The AR world is replete with a wide variety of accessories to make just about anyone happy. From triggers and stocks to sights and slings there is something for everyone. One area that is very popular is the world of muzzle devices. This is the ultimate challenge to essentially build a better mousetrap. Some designs are great and some not so much. One brake that recently caught my eye is the Walker Defense and Research NERO 556.

Walker Defense NERO Muzzle Brake

This unique-looking brake is the product of some innovative thinking and design. WDR states that “We set off to create the ideal compensating muzzle brake by starting from a blank canvas. Our goal was to completely transform the recoil impulse of the AR-15 into a simple, soft rearward push with zero muzzle climb.” In order to achieve that goal, they decided to come at the project by rejecting all design constraints and engineer the NERO 556 from the ground up using computational fluid dynamics and direct metal laser sintering (DMLS – also referred to as “3D printed metal”).

A close look inside the device and you will see that 3D printing was the only way the unique design could be accomplished. It would be impossible for traditional machining to get the job done. The end product comes constructed of Inconel, a nickel-chromium superalloy more at home in rockets and jet engines. Only a few companies have dabbled in the use of this metal with brakes and each of those came with an astronomical price tag which WDR has avoided.

Rounds Downrange

In a personal application, the NERO genuinely surprised me at how well it worked. In fact, it shined a light on a bit of compensation I was using to manage traditional muzzle rise. I saw several shooters actually have their barrels dip because of the lack of expected muzzle rise and recoil. I found myself much quicker on follow-up shots because the barrel had only barely moved.

The brake is also lightweight at only 3.8 ounces. One thing I noticed as well was the blast effect. You and I have both been on the line with someone using Big John’s Mega Brake only to have them rattle your fillings lose. In classes, I move these people to the end of the line simply because it is just too much to take after a while. The NERO only had a minimal blast wave, which will make it popular with shooters and especially those forced to shoot indoors.

There is a lot of physics-wise going on with the NERO, but I will not don my lab coat to go into it. Suffice it to say, Walker Defense and Research has done all the math, run the modeling, and created a brake that performs like a charm. If you are looking to add a brake to your rifle, you need to take a hard look at the NERO 556.

The NERO 5.56 retails for $184.99. For even more info, please visit

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