6 Best .308 Muzzle Brakes & Compensators [Tested+Video 2019]

Need to tame your .308 rifle’s recoil?

AND get back on target quicker?

Tested .308 Muzzle Brakes & Compensators
Tested .308 Muzzle Brakes & Compensators

You’ll want to swap out that factory muzzle device and get a new muzzle brake or compensator.

We hands-on test 6 of the most popular and well-reviewed devices out there. Not only looking at recoil data but checking out side blast, decibel readings, and reticle movement.

.308 Brakes, Side Blast & Decibel Testing
.308 Brakes, Side Blast & Decibel Testing

By the end you’ll know the best brake for your end-use and budget.

Now let’s start off with some quick terminology…

Flash Hider vs Muzzle Brake vs Compensator

  • Flash Hider: reduces the muzzle flash/fireball when you shoot
  • Muzzle Brake: reduces felt recoil backwards with side vents
  • Compensator: reduces vertical movement with holes on top

One easy way to tell a flash hider from the others is hole size

.308 Muzzle Devices, Exit Diameters
.308 Muzzle Devices, Exit Diameters

The left-most is a flash hider with a much larger exit diameter than the other brakes and compensators…which have an exit diameter close to the caliber.

And unlike AR-15 muzzle devices, which are mostly hybrids of muzzle brakes and compensators (holes on the side and top), there’s still quite a few pure brakes in the .308 arena.

.308 Muzzle Brakes & Compensators, Range
.308 Muzzle Brakes & Compensators, Range

My guess is that .308 includes a lot of bolt guns…and many people are looking at pure recoil reduction and care less about vertical movement reduction (from compensators).

Now let’s get on with how I tested…

Testing Procedures

Background

Like my Best AR-15 Muzzle Devices article, I started my research with Jeremy S. over at TTAG who did amazing research on recoil reduction.

Check it out here.

.308 Muzzle Devices, The Truth About Guns
.308 Muzzle Devices, The Truth About Guns

That’s a lot of muzzle devices.

I started with some of the top I already had and that had some great reviews already.

Got them in hand…and shot them a bunch before starting the tests.

Gun

I’m using a .308 AR-10 from Palmetto State Armory. Full review here where I go over its reliability, accuracy, and more.

PSA AR-10 .308
PSA AR-10 .308

I chose it since it feels very over-gassed and in need of a great muzzle device.

Side Blast Measurement & Decibel Measurement

You’re less likely to be clearing rooms with a .308 compared to an AR-15…but it’s still good to be nice to your fellow shooters next to you.

I rigged up a windsock on its side and kept the distance from the muzzle roughly the same for each brake/compensator.

.308 Brakes, Side Blast & Decibel Testing
.308 Brakes, Side Blast & Decibel Testing

Not the most scientific, but we got some decent results for the side blast.

And I also kept a decibel meter roughly at my shoulder for loudness-to-shooter readings.

If you don’t want ringing ears…check out our Best Shooting Ear Protection for our tested favorites.

Tested Shooting Ear Protection Muffs
Tested Shooting Ear Protection Muffs

Reticle Movement

What matters to me most in the end if I’m running & gunning…or trying to move quickly between targets (even on a bolt gun).

I ran a Primary Arms 1-6x with ACSS reticle scope at a 25 yard target. Oh…and I got each on video too with multiple shots.

.308 A2 Birdcage, Reticle
.308 A2 Birdcage, Reticle

Check out Best AR Optics or Best 1-6x Scopes for more details on my optic.

I shot standing up with a c-clamp grip and did my best to let the reticle move naturally before followup shots.

c clamp grip ar15
C-Clamp Grip

I was somehow aiming a little above the bulls-eye so I included some screengrabs and Microsoft Paint red lines of what I deemed “average” movement.

Now let’s get on with it!

Best Muzzle Brakes & Compensators

1. A2 Birdcage .308 Flash Hider

.308 A2 Flashider, Top
.308 A2 Flash Hider, Top

The A2 Flash Hider is probably what came with your .308 if it was a semi-auto.

It does an awesome job of reducing blinding flash compared to a bare muzzle…but it’s not made to reduce recoil or vertical movement.

Plus there’s nothing on the bottom to kick up excess dust if you’re going prone.

.308 A2 Flashider, Bottom
.308 A2 Flashider, Bottom

We’re using it as the control against all the other devices.

Check out the short video!

It held at 120 dB for three shots.

For comparison, the A2 Bird Cage on an AR-15 was 116 dB. Every three dB means a rough 2x increase in loudness.

And that’s why I tend to double-up on ear pro for .308 rifles.

As for the movement…there was a good amount upwards and only slightly to the right (due to my left-handed c-clamp grip).

.308 A2 Birdcage, Reticle
.308 A2 Birdcage, Reticle

Plus it knocked my camera out of alignment after the first shot.

Again, good since it was probably free or cheap. And it’s light at under 2 oz.

10
at Aero Precision

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Now let’s see what the real brakes and compensators can do!

2. DPMS .308 Miculek Brake

.308 DPMS Miculek Brake
.308 DPMS Miculek Brake

The DPMS is a traditional brake with big side vents developed with uber-shooter Jerry Miculek.

Great recoil reduction but it usually destroys in side-blast and loudness. Let’s see…

Yup, you can see that windsock DANCE.

And though it maxed at 121 dB, it’s not the worst for the shooter if you’re wearing proper ear pro.

F” for your team mates or shooters next to you at the range.

Reticle movement is also pretty large and inconsistent…some shots were more vertical while some were in the 2 o’clock range.

DPMS, Reticle
DPMS, Reticle

Recoil was definitely reduced and so I’d say it does its job as a pure brake.

It’s the most affordable pure brake on the list…but at around $60 you’re probably wanting to spend just a little more to upgrade.

62
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Let’s continue.

3. Precision Armament M4-72 Severe Duty .308

.308 M4-72 Severe Duty Brake, Side
.308 M4-72 Severe Duty Brake, Side

The M4-72 in .308 from Precision Armament is the highest rated model for both .308 and .223 in terms of recoil reduction.

The .308 model reduces recoil 64.4% with those angled side vents.

308 M4-72 Severe Duty Brake
308 M4-72 Severe Duty Brake

But how does it to for our other tests?

You can see some movement in the wind sock but it’s nowhere near as bad as the DPMS. I think the angle of the vents has as lot to do with it.

And we even get one shot at 117 dB!

As for reticle movement…it does the job decently well with some movement at the 1-2 o’clock.

M4-72 Severe Duty, Reticle
M4-72 Severe Duty, Reticle

One of my recommendations if you’re after more recoil reduction but can live with some side blast and decent reticle movement mitigation.

4. SureFire ProComp 7.62

Surefire ProComp 762 Brake
Surefire ProComp 762 Brake

The SureFire ProComp in 7.62 was a winner of the best recoil reduction for the buck.

With 53% reduction at around $50.

It also gets some points since it’s a hybrid brake/compensator…check out those holes at the top to mitigate vertical movement.

It’s a two side-vent system and there’s also two blind pilot holes at the 3 and 9 o’clock if you want to drill for side-to-side movement reduction.

Surefire ProComp 762 Brake, Side
Surefire ProComp 762 Brake, Side

Let’s see how it does with just the vents and two holes on top…

In a nutshell…not too shabby for the price.

Not a lot of movement on the wind sock and holding steady at 120 dB at the shooter.

Vertical movement of the reticle was low but instead it seemed to shift a lot more towards the 2 or 3 o’clock location.

Surefire ProComp, Reticle
Surefire ProComp, Reticle

I can see why they included the pilot holes at 3 and 9 o’clock. When I have time I’m going to drill at the 3 o’clock and redo the test.

One more goodie is that it has a blind pin hole at the 6 o’clock position for you to pin and weld onto shorter barrels.

VG6 & Surefire Pin Holes
VG6 & Surefire Pin Holes

Until I test again…it’s pretty decent for the price!

5. Lancer Viper .308

Lancer Viper .308 Brake
Lancer Viper .308 Brake

This giantboi is the Lancer Viper .308 and it’s huge.

Like almost 4″ and 11.7 oz huge.

It’s sort of shaped like a viper head so I can understand the name. But the really cool thing is that it’s easily tunable.

Check out those 4 angled jets…

Lancer Viper .308 Brake, Adjustments
Lancer Viper .308 Brake, Adjustments

There’s a closed option, slightly open option, and fully open option (the two on the right).

I settled on that since I hold on the left and most of my shots tend to go 1 o’clock.

I really like this design since it’s not simply holes on the top…but slightly angled like how most humans hold a rifle.

Lancer Viper .308 Brake, Side
Lancer Viper .308 Brake, Side

The giant side vents also won it 3rd place in recoil reduction with 63.7% reduction.

Let’s see how tuning helped…

Some movement from the wind sock and a normal-for-308 120 dB. Much less than I’d have thought from the sheer size of the brake.

But where it really shines is the minimal reticle movement.

Lantac Viper, Reticle Movement
Lantac Viper, Reticle Movement

I experimented to figure out that removing the two set screws on the right side yielded the best results for my gun/grip.

Lancer Viper .308 Brake, Adjustments
Lancer Viper .308 Brake, Adjustments

However, it’s pricey at around $160.

And did I mention it’s huge and weighs about 3/4 of a pound?

That adds up in the front of the gun…and it might disqualify you for some competitions.

But if recoil reduction (63.7% for the Viper vs 64.4% of the M4-72) and quick double-taps on target are your name of the game…you can’t do any better.

160
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

6. VG6 Gamma 7.62

VG6 7.62 Gamma Brake
VG6 7.62 Gamma Brake

Last up from one of my favorite muzzle device manufacturers is the VG6 7.62 Gamma.

Check out those slots on top to give this hybrid some vertical movement reduction.

The 5.56 version did well in recoil reduction coming just behind the Miculek. There wasn’t data for the 7.62 version but I’m thinking it’s on par with the same side vent design.

VG6 7.62 Gamma Brake, Side
VG6 7.62 Gamma Brake, Side

Let’s see its performance…

Like its 5.56 version the side blast is pretty brutal…not as bad as the pure Miculek but your neighbors won’t like you.

Sound is the same as most of the others at 120 dB for all three shots.

And reticle movement is decent at a more horizontal 2 to 3 o’clock position…probably because the top compensator vents are doing their job.

VG6 Gamma 7.62
VG6 Gamma 7.62

Like the Surefire, the VG6 Gamma has a blind pin hole for welding to your barrel.

VG6 & Surefire Pin Holes
VG6 & Surefire Pin Holes

The VG6 might be my overall Editor’s Pick for a good mix of price (it’s around $70), recoil reduction, and reticle movement.

It’s up there in the side blast but I’m usually far enough away from other shooters it’s ok for me and my AR-10.

71
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

What’s your take on the VG6 Gamma?

Readers' Ratings

5/5 (6)

Your Rating?

Conclusion

And I’m done!

.308 Muzzle Devices, Side
.308 Muzzle Devices, Side

Keep in mind a lot of these recommendations are based off my usage with a semi-auto AR-10 in .308 instead of a bolt gun so I focus a little more on reticle movement.

My overall pick is the VG6 7.62 Gamma brake since it’s $20 over the cheapest of the group (Surefire ProComp), has great recoil reduction, and acceptable reticle movement.

71
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

For those of you who focus on least reticle movement…you can’t beat the Viper and it’s easy adjustability. It’s probably what I’d use on a semi-auto where quick and accurate follow-up shots are a must.

Tested .308 Muzzle Brakes & Compensators, Fanned
Tested .308 Muzzle Brakes & Compensators, Fanned

But it’s the most expensive and ginormous.

160
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

How about pure recoil reduction?

That goes to the Precision Armament M4-72 Severe Duty in .308. Long name but consistently top of the list for recoil taming.

A good choice for a bolt gun to save your shoulders.

How about a good bang-for-the-buck?

I’d still likely save up $20 for the VG6…but for $50 bones you get a nice hybrid brake/compensator that does everything ok.

How did I do? I know there’s a bunch more brakes out there and I’m always updating so let me know what I missed. And be sure to check out Best AR-10 Rifles and Best AR-10 Buttstocks.

Aero M5 .308 AR-10
Aero M5 .308 AR-10

13 Leave a Reply

  • Joe Average

    Maybe I missed it, but how did it these devices affect the over-gassed situation? Did you note where the empties were landing?

    6 days ago
  • William Coonradt

    Wish you had included BCMGunfighter Compensator in the testing. It's supposed to be good at compensating, braking and flash suppression. Wondered how well it holds true.

    1 week ago
  • brian wood

    Have you done a similar test with a more powerful bolt gun? I have a 300 win mag and it came with no muzzle device...

    1 week ago
    • Mr. Gray

      Good luck shooting that 300. I have one and I’ve about given up shooting it. I always come back from the range with a badly bruised shoulder. It’s literally like someone pounded my shoulder with a baby sledge for half an hour. I only keep it because I think, “next time I’ll really man-up and shoot it right!”

      1 week ago
  • Jeff L.

    I've use the gamma on both my 15 and 10 builds on several occasions, however, the one I keep waiting to see you guys evaluate is the Epsilon from VG6. It offers brake, compensator, and flash hider in a single package. I'm curious how much, if any, of a performance trade off we see by combining all three.

    1 week ago
    • David, PPT Editor

      We use the Gamma because it is purely the brake and CA law bans flash hiders on non-featureless rifles. However, I use the Epsilon on all of my bolt-action rifles that can use it since bolt-action isn't subject to those laws. I don't really see any difference in felt recoil or muzzle flip between the Gamma and the Epsilon - but the Epsilon does do a good job of working as a flash hider. It is a bit longer though so if you're trying to save length then the Gamma might be better.

      1 week ago
      • Jeff L

        I appreciate that info. I knew it was bad but didn't realize CA had become that draconian. With your recommendation, I just order a pair of epsilons 5.56 & 7.62. Thanks for the reply. V/R

        1 week ago
        • David, PPT Editor

          Glad to help!

          1 week ago
  • Martin Nikolov

    The A2 is not even a muzzle brake and you didn't even include the SJC Titan, that's actually the best muzzle brake with the most recoil reduction

    1 week ago
  • elbert jones

    curious if you've had a chance to use any of the brakes from Witt Machine and if so, what are you thoughts? on a related note, i really like the SureFire Pro Comps and VG6 Gamma for the AR-15. i especially like to run the CAGE device on the Gamma when at the range. do you think VG6 will make a CAGE for the AR-10? great article as always and thanks for your time Eric.

    1 week ago
  • Mike M

    I'd like to know how the Smith Enterprise Good Iron Series stacks up. There's a number of variations for specific applications. My personal interest in one to go on a M1A Scout to make it shorter without going to a 16" barrel, but there is a more universal model for $80.

    1 week ago
  • Kyle Gibson

    Thank you for the comparisons! Great starting point for final selection; some of the stainless ones were ~ $250 at the gun shops...

    1 week ago
    • Eric Hung

      Thanks Kyle! And $250 for a stainless is definitely not great...maybe for a 3D printed Inconel one!

      1 week ago
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