PHNX-MBS Muzzle Brake System by VDC Armory

  For some reason, I always seem to stumble across muzzle brakes. It's not that I am recoil sensitive, they are just neat. Plus, any recoil reduction helps to keep the muzzle on target. So today I bring you the PHNX-MBS muzzle brake system, from the fine folks at VDC Armory. Notice it says system, well that's because it is. The system makes it possible to install a threaded muzzle brake onto a smooth, or unthreaded, barrel.

  When first looking at the PHNX, you notice it has 2 basic parts. The first is the mounting portion. This is the part that VDC cuts to your barrel profile. When ordering, you must measure your barrel at the muzzle, and 1.5" back from the muzzle. This mounting portion is then clamped to your smooth barrel with 10 allen head screws. The supplied instructions are very thorough, so I'll just briefly go over them. When installing the PHNX, VDC says to put loctite on the barrel, and then slide the brake onto the barrel. This acts as a lubricant and sealant. Then tighten the screws evenly. Now wait at least 30 minutes until you progress to the next part.

  Now on to the second part of the PHNX, which is the muzzle brake part. Now that the adapter has been mounted, slide on the crush washer and then thread the muzzle brake on. Tighten it down with the top holes up, and the line even with the line on the adapter. Now we get to try it out.

Top with center grooves lined up and holes facing up

  The PHNX muzzle brake works very well. I shot it with and without the brake to see the difference. I mounted it on a .243 Winchester rifle. You might not think a .243 has much recoil, but this brake tamed the felt recoil by a ton. When shooting offhand, I can see hits through the scope, something I couldn't do without the brake. The brake also wasn't as loud as I expected, it didn't even make other range goers question it. Now to the PHNX's benefit and my junk science, it came in at a 56% recoil reduction. My junk science consists of measuring the distance the rifle moved during recoil, with and without the brake.

  As with most muzzle devices, it does affect some aspects of the rifle. For one, the point of impact moved down about 3". My rifle is using a lightweight barrel profile, a heavier barrel may not change as much. The other noticeable effect, at least in my case, was the change in barrel harmonics. One of my pet loads didn't shoot near as good after installing the brake. I guess it's back to the old reloading bench. However, some of my other loads were not effected. 

Measuring distance w/muzzle brake

  Some side notes. The PHNX-MBS system is NOT to be used with a suppressor. I'll take VDC Armory's word for that, as I wouldn't want to damage anything or myself. They also scribe in your provided dimensions on the bottom of the adapter. The adapter is threaded 5/8-24, so any other brake of that size can be screwed onto it also. The coating used to make the supplied PHNX black, looks pretty thick but seems to wear fine.

  This PHNX muzzle brake system might not be what everyone is looking for. But as an option for not threading the barrel, it works great. The install is very easy and comes with great instructions. VDC even sent a couple extra screws. It exceeded my expectations for a clamp on system. The PHNX is well engineered and is a good muzzle brake. If this type of system interests you, give VDC Armory a look.


Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Clamp on Muzzle Brake System

Target Market:

Those wanting a changeable muzzle brake system without having to thread their barrel

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Clamp on system
  • Effectively threads barrel for muzzle brakes
  • No gunsmith installation
  • Threaded 5/8-24
  • Stainless Steel
  • Custom made to your barrel
  • Made in U.S.A.

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?

Smooth Stainless, Tumbled Stainless, or Flat Dark Earth

What others are saying?:

Couldn't find any

Link to other reviews:

AmmoLand Review

Price point:

MSRP = $114.00 as tested

Retail = $99.00 - 114.00

I need it now! Availability:

VDC Armory

Our Rating:


  • Very Effective muzzle brake

  • Easy Installation

  • Threaded for 5/8-24

  • Takes standard muzzle brakes

  • Dimension markings on bottom of clamping system

  • Made in U.S.A.


  • POI Shift

  • Thick coating

  • Only sold as system

  • No suppressor use (I was hoping)

Score: 7.50 Good


Chad’s Favorite Link: AR15 Podcast