Meet The Pros
The Precision Rifle Series (PRS) is a championship style point series race based on the best precision rifle matches nationwide. PRS matches are recognized as the major league of sniper-style rifle matches. At the end of each year, the scores from 15 different matches are evaluated and the top 50 shooters nationwide are invited to compete head to head in the PRS Finale Match. The info below is based on the equipment those pros brought with them to the most recent finale. This is a great set of data, because 50 shooters is a significant sample size, and this particular group are also considered experts among experts. Thanks to Rich Emmons for allowing me to share this info. To find out more about the PRS, check out What Is The Precision Rifle Series?
Suppressor or Muzzle Brake?
Now this was at least a little surprising to me. I expected most shooters at this level to opt for a silencer, but 56% were running muzzle brakes. In fact, there were as many people running without any kind of recoil reduction (i.e. bare barrel) as there were running suppressors. Tests have shown muzzle brakes to be slightly more effective at reducing free recoil energy, and they are definitely lighter than suppressors (3 oz compared to 16 ounces) … so these factors could have overrode the ear-splitting blast that deter most shooters from muzzle brakes.
Best Precision Muzzle Brakes
The most popular muzzle brake was made the JEC Customs Muzzle Brake, with Surefire Muzzle Brake not too far behind. Muzzle brake designs vary wildly, so here is a full list of the muzzle brakes along with a photo of the most likely model competitors were using based on the calibers they were shooting. Click on the name to see more details about a particular type.
|JEC Customs Muzzle Brake|
|Surefire Muzzle Brake|
|CSR Muscle Muzzle Brake|
|APA FB Muzzle Brake|
|Badger Ordnance FTE Muzzle Brake|
|Tubb Precision Muzzle Brake|
|TBAC (Thunder Beast) 30BA Muzzle Brake|
|Score High Muzzle Brake|
|AWC THOR PSR Muzzle Brake|
|POF Muzzle Brake|
|Accuracy International (AI) Muzzle Brake
For a long time AI was using brakes made by Suppressed Armament Systems (SAS) on all of their rifles, but more recently AI began making their own brakes.
|JP Compensator Muzzle Brake|
Best Precision Suppressors
|Brand||Material||Length (in)||Weight (oz)||Price*|
|TBAC (Thunder Beast) Suppressor||Titanium||9||16||$1,095|
|AAC Suppressor||Stainless or Titanium||7½-9½||14-22||$750-1,795|
|Silencer Tech Suppressor||Chrome Moly||7||18||$650|
|AWC Suppressor||Stainless or Titanium||8-10¼||16-30||$995-1,695|
|RPG Suppressor||Stainless or Titanium||9||21||$1,350|
*Prices are shown for ballpark reference, and are subject to change without notice. Prices were as of 10/1/2013.
The guys I shoot competitions with all use Thunder Beast (TBAC) suppressors, and after a ton of research and looking at what other competitors are using … I recently ordered a Thunder Beast 30P-1 suppressor myself. Hopefully I’ll have it in hand within the next year! A couple of the guys I shoot with are maniacs about precision, and if they believed the suppressor impacted their accuracy 1/64 of an inch … they’d refuse to shoot with it. Both of them shoot with their TBAC suppressor, so that says something. I was talking to Ray Sanchez at the most recent Steel Safari competition, and he said to prove the Thunder Beast suppressor had 100% repeatable accuracy he actually ran the competition in 2011 with a TBAC 30BA and removed the suppressor between every stage. He won the competition that year. Ray said the tolerances they hold their suppressors to mean there will be no zero shift when you take it off and put it back on. Having said that, I went with the direct thread model instead of the brake-attached, and that’s what everyone I shoot with uses. I was surprised that there weren’t any SAS suppressors represented in the mix. My gunsmith, Clayton Smith of West Texas Ordnance, tells me that is the suppressor Accuracy International chose to mount on their AX rifles when they first debuted. Because of AI’s reputation for extreme precision, I’d think they’d only partner with SAS if their suppressors were some of the most accurate available. So SAS might be another brand to check out.
Other “What The Pros Use” Articles
This was one of a series of posts that analyzes the equipment the top 50 shooters in the country use. Check out these other posts:
- Best Rifle Calibers & Cartridges
- Best Long-Range Scopes
- Best Gunsmiths, Actions, Barrels & Stocks
- Best Precision Bullets & Powders
- Best Precision Suppressor & Muzzle Brake
- Best Rear Bag Shooting Rest