Gear Review: Manticore Arms NightBrake for AK platform rifles

Night_brake_005

The addition of Manticore Arms Night Brake to my Maadi AKM made for a very pleasant experience, even with the wire side-folding stock. (Photo: Kenny Hatten)

As a longtime fan of the AK in all its incarnations, I’m always on the lookout for accessories that will maximize the capabilities of these popular rifles. One of the easiest modifications to add is a good muzzle brake, and I recently got a chance to try out the Manticore Arms NightBrake in 14×1 left hand thread for the 7.62x39mm AKM.

Impressions

Upon receiving the NightBrake from the awesome guys at Manticore Arms, I was immediately impressed by the precision machine work and attention to detail evident in the ports and contours of this sleek-looking, business-like muzzle device.

Night_Brake_001

Manticore Arms Night Brake muzzle device and company logo. (Photo: Kenny Hatten)

Machined from 8620 steel bar stock and finished in a deep black oxide for a lifetime of use, the Night Brake comes with a high temperature silicon o-ring that allows you to snug the brake down tight with no wobble or play. This is unlike many other 14x1LH muzzle devices, which sometimes refuse to fully tighten and tend to rattle a bit after installation. It also features good sized wrench flats that allow the user to tighten or remove the brake from barrels with less than perfect or heavily fouled muzzle threads.

According to the listing on the Manticore Arms website, the NightBrake has eighteen ports in the upper 270 degrees of the device which use the escaping propellant gases to reduce recoil and muzzle rise. The bottom center portion of the brake is un-ported to reduce dust kick up and muzzle signature. The NightBrake is clearly marked with “MB” on the underside portion, indicating that it is a 922r compliant U.S. made part, an important factor for those living “behind enemy lines” in states with strict “assault weapons” laws governing modifications and muzzle attachments.

Installation

Night_Brake_002

Installation of the Night Brake on my AKM was as simple as turning a screw. (Photo: Kenny Hatten)

Installing the NightBrake on my Maadi MISR-SA was a snap, and the silicon o-ring helped take all the play out of the brake, ensuring a snug fit with no rattling. The brake screwed right onto the muzzle threads by hand, and I needed no tools other than a small pin punch to hold down the muzzle detent while I tightened the brake down against the front sight base.

Once installed, the NightBrake only extends a little more than an inch and a quarter past the muzzle, and definitely adds a very aggressive, dare I say, tactical look to the old reliable AKM.

On the range

I’ve used the traditional AKM slant brake on my Maadi rifle for several years, and while serviceable, it leaves a lot to be desired in the recoil reduction department, especially considering the fact that my rifle has a Romanian wire folding stock that tends to accentuate felt recoil. With that in mind, I was very interested to see if the Night Brake would make a difference in the shooting characteristics and ultimately make this rifle more pleasant to shoot.

Night_brake_003

Top view of the Manticore Arms Night Brake, showing the ports distributed across the upper portion of the device. (Photo: Kenny Hatten)

At the range, I set out to put the NightBrake through its paces using Brown Bear lacquer-coated 123 grain 7.62×39 full metal jacket loads. The first thing I noticed after a few rounds was that my jawline wasn’t being thwacked by the wire stock anymore. The recoil of the rifle was more of a straight push back into my shoulder with the NightBrake, with a lot less upward movement of the rifle than I experienced with the old style slant brake. It was thus a lot more pleasant to shoot.

As a bonus, accuracy improved as a result of the reduced felt recoil. The increased comfort level was the greatest contributing factor to good shooting with the wire-stocked Maadi, in that I didn’t have to “brace for impact” every time I pulled the trigger. The smooth, push-back recoil the rifle now delivered contrasted significantly against to the formerly sharp recoil, and I was able to shoot as long as the light lasted without any discomfort at all.

In the right lighting conditions, you can see the propellant gases venting up and outward from the NightBrake, proof positive that the brake is doing its job as designed.

Conclusions

Night_Brake_004

The Manticore Arms Night Brake gives the old reliable AKM a sleek, updated look. (Photo: Kenny Hatten)

Despite the name “Night Brake,” the device does little to hide the flash of escaping propellant gases out of the ports surrounding the muzzle, but that’s not what this accessory was designed to do, anyway. It’s a highly effective muzzle brake specifically designed to do one job — manage recoil out of the 7.62x93mm AK platform, and it does that job extremely well!

For those more interested in flash suppression, Manticore Arms also makes several muzzle devices designed to reduce or eliminate muzzle flash signature, which is especially handy of you participate in night shoots or low light/no light training.

There are tons of products out there designed to improve the shooting characteristics of the AK platform in one way or another, and muzzle devices of every conceivable description made to fit these popular rifles, but as far as I’m concerned, the Manticore Arms NightBrake is as good as it gets in terms of recoil management, quality workmanship and unbeatable good looks.

This product retails for about $49.95.