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.
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.
Here’s a photo after two shots. Two.
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:
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.
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):
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.
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).
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):
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.
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.
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. This one may even be unsafe.