCN
Length: 2.23″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.866″
Weight: 3 oz
MSRP: $109.95

Precision Armament EFAB:

PA_EFAB1 PA_EFAB2 EFAB_cutaway

PA’s EFAB, or Enhanced Flash Arresting Brake, is supposed to be the absolute pinnacle of flash hiding compensator design. Each port has a round hole in the middle that diverges outwards into the “Y” shapes visible on the outside. Looking down the bore, the appearance is that of 9 circular blast baffles. It’s certainly a joy to shoot a rifle with either of the AFABs or this EFAB on it — low concussion and blast, stable muzzle — and we’ll see how they fare on camera in the dark for the flash hider testing.

Again, machining and finish are absolutely flawless. Although the EFAB is supposed to outperform the AFAB in every way, I still kind of lean towards the AFAB for my personal rifle because I like the looks a bit more and it’s $50 less expensive (the EFAB ties up a CNC machine for quite a bit more time).

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: HTSR 416 stainless steel
Finish: Ionbond CrCN
Length: 2.43″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.9″
Weight: 3.51 oz
MSRP: $159.95

Precision Armament M4-72:

PA_M4-72_1 PA_M4-72_2 DSC01578

It won again! Incredible performance in a small, lightweight package. I’ve put hundreds of rounds through this brake now as it has spent some time on my Tavor and AR-15, and it’s really fun to shoot with it on since the gun barely moves at all. Whether that’s up, down, right, left, or back, it keeps the muzzle practically fixed in space. The rearwards-angled baffles do direct some blast rearwards instead of straight out to the sides, but that isn’t really noticeable from behind the gun. Next to the shooter? Sure. It’s not actually uncomfortable concussion that many or most brakes produce, though, it’s more of a blast of fast, hot air and maybe some carbon particles and such.

This thing is pretty dang solid and I hope to see Precision Armament releasing versions of it for more powerful calibers where it will be appreciated even more. Plus, at $89.99, it’s beating out most of its high-quality competition on price as well, and by a big margin in many cases.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: HTSR 416 stainless steel
Finish: Ionbond CrCN or bead blast
Length: 2.25″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.875″
Weight: 2.55 oz
MSRP: $89.99

Precision Firearms LMD Brake:

PF1 PF2

Reminding me a lot of Precision Reflex’s QC Brake, Precision Firearms’ LMD Brake is a clean, compact, 3-chamber brake with offset ports on the top. Those ports compensate for both muzzle rise and directional torque experienced by most right-handed shooters. The LMD is designed specifically for precision shooting, and every aspect of it is there to provide the cleanest flight path possible for the projectile with the least turbulence. Baffle size gets progressively smaller, the last baffle is thinner, the bore is actually honed (not drilled) to a very specific diameter, and the 11 degree target crown apparently helps stabilize the bullet upon exit. Machining is very clean, including good looking threads, and the finish is even and nice.

Although I haven’t yet done an accuracy test with various brakes/comps to see what affect they have, the LMD here certainly offers stellar recoil reduction performance in a very small, lightweight package.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: 416 stainless
Finish: nitride (as tested, but also available in machined stainless, Cerakote, and bead blasted)
Length: 2.03″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.99″
Weight: 3.26 oz
MSRP: $85 to $100 depending on finish choice ($95 as tested)

Rainier Arms Mini Comp:

Rainier1 Rainier2

There’s now a version 2.0 of the Mini Comp, but I still own and use this one. I like how tiny and light it is, but you’d never know it based on the fireballs and concussion out of this thing. It’s effective for a single-chamber brake, and it’s very good at compensating muzzle rise and movement. It also looks cool. Machining and finish are about average, but the V2.0 Mini Comp seems to have improved in both areas.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: steel of some sort
Finish: “black” (also available in stainless)
Length: 1.44″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.86″
Weight: 1.46 oz
MSRP: $55

RISE Armament RA-701 Compensator:

RISE1 RISE2

While picking up a RISE Armament drop-in trigger for review and inclusion in the AR-15 drop-in trigger roundup I’ve been working on, I also got my hands on this RA-701 compensator. Like RISE’s trigger, the comp is fairly modern looking and the machining and finish are extremely nice. It surprised me with a pretty stellar performance on the recoil rig and it seems to keep the muzzle really steady as well, so if you’re a fan of its looks in either machined stainless or black stainless, I’d say it’s a solid choice. Not inexpensive, but still less expensive than many of the similar brakes it outperforms.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: 416 stainless steel
Finish: machined stainless or black (+$10)
Length: 2.55″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.877″
Weight: 3.46 oz
MSRP: $129

Seekins Precision AR ATC:

Seekins1 Seekins2

Seekins’ AR ATC has a really clean, cool look to it (how on earth did they ever fit four chambers in a smaller package than the Ares Breath, I wonder?!) and the machining is totally flawless. Tied for eighth, its performance is also really great, despite registering below average on the concussion and blast scale. It comes with a matching lock nut to make timing the ATC simple, and it’s available in bead blast stainless or in black melonite finish, as well as with 5/8×24 threads for .30 caliber rifles.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: 416R stainless steel
Finish: bead blast (also available in black melonite)
Length: 2.43″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.95″
Weight: 3.51 oz
MSRP: $129

Sektor Defense MCS-4H:

Sektor1 Sektor2 Sektor3

The MCS-4H cut recoil energy by ~55% vs. the bare muzzle, and limits blast and concussion for the shooter by angling the baffles forwards (I think this slightly hurts ultimate recoil reduction though). Additionally, as seen in the third photo above, internal serrated ribs on the first blast baffle catch and disrupt gasses to reduce flash/sound/concussion. The slow-mo does show very little flash from this brake. This is another example of extremely clean machining, and the finish is one of the better examples of “black oxidized” that I’ve come across on any steel part.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: 316 stainless steel
Finish: black oxidized
Length: 2.0″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.8″
Weight: 2.22 oz
MSRP: $129.99

Smith Enterprises Good Iron Muzzle Brake:

Smith1 Smith2

I’d say this is more of a compensator than a brake, but the terms get thrown around interchangeably so who’s counting. A nice grade of stainless steel and really clean machining and finish make the Good Iron nice to look at and, likely, long-term durable. Ball-dimpled, circular ports is arguably a more subtle design than employing large blast chambers, but the recoil reduction isn’t as effective without those baffles. Aiming those first two ports on the top forwards would actually increase recoil slightly compared to aiming them straight up (or back), but this may be done to mix up the gasses coming out of the front ports, thereby preventing or reducing flash. The slow-mo did show no flash out the sides or top, and a fairly steady muzzle.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: 17-4 stainless steel (also available in 8620 steel)
Finish: machined stainless (8620 steel version is nitrided)
Length: 2.35″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.86″
Weight: 3.65 oz
MSRP: $90 in stainless ($70 nitrided 8620 steel)

Spike’s Tactical Dynacomp Extreme:

Spikes1 Spikes2

I like a deep black, semi-gloss melonite or nitride finish, and the Spike’s Dynacomp delivers here (they also make it in other finishes, like Nickel Boron). Machining is also near flawless and I’d say I’m generally a fan of this tons-of-tiny-ports aesthetic. Good muzzle control, but some muzzle flash out the front. Although a bit more expensive, the Precision Armament AFAB does seem to provide at least as much muzzle control, more recoil reduction, and zero flash. Solid choice either way, though, for the shooter looking for low concussion, low blast, low flash, plus muzzle control and some recoil reduction.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: 303 stainless steel
Finish: melonite
Length: 2.25″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.87″
Weight: 3.05 oz
MSRP: $89.95

Strike Industries J-Comp (Japan Type 89 Comp):

SI_JComp1 SI_JComp2

The J-Comp is actually pretty damn awesome. It’s an extremely effective brake, despite exhibiting low concussion, blast, and flash, and it has a simple and classic sort of a design. Machining and finish (note that mine’s a bit beat up on the wrench flats from being installed and removed a half dozen times) are average, but the price is dirt cheap. Although the $16, 3-chamber brake off Amazon beat the J-Comp in performance per dollar in Shootout #1, the J-Comp is leaps and bounds nicer in fit and finish (plus has wrench flats so you can actually install it) and has significantly less concussion/blast. It basically crushes the other ~55 muzzle brake and comps in recoil reduction per dollar.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: steel
Finish: parkerized
Length: 2.44″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.86″
Weight: 2.98 oz
MSRP: $29.95

Strike Industries King Comp:

SI_King1 SI_King2

The King Comp is new to the market from Strike Industries, and it’s a pretty cool looking brake. Nick got some great photos of a brake from Dead Air Armament that uses forward-angled ports at the rear to “blow out” flash and fire that would otherwise plume outwards from the brake’s chambers, and the King Comp has the same feature, although marketed in this case as a means of reducing side concussion.

Machining and finish are quite good. Better than some of the less expensive SI products and probably nicer than I’d expect at this price point.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: heavy duty steel
Finish: pakerized
Length: 2.61″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.97″
Weight: 3.875 oz
MSRP: $44.95

Thunder Technologies 5.56 Heartbreak Persuader:

Thunder_Tech_HeartBrake1 Thunder_Tech_HeartBrake2

These heart-shaped ports are really effective! The dual-chamber Heartbreak and 3-chamber Standard Muzzle Brake (follows) greatly outperformed my recoil reduction expectations. They’re also priced really well, landing them in fourth place and second place, respectively, in the performance per dollar rankings. Machining is clean, finish is okay (average parkerizing). It may just slightly overcompensate for muzzle rise, driving the muzzle slightly downwards on my rifle, but with a different barrel length or less powerful ammo it could be spot-on. Flash appeared quite low.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: stainless steel
Finish: black (also available in satin stainless)
Length: 2.2″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.877″
Weight: 2.57 oz
MSRP: $59.99

Thunder Technologies 5.56 Standard Muzzle Brake:

Thunder_Tech_Brake1 Thunder_Tech_Brake2

Thanks to a third chamber, Thunder Technologies’ Standard Muzzle Brake further reduces recoil compared to the Heartbreak. It also has very minimal flash with the same, quality machining and standard, parkerized-looking finish. With a third port on top it seems to push the muzzle downwards a bit more than the Heartbreak. Although it may not look as cool, I kind of think its performance as a compensator would be perfect with just a single port on top or three, smaller ports totaling about the same surface area (or anti-surface area, I suppose) as one of these.

Again though, I’m really amazed by the recoil reduction performance from this ‘sideways heart’ port shape, which also seems to have the benefit of mixing gasses up and reducing flash. For the small size and weight, Thunder Tech’s brakes perform like crazy.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: stainless steel
Finish: black (also available in satin stainless)
Length: 2.2″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.877″
Weight: 2.64 oz
MSRP: $49.99

Triangle Shooting Sports Benny Hill Rolling Thunder Compensator:

Triangle1 Triangle2

The Rolling Thunder has been a staple on the end of competition rifles (3-Gun, long range, etc) for a long time. It’s a solid performer for recoil reduction as well as muzzle control, and the end user can dial in more muzzle rise compensation by opening up that top port with a hand drill. It’s good for some fiery show and sufficient concussion thump to shock and awe bystanders. Persons with heart conditions should not stand off to either side of the Rolling Thunder. As fun as blast, fire, and concussion may be — and they are! — in 2015 there are much smaller and lighter brakes that perform every bit as well, and most of them do so without the fanfare and the shock wave.

Machining is extremely good except for some tiny burrs and sharp edges around the circumference of the chambers.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: stainless steel
Finish: machined stainless
Length: 3.5″
Diameter (at largest point): 1″
Weight: 6.25 oz
MSRP: $98.99

Troy Claymore Muzzle Brake 556:

Troy_Claymore1 Troy_Claymore2

Troy’s Claymore doesn’t really belong in this roundup, as it’s the only one with no design consideration for reducing recoil. However, it was requested by a handful of commenters (plus I intend to include it in the flash hider test) so here she is. Despite the name, it’s really a linear compensator and it does an excellent job of sending blast, concussion, and sound forwards. It’s even more pleasant from behind the rifle with this on than with an A2 birdcage or a bare muzzle.

Machining and finish are basically what I’d call “fast and dirty,” but the truth is I think this is probably the most appropriate choice for most muzzle devices anyway. The asking price should be adjusted to reflect this and, indeed, Troy’s options are on the affordable end of the spectrum with many linear comps coming in over 2x the price.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: hardened 4140 steel
Finish: manganese phosphate
Length: 2.24″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.97″
Weight: 3.25 oz
MSRP: $64

Troy Dual Chamber Muzzle Brake 556:

Troy1 Troy2

Okay, so if the Claymore is a bit “fast and dirty,” the Dual Chamber Muzzle Brake is a bit “salvaged from a shipwreck.” The machining itself is fine, but the bar stock Troy is using has all sorts of pock marks and imperfections in it. It’s not just my example, as it looks the same in Troy’s marketing material. Again, I mean, it’s a utilitarian item so as long as it isn’t priced like rifle jewelry I think we’re good here. Performance was in the middle of this pack, but that’s still good for a 59% reduction in recoil energy.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: hardened 4140 steel (version with suppressor mount is 17-4 PH stainless steel)
Finish: melonited
Length: 2.53″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.81″
Weight: 3.47 oz
MSRP: $59

VG6 Precision GAMMA 556:

VG6_GAMMA1 VG6_GAMMA2

VG6’s GAMMA and EPSILON are likely two of the most perfectly machined and beautifully finished muzzle devices I’ve played with thus far. Right at the top of over 65 examples. Performance is also nothing short of incredible given the extremely compact size and light weight. After the first Shootout, the GAMMA became one of my favorite, go-to brakes and it has spent most of its time since then living on the muzzle of my Tavor. I don’t believe it has been beaten for recoil reduction by anything smaller in size, and while it does overcompensate just a bit with this full-power 5.56, it’s spot-on with the inexpensive .223 I shoot most of the time. It and the EPSILON are top notch choices for sure.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: 17-4ph heat treated stainless steel
Finish: BLACKNITRIDE, satin finish (also available in bead blasted or raw machined stainless)
Length: 1.75″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.866″
Weight: 2.06 oz
MSRP: $89.99

Witt Machine Muzzle Rise Eliminator (MRE):

Witt_1 Witt_2

Possibly the worst tasting MRE I’ve ever had (although quite crunchy), Witt’s Muzzle Rise Eliminator is still a very effective muzzle brake and compensator in a very compact package. Despite my assumption that it was going to drive the muzzle down, compensation actually seems pretty much spot-on and recoil reduction is much better than I expected from a brake with such small chambers. The spade-like design is certainly unique and fairly cool looking, and the MRE is reliably good for a fiery show out the business end. Machining is above average with only a few visible tool paths here and there. The Cerakote finish is nice and even. Cool little brake.

Click here to jump to its point in the video.

Material: 416 stainless steel
Finish: Cerakote in black (as tested. Also available in Desert Sand and FDE Cerakote, or machined stainless)
Length: 2.225″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.95″
Weight: 2.6 oz
MSRP: $89 (+$15 for Cerakote)

Final Thoughts

I expected the recoil distances as measured in inches to be totally different from the first test to this one — different sled weight, different ambient temperature, slightly different table angle, etc — but I had very much hoped that the recoil reductions measured as a percentage would be pretty much the same. That’s the main reason I kept and re-tested brakes from the first Shootout. If the percentage reductions were the same for those brakes in both tests, then a direct comparison could be made to all of the other brakes and a chart like the one below would be truly meaningful.

While there absolutely was some consistency, it wasn’t as tight as I would have liked. I believe there was more gas/pressure being generated this time around due to the ammo being about 30 degrees warmer, and different brakes reacted to that differently. Just a total guess there, though, as I’m sure the other factors previously mentioned certainly had a hand as well. Anyway, muzzle devices that appear in both tests are in bold and are shown in a color in the chart below. Fairly decent consistency, really (like 3% or less difference test-to-test), except for the Mini-Comp.

There is one definite takeaway and generalization — one that I think shows some validity for comparing test #1 to test #2 — that is clear from the chart below, however. Brakes on the pink background have 3 or more chambers (the only “more” is the Seekins), compensators designed with lots of little ports, whether holes or slots, but no baffles at all other than at the muzzle, are on a yellow background. They have definitely clustered with their peers! Notable exceptions: the two JPs are dual-chamber brakes but they’re very large in size, and the VG6 GAMMA is a dual-chamber brake that performs way the hell above its weight class, as does Thunder Tech’s Heartbreak.

all brakes in one chart

Previous Post
Next Post

182 COMMENTS

  1. The Performance per dollar chart needs to be fixed. What is the performance units? 2 what? I’m assuming inches per dollar, but it needs to be clearly stated. I love this article and numbers overall, though.

    • Sorry, I tried to explain in the text: “…a performance (percentage reduction in recoil) per dollar graph…” So that’s what it is. Percentage reduction divided by dollars.

      It’s not a real “stat” or anything… so it’s just a comparative amount. If one gets a 1 and one gets a 0.5, the first one gives you twice the recoil reduction performance per dollar.

      (mathematically, a 50% reduction and $50 would be a factor of 1.0. A 50% reduction and $100 would be a factor of 0.5. …hope that at least clarifies what the numbers are, but the point is just to show directly comparable numbers and it doesn’t matter if they’re small numbers or large numbers or what since it’s a ratio.)

    • Can’t wait for test#3 to be published!

      To sight corrections (albight relatively minor) to make in your write up:

      1.) The J-Comp is a 2-chamber design (you have it highlighted in pink in the above table, indicating it is a 3 (or more) chamber design.

      2.) The Seekins AND the Ares are 4-chamber devices (you state only the Seekins is more than 3)

      Thanks for all your hard work.

    • There’s really no difference among any of the brakes that do need to be timed (a 27-way tie). If there’s a specific “up” side to the brake, then they all install the same way and you need to time it with the use of shims, varying thickness washer, a lock nut, etc. The Troy Claymore and the Ares Breath are the only two in the whole test that don’t have to be timed, and they are both “better” if they’re timed due to aligning logos and pre-drilled pin holes in a specific manner if chosen by the end user.

      I’ve actually used Precision Armament’s Accu-Washer system to install a few brakes from various companies. It’s kind of cool how it works, and the end result is that you use one washer of the correct thickness to time any muzzle device properly.

  2. A little surprised you didn’t put the performance per dollar winner from last round back in this time. For what it’s worth, I recently changed out all my flash hiders for the amazon muzzle break (not exactly the one tested but a similar 2 chamber model) and I could not be happier. My AR feels like a paintball gun now, and I paid less for 3 of them then what most of these cost individually.

    • I didn’t keep it after the last test. Nearly all of them are at TTAG HQ for use as reader prizes and giveaways (a lot have already been “weekend photo caption contest” prizes). Additionally, my hope was that the percentage reductions for brakes that appeared in both tests were so consistent that we could accurately estimate where any of the brakes from one test would have placed in the next test. That’s the purpose of that graph at the very very end. It puts the Amazon one basically dead center in the pack on performance. Any given brake should not have to be in both tests for us to know how it compares to brakes from the other test…

      At least that’s what I was hoping for. The percentage result for the M4-72 was dead freakin’ on. If they were all that close it would have been AWESOME. Other than the damn Mini-Comp, the other brakes that were in both tests were pretty close, though, only varying 2-3% test to test. Enough to ballpark where a brake from the first test would have placed in this test…

    • I also have the amazon one and love it. I have the #2 winner from the first test, and presumably still #2 winner of both, the JP Recoil Eliminator (the one that looks like a tank brake) on my $2500 gun but I have the cheap amazon one on my $500 AR15 and love it.

      • Werd. I only wish it had wrench flats to make installation easier. It’s a fairly weird thing not to have. And the Recoil Eliminator is pretty awesome but unless you specifically like the aesthetic of it, it’s surrounded by other brakes that perform just as well but are way smaller and lighter.

        • Yeah, I bought the Recoil Eliminator purely for it’s aesthetics and hoping that it really was an amazing brake. Coincidently, two weeks after I purchased it, you published your first muzzle brake test I felt totally vindicated when I realized it was #2 in performance to boot.

          One issue though is that I’m concerned it may actually be too agressive on muzzle rise. I feel like it pushes the gun down a bit, even when shooting from a bench rest or bipod. I’d really love to see future testing comparing muzzle rise elimination.

  3. Glad to see the J-comp held up well this time also, will some of the hybrid devices like the J-comp make it into the flash hider episode?

    Been waiting for this installment for a while, glad to see the pen of science made the cut! I noticed the rock is MIA this episode 🙂

    • LOL yeah. The rock wasn’t ideal and it looked even less “scientific” than the POS haha. Boxes of 10mm proved to be a more solid and stable weight.

      Yes, some of the hybrids will be in the FH test but it will mostly be made up of dedicated flash hiders. I think I have the majority of well-known and popular FHs on the market for it. Like 16 or 18 of them…

      • I hope you will also have adequate supplies of ammo with very high flash and very low flash, for comparison purposes. Most flash hiding needs can be solved with ammo. OTOH, low flash tends to be more expensive.

        • Just going to run the same AmEag M193, which is pretty flashy stuff, and leave it up to the flash hiders to sort it all out :). I know the good ones will be able to eliminate flash to basically zero, despite the ammo.

  4. The only thing I would suggest to improve this great write-up is to put the ranking and recoil distance of each brake in its entry next to weight and length and cost and such.

    Will there be more tests in the future for vertical recoil reduction and noise/blast level?

    • Doubtful. Too hard to quantify. Well, volume level can be quantified exactingly but it’s very expensive to do so and I’m not sure the results would even matter to anyone…the dB scale is pretty much impossible to truly understand and they’ll all do permanent hearing damage if shot w/out ear pro on anyway.

      • Brings up the point-does a muzzle brake work with a suppressor? I would think not, and so did not buy one, got a flash suppressor mount for a suppressor. I mean, does it produce decreased recoil with a can screwed on it?

        • Many of them work as mounts for suppressors and act as sacrificial blast baffles but, no, whether it’s a flash hider or a brake it really won’t have any effect at all on recoil or flash hiding once the suppressor goes on. The suppressor itself, however, has recoil reduction and flash reduction benefits…

    • Yeah sorry, hopefully in #3. My budget for purchasing brakes was gone before I got to it. Worked in order from most requested to least requested and, yeah, the SJC Titan was requested a fair amount but less than the others I purchased first.

      …as there are already 4 brakes here that didn’t arrive in time for this test, I think it’s fair to say there will be a Shootout #3 eventually (maybe late August?). I’m happy to borrow brakes from people for the next one! As long as you don’t mind being without it for ~2 weeks. Most were donated by the manufacturers, a couple have been borrowed, a handful have been purchased new, a couple I was able to find and purchase used. TTAG helped with the budget to buy ones that needed to be bought, but these things ain’t cheap so a decent budget doesn’t actually go all that far haha

      • Great write up /test again, Thank you so much for another incredible write up/test! it really helps cut through fancy advertisement videos and shed lights on what these things are truly capable of.

        I would be happy to lend you a couple of rare and discontinued brakes from AWC for testing and study if you are interested for the 3rd part of this test.

        • Honestly if they aren’t readily available for purchase then I’d probably pass. I can’t imagine how frustrated everyone would be if a brake did incredibly well but can’t be acquired haha. …so I basically feel like it needs to be available for purchase online (maybe phone-only, but that’s pushing it 😉 ) to be included…

      • +1 for testing the SJC Titan Break next time. I would also like to see the APA Gen II Little Bastard.

        • Hey Jeremy — thanks for doing this, and thank you for bringing my attention to the Precision Armaments M4-27. I ordered two.

          However, I also would like to see the APA gen 2 Bastard line (micro bastard for 5.56, and little bastard for .30) included in round #3 of testing.

          The Bastards are very popular, as is the Jerry Miculek brake.

  5. Some of those muzzle brakes look like they could also function as a bayonet. 2 for the price of 1!

  6. Have you ever done a similiar comparison in regards to muzzle rise? I would like to see a test combining both aspects, muzzle rise as well as recoil reduction. Any interest?

    • I think it has more to do with the shooter than the muzzle device. In my humble and not-entirely-scientific opinion here: reducing rearwards recoil is the reduction in muzzle rise people actually want. All of the force in an AR is perfectly in a straight line from muzzle to action to the end of the buffer tube. I think the muzzle goes up because the rifle’s on your shoulder, and at least 90% of you is underneath your shoulder. So, you lean backwards from the recoil, which makes the muzzle go up. Or, even if you don’t lean backwards your shoulder curves back at the top (and most shooters shoulder an AR kinda high) and the gun rolls up that curve a bit (the buffer tube and therefore bore axis is high on that curve). Put an AR with a bare muzzle against a solid object like a wall or a tree or whatever, and the muzzle doesn’t move. It doesn’t inherently leap upwards unless the support behind it makes it do so. Holding the rifle with two hands under the bore plus against a shoulder that leans back upon firing plus curves back on the top is why rearwards recoil energy causes most AR-15 muzzle rise in my mind (we try to hold it still but support it mostly underneath the bore axis, meaning recoil will cause rotation). Eliminate the rearwards recoil and that muzzle isn’t going to go any-freakin-where. Muzzle brakes that produce downwards pressure can be perfect for some people and way off for others because of different shooting stances, holds, shoulder positioning of the stock, etc. They compensate for something that’s a total variable from shooter-to-shooter… but it’s caused by rearwards recoil in the first place! At least IMHO 😉

      BTW in the slow-mo footage you can see clear differences in how the muzzle reacts. Up or, in some cases, pushed down with decent force. The rifle is held to the sled by means of the pistol grip being braced against the rear wall of the ‘tub’ part and a strap around the buttstock that’s below the buffer tube. Muzzle rise happens on that sled for the same reasons (although not necessarily to the same degree) that it happens when shooting off-hand. Again, just in my opinion.

    • That’s an interesting thought. So do you think that a rifle held from two ropes, one near the gas block and the other near the pistol grip, sort of suspended in air, would not have any muzzle rise if was fired?

      • Wildly excessive post comment follows:

        The gun is pushed rearwards right along the axis of the barrel by two things: pushing the mass of the bullet forwards means equal force is going to push the rifle rearwards, and the ‘explosion’ of gasses from the muzzle pushes the rifle rearwards (which works in multiple ways…one is that there’s higher pressure in all directions than outwards from the muzzle so the net result is rearwards push, just like a rocket engine in space, and the other is the blast and pressure of those gasses pushing against the air and pushing the rifle back in return). Some engineering types claim that ~74% of the rearwards recoil energy is from the gasses. The rest is the result of accelerating the bullet’s inertia.

        Let’s imagine the rifle is floating in space for the purposes of “muzzle flip theory” haha:

        …..Were the mass of the rifle equal above and below the bore, it would absolutely recoil perfectly straight back.

        …..This isn’t usually the case, though. If there’s more mass & therefore inertia underneath the bore (e.g. a heavy magazine that causes the vertical center of mass to be like at the level of the bottom of the trigger guard), when it fires it’s going to rotate around the center of mass. This will look like “muzzle rise” just as much as it looks like “butt stock drop,” but it’s really just rotation that has nothing at all to do with any sort of upwards force at the muzzle or upwards force from the action. But anyway, straight-back force along the bore line with more mass under the bore line will cause the thing to spin/cartwheel backwards into space.

        Now, if you prevent the rifle from moving rearwards, the rifle’s inertia and center of mass are taken out of the equation and it won’t rotate. Nor will it try to rotate or want to rotate. Put something solid, even if it’s as narrow as a pencil, on the buttstock right on the bore axis and I don’t believe that muzzle is going to move in any direction (bare muzzle; no muzzle device).

        That’s not the only way to prevent the rifle from moving rearwards, though. Well-designed muzzle brakes can reduce rearwards recoil energy by over 70%. Take a solid shooting position and brace the gun properly and you can take care of most of the rest. Whatever’s left over — whatever rearwards movement the gun does successfully make — is going to also induce rotation IF there’s more mass under the bore than over (a heavy optic might balance it out, for example, or an empty vs. full magazine will change things).

        So anyway… what I’m trying to say is that I think “muzzle rise” is actually directly caused by rearwards motion, and in reality it isn’t “muzzle rise” (meaning nothing is pushing the muzzle up) it’s rotation around the rifle’s center of mass. I think if you took a weight and put it on top of the picatinny rail at the rifle’s front/rear center of gravity and started moving that weight upwards away from the rifle (but it’s solidly connected to the rail on a riser in this scenario) until there was a higher polar moment of inertia above the bore axis than below, you’d see “muzzle drop” instead of “muzzle rise,” because the rifle would start rotating in the other direction, pivoting around the new center of mass above the bore instead of below it…

        But we screw this all up by holding it below the centerline anyway. Which means the best way to prevent the rifle from rotating around that inertia — both caused by the lower-than-bore-line mass and our low grip on it — is to prevent it from moving rearwards in the first place.

        Yes, a muzzle brake or comp can try to compensate for typical rotational forces by directing gasses upwards and therefore driving the muzzle downwards. BUT… tuning it is basically impossible. Gas pressure and therefore downwards force will vary massively based on barrel length and substantially based on ammo choice. Additionally, the shooter has a direct affect in how well he/she braces the rifle. In the event that the rifle isn’t moving rearwards at all it isn’t trying to rotate at all and the muzzle WILL be driven downwards by the comp. If you let the recoil lean your shoulders back, the gun will rotate and the downwards force from the comp will fall somewhere on the spectrum of too much, just right, or not enough depending on the balance of the gun and how sharply it moves rearwards and the pressure of the gasses at the muzzle and etc etc etc. But again, cut out the rearwards motion and you cut out the “muzzle rise” in the first place!

        I don’t have access to outer space, but I could try to demonstrate as much of this as possible on video. Go bare muzzle and brace the gun against a narrow-but-solid object (narrow vertically so we know it isn’t physically impeding the gun from rotating up or down), suspend it in the air so it’s free to move and see what happens with mass added and subtracted above and below the center of the front/rear weight balance, etc…

        • I know this is an old discussion, but it seems to me that muzzle rise is real and results from the fact that the ‘center of effort’ is straight back through the buffer tube, BUT the ‘center of resistance’ to that force is a couple inches below that line, at approx. the center of the butt stock. The greater this offset the greater the muzzle rise (that needs compensation). I bet if you rotated the stock 180 degrees around the buffer, muzzle rise would become muzzle ‘down’. Try it??

  7. Is there any plans of doing a test of linear compensators and/or those that have removable blast shields? I’ve got a Levang on my AR, and was torn between this or the Troy Claymore? Course if Lantac ever releases the blast shield for the Dragon brake I might jump on that one.

    Recoil reduction really wouldn’t be worth checking in this case, but sound, concussion, ease of install would be valid comparisons.

    • Yeah the main issue is that concussion is hard to quantify and sound is hard to measure (plus all require ear pro no matter what)… in the first shootout, the FERFRANS sure made for a massive fireball though! The Claymore definitely does a good job for the price and I really like the clean looks, high quality, and small size of the Black River Tactical one (was in Shootout #1 and will appear in the flash hider test coming up. A good review of it can be found here).

  8. If the 3 baffle brakes outperform the 2 baffle brakes as a class, I wonder if 4 baffle brakes would be better or just gianter 3 baffle brakes. I’m assuming it has to do with surface area, and surface area being closer to the bullet outlets. I have the #2 winner, JP Recoil Eliminator which undoubtedly has the most surface area of any of these with only two baffles (really weird baffles), but it still falls 2% percentage points less than the Precision Armament M4-72. I’m thinking it’s because the M4-72 has it’s surface area closer to the bullet outlets.

    I was really shocked to see the Lantac Dragon not do so hot considering just about everybody in just about every forum touts it as the absolute best. However, I think that the JP Recoil Eliminator may be a little too aggressive on muzzle rise, actually pushing the muzzle down, and I wonder how the Lantac Dragon does in that regard because I would gladly trade a 10% increase in recoil for a just right muzzle rize elimination.

    • M4-72 angles the deflected gas rearwards, which undoubtedly helps to push the brake forwards even better (kinda “catches” the gas and pressure and redirects it). The DoubleStar has the same feature.

      The Lantac would reduce recoil better if 1) the baffles were larger 2) the bore through the baffles were smaller (it would strip off and catch more gas rather than letting it blow through the bore) 3) the baffles angled rearwards a bit. …There can be negative trade-offs to all of those things, though, so the final design may sacrifice ultimate recoil reduction to assist in another way.

      In terms of adding more and more blast baffles, at some point there isn’t enough gas or pressure making it to subsequent baffles for them to actually do anything. If you could strip all of the gas from around and behind the bullet with a single baffle so the bullet goes through but all of the gas and pressure acts on one baffle, it would perform just as well as if it took 10 baffles to do the same job… (I cannot scientifically prove this. Just my inference)

      • In principle, yes, from conservation of momentum, if all gas could be directed straight backwards, it doesn’t matter how many baffles are doing that job. The total mass times its velocity would be the same.

  9. Very nice – thank you!

    Perhaps I missed this somewhere but … Jeremy, what ammo did you use for the testing? Just curious.

    • Ah, I only mentioned that in the video. Which you should totally watch and, like, go nuts clicking on the in-video advertisements! 😉

      Ammo is Federal American Eagle 5.56 from the 90-round, stripper-clipped packs. It’s standard M193 and it’s plenty fiery and such.

  10. So after all that… Can you tell us followers which of these if any are suppressor ready? Add an s to the line maybe?

    Thanks for all that awesome work!

    • Hey David, I can’t really be sure. Most of the manufacturers don’t say specifically, even though quite a few of them are standard A2 birdcage diameter (~0.866″) and have grooves at the base like a birdcage and I have to assume that many of them will accept a suppressor with a QD mount designed for that or the Gemtech Halo style, etc etc. But I really can’t be sure so didn’t state it except in one case w/ the 2A Armament one since they specifically mentioned it works for that.

      • Hey TTAG, if I had a muzzle device professionally modified, and I sent it to you… would you test it?

        Curious.

        • I’m sort of hesitant to include custom jobs since they wouldn’t then be available for purchase. It would be a little rough if some one-off unit won the next round of testing but nobody could get one hahaha. On the other hand, it might provide ideas for companies to mass produce something similar or take design queues from, etc. So… it’s a strong maybe. E-mail me: GunsAndGearEJ20 [ at. gmail

  11. Jeremy, it’s time for Round #3 now. Noticeably absent (to me anyway) was JP’s large diameter version of the JP Bennie Cooley Standard break. If the Standard one scored in at 66%, then the oversized one may actually be worthy of the #1 spot or at least beat out the JP Recoil Eliminator at #2 (I don’t like your scheme of showing the M4-72 as both #1 and #2.)

    Thanks!

    • Not a “scheme” so much as just combining results from both tests into Excel and spitting out the chart. I mean, what number would I assign to the J-Comp, for instance, that ranked slightly differently in each test? If not placing it as both #20 and #25, what would I do? In the same way, the M4-72 placed both 1st and 2nd. Also, there are a lot of other brakes that actually did the exact same percentage reduction as another brake or multiple other brakes and that combo chart still ranks them (e.g. 27, 28, 29) instead of showing multiple brakes tied for the same place (e.g. those three all rank 27, and then the next one would be 30… which would probably be the *correct* way to do it. I think I just gave up when the same brake across both tests tested just differently enough that other brakes squeaked in between those results haha). Please feel free to Photoshop it up and send me a fixed version. I need a little break (brake?) from all of this muzzle brake editing haha

  12. Am I the only one who saw the Ares Breathe and thought “Oh, that’s the guts of a suppressor just waiting for the can”?

    • Nope, you are not the only one! I figured Ares Armor was going to poke the ATF in the eye again haha. Bring up the SIG MPX muzzle brake lawsuit and such.

      But… Ares’ website says:

      How is this Device different from others that have been determined by ATF to be “Silencers”?
      a. This device is intended to be used in compliance with Federal and State law. You may pin and weld this device to a 10.5″ barrel to make your barrel a legal rifle length barrel or mount it without welding onto a 16” or longer barrel.
      b. This device is designed and intended to reduce felt recoil and muzzle climb.
      c. This device is intended to be aesthetically AWESOME!
      d. This device does not have threading on the forward portion of it, and is not intended to be used as part of an assembly of a silencer, suppressor or muffler.
      e. This device does not diminish the sound of the firearm.
      f. In an abundance of caution we have added anti-tamper features to restrict the ability of one to misuse this product.
      g. Misuse of this product voids the product warranty.

  13. Was there the same amount of ammo and therefore weight in the gun before firing for each brake?

    • Yes, only one round was loaded at a time. The magazine was in it just to lock the bolt back when I racked the charging handle and then to act as a “sled” so I could toss the next round into the ejection port, hit the bolt release, and be ready to go again.

      BUT…the weight of the gun did differ as the weight of the brakes themselves differs. That was the only weight variable. Since weight does legitimately reduce felt recoil, I saw no need to compensate for that and if a brake wants to reduce recoil by weighing 20 lbs that’s just fine and dandy haha

  14. Interesting and excellent work. Fwiw, I’ve run A2, AAC 51T blackout flash hider, AAC 51T b/o w brake, Miculek and BCM mod1 on 556 rifles. Recoil reduction isn’t an issue IMO, but muzzle rise is. The BCM by far is the best of bunch. Impulse is straight back and I can get in the flow of the gun in a way that I can’t with the other devices.

    Was there any effort to measure the “buddy effing” (aka over pressure) of each device? This is another area where the BCM mod 1 excels IMO. Ranking of importance of performance for 556 is 1. Muzzle rise. 2. Buddy effing factor. 3. Recoil. 4. Flash hiding 5. Cost.

  15. Awesome Job!

    If you are able, here are my bids for round three:

    Ross Schuler
    APA Gen II Little Bastard
    Smith Enterprises
    ALG Sidewinder
    R&D MRAD
    SJC Titan

    • What Smith one? ‘cuz the Good Iron was in this test and I got one or two Smith flash hiders for that one. But I didn’t notice any other brake or comp that seems applicable to a recoil reduction sort of a test other than the Good Iron that was already in this one…

    • Yes, my error. I just saw that the smith one was in there. Sorry.
      But definitely the other, especially these three:
      APA Gen II Little Bastard
      R&D MRAD
      SJC Titan

      • It doesn’t look like R&D makes an MRAD that fits the AR-15 thread pitch…

        I actually did contact APA via e-mail and phone to try and get one of their Bastards but couldn’t get through to them. I’ll try again for next time and if there’s a budget for it (and they ain’t cheap), they’ll be on the list as one to purchase.

        SJC Titan is now at the top of that list if I can’t find one to borrow or get through to SJC in the hopes of having one donated or loaned.

        • Too bad about the R&D MRAD. I sure hope you can get one or two from APA though. Many of the top precision rifle crowd are using those on slightly larger calibers.

  16. Anyone else follow the link for the Bird of Prey and notice they managed to misspell muzzle at the 00:11 mark?

    • Wow, a lot of their stuff is dead sexy. I remember when the company opened up shop, but I don’t think I looked at them since. Lots of their products are really nice. I’ll try to get some goods 🙂

  17. Am I the only one who regards AR-15 muzzle brakes as about as useless as tits on a boar. It’s an AR-15 for crying out loud, not a Barrett.

    • Reduced recoil is helpful for quicker follow up shots, for one thing. For another, if you’re going to run a can, then a brake acts as sort of a “sacrificial baffle” which helps reduce wear on the internals of the can vs using a flash hider.

      Brake vs FH is pretty subjective, it’s going to depend on the person and the rifle and the purpose of the rifle, but brakes certainly aren’t useless.

  18. Sintercore’s 3DX break
    Contact Neal Brace
    See if he can send you a Nickle alloy printed flash / compensator.
    Theres some interesting design there that can’t be CNC’ed.

  19. You should have the vais muzzle brake on there. I dont know if youve tried them but it brought my .300 win mag WAY down. Last i checked they make em for AR’s too

  20. The author has done a great amount of valuable work. There should be 3 categories if winners however. #1 and most relevant is on target, the most recoil reduction. But consider 2 additional… The cheapest (since all brakes seem to be leaps and bounds better than a bare muzzle/A2 birdcage. And the last, potentially most valuable, use a sum of stack ranks to determine which brake has overall the best reduction and lowest cost. Something for everyone… The uber tacticool guy gets the best performer with money being no object. The cheapskate knows where to put his/her money. And the everyman looking for best overall value/performance is covered. Good work nonetheless!

    • I think what you’re looking for is in the performance per dollar graph, where they’re ranked by their performance per dollar of cost…

    • Yeah, you could invent a hundred others. How about the cost-is-no-object coolest looking without giving up too much actual effect?

      Great job, Jeremy, I could have never imagined an actual, effective method to test this.

      • Yeah it’s also why I made the Excel doc w/ all of the data available for download. You could use that to rank them by performance per ounce of weight, or do whatever else might make sense…