Pros And Cons Of Muzzle Brakes – Everything You Need To Know

One of the most popular muzzle devices you can buy, a muzzle brake can significantly lower your felt recoil and help stabilize your barrel – but is it worth it? A lot of that depends on the caliber gun you are shooting, but even then you might find one worthwhile depending on the reason you are shooting. 

Take a look at our explanation of what a muzzle brake is and what benefits it can lend to your shooting experience to determine if it is a good match for you. 

Muzzle Brake Use

Muzzle brakes are small, compact, and easily screw onto the end of your rifle barrel to extend its length, and help dissipate gasses in a controlled manner to offset recoil and muzzle flip. Slightly larger than the diameter of your barrel, not everyone likes the look it lends to their gun, but the attachment provides some serious control to larger caliber cartridges and can make your shooting experience much more comfortable. 

When your cartridge is fired, gasses build pressure to power your bullet down the barrel. The release of these gasses creates a rearward force called recoil, which your shoulder takes the brunt end of through the buttstock of your rifle. 

Bullet flying from a muzzle brake on an AR-15

Muzzle brakes have carefully designed venting ports that sit alongside the muzzle brake to help release these gasses and force them in a direction other than straight out. This counteracts the forward force and often offers up to a 50% reduction in felt recoil. Furthermore, these vents can be used to help stabilize the barrel to avoid muzzle lift – all of which can help you stay on target and allow follow-up shots without building a reaction in anticipation of recoil. 

Although very popular with larger caliber rounds, they also have found a niche with smaller, more lightweight tactical rifles;  with competitive shooters; as well as with smaller framed gun enthusiasts, such as women and children. 

Muzzle Brakes and Accuracy

As mentioned, these are popular devices in competition circles as they allow a more stabilized shot to provide faster, more accurate target viewing shot after shot. This is also a humane way to ensure you have a kill shot with a larger game when hunting as you can fire off a quicker second shot when needed, or multiple shots if you are hog hunting and want to ensure you have the ability to drop a charging pig.

Muzzle Brakes vs Compensators

Guy aiming a rifle with a Compensators

Compensators are another popular muzzle device that works in a similar manner as a muzzle brake. Whereas muzzle brakes are specific to mitigating recoil, compensators are specific to mitigating muzzle lift. However, the desire for shooters to have both have resulted in modern-day brakes and compensators working in a more hybrid manner – offering recoil and barrel control, as well as flash suppression. 

Muzzle Brake Pros and Cons

Although the benefits of a muzzle brake far outweigh the cons, take a look at both to help you decide if this is a tool you would like to utilize. 

Muzzle Brake Pros

  • Reduces felt recoil up to 50% or more
  • Provides quicker return to target
  • Barrel stabilization
  • Lowers high caliber recoil to a more comfortable level
  • Helps reduce kickback flinch
  • Provides a more comfortable shooting experience for children and small-framed adults
  • Reduces muzzle lift
  • Helps work as a flash suppressor

Muzzle Brake Cons

  • Incredibly loud
  • Many outfitters require you remove them before a hunt
  • Adds length and weight to get used to (although minimal overall)
  • Can be pricey for such a small device
  • Can cause serious hearing damage  for anyone standing nearby (hearing protection must be worn)

Wrapping It Up

Muzzle brakes are a great way to help reduce recoil by a significant amount to help create a more comfortable shooting experience and allow for more barrel control. Specific to rearward recoil alleviation, the benefits of adding them to your rifle can help you in a variety of different shooting scenarios.  Reduce the blast of released gasses with this simple tool, and provide the control you desire. 

We’d love to hear below if you use one and what you like about it, and, as always, please share!

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