CTS Engineering has developed an innovative new line of buffers for AR-15 and AR-10 series rifles, carbines and pistols. Their buffers, called AKTIVE buffers, are made with a stainless steel buffer body and a 2-stage buffering action to reduce recoil and muzzle movement and smooth out the operation of the action. The aktive buffers have a hard polymer piston head that compresses an elastomer shock absorber inside the buffer as the bolt carrier and buffer impact the rear of the buffer tube.
It also has an improved rear bumper that has superior shock absorption than a conventional rear bumper.
The buffering actions on the front and rear of the buffer work in tandem to soften the blow and reduce shock and recoil that comes from the bolt carrier. The piston head also works to dampen the forward impact of the bolt carrier going into battery as well. Since it is acting as “sprung weight” instead of “dead weight”, it doesn’t feel like as much of a slam forward as with an equal weight conventional or solid heavy buffer.
When shooting with an AKTIVE buffer compared side by side to a conventional buffer, it feels like it does soften the recoil to the shoulder enough to notice and the sights don’t move off target as far. It feels softer recoiling than conventional buffers, H2 buffers, tungsten powder buffers and solid heavy buffers. Additionally, the cycling of the action as a whole just feels smoother. A further benefit of these buffers is that they dramatically reduce spring noise and vibration for a quieter running system which most AR shooters would agree is a nice touch. They work well with factory buffer springs or upgraded aftermarket springs.
Aktive buffers come in a wide variety of models including standard carbine sized 3.25″ buffers, AR-15 rifle length buffers, AR-10 rifle length buffers and even Vltor A5 compatible buffers. AR-10 carbines that use a 3.25″ buffer (such as Sig, LWRC and Armalite) can use the AR-15 carbine Aktive buffer as long as it is paired with an AR-10 carbine buffer spring. Additionally, they are available in standard and anti-tilt configurations for every model. The anti-tilt versions have a protrusion at the front of the buffer that extends about a tenth of an inch into the rear of the bolt carrier to support it and keep it from tilting during cycling. This is especially helpful with piston guns, but all ARs have some degree of carrier tilt and this helps to smooth it out. The polymer piston head that is in contact with the buffer tube is quiet and prevents wear on the buffer tube. Having the rear of the bolt carrier supported makes a lot of sense not only to prevent buffer tube wear, but to put less stress on the bolt, cam pin, gas tube and upper receiver that would all be effected by carrier tilt. The anti-tilt versions cost the same as the standard versions, but does require that you pull both the rear and front take down pins in order to open the action. Some folks don’t like not being able to break open their action like a shotgun, but pulling two pins instead of one seems like a small price to pay for better operation and less wear. But whichever suits your fancy, there’s a model for you. Once you grasp all the features and benefits these buffers have to offer, the $65-70 price range seems like a pretty fair deal. They are available for purchase at www.nokick.com.