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Quick Tip: What's the Right Muzzle Device for Your Gun?

Author Caleb Savant
4 years ago

Muzzle brake? Flash hider? Compensator? Firearm muzzle devices come in a bewildering array of shapes and sizes designed to perform specific functions. Brownells Gun Techs Steve Ostrem and Caleb Savant are here to help you figure out which muzzle device is right for you and your gun. FLASH HIDERS (aka "flash suppressors") do exactly what their name suggests: they mitigate the fireball emitting from the muzzle when you fire a shot. Originally developed for the military, they help reduce the risk of your muzzle flash telling the enemy where you are. COMPENSATORS direct combustion gas upward to counteract the natural tendency of the muzzle to rise when a shot is fired. Due to its closed bottom, a compensator also kicks up less dust when you're on the ground shooting prone. MUZZLE BRAKES reduce felt recoil by redirecting the gas outward, to the sides. The faster the bullet velocity, the better a muzzle brake works. For AR-15 shooters, Caleb answers this old question: Does it make sense to put a muzzle brake on a rifle chambered in .223 / 5.56? Because it reduces or at least slows the amount of gas coming out of the muzzle, a SOUND SUPPRESSOR also serves as an effective muzzle brake. Finally, some muzzle devices are designed to perform two - or even all three of these functions - but the results tend to illustrate the old saw, "Jack of all trades, master of none."