Miculek Magnetic Buffer System
Dan Z. for TTAG
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Why would anyone spend money to reduce the recoil of an AR-15 rifle? That’s the question some will ask given the fact that a .223/5.56 round doesn’t produce a whole lotta recoil. Fair enough. For most shooters, it won’t make enough of a difference to matter. But if you’re a competitive shooter or are just sensitive to recoil, a recoil-reducing buffer makes sense.

The Miculek Magnetic Buffer System isn’t the first recoil reducer. Buffers using springs or hydraulics have been around for years. But the Miculek is a unique design using magnetic polarity to dampen the recoil impulse.

That means there are no moving parts to make noise or fail. With no springs or hydraulic seals, the Miculek Magnetic Buffer System (MMBS from now on) is damn near foolproof.

Miculek Magnetic Buffer System
Dan Z. for TTAG

When you’re not using it in your rifle, the MMBS can double as a handy fridge magnet. But seriously folks . . .

Miculek Magnetic Buffer System
Dan Z. for TTAG

Here you see the MMBS next to a standard M4 buffer. There are a couple of difference besides the recoil-reducing piston action. First, the MMBS weighs a tad more…3.2 oz versus 2.9 oz according to my kitchen scale. Also, the MMBS doesn’t rattle when you shake it like the standard buffer does.

I talked to the folks at JDAS Enterprises who produce the MMBS with Jerry Miculek. They make the comps for Jerry, too, and tell me more Miculek designs are coming in the future.

JDAS said they’ve tested the buffer under more that 100,000 rounds without failure. They hooked it up to an accelerometer to objectively measure recoil and tested it for barrel deflection to see what it does for muzzle rise.

They told me that the MMBS is a significant improvement over a standard buffer and measurably better than either sprung or hydraulic designs.

Miculek Magnetic Buffer System
Dan Z. for TTAG

Since I don’t have access to any of that equipment, the only way to tell if the MMBS does what they say it does is to shoot it.

Installing it takes all of 30 seconds. Just depress the buffer retention pin in your rifle’s lower — be sure to have your thumb over the sprung buffer or it will launch — and remove your standard buffer and spring. Slide the old buffer out of the recoil spring and slide the MMBS in. Put them into your lower and you’re ready to go.

Miculek Magnetic Buffer System
Dan Z. for TTAG

The strength of the dampening action of the MMBS is selectable with a screw that adjusts how much force is needed to depress the magnetic piston. The farther in you adjust the screw, the more force it takes to compress the buffer. That lets you tune your rifle as needed for the force of your recoil spring, the weight of your ammo, the effects of a suppressor, whatever.

JDAS recommends tuning with a single round in a magazine. Shoot your rifle and if the action doesn’t lock back on the empty magazine, adjust the buffer with a counter-clockwise half-turn of the adjustment screw to lighten the tension. Repeat until the rifle locks back reliably. I didn’t have to do that as my rifle cycled just fine with the MMBS right out of the box.

First I shot two rifles side by side, one with a standard buffer and one with the MMBS. The rifle with the MMBS was slightly softer-shooting than the standard buffer. But while I was shooting the same ammo from each gun, the two rifles weren’t the same (different accessories, different weights, different muzzle devices). It wasn’t really a fair comparison.

Next I shot both buffers with the same rifle, alternating between the two. That’s a little tricky because you have to take the rifle down to replace the buffers between magazines. Still, there was a perceptible reduction in felt recoil when using the MMBS. It’s not a lot and it probably won’t make much of a difference to some shooters. But it’s there.

The MMBS has an MSRP of $119 and sells for $99 retail exclusively through Big Daddy Unlimited. That makes it less expensive than hydraulic buffers. Will it be worth it for you? That depends on how you shoot and how recoil sensitive you are. But if you want to do everything you can to reduce as much of the felt recoil your AR-15 rifle produces — and lots of people do — the MMBS is well worth a try.

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57 COMMENTS

  1. I like the idea. I like Jerry Miculek. I don’t think he’d put his name to it if it was garbage. I have an AR that I am trying to tune to be as flat shooting and as quick on following shots as possible. This has merit towards that end, and the price is reasonable. I will be getting one, but not through BDU, because I did the trial membership and they didn’t have any stock, so I canceled the membership. Oh well!

    • Get a Binary Trigger. Th article did not specify where the magnet idea originated but it could have been developed at Clark’s where a line of other gizmos and gadgets originated. A good while back I went to Clarks looking for of all things an Enfield in .308 because somebody said Clarks had some. They did and they looked like they were rode hard and put up wet. Nonetheless I was the only person in the sales area and Jerry Miculek was the only person behind the counter. Even though I have purchased from Clarks before I saw Jerry Miculek on occasion but never met him. This time I got to spend some time talking one on one and he is a gentleman and a professional. That I can tell you.

  2. I’ve thought of something similar for car suspensions.
    And hey, If Miculek uses them that’s quite an endorsement.

    • No.

      Unless you have a rather unusual build, both the buffer tube and upper are aluminum. They won’t be magnetized unless your upper is – again – a VERY unusual aluminum alloy.

      The bolt carrier might get a little residual magnetization, but most of the particles generated will be non-ferrous unless you’re shooting a lot of steel case ammo.

      For most shooters this is a non-issue.

        • A lot of appliances today like a fridge come with 400 series stainless that is magnetic or they will put a carbon steel backer behind the stainless panels so that people can still use fridge magnets.

          Highly unlikely the magnet will interfere with anything on an AR, in fact the constant pounding the fire control group and bolt carrier receive locking an unlocking will probably magnetize the bolt more.

          Like said, really a non-issue.

          Personally for $100 or less, that’s a lot of machining and a decent deal, might be nice to have a smoother AR.

      • dirt and dust on the ranges has metal particles, they’ll build up on the spring and bolt carrier and will be very difficult to remove.

        • “they’ll build up on the spring and bolt carrier and will be very difficult to remove.”

          *Sigh*

          A piece of masking tape works wonders in removing bits of metal stuck to something magnetized…

      • It might be interesting to see if it creates issues while wearing noise cancelling electronic headphones.

        I wonder it any measurable voltage gets induced through the recoil spring. This does bring up some ideas for experimentation.

        • It should, however any voltage produced is shorted to the buffer body via the spring anyhow and the voltage would be too low to be measurable on electronic muffs as well as bidirectional canceling itself out. The magnet is also probably not strong enough to cause noise to the muffs either.
          Also before anyone suggests, the magnet and velocity are not enough to create a rail gun out of your buffer tube.

        • The adhesive from a roll of duct tape is perfect for removing magnetized particles from the spring and bolt carrier group.

        • @Bob
          Agreed

          I does present some possibilities for ‘tunable’ aftermarket buffers.

          Now, if the tube were lined with something non-conductive, you then have an anode/cathode inherent in the spring.

          Even with the tube shorting out the spring, could there be heat buildup or would any of this require stronger magnets? Various types of magnets could be used to make this do different things. Possibly using non-standard materials for the spring itself.

          Lol. This lets the imagination run a bit.

        • Prndll,

          The movement of the spring would generate more heat than electric resistance through the wire would by far, either way there is so little produced it would be quickly dissipated by the aluminum surrounding it. The charge would be in milivolts and microamps. You could maybe use it to fire off an RF signal for a counter or such device to keep track of round count, that would be useful especially in competition shooting.

        • “The adhesive from a roll of duct tape”

          thanks, didn’t think of that, will help me with one.

  3. Part of the requirement for this to work is the need for powerful magnets. How such a field effects you is dependent on your unique health consideration but powerful magnets and electronics often don’t mix.

    • Not really, as its a buffer not a recoil absorber. the spring takes the brunt of the force, the buffer is simply dampening any residual force.
      So the magnets are most likely standard earth magnets, as said, the AR doesn’t have a lot of recoil and by the time the spring is compressed its down to almost none.
      Magnets of this range would have little to no effect on electronic devices.

      • Typical 223/556 no…not much recoil. But there are AR shotguns. Then there are other calibers like .308, 450 Bushmaster, 243, or 270.

        • Still, in order to produce a more powerful magnet in that size you would need to make an electromagnet and power it. Packing a bunch of neo earth magnets in there would make it look like a Siaga…..

          Probably why the 223 was chosen for this pilot model.

  4. It’s an interesting idea and one I might try but…

    “Why would anyone spend money to reduce the recoil of an AR-15 rifle? That’s the question some will ask given the fact that a .223/5.56 round doesn’t produce a whole lotta recoil.”

    Lmfao…really? This sounds ridiculous to me. What difference does it make how much or how little to recoil is? If recoil can be reduced (possibly to zero) then why not? It would seem the most logical thing to do with ANY firearm.

    “That means there are no moving parts to make noise or fail.”

    Really? I’m not sure what anyone else sees in that short video but I saw moving parts (one in another). I can’t speak to noise levels since I haven’t used it (yet) but I can say nothing is ‘too big to fail’. Just based on this description given and by looking at it, it seems to just be another buffer. Something to replace your buffer. It sounds like the buffer spring is still used. If your existing spring makes noise, I don’t see how this buffer will change that. That noise is the spring against the buffer tube.

    I like the idea and this could actually be used with an embedded coil to keep a charge on onboard batteries if done right. I’m just not to keen on the sales pitch.

      • If Jerry uses it it’s good…he’s a few months younger than me and still one of the best shooter’s on earth! I get reducing recoil when you got the electric trigger finger.

      • Dont like spring noise, put a little plain old grease on the recoil spring, you will be amazed…completely silent! Millions of us have been doing it since the 1960’s with no issues, dont over-do it, and clean and replace grease every 2-3,000 rounds.

    • Two diodes and a chip set you could pull a charge off the magnets passing a coil but the power induced would be so small that it would hardly power a watch let alone anything battery powered on a firearm. In fact a small solar panel on your optic would do better but still only help something like a red dot. This has been tried with scopes.
      As for moving parts, like Dan said, not high wear surfaces that will cause problems under the 100k round marks.

  5. I guess time will tell on the life cycle of this buffer. Neat idea but I am wondering about the weakening of the magnet from impacts. Will stay with my hydraulic buffer for now.

    • “I am wondering about the weakening of the magnet from impacts.”

      It takes quite a bit of mechanical shock to de-magnetize.

      Think along the lines of a hammer striking an anvil level of shock…

  6. Well I just be dam, never could figure out why my 5.56 was bruising my shoulder just like a 45-70 never thought of putting magnets in the tube. If I put magnets in my shoes bet I can walk on water, shame on JM.

  7. Where alre the green people? Surely we could build a buffer that generates electricity with every shot. Just waiting for the USB plug on the side of the stock so I can recharge my handheld ham radio and tablet while bugging out.

    • The Marty & Martian, Illudium PU-36 can generate and transfer the energy to the planet of your choice with each round fired in any of several formats for reconstitution that you may require.

    • “…Just waiting for the USB plug on the side of the stock…”

      It only generates power during the recoil stroke.

      I assure you, ammo costs multiple *magnitudes* more than the electricity required to charge a lithium-ion cell…

  8. I use a hydraulic buffer. Doesn’t take a lot of rounds of AR recoil for an old shoulder injury to act up on me and I do not like being limited to rimfire rifles, as much fun as those are 🙂

    I’m fine with what I have but if I see one of these on sale sometime, I’d try it.

  9. The tail end of the buffer is steel compared to polymer on a standard buffer. I wonder if it will damage the aluminum (steel buffer tail against aluminum buffer tube body) buffer tube when the buffer bottoms out at the end of the recoil stroke.

  10. What the hell is the ‘recoil impulse’…?
    or is this just a poor choice of words?
    I have literally never heard this term before – serious question

    • “What the hell is the ‘recoil impulse’…?”

      Load a snub-nose .357 with magnum ammunition and squeeze the trigger fully.

      The *pain* you will feel in your hand is a result of the recoil impulse… 😉

    • From my rusty high school physics and a quick Wikipedia refresher: impulse is change in momentum. When a gun is fired, the bullet has its momentum changed in the forward direction by the burning powder. The gun has its momentum changed by the same act, in the opposite direction. Both of them experience an impulse, and the one the gun, and by extension the shooter, experiences could be called the recoil impulse.

      That’s my very basic understanding of it. TTAG has smart people around, so if someone with a better background wants to expand or correct, have at it.

      • Then there is no “impulse”. There is no “momentum” before the gun is fired, so no change, and no “impulse”. Just recoil, sombody had to add an extra word to sound smarter and waste time spelling. There probably is “impulse” during automatic weapon or rapid fire strings. Wait, what is a string…never mind.

  11. You mentioned muzzle rise testing but did not give the results. Was there any difference?

    On full auto, instead of death-gripping the hand guard and trying to force the barrel to stay down, try resting the hand guard on an open palm. I know, it’s counter-intuitive but if/when it works for you, you’ll have a revolutionary, not to mention controversial, subject for a new post.

  12. standard H series buffers run $10 to $30. Not paying $100 for some fancy-schmancy buffer.
    The ones I have work just fine.

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