You might be at a crossroad when having to choose between a suppressor or a 223 muzzle brake. Let’s have a look at what a couple of top rifle shooters had to say when asked what they would prefer to use during rifle matches. Remember that the guys are all outstanding shooters and would know what works best. The same can be said of Madhouse Design who has perfected the art of designing all sorts of rifle and gun parts, including the popular triple-port muzzle brake.
On further investigation, it was discovered that twice as many guys prefer running their guns with 308 muzzle brakes for AR rather than making use of suppressors. This was the case in previous years as well.
Without going into too many details, here are the pros of these:
- It reduces the recoil far better than a suppressor.
- Way more maneuverable as it’s shorter and lighter than a suppressor.
- Many brakes offset muzzle rise, and it helps one to stay on target.
- Brakes are much cheaper as it may cost you in the region of about $120 to $250 whereas popular suppressor brands can easily cost you around $2,000 including tax.
- Suppressors are regulated in that they have to go through a four to ten months process to acquire a silencer tax stamp whereas brakes are not.
Below are some suppressor pros:
- Compared to a recoil suppressor, a suppressor reduces noise dramatically.
- There is very little chance of hearing damage, and you may not even need hearing protection.
- Reduced ground signature and muzzle blast, which in all due respect to guys who utilize certain brake brands may kick up dust and give your location away.
- Minor increase in muzzle velocity (We are talking about 20 to 40 fps)
- Some rifle shooter seems to think that the extra weight of a suppressor may improve precision (Leading researcher by the name of Harold Vaughn carried out some experiments around this)
- Fellow shooter won’t hate you if you make use of a suppressor.
One needs to remember that the guys are shooting during tactical matches, which happens to a simulation to real-world shooting condition in the field, are not firing from a square range or a bench where there are wind flags.
Many of the targets may be engaged while lying flat, but those competing may also be required to maneuver their way through obstacles and shoot from temporary positions. Then again, it is common having to contend with time constraints where one would only be afforded a couple of seconds to engage multiple targets.
Needless to say, competitors need to carry their rifle and extra gear across rugged terrain for days on end. These conditions and any constraints they have to cope with means they have to pay close attention to the type of gear they choose.
Bearing this in mind, it is evident to see why most rifle shooters opt for flash hiders and why it proves itself attractive for shooters involved in tactical matches. Many of would agree that using a suppressor tends to be more comfortable if you are just going to flop yourself down to fire a bunch of rounds from a set position that is in one spot.
Many elite rifle shooters are committed to either a suppressor or a brake 100% of the time. It all depends on their needs as to whether they need to move around a lot, or the shooter will find him or herself in a stationary position.
It is interesting to note that most rifle shooters choose to use both. However, they prefer to use flash hiders mostly. So, it isn’t a case where they were not prepared to pay the higher price for a suppressor or the process involved to get one. They all have one anyway. In most cases, it boils down to preference in that most of them feel that a brake gives them the edge for tactical style competitions.
As you can imagine many a rifle shooter would love to make use of a brake where they have an uninterrupted view of their target from the muzzle flash.