Not all muzzle brakes are created equal; therefore knowing how to choose the best brake for your personal application can make a huge difference in achieving your recoil reduction goals.
By replacing your factory muzzle brake or by simply adding a good one to your rig, you can greatly reduce recoil, be rid of the pain and flinching that comes along with it, and most importantly, spot impacts, allowing you to watch the bullet hit the target so that you can make the proper adjustment.
In order to save you some time and research, we have put together our list for the top 10 muzzle brakes for hunters, competition shooters and everyday plinking.
1. American Precision Arms Gen 2 Little Bastard
If you are in the market for a premium quality muzzle brake and maximum recoil reduction as well as the ability to install without a need for a gunsmith, the American Precision Arms Gen 2 Self Timing Little Bastard is an excellent choice.
As the name implies, this brake is self-timing so if you have a threaded muzzle you can install this brake within seconds without shims or crush washers that leave a hideous gap. There is essentially a locking nut built into the brake to make timing painless, you just screw on the brake, and then adjust the integral locking nut.
As far as performance is concerned, the LB is a best in class item. The Bastard port design is the best in the business as far as recoil is concerned. Learn more about port design here.
The LB has been the most popular muzzle brake in long-range for several years and though there seems to be a new wave of copycats, it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon.
The American Precision Arms Gen 2 Self Timing Muzzle Brake is a great option for anyone with a muzzle diameter of .750” to .900” and hates recoil.
2. American Precision Arms Gen 2 Fat Bastard
If you run a heavier barrel and are long range or competition minded, the American Precision Arms Gen 2 Self Timing Fat Bastard may be the best option for you.
The FB, like it’s little brother the LB, It is self-timing which is an excellent feature. The APA Fat Bastard was originally designed to tame the popular 338 Lapua. It has since been scaled to better suit other specific calibers. Depending on muzzle diameter the Fat Bastard or Little Bastard 30 caliber is going to be the ideal recoil eliminating muzzle device for big kicking cartridges like the 300 PRC that will end up feeling like a 243.
The Fat Bastard is a no-nonsense, easy to install, recoil reducing beast and like all other brakes from American Precision Arms, is machine cut from 416 Stainless Steel billet that will surely last a lifetime.
3. VG6 GAMMA 5.56 Muzzle Brake
Switching gears to the AR market, the VG6 GAMMA made our list impart to its massive popularity at an affordable price point.
Made from 17-4 ph heat-treated stainless steel and finished with black nitride, the GAMMA muzzle brake by VG6 Precision uses a unique staggered top vent system to reduce muzzle rise. The two-stage side ports also help to reduce recoil, while the radial cutouts around the front-end help to reduce muzzle flash. The GAMMA uses a crush washer for installation.
Even though the GAMMA is designed with 10.5 to 18.5-inch barrels in mind, it can work with a wide variety of compatible firearms, including AR pistols and short-barreled rifles (SBRs).
The GAMMA, like all of VG6’s muzzle brakes, is built for reliability meaning it will stand up to whatever test you can through its way.
4. American Precision Arms “The Answer"
Staying in the Gas Gun market, the APA Answer is the next item on the list. The Answer is the next generation of recoil management and if you are looking for maximum recoil reduction, tunable compensation, an easy to install and lightweight brake all wrapped in premium product construction. The Answer may be the Answer. However, because of it’s design and construction, this muzzle brake is on the opposite end of the price spectrum as the VG6 GAMMA.
Utilizing the Bastard port design, the Answer adds a whole new advantage in its tunable gas system. APA developed the U.R.P. Adjustable Gas System. These aren't just randomly placed top ports. Every port is placed adjacent to the internal Bastard tooth where there is maximum pressure build up. This makes the adjustable ports directionally effective. ALSO because of their self-timing Gen 2 system the brake is cant-able.
The unique tunable gas system combined with the trademark APA ports work together to achieve a sight picture that does not move when the rifle is fired. There are 8 directional gas ports that can be tuned to counteract you're U.R.P. (unique recoil profile).
There are 256 combinations to keep your sights on target. To calibrate the brake to your U.R.P., start testing with all the gas screws installed. Pay attention to the movement of your red dot, irons or crosshairs, and begin removing the gas screws as the recoil requires.
Weighing in at only 2.2 oz., The APA Answer is quickly becoming a competitor favorite since its launch in late 2018 and is a perfect choice for anyone with winning on the brain.
5. Fortis Muzzle Brake 5.56
If you’re looking for a sharp looking brake at an intermediate price point, the Fortis Muzzle Brake may be your guy.
The Fortis Muzzle Brake is dressed up in sharp lines for an aggressive look. This brake is installed with a crush washer and does a decent job reducing recoil. Fortis is known for having cool looking products and to some folks, that is extremely important.
If you're looking to have the coolest looking AR on the block, the Fortis Muzzle brake may be for you.
6. Shrewd Muzzle Brake
If you are looking for a classic design to take the edge off, the Shrewd Muzzle Brake is a classic option.
This brake made the list because it is a Brownell’s bestseller and is a relevant design for those looking for a classic style on a classic hunting rifle. This is a non-directional muzzle brake so it does not require timing. The Shrewd muzzle brake may not be as effective as some of the others, however, it does reduce recoil some. (Note) We wouldn’t recommend shooting this brake in the prone position as it is liable to blast dirt up, potentially harming the shooter.
The shrewd muzzle brake does require a gunsmith to bore out and be tapered to match the barrel. If you don’t mind a little extra work and you prefer a classic look, the Shrewd muzzle brake is a good bet.
7. American Precision Arms Gen 1 Micro Bastard
As possibly the most effective sportier weight barrel sized muzzle brake, The APA Gen 1 Micro Bastard muzzle brake is still a favorite for hunters looking to eliminate recoil.
Like the Shrewd brake, The Gen 1 muzzle brake require a gunsmith for installation. When done well, the brake is a very attractive feature in addition to its extreme effectiveness.
The Micro Bastard is a pound for pound champ and is capable of taming calibers up to 338 RUM. If you're searching for that custom integral look on your hunting rifle look and you know a good gunsmith, the Gen 1 Micro Bastard is your man.
8. Miculek Compensator
If you are on a budget and you need something that works, the Miculek brake is a staple option
This brake is an extremely simple design and it comes at a phenomenal price point, sort of a high-volume, low-margin type of thing. However, the little thing works. It may not be as effective as some other muzzle brakes in this article but is difficult to complain for around $50.
It is essentially a cylinder with 3 oblong holes punched through it, directing the gas out to the sides, and because it is a directional brake, you are safe to shoot in the prone.
If you need a quick recoil fix and you’re not quite ready to dish out the big bucks on this whole recoil reduction idea, call Jerry, he’s got what you need. This brake is sure to continue crushing sales in 2019.
9. American Precision Arms C.H.O.D.E.
The acronym is Condensed Hyper Optimized Deployment Enhancer, which was most likely made up just so they could call it the chode. And though this muzzle brake is hilarious in nature, it was designed with a purpose.
Utilizing the bastard port and the self-timing lock nut, this brake was designed to be very short. But why you ask? Well, with all the top competitors these days using 6mm BR, Dasher, BRX and so on, trying to get as much velocity as they can with these cartridges. In order to do this, the barrels are really long. Add a full sized brake on the end and the rifle begins to lose its mobility. This brake was designed to combat this problem.
The APA C.H.O.D.E. is an extremely effective little brake and is a surefire way to reduce recoil in a small package. If you are a competitive shooter and you want an effective, self-timing, length saving brake, it might be time to pull out the C.H.O.D.E.
10. Seekins Precision ATC
If you're looking for a unique design built on a solid reputation, the Seekins ATC is a fan favorite.
This muzzle brake has an interesting take on a gas port. It has a unique “S” shaped vented port system that seems to work pretty well. Designed primarily for a 5.56 there is an option for a 30-caliber brake as well.
Seekins uses 416 stainless steel, which is always a plus and the ATC comes in a bead-blast finish as well as a Black Melonite finish. The Seekins ATC remains a staple brake option in 2019.