So you’ve picked up a rifle like the DPMS Enhanced Tactical RECON that comes from the factory with a 51 tooth AAC silencer mount. Congratulations! Now what exactly do you do with that? For a lucky sliver of the gun-owning public, the obvious solution is to slap your AAC silencer on and have a good time.
But what if you don’t have a silencer? Or what if you want your gun to be as light as possible? And what if you also want to stop annoying everyone else on the range with your ridiculous muzzle brake? AAC has just the thing.
The ATF can be a bit particular when it comes to what you can and cannot thread onto the end of your rifle, but they have ruled time and again that things like “blast deflectors” are not silencers. They don’t reduce the report of a firearm in any meaningful way (and often increase the perceived noise downrange) so legally speaking they aren’t an NFA item. In short, you can buy them off the shelves without any additional paperwork.
AAC’s BlastOut is designed much like any of the other blast deflectors: simply. It threads onto the 51 tooth mount of your choice and provides a solid cylinder to “deflect” the muzzle blast of your gun forward instead of to the side. The front is completely open to allow the gasses to move otherwise unimpeded.
Interesting concept, but does it work?
In terms of reducing the report of your firearm? It’s about as useful as wishful thinking. The gun is still loud as all heck. Which is good — that’s exactly why the ATF says these things are A-OK. There’s no discernible impact on the performance of your chosen muzzle device: the muzzle brake will still do a great job reducing recoil, and flash hiders will still hide the flash.
Speaking of flash hiders, there’s one change that you will notice. AAC’s three prong flash hiders have a noticeable “PING” noise that they make whenever you fire a round or close the action. It acts like a giant tuning fork, and to me that’s incredibly annoying. Adding the BlastOut 100% eliminates that noise.
But that’s not why you’d buy it. The real benefit is when it comes to how your muzzle blast impacts the people around you.
You’re not going to notice the biggest benefit, but those standing to either side of you will. For those running the muzzle brake version of a 51 tooth adapter (especially those, like me, running it on a 10.5″ SBR) the noise and the gasses being thrown to either side from each successive shot are annoying enough to clear the benches on either side. In this respect the device works exactly as advertised, and will keep an intermittent fart of hot gasses from being blown into your neighbor’s face. It’s a neighborly thing to do.
One thing I’m a little disappointed about is the material. Take for example Dead Air Armament’s version: the Pyro. Their blast deflector is manufactured from the same metal as their silencers, making it easy to weld and work with. Theoretically, if some enterprising person wanted to make (and properly submit a Form 1 to register) a silencer in their own home they could use the Pyro as the attachment point and use Dead Air’s muzzle brakes on all their guns. AAC’s BlastOut is (as Mike Smith helpfully points out below) made from heat treated 17-4 stainless steel, but the odd shape makes for a difficult time attaching a suitable baffle stack.
I also had a small issue with the device. AAC’s ratchet system uses a pin to hold the ratchet in place. The latest designs allow this pin to be drifted out for replacement of the ratchet system should it wear out, a definite improvement that my 762-SDN-6 didn’t have. Out on the range the pin on the BlastOut wiggled loose and came about halfway out of the housing after only a couple hundred rounds downrange.
In theory it should stop there, since the ratchet was now out of alignment and placing additional friction on the pin to hold it in place. But I’d hate to be out on a dirt range when the pin finally walks all the way out and the first indication of a problem is when my new muzzle device goes flying downrange.
Here’s the $149 MSRP question: is it worth the money? Having spent a shockingly large percentage of my life on the firing line I know the annoyance of having someone else’s muzzle blast redirected into my face every couple minutes, and I would indeed appreciate it if more people were considerate of their neighbors by adding a silencer or blast shield like this to their gun. That said, the direct benefit to the shooter themselves is pretty minimal. I don’t think I’d pay $150 just to eliminate an annoying pinging noise.
Specifications: AAC BlastOut
Adapter: 51 Tooth
Ratings (out of five stars):
Overall: * * *
It works as advertised, and will definitely make for a more polite range trip. I’m just not sure that courtesy is worth the $149 price tag.