by Norman J. Gray
Finding the best muzzle brakes for your AR 15 starts by doing your research. The following article helps you narrow your options.
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- What are Muzzle Brakes and just what do they do for your firearm?
Without bringing too much science to bear, muzzle brakes re-directs propellant gases from a fired round outwards and upwards to stop or reduce muzzle climb during normal semi-automatic, rapid or full-automatic fire.
This action helps the shooter keep the muzzle down and rounds on target. We owe this simple technology to its pioneering use on artillery pieces, over time it has been scaled down and used on all manner of firearms where recoil management and not meaning to shoot down aircraft was a concern.
This simple tech is especially useful for the muzzle control of larger caliber revolvers such as the Smith & Wesson 460XVR which shoots the potent .460 S&W Magnum. If it were not for its very effective muzzle brake, shooting all the factory ammunition and hand loads for that article would have been very unpleasant for me.
The S&W 460XVR revolvers muzzle brake is manufactured into the barrel; a feature I like. If your firearm is devoid of this feature and you wish to add it, companies like Mag-na-port International Inc. in Harrison Township, Michigan ( www.magnaport.com ) will use a process called Electrical Discharge Machining to place the vent holes directly into the barrel without damage to the metal and they do handguns, pistols, and rifles.
AR Muzzle Brakes vs Flash Hiders
Although I’m not covering flash hiders in this Best Of, I would like to distinguish the difference between the two. A flash hider helps dissipate the flash from the propellant gases so as to not blind the shooter in low light or total darkness and also serves to preserve a shooter’s position or location due to a large flash signature. Of course, you cannot possibly hide all of the light generated from discharging a firearm with the possible exception of using a suppressor.
Up until recently it’s been very hard to combine the two into one effective unit and to the best of my knowledge PRECISION ARMAMENT – EFAB HYBRID FLASH HIDER/MUZZLE BRAKE has come closest to creating the combo holy grail with a few others following close behind. I know someone is working on building a better mousetrap as we speak.
As with everything in the shooting world the muzzle brake has continued to evolve into something much more than what it was originally designed to do. Today’s muzzle brakes are multifaceted and give the shooter more options besides its intended purpose. Simple modifications like deleting the port(s) along the bottom of the muzzle brake help reduce your dust signature while in the prone shooting position. Adding diamond shaped teeth on the front of the brake makes it a defensive weapon for less-than-lethal muzzle strikes during hand to hand combat using the rifle. Some muzzle brakes even act as connection points for suppressors utilizing threads or QD (Quick Disconnect) mounts towards the rear of the brake.
My personal choices are but a few of the options available to you and as with any accessory choice, wants, needs and even aesthetics will play their role in your decision. You will find the right muzzle brake by doing your due diligence in researching your options and finding one that meets your criteria.
Here is my short list, of what I like as the best Best AR-15 Muzzle Brakes, with expanded comments below.
- Precision Armament Ar-15 M4-72 Severe-Duty Compensator DLC Brake
- Troy Industries AR-15 Medieval Muzzle Brakes
- SilencerCo AR-15 Saker Trifecta Muzzle Brakes
- VAIS AR-15 Muzzle Brakes
- Witt Machine Clamp-On Muzzle Brakes
- Precision Armament EFAB Hybrid Flash Hider & Muzzle Brakes
A great many manufacturers use the standard A2 birdcage style because it's cheap and effective, but some shooters need their rifles to meet other requirements or just want to make a plain OEM (Original Equipment Manufactured) rifle their own. I will show you a few choices I use or would use on my firearms and in the end, I hope to fuel your decision in a positive way. And like everything else shooting, there is bargain basement, gonna cost you some and sell the kids price ranges.
Best AR 15 Muzzle Brakes
Precision Armament Ar-15 M4-72 Severe-Duty Compensator DLC Brake
The Precision Armament Ar-15 M4-72 Severe-Duty Compensator DLC muzzle brake is almost a dream brake. It is shorter than most, less expensive than the competition with a nice narrow profile and features an innovative reverse venting triple baffle design for the highest recoil reduction in its class.
Product description: This compensator features a large initial expansion chamber which dissipates combustion gases at a lower pressure, then directs the gases to the side and rear through precisely canted vents. Innovative reverse venting design reduces recoil and blowback while eliminating muzzle rise. Closed bottom in compensator greatly diminishes dust signature. Machined from high strength stainless steel for corrosion resistance, compensator will not erode due to the extreme heat of automatic fire. Requires use of Accu-Washers sold separately for proper installation.
Available in .223/556mm ans well as .308/7.62mm.
Troy Industries AR-15 Medieval Muzzle Brakes
(5.) A great many manufacturers complete their rifles with a basic A2 style muzzle brake. This is both cheap and effective for the manufacturer and works just fine for the owner who just wants a simple AR-15 rifle. But for those discriminating owners who don’t settle for average, there are many alternatives such as the Troy Industries AR-15 Medieval Muzzle Brake.
It’s a simple and effective way to control muzzle rise that won’t require you to cash out your retirement. The first thing you notice is the diamond-shaped teeth pattern on the front of the brake. This gives you the option of a CQB (Close Quarters Battle) strike using your rifle while the large strike face keeps the device from over penetrating and the teeth act as a standoff for body shots. It is made from 8620 steel and parkerized to resist the elements and gas erosion. It allows the use of most over the barrel suppressors and the manufacturer states it increases their effectiveness. Your rifle needs to have ½”-28 tpi (Threads Per Inch) for mounting and all that is left is a small donation of $44.99 + S&H (cheaper online) and they will send it to your door.
SilencerCo AR-15 Saker Trifecta Muzzle Brakes
(4.) Multitasking and flexibility to do other things is a highly desirable characteristic for me when I choose replacement parts and even firearms. The SilencerCo AR-15 Saker Trifecta Muzzle Brake allows you to not only curb that pesky muzzle climb but accepts a suppressor as well.
The catch you ask?
Well, it only accepts the SilencerCo Saker sound suppressors, but if you're planning on purchasing one, mission accomplished. With that in mind if you get a muzzle brake that accepts a suppressor, make sure it’s the one you want or that it accepts several types with the same threads.
Just keep in mind most, if not all name brand manufacturers tend to make them for their products, so read carefully.
With the SilencerCo Saker trifecta muzzle brake it allows easy on or off with just one hand and they manufacture two versions, one with 1/2×28 threads for 5.56 and 5/8×24 for your 7.62 rifle. It offers a three port design to make follow up shots easier and it’s machined from 17-4 Stainless Steel w/ and carries a Nitride finish for durability under high heat. It also carries a workable price tag of $79.99 for either caliber, so you can buy one of each.
VAIS AR-15 Muzzle Brakes
(3.) If you’re not into Tacticool, but still want an equally effective muzzle brake for your AR-15 for a day at the range, simple quality is still available. The VAIS AR-15 Muzzle Brake offers effective muzzle control with the ability to defuse muzzle blast through their use of multiple gas dispersing holes that are 360 Degrees, allowing gasses to vent fast and evenly. They offer this muzzle brake in both stainless with a matte finish or matte black with a manganese phosphate Parkerized finish. Both models fit your .223/5.56mm rifles and have the standard 1/2×28 threads and will set you back $144.95 for matte black and $154.95 for stainless steel.
Witt Machine Clamp-On Muzzle Brakes
(2.) All the muzzle brakes we discussed so far require that your gun's barrel is threaded, but what if you don't have threads or want to modify your favorite weapon. Our friends at Witt Machine make custom Clamp-On Muzzle Brakes starting at just $89.00 to fit most any rifle & they often ship in only two days.
Witt Machine’s Clamp-On Brake is designed with five ports on either side and twenty .078″ ports on the top of the brake; the bottom has no ports at all. While most of the barrel gasses are released out of the side ports as the bullet clears each ‘stage‘ of the brake, highly-effective, Witt’s design provides a minimum sixty percent reduction in felt recoil. At the same time, a smaller percentage is released out of the corresponding top ports, which helps to minimize muzzle rise. These work together to not only make shooting more comfortable but also facilitates quicker and more accurate follow-up shots.
Each Witt Machine Clamp-On Muzzle Brake is custom made and did I mention the best part? They start at $89.00 each.
Precision Armament EFAB Hybrid Flash Hider & Muzzle Brakes
(1.) If you will not accept anything less than the best of both worlds, the Precision Armament EFAB Hybrid Flash Hider & Muzzle Brake is your final destination. Mind you, both worlds is expensive, but if you’re willing to pay the price here is what you get. The price tag reflects the EFAB technology used to create the device. Keeping as simple as possible, (Electrochemical fabrication (EFAB) is a solid, free-form fabrication technology that can create complex, miniature three-dimensional metal structures that are impossible or impractical to make using other technologies such as electrical discharge machining (EDM), laser machining, or silicon micromachining.) Another expense is the Ionbond® high temperature CrCN coating which is low light reflective in nature and acts as a natural lubrication.
Has your head exploded yet?
All this serves to diffuse and cool the burning gasses and reduce the concussion levels. It’s designed to work with 10” barrels or longer and will fit any .223/5.56mm rifles with 1/2-28 muzzle threads. The bottom is closed to reduce your dust signature in the prone firing position and a pilot hole allows you to permanently pin it to barrels of 14.5” to make them legal. Add in the Precision Armament AR-15 Accu-Washer Muzzle Device Alignment System and an armorer’s wrench to make installation quick and easy, total price $176.98 and that doesn’t include shipping, sorry…
Muzzle Brake Installation Tips Video
A side note to keep in mind when it comes to uninstalling and re-installing a muzzle brake, it takes a bit of technical know-how and specialty tool(s). Brownell’s carries them all and since tools never go out of fashion and they don’t eat much, you just have to store them until they are needed again. Brownell’s, “LEARN,” section of their website (click here for our saved search results) has many videos on installing a muzzle brake.
YouTube is also a viable source for learning what you need to know on just about any subject, just watch tutorials from several posters to make sure they are all giving the same information, safer takes less time to heal from than sorry.
Norman Gray ©2016 (POMA Member)
About Norman Gray:
Norman Gray has been involved in the shooting sports for well over 30 years. He has served in both active duty and reserve component of the United States Army as an Infantryman and was honorably discharged at the end of his service. Moving to Arizona, he began assisting his long time friend and mentor Bob Shell, an accomplished writer and author in his own right. Norman is a freelance contributor with Handguns Magazine, Canadian Firearms Journal, and Manzano Valley Outdoors. He is also a member of (POMA) The Professional Outdoor Media Association, the (NSSF) National Shooting Sports Foundation and a Life Member of the (NRA) National Rifle Association. Visit: http://www.unleaded-ink.blogspot.com/
AmmoLand Editor Comments: This article was updated to reflect changes in product improvements/availability on 06/28/2017.