Putting on The Brakes – Muzzle Brakes Explained

There are so many muzzle brakes out there and it can be quite confusing to understand what they are used for. Believe it or not, some people may think they are nothing more than a aesthetic addition to make the rifle look “cool”. But this couldn’t be further from the truth! Some may also think they reduce noise. This is actually in most cases the opposite.

What is a muzzle brake?  Also referred to as a compensator, this is a metallic device that is attached to the end of your barrel that re-directs gasses to help reduce recoil and muzzle rise when firing.

Brakes can be particularly helpful in rapid fire exercises. Less muzzle rise means better accuracy when firing multiple shots at a fast rate. You may have seen brakes on artillery and anti-tank guns, especially those mounted on tanks, in order to reduce the area needed to take up the strokes of recoil and kickback.

Do you need a brake? This depends on how much you shoot, how fast and what type of firearm you are using. If you tend to only shoot one shot then reset your sites, you can do just fine without one. However, if you shoot a larger caliber, want to reduce recoil and tend to shoot more rounds at a faster rate, it might be a good idea to pick one up.

How much recoil will the brake reduce? The typical answer to this question is 50%. That’s quite significant right? This alone is enough to make most people want a brake. Especially for those shooting larger caliber rifles with more recoil and kick back.

Are there any brake cons? Using a brake can make shooting louder and unbearable for surrounding viewers. We assume you always use hearing protection when shooting, but this is one disadvantage.

Brakes are also known to be quite abusive to cheaper scopes that cant handle the deceleration.

In addition to the two cons above, keep in mind,  the brake will add at least 2 more inches of length to your rifle. This could make it more difficult to store in cases and can snag on soft cases.

These are all things to consider when looking for a brake for your rifle. Overall, the pros outweigh the cons and a good muzzle brake can improve your shooting experience.


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One of the more popular brakes you may have seen above, is the Lantac Dragon. This fire breathing brake is known for its ability to spit a pretty massive flame when you shoot your rifle.

While it is a “blast” to shoot, we recommend wearing gloves when using brakes that disperse flames this large to prevent burns.

How to install a brake

Here is a video that will explain how to install a brake yourself.

It’s a good idea to get yourself an Armorer’s Wrench for projects like this. It can be used to remove both stocks and muzzle brakes and could come in hand throughout your rifle building projects.

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