At a Glance: Best AR-15 Brass Catchers
Comparison of Best AR-15 Brass Catchers
Our Top Pick
|Caldwell Brass Catcher with Heat Resistant Mesh||View Latest Price|
Our Top Pick
|Caldwell Pic Rail Brass Catcher with Heat Resistant Mesh||View Latest Price|
Our Top Pick
|Gloryfire Pic Rail Brass Catcher||View Latest Price|
If you do not want to litter when shooting or like to reload your ammunition, then an AR-15 brass catcher might be for you. A brass catcher is a device that will collect ejected cases without you having to pick them up, and it will keep those cartridges clean and undamaged.
We have reviewed the 8 best AR-15 brass catchers on the market today
To make it easier for you to find the perfect fit, we have looked at their quality, material, heat resistance, mounting types, size, and installation ease.
Caldwell Brass Catcher with Heat Resistant Mesh
Caldwell shooting supplies is an established firearms accessories company based in Columbia, Missouri. They make great products and offer a lifetime guarantee that their products will be free from defects in material and craftsmanship.
This brass catcher has a simple but useful design. It is made from a heat resistant mesh that will not melt when hot cartridges come out of your AR-15. The mesh also provides for proper air ventilation that cools the cases off. The brass trap can hold about 100 rounds of spent .223 brass. There is a zipper at the bottom of the mesh bag for simple and easy emptying.
This brass catcher is very versatile. It has a hook and loop attached quickly to the front end of any type of rifle, including your AR-15. The internal cage design, coupled with stiffer, more rigid, canvas keeps the bag’s shape even when it is full of cartridges. It also has a swing-open pattern for easy chamber access.
Couple downsides include the fact that this brass catcher attaches at one end only, and it can move around a bit with recoil and ejection, so you need to be careful it doesn’t end up blocking the brass from full ejection. Sometimes you have to bend the wire inside the mesh a little bit to make the brass catcher fit correctly.
- Durable material
- Holds shape well
- Simple and effective design
- Suitable for any type of firearm
- Very affordable
- Zipper at the bottom
- Only one front hook and loop makes it move with recoil
- The internal wire needs to be bent
Caldwell Pic Rail Brass Catcher with Heat Resistant Mesh
This brass catcher is suitable for any AR-15 or any type rifle with an extendable magazine and a flat top or Picatinny rail handguard. If you have multiple guns with Picatinny rails, then you can easily switch this brass catcher from one to the other. It is durable as it is made from heat-resistant materials. A small number of users report that their rifles still melt holes in the bag.
The reason for that is the ejection style of many AR-15 rifles. The cartridge rotates as it is ejected, causing the initial point of contact with the mesh to be the nose of the cartridge. The casing nose is usually both the hottest and the sharpest portion of the round, so it can easily damage the brass catcher. On the other hand, Caldwell brass catchers are considered the benchmark in the shooting industry and most users never have any issue with them.
The bag can hold 100 rounds of .223 brass. As with the Caldwell brass catcher described above, it has a zipper at the bottom of the mesh bag to empty cases. There is also a quick detaching mechanism from the Picatinny Rail for cleaning and inspection and an internal wire that keeps the bag’s shape even when it is full of cases.
- Attaches to a Picatinny rail
- Holds up to 100 cases
- Zipper at the bottom
- Quick detaching mechanism
- Internal wire for a better shape
- Some AR-15s eject brass that it burns small holes into the bag
Gloryfire Pic Rail Brass Catcher
Gloryfire is known for making great brass catchers. This model is compatible with rifles with a Picatinny rail. The brass catcher is side-mounted and has a zipper closure on the bottom for easy opening and emptying the ejected brass. There is a wireframe inside the brass catcher that is bendable for a perfect fit. The entire bag is made from a heat resistant nylon mesh.
This brass catcher is a favorite item for the budget-minded due to its low profile design. It is a traditional bag style brass catcher that attaches to the side of your AR-15 via the Picatinny Rail system. It’s adjustable in all different ways so you can exchange it between multiple firearms.
It has a very convenient use thanks to the quick locking and unlocking device for easy installation and changing. It is very practicable as it mounts anywhere on the Picatinny rail. You can also use it with multiple firearms that have Picatinny rail on them. It can hold up to 100 rounds of 5.56 and .308 cases. Sometimes the stitching and mounts are not the greatest quality, but most shooters never have a problem.
- 100 rounds capacity
- Easy attachment system
- Adjustable to multiple guns
- Bendable wireframe
- Heat resistant nylon construction
- Detachable basket
- Low price
- Stitching and mounts are not always of the highest quality
Gloryfire Brass Catcher Tactical Deluxe
This brass catcher does not need the Picatinny rail to hook on to your AR-15. That means it won’t take space on the rail away from your sighting options. The hook and loop band for attachment of the brass catcher is made of high-density soft nylon. It connects easily to the rifle barrel to allow eject brass collection. The brass catcher can be removed quickly to deal with any jams or cleaning issues.
The padded mesh bag with a zipper closed can be used to transport ejected casings safely.
The padding on the front and back is light enough to allow for proper airflow to cool off the ejected brass cases. This brass trap is lightweight, minimalist, and compact. You’ll save time not picking up the ejected cartridges and you’ll keep them clean and intact for potential reloading.
This brass catcher is not as stiff as similar products from other brands. Recoil can cause it to shift, so it may need to be adjusted once in a while. The Velcro hook in the front moves around the barrel and may block the iron sights. On the other hand, you won’t break the bank with this product.
- Easy to attach
- Zipper at the bottom
- Heat resistant material
- Not as stiff
- Velcro blocks iron sights
TacStar Industries 1081240 Brass Catcher
This is probably the most sturdy brass catcher you can buy without going full plastic or metal. The bag is very well designed and structured. It won’t block the ejection port cover or cause any malfunctions. The capacity is great for its size. Its volume is around 120 casings, which is more than most competing brass catchers.
It has a Picatinny mount, so your AR-15 needs to be equipped with a Picatinny top rail. You will be pleased to find out that this is one of the best Picatinny mount designs available on the market. You can position the mount anywhere along the top of the brass catcher basket. Thanks to that, it won’t interfere with your optics.
The bag detaches from the mount, and you can empty it quickly without taking the entire thing off your rifle. The material is very tough, so even if the brass lands nose down, it won’t damage the bag. Thanks to that, it will last much longer than most mesh bags. Overall, this is a very durable and easy-to-use brass catcher for a very good price, considering the quality.
- A rigid and structured bag
- Holds more casings
- Bag emptied without detaching
- Picatinny mount is adjustable
- Picatinny mount takes space from optic mounting options
XAegis Brass Catcher, Universal Shell Catcher Net
The XAegis brass catcher is an excellent bang for your buck. The mount on this brass catcher is easy to attach, although it could be more straightforward. There is a clip for mounting it to your AR-15 Picatinny top rail. After attaching the mount, just slide in the brass catcher on and off with a spring-loaded button. You can also adjust how far from the ejection port the brass catcher sits. Yet, some people might not like attaching the clip to the top rail, especially if they have large optics to mount.
The structure of the bag keeps it open while protecting it from sagging. It also prevents the casings from landing nose down in the bottom of the bag and makes it last longer. The mesh is heat resistant but will burn through if the hottest parts of the casings touch it repeatedly. Some casings will still land nose-down, but it won’t happen as often as with saggy brass catchers. This brass catcher can hold around 100 shells.
Do not use it if you own a side charging AR-15 as it might be hard to find the right position for mounting it on the Picatinny top rail. There will be plenty of adjustments.
- Easy to attach and detach
- Structured bag
- Adjustable distance from the ejection port
- Zippered bottom
- Holds 100 casings
- Picatinny mount takes up rail space
Feyachi Brass Shell Catcher
This brass catcher is great because it keeps your top rail free. It is an excellent option for shooters who have a scope or carry handle on their AR. You mount this brass catcher to your handguard instead of the top of your upper receiver.
The mounting system is just a quick, easy velcro strap. However, the brass catcher mount covers the location where many handguards usually have a QD sling socket. So, if you have a QD sling socket or plan to get it, this brass catcher might interfere with your sling configuration.
The top of the bag is structured, so it will stay open for the ejected cartridges to fall in. However, the rest of the bag is not structured. That means the casings land nose down in the bottom of the bag more often than in a structured bag. Although the mesh is heat resistant, repeated cartridges walling nose down can cause holes in the mesh over time.
There is a zipper at the bottom for a quick and simple way to empty the bag. This brass catcher is smaller, and it can hold somewhere between 50 and 100 casings. Overall, this is great value for money.
- Picatinny rail not used
- Velcro strap around the barrel
- Easy mounting
- The mouth of the bag structured
- Zipper for easy removal of casings
- Very affordable
- Velcro mount covers QD sling sockets
- Nonstructured bag shortens its life
Marmot Brass Shell Catcher
This brass catcher is made from heat resistant nylon mesh. The bag is designed to have a 45-degree right side wireframe. It is a smaller version of a brass catcher, as it can hold around 30 rounds. Proper airflow is allowed thanks to light padding on both the front and back of the bag. Soft nylon hook and loop band helps with easy installation on your AR-15 rifle barrel. This brass catcher is super lightweight, and it attaches and detaches very quickly. That means you can use it with all your rifles. There is a zipper closure at the bottom of the bag for convenient and effective removal of ejected brass.
You can get this brass catcher with a Picatinny rail mount, but the price is slightly higher. If you do not use any optics with your AR-15, this might be the best attachment method since otherwise, the hook and loop can move around with the recoil. You have to tighten the Velcro really snug to keep it in place. Once it runs out of place, it might jam your rifle. If you have a more massive handguard or one with more friction, you might have better results. It could work great on a quad rail as it has lots of resistance and surface to which the Velcro can grab.
Overall, this is a great brass catcher as it collects 100% of the ejected cases.
- Heat resistant mesh
- Holds 30 rounds
- Bendable wireframe
- Easy attachment and detachment
- Very cheap
- Hook and loop might not hold tight enough
Why you need an AR-15 brass catcher
A brass catcher is a device made to capture cartridge casings as they are released from a firearm. There are multiple reasons why you want to use a brass catcher:
- The main reason is that after hours spent at the shooting range, you’ll have a lot of casings dispersed all over the place. Although a lot of people might leave them there, others prefer to clean up after themselves. And here is the issue. If you end up with a hundred casings to find and pick up, that can take quite a while. Sometimes the cartridges are flung a bit farther than you would expect, and you will need to search for them. The brass catcher catches them all and saves you time on clean up. It also decreases the garbage you’re leaving behind.
- The second reason to attach a brass catcher to your AR-15 is that it keeps the cartridges from getting dirty or damaged when they’re released. On grass, the damage may be minimal, but harder surfaces, like concrete, can cause dings and dents in the brass.
This brings us to another reason for using a brass catcher. That is reloading. You have probably noticed how expensive ammunition became recently. If you keep your ejected cartridges, you can reload them and keep shooting for a much lower price. Yet it is important to keep the casings intact, especially if reloading. The more non-damaged cartridges you have, the more money stays in your pocket.
There are different brass catcher designs, they may use a:
- net, or
- box to catch the casings.
Some brass catchers can even be connected directly to the firearm. Other, larger, free-standing brass catchers may be located to the side of the gun.
Pros and cons of AR-15 brass catchers
There are pros and cons to every device, including AR-15 brass catchers.
As mentioned above, the main pros of a brass catcher are:
- Empty cartridges are ejected directly in one bag without the need to pick them up later.
- Ejected cases can not hurt people standing nearby.
- Empty cartridges don’t get damaged or dirty and are easy to use for reloading.
There are also some cons of brass catchers:
- Brass catchers attached on a Picatinny rail take away potential space for your scope.
- Brass catchers attached with a hook and loop around the barrel might get in the way of iron sights.
- Full brass catchers will throw your AR-15’s balance to one side, and you will have to empty the bag often.
What to look for in an AR-15 brass catcher
If you are planning to buy a brass catcher, you should keep a few things in mind. These useful devices are not always one size fits all, so check them out in detail to make sure you get what you want.
The ease of installation of your new brass catcher will depend on the mounting system you will choose. There are different types of mounting methods that come with brass catchers.
- A Picatinny rail mount on a brass catcher works with the Picatinny rail on your AR-15. This type of brass catcher fits the slots of the rail and is suitable for a more permanent option.
- Another type is a quick detach brass catcher that uses specialized mount hardware with clips or hooks for secure attachment and detachment. This type of brass catcher makes it easy to empty out the casings.
- Next is the universal brass catcher that can be used on any type of gun. It is usually attached with Velcro hooks and straps for easy removal. If you choose this type, you will need only one brass catcher for all your firearms.
The hook and loop brass catcher is probably the easiest to install but might not suit everybody.
Heat resistant material
Brass catchers are made from a few different materials, including mesh or canvas. Mesh is great for ventilation and helps cool down the casings faster. Canvas is thicker, which makes it more durable, but it doesn’t provide any ventilation. If you prefer canvas, make sure it has some air vents to release the heat. Always check that the material is heat-resistant. This will protect the bag from melting or burning when the hot cartridge first falls into it. If the container is not heat-resistant, you will end up with holes and spilled casings.
Size is another thing to consider. A brass catcher that is too small won’t have the capacity you need when shooting a lot. On the other hand, a large brass catcher might get heavy quickly and then get in your way while shooting. The best is to find a medium-sized brass catcher that is big enough to hold a lot of cartridges without limiting you in any way.
When you buy a brass catcher, you want one that is reliable. That means you want a brass catcher that will collect all ejected cartridges. Because, why would you get one if it was not effective?
Your AR-15 brass catcher should have a low profile and not get in the way of your shooting. Otherwise, you will get fed up with it quickly and won’t use it. Thankfully, there are models of brass catchers that are exactly like that so you can find one that exactly fits your needs.
AR-15 brass catcher frequently asked questions
Here are some of the most common questions people ask when shopping for a brass catcher.
How do you attach a brass catcher to your AR-15?
You can attach the brass catcher to your AR-15 in two different ways:
- The first way is mounting the brass catcher on Picatinny rail. This way, it stays on well, and it won’t get in the way of the iron sights. The downside is that it takes mounting space away from optics on the Picatinny rail.
- An alternate is attaching the brass catcher with a hook and loop directly to the barrel. It does not take away space from optics, and they usually have an inner wireframe that helps keep them shape. They attach directly to the barrel with a hook and loop, but there is only one attachment point, which makes them a little bit flimsy. The Velcro loop can sometimes get in the way of the sights.
Are AR-15 brass catchers safe?
Good quality AR-15 brass catchers made from heat resistant material with adjustable inner wireframe and an effective mounting system are safe to use with your AR-15. Some models can get in the way when shooting your AR-15 or block the iron sights, but they will not make shooting unsafe.
Why doesn’t everyone use a brass catcher?
Having a brass catcher on your AR-15 has a lot of advantages, especially if you are into reloading. On the other hand, when a brass catcher gets full, it can throw your AR-15 out of balance and make accurate aiming difficult. That might be the main reason not everybody uses brass catchers.
As we described above, there are generally two types of brass catchers. Some attach on the AR-15’s Picatinny rail and others connect directly to the barrel with a Velcro. There are advantages and disadvantages to either type, and you have to try for yourself to find out which type works better for you.
- If you are looking for a budget brass catcher and don’t mind the hook and loop mounting, then you should choose from:
- If you prefer a very structured and rigid brass catcher with a Picatinny rail mount that can hold a lot of shells, then the TacStar will work wonders for you.
- If you prefer a small brass catcher so that your AR-15 is not thrown out of balance from all cases, the Marmot would be perfect for you.
- And lastly, if you prefer Picatinny rail mounting over hook and loop, then choose from: