SLR Rifleworks SR47 and Synergy Comp Review
Comparison and Photos By: Tom Marshall
SLR Rifleworks, refusing to give up the cutting edge, has entered the game with a number of AK-specific accessories, including muzzle devices. They were kind enough to send us two: the SR47 brake and the AK Synergy Comp.
First, let’s talk about the difference between a brake and a compensator. It’s a concept that has always felt kind of fuzzy to me and, technically, the terms are not interchangeable. Although, there are a bunch of devices that perform both functions. See what I mean about being fuzzy?
A muzzle brake is designed to reduce perceived recoil – the gun’s rearward movement into the shooter. Traditional brakes are pretty easy to spot by their large silencer-style baffles typically positioned at 3 and 9 o’clock. These baffles may be angled slightly to pull the gun forward slightly, softening that “push” or “bump” you feel in your shoulder.
A compensator’s primary purpose is to reduce muzzle rise. You may still feel the same push into the shoulder-pocket but the muzzle—and your sight picture—will not jump as much as they normally might. The result is a rifle that shoots “flatter” if not necessarily “softer”. Compensator designs usually call for vents/ports spaced between 10 and 2 o’clock on the muzzle, as opposed to the aforementioned 9 and 3 lateral baffles.
Check out the video below to see how the SR47 and Synergy Comp look through night vision!
The base rifle used for testing was a Century Arms RAS47 stamped receiver AK in 7.62x39mm. It was configured as shown in photos with mostly Magpul furniture (save the VLTOR stock tube) and magazines. Optic is an EOTech 512 on a Midwest Industries side rail mount. Ammunition was Red Army Standard brass-cased FMJ. Author’s note: Before anybody comments on the recent controversy regarding EOTech sights, let me just say this particular optic has been with me since 2008, survived a total of 26 months in Iraq and countless rounds since then with no loss of zero or parallax shift.
The SR47 is a traditional short brake – a single baffle on each side. It’s made of 4140 steel and melonited for a deep black finish. It’s 1.2 inches long and weighs a scant 2 ounces. I love the small footprint of this brake. It’s great for people who want the shortest possible length without hiring a smith to chop your barrel, push your front sight back and then pin/weld a muzzle device. There is absolutely no perceptible change in weight or balance when you attach this brake. It has two indexing points, at 12 and 6 o’clock. This spacing works pretty well and I was able to get the SR47 timed perfectly so that it screwed all the way down to the front sight base, with no exposed thread gap.
Speaking of threads, there is something I will mention, specific to the rifle I used. The RAS47, for some reason, as longer threads than most other AKs. The pitch is fine, a Soviet-standard 14x1LH. But it appears that Century threaded more of the barrel-end than some other manufacturers. This may or may not cause you heartburn when selecting a muzzle device. In the case of the SR47, the barrel crown actually protruded into the baffle chamber when screwed all the way down. If this really bugs you, back the brake off a few half-turns until the tip of the muzzle is no longer visible through the brake. I shot it both ways and noticed no change in performance.
Performance, by the way, was impressive. The SLR website says that the SR47 “stops muzzle rise completely”. While this claim is a little ambitious, it will provide you noticeable improvement. I still experienced some muzzle jump and it won’t make the recoil disappear completely. But the test rifle was more comfortable to shoot, with faster follow-up shots and less disturbance in sight picture between shots. The other thing I really liked was that the SR47 changes how your muzzle moves when you shoot. Anybody familiar with AKs will tell you they have a distinct, sometimes aggressive muzzle jump up and to the right. With no muzzle device at all, my RAS leaps to the 2 o’clock every time I pull the trigger. With the SR47 attached, this movement changes to a straight up-and-down movement. I loved this re-direction. I find it much easier to recover the sights and execute accurate follow-ups when I only have to worry about up and down, instead of up-and-a-little-bit-to-one-side.
The Synergy Comp is marketed as somewhat of a hybrid device, intended to perform both compensating and braking functions, as well as limited flash-hiding ability. It’s noticeably more stout than the SR47. It’s 2.62 ounces long and weights a full quarter-pound, at 4.1 ounces. It’s also made of 416 stainless steel instead of 4140. Surface finish is melonite, just like it’s smaller counterpart. While I don’t normally pay much attention to aesthetics, the Synergy Comp is a rather handsome muzzle device. The slick black melonite combined with a somewhat barrel shape gives the Synergy Comp a unique appearance. As stated, this is a hefty accessory, and you will feel it a little when you hang a quarter pound of stainless on the muzzle of your rifle. Having said that, I didn’t notice any adverse effects in terms of gun-handling.
The design is a well-engineered attempt to check all the boxes of a do-it-all muzzle device. The Synergy uses a gridwork of small holes instead of baffles or slots. The holes are drilled in staggered lines around about 270 degrees of the muzzle device. There are no ports on the bottom of the device. The idea is to reduce “kick-up” signature when firing from the prone. Spreading the ports around the rest of the device hopes to vent as much gas as quickly as possible to reduce recoil and, with the bottom of the device blocked off from any venting, also mitigate muzzle rise. There are even four thick tines at the very front to diffuse muzzle flash during low-light shooting.
There are indexing notches at the four cardinal points and the bottom of the Comp has a single hole pre-drilled for those of you who want to permanently attach this to a shortened barrel. Its 2.6” length makes it ideally suited to this task.
When stacked toe-to-toe with the SR47, I have to say that the Synergy offers a small but definite edge in performance. The Synergy comp was softer shooting with a little less muzzle rise. However, there’s a catch. Even though the muzzle moves less with the Synergy comp, it still moves up and to the right. The SR47 is just a hair…”snappier”…than the Synergy, but I found the direct up-and-down muzzle track more to my liking than the Synergy’s slight bump to the 2 o’clock. This is not a negative comment on either device. Both are a substantial improvement over the bare muzzle or even the standard slant brake. In the end, choosing between the two will boil down to personal preference.
There are two main complaints people have when shooting brakes or comps. One is side-blast/concussion. The other is flash. The SR47 has a more pronounced concussion. Standing two or three feet to either side might make you flinch the first one or two times. But, honestly, I didn’t really notice it much after that. I run brakes or comps on all my guns, as opposed to flash hiders, and it’s never been a huge issue for me. I was shooting under cover with shooters six feet to my left and right and I got no complaints from the RO. The Synergy’s side blast is still there, and you’ll still feel it in close quarters, but the numerous small vent holes seem to diffuse it somewhat more effectively. Neither one left me with ringing ears or watery eyes.
Flash-suppression is almost always the first casualty in recoil-reduction. I had the opportunity to do a night fire test of both muzzle devices and was pleasantly surprised both times (See embedded video above). The SR47 is a single chamber brake with large side ports. As such, it did produce a significant flash when fired at night. Having said that, I was not blinded and it didn’t obstruct my shooting in any way. The Synergy Comp provided a significant reduction in muzzle flash and, when fired, only produced a warm red spot at the front of the gun. This is highly impressive considering the noticeable reduction in felt recoil that it also provides.
The SR47 is available at a highly reasonable $44.99. If you have less than $50 to spend on your muzzle and need to make rapid, predictable follow-up shots, you’re not going to find many better options. The Synergy Comp is a somewhat steeper $84.99. At this price point you start to consider things like fit and finish, durability and value on the dollar. I think the Synergy delivers on all three. It can also be used as a blunt impact weapon and, in terms of durability, you’ll probably pass it down to your grand kids as a paper weight when they’re shooting phased plasma rifles. Whatever your budget or recoil/flash/flip reduction needs SLR has two well priced, works-as-advertised options for AK shooters of all types.
For more information, or to purchase, visit slrrifleworks.com.