White Sound Defense Muzzle Device
The increased popularity and potential ban of the AR style rifle has consumed the market and made it hard to find an AR at a reasonable price. This sudden surge in demand has also driven an increased need in parts for everyone wanting to build their own rifle or those wanting to upgrade a bare bones (entry level) rifle that they just purchased. When I think of the key features that stand out on an AR style rifle, the muzzle device is clearly on the list and often not given enough consideration. I know I'm guilty of spending too much time looking at sights, rails, rail mounted accessories, optics and buttstocks than I should, and not focusing enough time on muzzle devices which perform critical roles in the performance of a rifle such as reducing felt recoil, muzzle rise and flash signature.
In this review I wanted to take a close look at a new muzzle device on the market made by White Sound Defense. White Sound Defense is relatively new to the market and at the moment they focus on Glock parts, lubricants/conditioners and a single muzzle device. The White Sound Defense Muzzle Device is called the FOSSA-556™ and is designed for .223 / 5.56 barrels with a 0.5" x 28 tpi thread. It is machined from a solid piece of 17-4PH stainless steel and comes with a titanium aluminum nitride coating. The FOSSA-556 can be found online at this link for $109 plus S&H.
During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturer's claims where possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the White Sound Defense website on 2/15/13 and gives a Description, Features, and Specifications for the FOSSA-556 Muzzle Device. The , and are my way to show agreement and keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both.
Specifications (the specifications were not listed in this format, but I like to look at them this way)
When you purchase a White Sound Defense FOSSA-556 Muzzle Device, it comes packaged as shown below which is simple and cost effective. Inside the package is a single part, the muzzle device. Since I would consider this to be a premium level muzzle device based on price, it would have been nice for White Sound Defense to include a new crush washer for installation. It is critical to clock the muzzle device on your barrel and a crush washer is a simple and easy way to accomplish this. The label on the package gives the critical information such as model number (FOSSA-556™), SKU number (FCX-FHB-556528-001), caliber (.223 / 5.56) and internal threads (0.5" x 28 tpi).
These next three photos give you a good look at the ends and top of the FOSSA-556™ Muzzle Device. The device measures 2.18" in length and 0.86" in diameter. It comes with 3/4" wrench flats at the base for installation.
The FOSSA-556™ Muzzle Device is made from 17-4PH stainless steel and weighed in at 3.1 ounces. This was slightly heavier than a couple I had on hand such as the standard A2 at 2.1 ounces, YHM Phantom 5C2 at 2.1 ounces and a Ruger Birdcage at 2.54 ounces. I checked the weight against the Smith Vortex at 2.9 ounces, so the FOSSA-556 is on the high end range of muzzle device weights, but in reality we are only talking about an extra ounce compared to the lightest ones.
If you take a close look at the muzzle device you will see it is nicely machine and titanium aluminum nitride coated to a dark gray appearance. This coating is a hard durable coating that should hold up to the temperatures you would get at the muzzle of your rifle. The internal thread is the standard 1/2" x 28 threads per inch (tpi) and measured 0.70" deep.
The photo below shows the end of the FOSSA-556™ Muzzle Device and you can see several of the critical features in this view.
The photo below shows the top of the White Sound Muzzle Device and can be used to point out a couple more features.
For range testing, I took a look at several different barrel lengths. Throughout my range testing, I used WPA (Wolf Performance Ammunition) 55 gr FMJ ammunition. I first tried to compare the White Sound Defense FOSSA-556 Muzzle Device against the A2 flash hider on my Colt Sporter II rifle with a 20" barrel. The photos below show the FOSSA-556 installed on this rifle. White Sound Defense advertises this muzzle device as being optimized specifically for a "fighting rifle". Although I wouldn't consider my Sporter II a "fighting rifle", I still wanted to check it out with this barrel length. I found there to be very little difference between the A2 and the FOSSA-556 with regard to muzzle rise and felt recoil. Since this rifle has a 20" barrel, I didn't expect to see any significant difference due to the added barrel weight. Also, I was not able to detect any significant difference in muzzle flash during my night range test.
Next I installed the FOSSA-556 muzzle device on a 16" barrel and performed several tests to compare the difference between having this device and not having it installed on the barrel. Since I didn't have any instruments to determine true forces associated with muzzle breaking and muzzle rise compensating, I had to judge the differences by shooting the rifle myself, so I placed the quad rail very lightly in my open hand and held the grip very light. While holding the rifle this way and with it not against my shoulder, I fired several rounds. I had a couple of other shooters (engineers who were very critical) watch the recoil of the rifle and we were all able to come to a common conclusion that the FOSSA-556 does help to compensate against muzzle rise and reduce recoil by a slight amount. As a test, I then rotated the FOSSA-556 so the top of the device pointed down (opposite of how it is supposed to be installed) and it seemed to increase the muzzle rise which was good indication of it's effectiveness.
I repeated the same test above with the FOSSA-556 installed on my SBR with an 11.5" barrel and as the rifles got shorter and lighter, I feel the muzzle rise compensating effect was more apparent. Since the type of comparison I was doing is not an exact science, I didn't try to make a comparison against an A2 flash suppressor.
To evaluate how well the FOSSA-556 works to suppress the muzzle flash, I took some video using two barrel lengths (16" and 11.5") and compared it against "no" device and an A2 flash suppressor. This next photo shows the flash from a 16" barrel with no muzzle device.
The A2 Flash Suppressor did a good job with this barrel length, but there was still some apparent flash at the muzzle.
The White Sound Defense FOSSA-556 Muzzle Device made the flash nearly non detectable. In each of these comparisons, I shot 5 times for each configuration and in the photos I show the largest looking flash signature out of the five shots.
This next photo shows the flash for a Short Barrel Rifle (SBR) with an 11.5" barrel and no muzzle device. You can see that you don't get a full powder burn while the bullet is in the barrel. The flash signature was actually very impressive. After seeing this flash signature for a 11.5" barrel, I was curious to see how well the two muzzle devices would tame this flash.
Overall I was impressed with the A2, but I did get one shot out of five that produced the clearly larger flash signature below.
The FOSSA-556 produced what I believe were overall reduced flash signatures than the A2. Honestly, I was amazed at how well White Sound device was able to reduce the fire ball into a burst of sparks. Keep in mind you are looking at the largest signature of the five shots recorded. The sparks you are seeing are what is referred to as 'primary' light emission and comes from hot carbon and incompletely burned powder which is why it looks like little comets or sparks. Unfortunately, they can't be extinguished by a muzzle device.
It is hard to appreciate the flash reduction of the FOSSA-556 just by looking at the photos above, so I included this next video to show all the shots fired with the 16" and 11.5" barrel lengths during this night time range test and you can form your own opinion on the effectiveness.
The White Sound Defense FOSSA-556 Muzzle Device appears to be a quality product that has a design backed by engineering principles. In my range tests, I believe the FOSSA-556 is effective in reducing muzzle rise, felt recoil and without a doubt muzzle flash. These benefits are best seen on shorter barreled rifles which is why White Sound Defense clearly states it is "optimized for a fighting rifle". I'm still amazed at how well this muzzle device was able to tame the fireball that comes out of the end of a short barrel rifle and this ability alone makes it a great muzzle device. When you couple this ability with the other benefits of reduced recoil, reduced muzzle rise, minimal dust signature and other sound minimizing aspects, the White Sound Defense FOSSA-556 Muzzle Device is something you should consider putting on your fighting rifle.