The times of standard A2 flash hiders are long gone now. They’ll always hold a special place in our hearts, and especially for our service members as they’re still in use, but new muzzle devices are out now that perform their jobs more efficiently.
The hardest part of comparing muzzle devices, apart from form and function, is actually figuring out how well they work. Math and science can be used to test and record the performances of barrels, bullets, etc, but when it comes down to muzzle devices, there is no way to judge which ones work the best. It’s going to be all about what you want to do with your rifle.
Flash Hiders: The purpose of a flash hider is to guard the shooter from the ball of fire that erupts out of the end of the barrel so that he won’t go blind. This is especially useful during night time so that you don’t get any of the big colorful orbs floating in the way of the zombie that’s about to eat your face. It also reduces the flash signature so that the target you’re shooting at has a harder time figuring out where you’re located as you’re dug into your hasty fighting position.
Muzzle Brakes/Compensators: As I’ve seen it, both terms are used interchangeably, and there can be gray areas when it comes down to hybrids. To keep it simple, we’ll define these two types of muzzle devices by their purpose: muzzle brakes negate the rearward thrust created by the gas escaping the barrel, and compensators redirect gas flow to… compensate… for muzzle rise. How this is achieved is a whole different story. For the sake of this article, we’ll consider them the same thing because of their purpose: Rifle Control.
Remember that muzzle devices for a 5.56/.223 barrel run at a thread pitch of 1/2×28, and .308/7.62 barrels run at 5/8×24 TPI. Take careful note of the length of your muzzle device when you want to pin it onto a 14.5″ barrel to make it the legal 16″ in most states.
Let’s go over just a small few of the muzzle devices out there to get an idea of what different kinds do. For those hard of sight, click on the images to see a larger version.
BattleComp offers their muzzle devices for the 5.56 and also for the .308/AR-10 (BABC) in black oxide and matte stainless steel in various lengths. It does an extremely good job at negating recoil and reducing flash.
My choice for a precision rifle. The PRI MSTN keeps muzzle flip to a minimum.
Surefire has various muzzle brakes and flash hiders for all popular calibers. All have mounts for their line of suppressors.
Troy’s series of muzzle devices are built to last. Their aggressive design is ideal for combat shooting.
Just like Surefire, AAC offers different types of muzzle devices for the 5.56 and .308/AR-10, and their 51T/18T mounts are one of the best designs out there for running their high quality suppressors.
Our flagship muzzle device. The XTC is a compensator/flash hider hybrid and has 3 small ports on the top to negate the natural 1’oclock – 2’oclock muzzle flip right handed shooters experience. Also features a hole on the bottom for people who want to pin and weld the XTC onto a 14.5″ barrel to meet the legal length of 16″ in most states. Also offered in stainless steel and a blemish version.
Despite the aggressive points out of this little guy, the RMC (Rainier Arms Mini Compensator) it’s bark is worse than it’s bite due to it’s small profile and port on the side.
Going CQB with the KX3 is great because it blows everything forward instead of to the side. It directs the recoil of the rifle straight back to the shooter, so with proper stance and rifle handling, follow up shots are straight and steady.
There are so many muzzle devices out there the world would run out of internet space if I wanted to cover them all. Check out our muzzle device page to see what we have to see which ones would reign king for you.