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 difference between shooting with and without the PIG cover.
I do quite a bit of shooting in a team dynamic (train like we fight, right?), so after I finished my testing with the Mini Cyclone 2.0, I decided it was not the best fit for the purposes of my 11.5” AR15. Instead, I installed the SD Tactical Arms Flash Hider V2.0 and was very pleased.
-20”/.223 BARREL TESTING-
I was very excited to put this brake on my 20” AR15 and my 20” Remington 700 bolt action rifle.
From the look of the design, I had a feeling this brake would perform very well on these configurations and it certainly did. Obviously, felt recoil with just a thread protector on a 20” .223 Remington barrel is not bad. But after installing the Mini Cyclone 2.0 I was pleasantly surprised with the result.
Felt recoil with the bolt action .223 Remington 700 was drastically decreased making follow up shots much faster. On the 20” AR15, felt recoil was even less just using a standard rifle buffer and spring. Both rifles had a significant improvement with accuracy and follow up shots as the brake kept rifle movement to a minimum. My initial shooting was done with 55gr Hornady Frontier .223 Remington M193 ammunition, but I decided to do some shooting with Hornady 75gr ELD Match rounds as well. The results were so good that I decided to use this brake on my Remington 700 for the 2020 Mammoth Sniper Challenge and will continue to use the Mini Cyclone 2.0 on that rifle.
-20”/6.5 CREEDMOOR TESTING-
After having such great results with the Remington 700 chambered in .223, I was pretty antsy to see how the Mini Cyclone 2.0 would do with the same configured rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor.
I will start by saying that the Mini Cyclone 2.0 had some very large shoes to fill. Previous to installing the Mini Cyclone 2.0 I was using VG6’s Lambda 65. Upon taking the first shot, I was shocked by how efficiently SD Tactical Arms’ brake mitigated recoil. Although it was not as much as the Lambda 65 it was a very close second. However, the Mini Cyclone 2.0 is substantially lighter weight than the Lambda 65 which can mean a lot to a shooter when that weight is 20” out in front of you.
Below is a video showing the Remington 700 chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor shooting 3 shots with the the Mini Cyclone 2.0 followed by 3 shots with the Lambda 65. I did my best to use the white downspout as a reference to gauge how far the rifle recoiled back each shot.
-Conclusion and Links
SD Tactical Arms is a phenomenal company out of Arizona. Not only are they passionate about their products and the 2nd Amendment but they have also worked nonstop to give back to the men and women who have sacrificed life and limb for this country.As a veteran and patriot, I am proud to use their products and support their company, it also helps that they are priced so ridiculously well. When it comes to muzzle devices, I would say they are the best “bang for your buck.”
All in all, I am extremely satisfied with the Mini Cyclone 2.0. Although it was not the best fit for my shorter 11.5” barrel, this brake will remain on my 20” precision rifles. It has easily earned its place as a precision component. If you are looking for a brake that is very lightweight, effectively mitigates recoil and muzzle rise, and cost around half of what you’d pay elsewhere for this kind of performance, you have found it here with the SD Tactical Arms Mini Cyclone 2.0. Below is are links to their site and products! Go check them out!
God bless and happy shooting!
Home page: https://sdtacticalarms.com/
Mini Cyclone 2.0: https://sdtacticalarms.com/Cyclone-Mini-V20_p_1216.html
SDTA Flash Hider V2.0: https://sdtacticalarms.com/SDTA-Flashider-V20_p_185.html