Smuzzle US Army, Muzzle Brake, Suppressor, prototype
Photo by U.S. Army
An NGSW prototype with what TechLink says is a fifth-gen smuzzle attached.
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What do you get when you combine a suppressor and a muzzle brake? This isn’t a trick question. You get a “smuzzle” — at least, that’s what the U.S. Army calls it. News broke last week from TechLink that three U.S. Army researchers developed a smuzzle while working on the the U.S. Army’s Next-Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) program.

What Is a Smuzzle and How Does it Work?

The hype surrounding the NSGW program first hit in 2018 and hasn’t let up since. Since then, there have been plenty of rumors and some details. We know that SIG Sauer, General Dynamics, and Textron are in the final running. We also know that True Velocity is providing 6.8mm ammo for the contract. Lastly, we know that Vortex Optics and L3Harris are the final candidates for fire control systems.

Last week, however, we learned of a new device known as the smuzzle. The device comes from a trio of researchers. TechLink reported those three men are Greg Oberlin at the U.S. Army’s CCDC Army Research Lab, along with Daniel Cler and Eric Binter at the U.S. Army’s CCDC Armaments Center. Patent No. 10,598,458, public info with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, details the device.

“A suppressed muzzle brake for automatic and semi-automatic weapons provides mitigation of recoil, muzzle climb and increased sound pressure levels while overcoming the deleterious effect of increased blast overpressure on the shooter. The suppressed muzzle brake includes a plurality of suppressor baffles for providing quick blowdown of the weapon and some muzzle brake function, a baffle brake which redirects the propellant gas in a direction and manner so as not to increase blast overpressure to unsuitable levels. In addition, openings in a can of the suppressed muzzle brake provide a compensator effect by inducing a downward force on the suppressed muzzle brake.

The Smuzzle Test

As TechLink notes, “compared to the standard muzzle brake, the hybrid device, which features asymmetric venting through tiny holes, also provides a 50 percent drop in volume at the shooter and a 25 percent reduction in the flash signature downrange with a minimal weight increase.”

The science behind it is truly incredible. TechLink managed to grab video of a smuzzle prototype test while attached to an M240B machine gun. First look is promising, to say the least.

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