Only recently added to Steyr's array of AUG accessories, the brass catcher
is probably the best engineered and most versatile of its kind in existence.
It is constructed almost entirely of a green polymer that closely matches
the standard military green AUG stock in color and texture. Exceptions
in material include the O.D. green canvas collection bag and a pair of
aluminum inserts which are not visible when the catcher is mounted. The
latter serve to protect the inside of the cartridge chute and prevent spent
casings from hanging up therein. This unit is 10 1/2 inches long and is shaped
to form a tight fit around the weapon's contours.
When properly attached, it is held securely in three differen ways. First,
the rear seven inches of both sides of the brass catcher wrap over the widest
part of the stock, the left side blanketing the area where the firer rests his
or her cheek (this unit, by the way, is for right-handed firing only). Secondly,
a claw with smooth, beveled edges extends beyond the stock just far enough
to grasp a rib along the side of the receiver. Finally, there is a post on top
with a concave platform that fits snugly under the optical tube.
The user can slide the brass catcher into one of two positions, each of
which aligns one of the two ports on its right side with AUG's ejection
port. In the foremost position, the unit is locked into place as described
above, directing spent casings through the expandable chute and into
the canvas collection bag. This bag is attached to the chute by a top
hinge so that the user can empty it without dismounting the entire unit
(the user can pivot the bag upwards as if to empty it and leave it there
to form a nice, neat pile of brass next to the weapon.) In its second
position, the brass catcher is unlocked and slid rearward for normal
ejection through an unfettered port in front of the cartridge chute.
Spent casings, which normally would spin around and ricochet off the
side of the stock when the brass catcher was not mounted, instead
ricochet forward off the cartridge chute when the user aligns the brass
catcher in this second postion.
Steyr's brass catcher works as designed on all AUGs configured for
right-handed use as well as on their sporting variant, the USR. When
tested on a standard, green, 20-inch AUG, this unit easily collected
two 42-round magazines worth of brass. It could probably handle
twice the eighty-four spent casings that I cycled into it, but I saw
no need to induce the jam that would invariably occur when brass
finally piled up to the ejection port.
The questionable merits of a bass catcher aside, Steyr's device is
exceptionally sturdy and functional. Also, it does not appear ungainly
on their already unorthodox-but-sophisticated-looking weapon.
For collectors - if not shooters - this is an item worth owning.