Finding a muzzle device that suits many needs is a challenge within itself for many shooters. Usually you can find a flash hider, compensator, or brake; however, a mix of multiple can often be a challenge. Sometimes you will find a combination, but the muzzle device will perform better in one function than the other.
Black Havoc Arms has sought out to make a well machined muzzle device once again. Before, we had taken a look at Black Havoc Arms's Enforcer- click here to read- but now we have moved on to their third brake in their product line. This new approach will be combining the three main types of muzzle devices together and creating a balance between the three.
Black Havoc Arms dubbed this new combination brake the Ravager. Variations of the Ravager exists to function on a rifle cambered in 5.56/.223 or .308. Ravagers are constructed of 4140 steel with a black oxide coating to prevent rust and wear, but you are given options to have a cerakoted. Once installed you are adding approximately 2.15" overall to the end of your firearm.
Since this device is geared towards many aspects of muzzle device performance you are going to have noticeably louder shots from the increased amount of gas escaping the muzzle. After you get past a tremendous increase in muzzle sound, you can start breaking down the actual function of this device.
As a flash hider, I was pleasantly surprised at how well it did. Flash hiders work in such a way to disperse the gasses exiting the muzzle of a firearm and to minimize the visible flash to the shooter. The minimization of flash to the shooter is the main purpose; however, a target is still going to see a flash- it will just be less than it would have been with a bare muzzle.
As I had stated initially, the Ravager did very well at flash suppression. You will still have occasional flashes, especially with cheap or dirty ammo, but it is hardly noticeable as a shooter in its configuration.
Brakes exist to force gasses forward resulting in less recoil on the shooter. Since gasses are being forced outward, this is one reason the Ravager is so loud. Upon shooting 168gr .308win ammo I noticed enough of a difference that my shoulder wasn't sore by the end of the day. .308 is not a substantially recoiling caliber, but prolonged shooting will wear on any shooter. A definite pro of the Ravager is keeping recoil to a minimum.
Compensators are meant to direct gas upwards to counteract muzzle rise. When a shot is fired, a shooter will not only feel recoil forced backwards, but muzzle rise will also be a reaction. The greater the amount of rise, the harder it will be to get back on target quickly. To create upward gas flow, there will be porting on the top of a compensator in some configuration. For proper function the alignment will have to be properly timed. Muzzle rise was never a problem on the bolt action platform that I was utilizing, but on a semi automatic platform I could see the Ravager performing best.
Now the question is if the Ravager properly balances, aspects of each major muzzle device. Being a flash hider was shown incredibly well. Even while shooting cheap, dirty ammo most of the visible muzzle blast was un-observable from the shooter or spectators. .308 recoil is very noticeable compared to some of the smaller calibers that are just as common. Mixing recoil reduction with the well managed muzzle rise, the shooter will be able to complete follow up shots easier and faster. I have personally sent a great amount of lead downrange with my .308 build, and there was a noticeable difference in recoil and muzzle rise. The only downside, which comes with most muzzle devices, was the noticeable sound increase. This is to be expected, and with quality hearing protection you will not notice too much of a difference unless you are a bystander who is perpendicular to the muzzle.
I have been impressed with Black Havoc Armament's quality and finish before and the Ravager was no exception. It easily threaded on without any thread issues, so installation was incredibly easy with basic tools. All surfaces had a very smooth construction where no burs were visible. It is easy to tell that much attention is given to their machining. The black oxide coating after much shooting was still holding up well and will continue to protect the muzzle brake for many more range sessions to come.
Overall, I have once again been impressed with Black Havoc Arms and their Ravager. Not only is it difficult to exhibit attributes of the different types of muzzle devices individually, but doing so in a fairly balanced, combined outcome is outstanding. While I was using the Ravager on a bolt action Savage Arms .308, I could see this brake performing the best on an AR platform where faster follow up shots are typically pursued. If you are looking for a muzzle device to work as a brake, compensator, or flash hider then why not get all three in one well made package?