Army Testing ‘the Smuzzle,’ a New Hard-Use Hybrid Muzzle Device

The smuzzle is a new kind of hybrid muzzle device in U.S. Army testing. (Photo: Army)

The U.S. Army is looking for a much more capable muzzle device for the Next Generation Squad Weapon, or NGSW. The device they have in mind: “the smuzzle.”

The smuzzle is a hybrid flash-hiding muzzle brake that suppresses sound at the shooter’s ear, with a name to match. It’s designed for sustained full-auto use to reduce felt recoil, improve muzzle control, and cut noise at the shooter’s ear.

According to the team developing the smuzzle, the design is based on a scaled-down brake originally designed for 155mm howitzers.

“Jumping between calibers is nothing,” Daniel Cler, an engineer with the Army’s Armaments Center at the Combat Capabilities Development Command, told the Army Times. “We do it all the time. A lot of times we develop large caliber muzzle devices. The principles are pretty much identical.”

The Army owns the patents relating to the smuzzle, but if the device is successful in the field, they may license the design in part or in whole for commercial manufacture and sale.

The Army CCDC Armaments Center isn’t exactly fit to manufacture and produce smuzzles in numbers to supply the entire NGSW program so the plan is to test and develop smuzzle designs until they have a working blueprint to pass along to military suppliers on the commercial market.

The company or companies would then be free to sell smuzzles to American hunters and shooters looking to try the new device for themselves. And so far, this looks like something a lot of shooters will be interested in.

Currently the smuzzle is capable of maintaining a belt-fed sustained rate of fire of 600 rounds per minute. Initial performance reduces sound pressure levels to the shooter’s ear by half, according to the Army, but the performance seems to change a bit as the smuzzle gets red-hot.

Once the smuzzle gets into red-hot “forbidden Popsicle” territory, gasses escaping the device can combust in front of the muzzle, but the device continues to provide primary suppression and muzzle control. Outside of sustained machine gun use these are a lot less likely to get so hot they glow, so that’s probably not as important as the smuzzle’s cooler performance.

Another thing that makes the smuzzle’s performance stand out is its weight. According to the CCDC Armaments Center, the smuzzle only weighs 8 ounces. They are developing larger, heavier versions, but for heavier weapon systems.

See Also: U.S. Army Buying Second Round of Mini Reconnaissance Drones

A smuzzle that only weighs a half pound rated for full-power rifle rounds would be a huge hit for all kinds of shooters. And it reportedly only adds three inches to the overall barrel length compared to a conventional muzzle device.

The smuzzle doesn’t trap gas the same way a suppressor does. This means it’s not as efficient as a suppressor from an overall noise level, but it’s really only meant to help deflect noise away from the shooter. And it can run dirty, since it doesn’t build up fouling in the same way.

The smuzzle isn’t a perfect solution, explains the CCDC Armaments Center. It’s not a dedicated suppressor, it’s not a dedicated flash hider and it’s not a dedicated muzzle brake–but it does a little of all three and that’s the point. It doesn’t sacrifice any functions in order to be the best at one.

The smuzzle is still in its prototype stage, and hasn’t even finished initial testing, but some prototypes have been tested to 10,000 rounds without failures or decreases in performance. Fingers crossed, this lightweight, compact design will make it all the way.

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Einar Reinhold Petersen September 1, 2020, 2:34 pm

    If you don’t use Strike-Hold (preferably “Marine”), you haven’t cleaned ANYTHING “Right”…! Having been using a gun since 1944 (@ 5 y/o), i was taught “Weapon Care” to the infinite degree. As a Merchant Marine for 51 years (43 as Chief Engineer), I’ve used about everything touted as “The Best” for Lubricants, etc, and it wasn’t until I became familiar with STRIKE-HOLD that the term, “BEST” became “FACTUAL”. All surfaces became so smooth and effortless that you will find it hard to believe that the weapon is the same one. you started with.

    Over the years, I’ve used it to free-up “frozen” and rusted nuts & bolts, and treated each and every power tool in the Engine Department (which is subjected to the unrelenting assault by Salt Atmosphere). Since using it, we have had little to no reason to replace inoperative tools, and has even reduced maintenance on vessel deck equipment and their relays and controls.

    If you have ANY doubts, just go on to their Web-Site and watch some of their demonstrations. BE PREPARED… A few of them will make your skin crawl…!

  • Lance September 1, 2020, 1:04 pm

    The Army should give credit where it’s due. The creator is one Hiram Maxim, the date is pretty close to 1907. You’ve got to be kidding? Looks like a short silencer, that’s all.

  • michael August 31, 2020, 11:20 am

    The Army owns the patents ? Just as Pharma owns the patents, that tax dollars were & are being used to create medicine & cures. Nuclear power, TV, Radio, etc. So which Comp(s). own the Army ? Maybe this would be a good subject to dive into. So where do the profits go ? What return does the taxpayer receive on their money ? If Any. We see a many cases where these Govt. officials go & start their own companies off the backs of taxpayers. This needs to end.

    • Slim September 1, 2020, 2:18 pm

      Agreed!

  • Joe Bhe August 31, 2020, 6:56 am

    But does it work at the shooter’s ear?

  • mIke August 28, 2020, 2:26 pm

    I believe any extension of a barrel that modifies sound is look at as a “bloop tube”, which can get you a visit from men with badges

    Can anyone else chime in?

    • Scotty Gunn August 31, 2020, 8:32 pm

      The XM177E2’s sound moderator back in the VietNam era. Reduced the muzzle blast and flash signature, but not as much as a full size suppressor does.
      Since it does lower the sound a few decibel ratings, it requires a stamp.

    • Paul August 31, 2020, 8:34 pm

      This is simply a blast mitigator with a muzzle brake. Lots of companies already make these. It is not a sealed tube, the end is open and it doesn’t have dedicated baffles. I don’t think it lowers decibels more so just directs blast down range.

  • Douglas Riding August 28, 2020, 1:30 pm

    Why does the word ‘Krinkov’ come to mind ???

    I think Noveske makes a good ‘un…

    Maybe they ought to come out with a Coors-sized ( It’s the water ) version…

  • Ti August 28, 2020, 12:00 pm

    Meltdown on YouTube, please.

  • Dr Motown August 28, 2020, 8:31 am

    It’s a hybrid muzzle device with a blast shield…..not exactly a new concept. You can buy various blast shields now from several companies

  • Frank S. August 28, 2020, 7:47 am

    Looks like a tin can with holes in the bottom near the front. I can see flash hider and noise deflector, but don’t see how it functions as a muzzle brake. Hmm… take the threaded flash suppressor off your AR and attach a 3″ diameter tin can, open on the front. Solder a like threaded nut to a hole in the can so it screws on instead. It would have to deflect sound out to the front, which would help the shooter’s hearing. Since it’s not closed on the end and doesn’t reduce overall sound, but merely deflects it toward the front, it’s not a suppressor. Interesting! I wonder why no one has thought of this before? “Can’t see the forest for the trees” sort of thing, concentrated on suppression of noise and never really thought about just sending it in another direction instead???

    • Slim August 31, 2020, 11:14 am

      Can’t see the forest through the trees! At least get your sayings right or you sound like a foreigner!

      • William Roan August 31, 2020, 12:40 pm

        1546 J. HEYWOOD Prov. II. iv. (1867) 51 Plentie is nodeintie, ye see not your owne ease. I see, ye can not see the wood for trees. —Oxford English Dictionary

        It’s been “for the trees” for nearly 500 years. If you’re going to correct people, at least know what you’re talking about.

        • Slim September 1, 2020, 2:34 pm

          Nobody cares about the Oxford dictionary since clearly you googled the infinity found and torpedoed didn’t even know what the real wording is since you had to look it up! So let’s not pretend your smarter than me or anyone else! It’s through the trees if you know how to speak CORRECTLY! ANY grammar teacher will tell you I’m 100% correct and NOBODY since the day the moron you found who wrote it the daunting types it IF he did has used words like “ye!” So let’s get with THIS century and not CLAIM to speak like a stupid Romeo and Juliet book or movie! It’s THROUGH the trees if you’ve been born in the last hundred and fifty years give or take! Put it this way, ask someone to tell you the saying and see if they use ANY of the words in your days where morons put on white curly wigs that we made PRESIDENT! They won’t be able repeat any of what you wrote except the trees! And even you know that’s a FACT! Morons!

      • Don Cole August 31, 2020, 1:37 pm

        Either way it says the same thing. Think of it as a dialect thing. I have always heard it like to OP typed. Im from the southeast it dont make no difference to me anyhow.

  • American Patriot August 27, 2020, 3:34 pm

    So is this going to be more of a flashhider or silencer, off the shelf or govt approval type devise?

  • Harm Good August 27, 2020, 10:41 am

    Where can I get a couple?

  • JLA August 27, 2020, 10:04 am

    What am I looking at in that top picture? It looks like an M16 with some kind of a grenade launcher maybe? To all you guys out there who know more than me, what am I looking at?

    • Slim August 31, 2020, 11:16 am

      Mg42 maybe. Hard for me to tell with the front end half off!

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