Muzzle Brakes and Flash Hiders, Mandatory for Survival


Witt Machine Muzzle Brakes and Flash Hiders
Muzzle Brakes and Flash Hiders

Ft Collins, CO –-( “Muzzle Brakes” and “Flash Hiders:”

Nearly all ostensibly serious rifles being offered for sale today come with some sort of “muzzle device,” designed to:

  • (1) Redirect expanding gasses at the muzzle to attenuate felt recoil and muzzle-rise, or
  • (2) Attenuate muzzle “flash,” caused by expanding gasses at the muzzle being expelled into the atmosphere while still burning, causing a bright “flash.”

The former is called “Muzzle Brakes,” like those made by Witt Machine and the latter “Flash Hiders.” However, there is usually some overlap, in both directions.

Most flash hiders depress felt recoil, at least slightly. Most muzzle brakes attenuate muzzle flash, but some exacerbate it. Some “muzzle devices” are deliberately designed to do a little of both.

It is important to note that just about all muzzle devices described above also perform the critical function of protecting the barrel (and the shooter) from damage when the muzzle becomes inadvertently plugged with debris (mud, sand, sometimes pebbles), and then the rifle is immediately fired.

With most muzzle devices in place, the debris is simply blown-off to the sides, and the rifle continues to fire usually, with no damage to the barrel, nor injury to the shooter, nor to others.

Under the same circumstances, a flat-crown muzzle will often be catastrophically damaged, and the shooter, as well as others standing nearly, simultaneously injured.

I thus consider any serious rifle with a flat-crown muzzle to represent a significant safety issue.

In most jurisdictions, muzzle brakes are unregulated [sorry NOT you NJ]. In some jurisdictions, flash hiders are prohibited, but muzzle brakes are still okay. In other, very restrictive areas, both are forbidden, and only flat-crown muzzles are allowed [yeah you guessed it…NJ].

Smith Enterprise Vortex Flash Eliminator 30 Cal
Smith Enterprise Vortex Flash Eliminator 30 Cal

Often, just about the only way to positively tell the difference between a muzzle brake and a flash hider is to refer to the label on the box in which it came. When the manufacturer calls it one or the other, I guess that’s what it is.

For those of us who use, keep, and train (for serious purposes) with rifles in 5.56×45, “recoil reduction” is a moot point! The rifle has scant recoil anyway, and “controlling it,” under even rapid fire, is a non-issue for most Operators.

I know there are some competitive events (where participants are interested in impressing their friends, rather than their enemies), where even a minuscule reduction in recoil may provide a (mostly imaginary) “advantage,” and such things may thus be considered worth worrying about.

However, in serious training, again it is all a moot point. For our purposes, it is bright muzzle flash that is the real “deal buster.”

Bright muzzle flash reveals to the enemy the shooter’s exact position, and it is disconcerting to the shooter himself. The lower the ambient light, the more harmful the effect. Accordingly, serious rifles in 5.56×45 caliber need an effective flash hider that is designed to do nothing but attenuate muzzle flash. There are several available, and they are highly recommended. The “vortex” style works best, without adding much weight, nor bulk.

For serious rifles in 7.62×51 caliber, felt recoil and muzzle rise are significant issues for some Operators.

For these rifles, I still want a competent flash hider. However, as mentioned above, some “combination” devices do a pretty credible job in both areas, though far from perfect in either. The KTC Stealth Brake tops the List. Again, it is efficient, without a lot of weight and bulk.


For combat rifles in 7.62×39 (Soviet), again felt recoil and muzzle rise represent a tactical challange. The lighter the rifle, the higher the effect.

Serious, fighting rifles need to provide the Operator with every advantage possible.

All three calibers mentioned, particularly from minimum-length barrels (which we prefer for overall “handiness” they contribute ) will generate significant and dangerous muzzle flash, which must be all but eliminated if we plan on living through our next battle.

Significant “launch signatures” represent the kiss of death!


Defense Training International, Inc

About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or in-actions.

We must make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr. Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit:

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try and explain to a cop or judge whether you have a muzzle brake or flash suppressor…………this is ridiculous, the rifles come threaded for one or the other, is there a third choice?

thank goodness the CA 9th circuit court overruled the 10 round mag, CA folks are buying 20s and 30s by the dozens…………meanwhile the PA 3rd circuit court says NJ can only have 10 rounds, next the supreme court………..and PA has 10,20, 30 rounds , duh…………

Steve Valenti

I fired about 140 12 gauge 2 3/4″ shells of some ammo we already had through my Kel-Tec KSG the first day I took it to the range. I had to ice my black and blue shoulder. At 6’3″ 250# it was not because of any reason other than significant recoil.
My next trip out with the KSG saw the same number of rounds but with the HI-TECH HOWITZER muzzle brake installed along with a Decellerator slip on recoil pad. Their claim of 70% reduction was true! It completely transformed the experience.

M. Sage

Yeah, Smith’s Vortex is good, but there are better ones out there. The old mil-spec “A2” flash hider does a great job of reducing signature. And no, brakes do not contribute an “imaginary” advantage in competition. With my old 3 gun rifle, there was so little upset that I could call a hit on a 100 yard target and if it was off, break the trigger on my “do-over” shot before the first round impacted. There were several times on 100 yard arrays that I’d be firing on the next steel target in the array the time the previous round… Read more »


Funny, there were some comments disagreeing with the assessment of this piece and I posted one as well and within a moment they are scrubbed.

The Revelator

Would you be referring to the comment immediately below this one? Perhaps in the future remember that certain language or words may trigger a comment for Moderation before it goes up. If that happens, wait a few days to see if it did or did not before you “Rail against the system”, otherwise doing so just looks foolish.


Well Revelator, when they are there, you see them with your own eyes and then all of a sudden they aren’t, what are you supposed to think? The logical thought sure isn’t it was here, then it isn’t but if I wait a few days it’ll be back up.

The Revelator

@Rob Unless you are a total newbie here, no that is not a logical thought. This idea that a post is negative towards the article and instantly gets wiped as if Hillary Clinton is covering her tracks. Logical thought also does not assume, but instead seeks more information before attempting to pass judgement. Now, you may very well be new here having only started visiting us within the last two to three months. If that is the case, I do apologize. However, now you know so the next time this happens you will know to wait a day or two… Read more »


Our Military uses the plain Jane Milspec USGI flash hiders, but “Real Operators” need the serious shit! Good grief.


$58 from Robar. Where are the comparing tests? There are too many puff pieces Of conclusions t not have access to the actual data upon which the conclusions are based.

Vincent Brady

See YouTube for some good muzzle brake testing!


Not having a muzzle device is a serious safety issue?
Farnam, you say some of the dumbest shit sometimes.

John Sherrill

John Farnam,
Thank you for the kind assessment of the KTC Stealth Brake.
Commercial sales are through ROBAR at the moment.

Resellers and Press may contact KTC on the website for product or evaluation samples.

Thank You!
John Sherrill