Eliminating or countering the recoil impulse is a never-ending quest. Less recoil means less movement in the rifle. Not only does that save wear-and-tear on the shooter over time, it makes him faster and more accurate. Less movement means faster recovery of his sight picture and faster follow-up shots without sacrificing accuracy.
JP’s very first product was our Recoil Eliminator, so effective that competitions changed their rules to disallow it. Compensators like the Recoil Eliminator make the biggest independent difference in recoil reduction compared to any other component.
Compensators present baffle surfaces beyond the muzzle while allowing the bullet to pass through. The escaping gases impact upon these baffles upon exiting the muzzle creating forward thrust. This thrust then partially counteracts the rearward impulse of the gun firing. The gases are directing out to the sides and upward to partially offset the muzzle rise.
A good compensator will balance forces or muzzle rise but not overcome them and thereby generate a downward force on the muzzle. The larger the profile of the compensator, the more effective it is.
While a compensator will cut a large chunk out of the rifle’s recoil, the remainder requires finesse to manage. Much of the recoil impulse comes from the cycling movement of the parts within the rifle. Improving upon this means a focus on the operating system components.
Like many self-loading rifles, an AR operates by redirecting some of the gases in the barrel. These are funneled through the gas block back into the operating system. The force of these gases then cycles the action. Fixed gas blocks provide preset gas flow that drives the bolt carrier backwards into the buffer components with excessive force. The bottoming out of the buffer in the buffer tube is called the bolt slamming effect, and it’s a major component of the recoil impulse.
An Adjustable Gas System allows tuning of the operational gas in the system, which varies between different ammunitions. You can restrict the operational gas to the point where it cycles the action reliably without forcefully bottoming out the buffer. The less energy these components have while cycling, the less movement they impart to the rifle and the shooter.
In terms of overall recoil reduction, adding an adjustable gas system is second only to the compensator itself.
Moving the bolt carrier assembly to cycle the rifle is the principle task of the operational gases. The first key piece of mass in the operating system, its design plays a major part in the rifle’s felt operation.
By taking mass out of the carrier in our Low Mass Operating System designs, the rifle’s cyclic rate is faster than with a heavier character. At the same time, it lowers the momentum in the stroke. This means a faster, lighter stroke that is less noticeable by the shooter.
Because the bolt carrier’s mass oscillates within the receiver—literally throwing itself backwards and forwards—its mass is significant. Reducing that mass by switching to one of our LMOS carriers is the third piece of the recoil management puzzle.
This performance can come at a cost. In small-frame rifles, particularly with our ULMOS aluminum carrier, the reduction in momentum is very significant. This can reduce reliability as the lower mass may lack the momentum to overcome dirt and debris. This carrier in particular is recommended for competition use only.
Along with the gas block, the buffer components control the velocity of the operating system. Both the buffer weight and spring rate affect the resistance encountered by the bolt carrier group during cycling. They also affect how fast and hard the counterstroke is that drives the rifle back into battery.
The buffer spring regulates how much energy from the cycling is stored to be reapplied in the counterstroke. As with standard carriers, standard buffer components err on reliability at the expense of performance.
The utility of the Silent Captured Spring is that it allows tuning of the buffer system. This means dialing in a more precise, balanced cycle specific to your exact configuration and ammunition selection. Balancing the forward and rearward velocity of the operating system is key to minimizing the impulse transmitted to the shooter. As with any performance gain, the trade-off comes in less excess energy to overcome resistance in feeding and chambering a round.
As with our LMOS carriers, the SCS also takes weight out of the operating system. Yet, it doesn’t sacrifice the deadblow effect necessary to overcome bolt bounce and ensure proper function. This is why a properly configured SCS poses no reliability threat to even a critical duty rifle.
Lowering the weight of the components and the overall friction in the system reduces resistance. Lower resistance means less energy required for the system to function. Reduced energy is reduced recoil, which is your goal, just like it’s always been ours.