A muzzle brake is a small firearm accessory that is attached to the muzzle or barrel of the gun to help reduce the recoil and muzzle rise. It works by redirecting the propellant gases to the back when a shot is fired and in turn reduces the force exerted on the shooter. Originally designed for artillery and anti-tank guns, muzzle brakes can be used on almost all types of rifles, shotguns, and pistols today.
When a round is fired, the muzzle rises because of the reactive pressure exerted by the fired bullet and the propellant gases. Generally, when a person fires a shot, the centerline of the gun’s barrel stays on top of the grip position and stock of the gun. The force of the escaping gasses pushes directly downward to the centerline of the gun’s barrel, thereby creating a torque that makes the muzzle rise. Muzzle brakes divert the propellant gases to the side around the edge of the gun’s barrel or towards the back through the small parallel holes that are drilled in the tube. This reduces the pressure on the muzzle, which then reduces recoil.
The Pros and Cons of Using a Muzzle Brake
Almost all muzzle brakes are detachable and will work to cut the recoil by around 50%. That is why muzzle brakes are favored in shooting ranges and for competitions. Studies also say that muzzle brakes can help to improve accuracy when using rifles that have lighter barrels.
When it comes to the downsides, the most prominent drawback of muzzle brakes is that they can be very expensive. Moreover, some muzzle brakes can also amplify the sound of the shots fired, as the blast from the muzzle is now redirected towards the shooter instead of simply going forward. This can be mildly annoying at shooting ranges or while hunting which is why experts recommend wearing hearing protection when using muzzle brakes.
Another problem with muzzle brakes is the length of the firearm accessory. Most muzzle brakes add around 2 inches to a gun’s barrel and can sometimes be even longer in some cases, affecting the compactness of the firearm. Not only that, but a muzzle brake can also break a scope attached to your rifle due to the aggressive deceleration.
Some experts also say that the point of impact of the shot can also change when a muzzle brake is attached. With that being said, it is important to choose whether a muzzle brake is right for you based upon your own personal preferences as well as experience when using your firearm.