Muzzle devices explained
There are a lot of myths going around about muzzle brakes. So this Friday night, after I spent all day shipping backorders out, I decided to do a post about muzzle devices. As usual, please forgive my horrible grammar and spelling.
There are a few different types of muzzle devices:
1. Flash-Suppressors (Flashhiders)
3. Muzzle Brakes
4. Suppressors (Silencers)
Among products categorized within 1, 2 and 3, they often share each other's elements, but are usually dominantly one or the other.
Caveat: my company, www.pdsrifles.com, recently released a new tactical muzzle brake. It has been immensely popular. I thought I would kill two birds with one stone: educate all of you on muzzle devices in very simple terms, and also inform you of our new product, as you'll need the info to really appreciate what they are (not. if you slap one on your rifle and fire it, you'll never go back)
1. Flash Suppressors
Flash suppressors are your most common muzzle devices.
Despite what the literature says, they really do suppress flash, but not that much. Their main function is to redirect, accelerate, or decelerate the exhaust gasses to reduce or redirect the amount of hot gasses that are visible. I won't go into the mechanics of it.
You are not going to completely eliminate flash at night. It just won't happen. But you can certainly reduce them.
Personally, I think the A2 is a bit garbage. However, it is still much better than not having one, and sometimes you don't have an option because a lot of accessories (blank firing adaptors, suppressors) are designed for it.
Some work better than others. Its worth paying more for them also.
My personal favorites are: FSC 556 Flashhider (this is a compensator hybrid), Vortex Flashhider, and Phantom Flashhiders. Good bang for buck.
Compensators redirect exhaust gasses to control muzzle movements that happen at the moment of firing. Primarily, they are tuned for a specific caliber, and sometimes a barrel length, to keep muzzles down. Generally, if they work in an 16" AR-15, they will work for other barrel lengths.
The popular compensator to get is the Battlecomp. Battlecomp is, in my opinion, 90% compensator and 10% muzzle brake. They slightly reduce the recoil but the Battlecomp's main superstar feature is keeping your rifle flat during firing. And they did a superb job at it. It is also decent at keeping muzzle flash down. In my personal opinion, about the same as an A2 flashhider.
Although you're still going to feel most of the recoil, with a good comp, such as the battlecomp, you're gonna keep the muzzle right on target. Plus, it doesn't annoy the guy next to you or blow back gasses to your face.
A good compensator like the Battlecomp is immensely popular with the tactical rifle crowd. Price ranges from 100-150 dollars.
Muzzle brakes are probably one of the oldest muzzle devices to have been around.
You see what that does? Basically, it is there to help components last longer on those huge guns. The exhaust gasses hit a wall, pushing the barrel assy back forward, then get redirected sideways.
What does a muzzle brake do on our rifles? Competition brakes are super duper popular with the AR-15 crowd right now. Look into likes of Mikulek Brakes, JP Brakes and such. These hard-core competition brakes virtually eliminate recoil to the point where muzzle climb (which is really generated by body and rifle mechanics, not muzzle gasses) almost doesn't matter. The downside is, you also get a lot of gas blow-back, i.e. gasses coming right back at you, increasing noise, increasing discomfort, and annoying the crap out of your friends around you. Muzzle flash is also a problem, especially when it is directed at you.
Attachment 14965Attachment 14964
Basically, the general principals are that gasses exist the barrel end, hit a solid object which generates opposite (forward) forces on the barrel assembly, and magically recoil is reduced. On a .223 rifle, you can really get rid of recoil.
Of course, muzzle brakes need to be designed well and with high quality materials. High pressure, high temperature gasses can really wreck a cheaply constructed muzzle device.
There is a new product on the market: the VG6 Tactical Muzzle brake called Gamma. www.vg6precision.com also available at www.pdsrifles.com (if you are a dealer, LEO, or Police agency, contact the latter).
I'll do another post, reviewing this product in detail. But this muzzle brake is unique in that it is 1. only 84 dollars, 2. it eliminates recoil, but only nominally increases noise with almost no blow-back 3. keeps rifle very flat, though not as good as a well designed compensator, 4. most of all, retains practical and tactical use of your rifle.
Also known as 'Cans.'
These guys are really a lot of fun to play with. Two myths here: suppressors only change noise, and doesn't really make the gun all that quiet. Supressors make a gun so quiet that it becomes a whisper, like in movies.
Both IMO, are untrue. A really well designed supressor drastically reduces noise. It is still 'loud' in that the noises are still unnaturally loud, but it makes a huge difference. Industry standard for a suppressor is 130db. You'll go "holy ****!" when you first fire a suppressed weapon. Good ones will take it down to 120db ish. That means you can get away with not wearing hearing protection, though prolonged use will mean you'll get hearing damage.
What it really cool about them is that they, by nature, also act as muzzle brakes. Of course, unlike a muzzle brake, they don't vent high pressure gasses rapidly, so they won't work as well as muzzle brakes in rapid firing (e.g. full auto, double taps, etc). But you'll still notice a big reduction in recoil.
They also change the noise of the gun enough so that it becomes difficult to distinguish where a shot came from.
Because they mess with the pressures acting on a gun, sometimes you do need to tune a gun to cycle properly. Also, using heavier, subsonic ammo yields the best results as you can eliminate the loud crack.
Good ones shoudl be made of high quality materials, good welds and seams, and servicable (they build up crud like crazy which reduces effectiveness)
One of the industry benchmarks: Attachment 14967
Well, there you have it folks. I gotta get going, stay tuned for the Gamma review!
While suppressors are a lot of fun, they do inevitably have a detrimental effect on accuracy.
Thank you sir,
Originally Posted by hungryjoe
That is another misconception stemming from old supressors. Before the days of readily available CNC, it would be cost prohibitive to hand-make a supressor that was truly 'centered' (i.e. all the dimensions from the bore axis being in perfect symmetry). Nowadays, with good tuning methods, CFD, and amazing tolerances available from CNC technology, you will not notice a detrimental effect in accuracy. Of course, this also means the thread or mounting device on your weapon needs to be near perfect.
To the point where military and police snipers will run supressors on various 7.62 NATO (.308win), 338 lapua rifles when necessary.
Some integrated suppressors will **** with your muzzle velocity; for example, HK MP5SD has one which mechanically (static) relieves pressure to slow down a supersonic round. 147gr 9mm loads however, will see relatively less decrease in velocity. This, and the MP5SD's high cost (of replacement parts also) contributes to the drop in popularity in departments that still like to run subguns.
We run Surefire cans on all of our department M4's..Patrol and SWAT. Within reasonable ranges there is negligible change in point of aim/point of impact.
Based on my (limited) experience, point of change is more noticeable than accuracy changes, though neither are all that 'noticable'
point of aim/impact change =/= accuracy. This probably happens due to the added mass and change of movement of the firearm during the bullet movement down the barrel.