The .308 is an incredibly popular caliber, but it’s also incredibly powerful. While this power is a component in giving the shooter the results that they need or the performance they want, it can also work to the detriment of the overall rifle function. Power that moves bullets also moves the rifle considerably.
There are some ways to reduce these effects, such as using a lighter load, or even adding mass to the gun. One of the most popular ways that shooters reduce the recoil on their .308 rifles, however, is using a muzzle device to help manage and redirect the expanding gasses. We’re going to look at the 6 best muzzle brakes that you can order today.
Best .308 Muzzle Brakes
- Precision Armament M4-72 Severe Duty .308
- SureFire ProComp
- Lancer Viper .308
- VG6 Gamma
- Bang AR .308 Miculek Brake
- A2 Birdcage .308
Precision Armament M4-72 Severe Duty .308
The Precision Armament M4-72 Severe Duty .308 is one of the best .308 muzzle brakes that you can find today. It has resulted in recoil reductions of about half of normally felt recoil. It even has a moderate reduction in the measured loudness of the report.
- Unique angled side vents
- Minimal reticle movement
For immense recoil reduction on a budget, the SureFire ProComp is where it’s at. The side vents cut your recoil roughly in half, the top vent helps fight muzzle climb, and additional blind pilot holes let you add more vents if needed.
- Pilot holes for additional angled venting
- Can act as a hybrid muzzle brake & compensator
Lancer Viper .308
This giant but highly tunable brake is easily the most radical-looking on our list. 4 angled ports help crush recoil, and the 4 additional jets let you tune the brake to your specific recoil needs. This beast weighs more than 11 oz, however, so be aware of that additional weight.
- Highly customizable venting
- Massive recoil reduction
Another hybrid brake, the VG6 Gamma has side vents and top ports to break down recoil and vertical movement reduction. While the recoil reduction isn’t huge, it’s a very light brake that is a great compromise of price and performance.
- Blind pin hole for permanent attachment
Bang AR .308 Miculek Brake
Designed by shooter Jerry Miculek the Bang AR Brake has chunky side vents that make it super-effective at reducing recoil. These same vents, however, do make it a noisy day for your fellow range shooters or teammates.
- Significant recoil reduction
A2 Birdcage .308
The A2 is sometimes found on native semi-auto .308 builds. Technically it’s a flash hider, but since all of the ports and vents are on the top and sides it does a reasonable job of gas redirection without a mess of ground disturbance
- Good starter for ground shooters
What Is A .308 Muzzle Brake?
A muzzle brake is a muzzle device that attaches to the end of the barrel and contributes to redirection or even suppression of the gasses that expand during firing. A muzzle brake uses this process to help relieve the felt horizontal recoil on a rifle. This is incredibly valuable for a round like the .308 that can have immensely powerful recoil due to the propellant loads that are used.
When a shot is fired, the gasses begin to rapidly expand behind the bullet, creating a monumental driving force that accelerates that bullet to its final speed as it exits the barrel. Since every action has an equal and opposite reaction, that driving force also pushes your rifle backward, creating the recoil that you experience with each shot. As nearly any .308 owners will tell you, this recoil is manageable, but not insignificant.
A muzzle brake attaches to the muzzle of the gun and is ported in such a way that the gasses are redirected from their normal forward expansion. The rearward angling of the vents allows the naturally expanding gasses to work in favor of the shooter by offsetting the backward motion of the rifle. Some .308 muzzle brakes also feature other venting ports that can be adjusted to assist in lateral barrel movement resulting from holding the rifle either left or right-handed.
While recoil cannot be eliminated, it can be reduced by noticeable amounts with a muzzle brake alone. Additional measures can be taken to further reduce recoil if it is problematic even after muzzle brake installation.
Muzzle Brake vs. Compensator vs. Flash Hider
There are unfortunately those who use the terms muzzle brake, compensator, and flash hider nearly interchangeably, but that can lead to a lot of confusion and even some wasted money. We’ve told you the details about how a muzzle brake functions, but you should also know the function of a compensator and a flash hider so that you can be as informed as possible when buying your attachments.
The role of a compensator is largely the same as a compensator, with the biggest difference being in which direction the attachment helps reduce unwanted movement. Where a muzzle brake will help push the gun forward slightly to fight felt recoil, a compensator uses the same directional venting to help push the barrel down during each shot.
A compensator helps reduce muzzle climb, which can be invaluable for those that will be firing multiple shots in rapid succession. It is common for compensators on platforms like the AR-15 to include muzzle braking ports on compensator attachments.
A flash hider doesn’t affect the function of the rifle in any tangible sense. They are designed in such a way that they help reduce the visible flash or fireball that erupts from the muzzle after firing. Where compensators and muzzle brakes use the expanding gasses to do manual work for the shooter, a flash hider’s only purpose is to make the firing visually quieter.
Compensators and muzzle brakes will have much smaller exit diameters than flash hiders since they are designed to function essentially as a ported extension of the barrel. Flash hiders are usually easily visually recognized by the large holes and bigger exit aperture.
Benefits Of Adding A .308 Muzzle Brake
There are several direct benefits from attaching a muzzle brake to your .308, and they only start with the obvious reduction of recoil.
This is the big one that draws most people to a .308 muzzle brake because they are such powerful rifles. Adding a muzzle brake makes an immediate change to your very next shot, a change that you’ll feel in your shot and see in your reticle. This recoil reduction also causes some secondary benefits that may be crucial to some shooters.
Reticle Movement Reduction
A very significant recoil reduction naturally results in far less movement in your optics as you keep your target in your sights. For shooting situations that will require target reacquisition and follow-up shots this can be a vital bonus. In shooting scenarios like hunting, if your first shot isn’t an immediate kill, you may need subsequent shots.
If this is the case, a significant recoil can send your optics far off target, requiring more time for you to reacquire them for an accurate follow-up shot. This may also apply to a potential defensive shooting situation where your target may move behind cover or even advance on you. Being able to quickly reacquire your target can be the difference between life and death in extreme cases.
Rarely considered during the buying process is the possibility for shooting fatigue or even injury after a long day, or even several, of heavy shooting. The recoil of a .308 without a muzzle brake can be significant enough to cause the shooter some discomfort after shooting or the day after.
In some situations where the rifle is fired consistently without recoil mitigation, some shooters with smaller frames may experience some light to moderate injury. This can be simple soreness in the shoulder, neck, or back, or it can advance to significant hematoma or bruising. In some extreme cases, the powerful recoil can even contribute to ongoing joint pain or other discomfort.
Does Adding A Muzzle Break Have Any Drawbacks?
So we’ve talked up the .308 muzzle brake, but we haven’t touched on any potential negatives or drawbacks to using one. There aren’t many, but there are two primary concerns that some shooters have after installation, and they should factor into your eventual decision about which one you may need.
The first thing often noticed with a .308 muzzle brake is the change in the acoustics of the shot. Normally the gasses all go forward, and as a result, so does most of the report from the shot. When you redirect some of those gasses rearward to work for you, some of that report is going to be redirected as well.
With some muzzle brakes this could result in sending some of that report rearward to your ears, so be sure that you consider this and protect your hearing accordingly. Also be aware that some muzzle brakes also redirect this nose laterally, or to either side of the shooter, and while that may not necessarily affect your experience, it can make you the bane of the firing range. So be aware of where your acoustics are going, and make sure you be as good of a shooting neighbor as possible
If you ever shoot from prone, be sure that your muzzle brake has minimal bottom venting. Since you are redirecting the explosive gasses, if they are directed downwards to too great of a degree they will send dirt and debris everywhere. This can have a cascading negative effect on any follow-up you may need.
The ground disturbance can send enough dirt and dust into the air that your optics become useless for a few seconds, which can eliminate the possibility of any functionally effective follow-up shot. In a defensive situation, this can also give a very large indicator of your position as well, by making a visual disturbance that can be seen for some time after the shot.
No matter what your shooting situation or potential use case is, adding a muzzle brake to your .308 is arguably one of the easiest ways to reduce felt recoil. Which one you choose is ultimately going to depend on which you find most fits your needs, and which you find most appealing for your .308.
There are more powerful muzzle brakes that are perfect for mobile shooters, and for hunters or others who may find themselves shooting from prone, there are more mild brakes that won’t shake things up on the ground as much. There’s a brake for every shooter in our list, and they’re all top of the line.