Alright, let’s talk about muzzle brakes and compensators for a second. What are they for? What do they do? A lot of people see a muzzle brake next to them at the range and immediately roll their eyes and may even take a step back. This is because muzzle brakes disperse the gas coming out of the barrel to the sides of the brake, reducing recoil but often making for a bit of concussion to the person next to you. While brakes are not necessary on every firearm, they really do aid the shooter in follow-through and recovering after a shot.
Compensators disperse gas upward reducing muzzle rise in the process. Muzzle devices that do both are often just referred to as brakes.
Some would say not all muzzle brakes are compensators, but some compensators are muzzle brakes. However, not all brakes are equal. Most muzzle brake designs use large ports or holes to disperse the gas. Since these ports are larger, the brake is larger and heavier as well.
SD Tactical Arms introduced the Mini Cyclone 2.0 which uses rows of small ports placed in a counterclockwise spiral to slow gas as it enters the brake. The overall length of the brake is 2”, which makes it perfect for pinning onto a 14.5” barrel. Made of black carbon steel, this brake weighs only 1.98oz. If this is too heavy for you, SD Tactical also offers most of their muzzle devices in titanium. The brake does not need to be timed or oriented in a specific direction because SD Tactical Arms has countersunk the back of the brake. No crush washer is needed. The brake is easy to install using an 11/16 socket on the front of the brake. Once installed the brake presents a very clean and professional look, but how does it perform?
-THE TEST SETUP-
To truly see how well the Mini Cyclone 2.0 reduces recoil, I decided to run it on the following barrel lengths and platforms:
-11.5" / 5.56x45 NATO / AR15
-20" / .223 Wylde / AR15
-20" / .223 Remington / Remington 700
-20" / 6.5 Creedmoor / Remington 700
Why did I test the brake on three rifles chambered for essentially the same round? It was all about barrel length and action diversity. The more barrel length that the gas has to travel through, the slower and colder the gas becomes. This makes the gas easier to disperse. Another reason I wanted to review the brake on these rifles is to test how the brake works for both rapid-fire in a team setting and slow fire in a precision rifle setting. Last but not least, I chose to test this brake on my 6.5 Creedmoor. 6.5 Creedmoor is a fast round with a lot of gas coming out of a 20” barrel. So how well did this brake reduce recoil, improve follow up shots, and work in a team environment?
-11.5”/.223 BARREL TESTING-
The 11.5” barrel length is becoming more and more popular next to the widely used 10.3” barrel. However, like most shorter barrels, shooting next to the 11.5” barrel may not be so pleasant. A brake is not going to help this one bit.
However, from the shooter’s standpoint, it’s a dream. The felt recoil is significantly reduced and your .223/5.56 SBR or AR pistol suddenly doesn’t feel so much like you’re an AK47 anymore. I would compare the felt recoil to that of a 16” AR15 with a standard A2 birdcage flash hider. Follow up shots become very manageable and groups tighten up quite a bit, not to mention, those failure to stop and Mozambique drills have never looked better. Your team is not going to be feeling your bliss. Instead, they will be feeling the hot gas and concussion coming from your brake. This may be problematic if shooting within close proximity of your team, especially if you are indoors or worse, a vehicle. There is a bright side however, SD Tactical Arms has considered this and make what they call a PIG Cover. This is a cover that screws onto the Mini Cyclone 2.0 via the external threads on the brake. This will increase felt recoil, but if yoj are using this brake in a team setting or indoors, I highly recommend installing it. Below are two vidoes showing the d