The first time I fired my Remington 700 SPS Tactical without hearing protection it felt like someone had taken a sledgehammer to my left ear. The sharp report was courtesy of Advanced Armament Corporations BRAKEOUT 51T muzzle brake. As I watched my intended target, Canis latrans, crest over the horizon unscathed, I remarked to myself that several more shots from a braked rifle would result in some serious hearing loss.
Muzzle brakes and compensators are valuable accessories due to the fact that they redirect propellant gas, keeping a shooter on target and mitigating felt recoil. In a CQB/urban environment, assault teams conducting dynamic entry can re-establish their sights faster after breaking a shot when using compensators and muzzle brakes. This also allows them to positively identify a hit or quickly correct for a miss. Precision shooters and snipers take advantage of muzzle brakes for similar benefits: to observe trace, comfortably shoot large, heavy calibers, positively identify hits, and correct for missed shots. Hunters utilize these accessories to tame recoil on hunting rifles. The downside of muzzle brakes and compensators is that the device channels sound waves back towards the shooter, which increases the decibel level at the shooter’s position. Muzzle brakes and compensators, by their design channel propellant gasses sideways…and in some cases rearward from the barrel. This can be extremely distracting for spotters and members of an entry team. Some rifle ranges do not allow muzzle breaks “on the line”. Many precision rifle trainers discourage brakes in their classes. Aside from hot propellant gas being directed away from the muzzle there is also the possibility that pieces of copper, un-burnt powder and flakes of brass will also exit the barrel. One way to mitigate this is to attach a suppressor to the rifle or carbine. This dampens the noise and still acts as a muzzle brake. Some muzzle brakes offered by Advanced Armament Corporation, YHM, and Surefire serve as a muzzle brake and also as a suppressor adaptor. Due to the cost of suppressors and the incredible delay associated with submitting a Form 4 to the ATF this option may not be feasible for many shooters.
Another option is to use Simplistic Shooting Solution’s QD Brake Shield. The Brake Shield screws on to a YHM or an Advanced Armament Corporation M4 2000 suppressor mount, is manufactured from 4140 steel, and is parkerized for corrosion resistance. The Advanced Armament variant includes a set screw that needs to be gently tightened. The Brake Shield works by allowing the chambers on the muzzle brake to divert gas, which slows recoil, but then redirects the propellant gasses in line with the bore, and away from the shooter.
I tested the QD Brake Shield on my Remington 700 SPS Tactical. As previously mentioned the rifle is equipped with Advanced Armament Corporations BRAKEOUT muzzle brake. The BRAKEOUT is unique because it not only acts as a muzzle brake, but is also engineered to mitigate flash. I love the setup. Paired with a Limbsaver recoil pad, felt recoil is almost nonexistent. I use the rifle for varmint hunting and general long range shooting. Though the rifle is a tad heavy to carry around the woods all day it is perfect for varmint hunting, antelope hunting, and for smaller statured shooters, due to the lack of recoil.
In testing the QD Brake Shield I found that there was not effect on accuracy. I ran some rounds through the chronograph and didn’t see a substantial increase in velocity. Moving through the bush with the rifle I did not find the device cumbersome and at 5 ounces I hardly noticed the weight. The big question I had was, since I was redirecting propellant gas forward again, was their going to be an increase in recoil with the brake on? To test this I proned out on some hard sand, maintained a neutral load on my bipod and sent several rounds down range. Granting that this was a nonscientific test, I noticed a very slight increase in recoil, though I was still able to watch my round splash down several hundred yards away. I dug the legs of my bipod into the sand and positioned my body so that I maintained a heavy load on the bipod. Maintaining a heavy load I did not notice the slight increase in recoil and the equipment functioned as intended. One nice side effect of the brake was the lack of dust that was kicked up at my position. Through my hearing protection I noticed that I didn’t hear the massive amounts of noise that accompanies firing a braked rifle. I removed my hearing protection and fired off a shot. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that the rifle sounded like any other normal unbraked rifle: loud, but not painful. THIS DEVICE IS IN NO WAY A SUPRESSOR! I will say it again…. THIS DEVICE IS IN NO WAY A SUPRESSOR. The device simply channels sound away from the shooter’s ear. It does not in any way slow down gas the way a suppressor does.
Simplistic Shooting Solutions created a product that has been sorely needed. Upon completion of this article I will be purchasing the test sample that was sent to me. I never intend to remove the QD Brake Shield from my Remington 700 unless it is replaced by a suppressor…even then I imagine I would still prefer to use the Brake Shield due to its small and compact size. The Brake Shield is a wonderful accessory for hunters, tactical teams, precision shooters, and snipers. I am building a rifle for an elk hunt this coming October. I will definitely install a muzzle brake from Advanced Armament Corporation on that system, so that I can use my new QD Brake Shield!
Do you have any experience with the Simplistic Solutions QD Brake Shield? Questions, comments, and gripes are welcome in the comment below!
Load that bipod and stay safe!
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