What are they? What do they do? Why do you want/need one?
Whether it’s a $5 flash hider or a $100+ muzzle brake, almost every AR that can legally have a muzzle device comes with one as standard equipment.
Note: Removable muzzle devices are not legal in some states. Know your local laws and follow them.
Suppressors are a category all their own. They do not come standard and require tax stamps and NFA registration to possess and own. That’s a blog for another time…
Watch our LIVE demo on Muzzle Devices, including installations to show you the proper way to orient certain devices.
Common Muzzle Devices
Let’s look at the various types of the most common muzzle devices:
- Flash Hiders
The basic standard that comes on almost every production AR rifle. A small light-weight device designed to reduce the flash signature at the muzzle and to mitigate muzzle rise. This is typically achieved through a multi-porting process on the flash hider. The ports are oriented so the blast is directed upwards through multiple cuts in the hider. This breaks the flash or fireball up into smaller portions and directs the gasses or blast in the upwards direction, thereby directing the muzzle downwards.
Easily installed with a wrench and a crush washer or jam nut to orient it properly. Cost range $5 to $20.
- Muzzle Brakes
The standard upgrade from the flash hider. Designed to lessen recoil in the shooter’s shoulder. The muzzle brake/compensator combo is designed to reduce recoil and mitigate muzzle rise. This is achieved by having the escaping and expanding gasses at the muzzle buffet or buffer against walls cut into the muzzle brake.
The gasses “pushing” against those walls push the muzzle forward counteracting the recoil that the shooter feels in their shoulder. With porting holes in the top or chambers cut to force the gas up, the muzzle brake will effectively counteract muzzle rise as well. Great for timed competition shooting where you need to stay or get back on target fast. However, the down side of a brake is the concussion and noise that the shooter feels and hears is intensified.
Easily installed with a wrench and a crush washer or jam nut to orient it properly. Cost range $20 to $100+
- Flash Cans/Linear Compensators
Great application for AR pistols or those that are sensitive to concussion and the noise of an AR. They are designed to move the blast/concussion and noise down range away from the shooter or those nearby. They do nothing to mitigate recoil, rise or flash signature. The linear compensator will mitigate some flash signature as well. And, the plus side is they do look really cool tucked inside a handguard on an AR pistol or even a rifle.
Easily installed with a wrench and a crush washer or jam nut if desired (not needed unless you have engraving or notches you want to time). Cost range $25 to $50 for a flash can or $40 to $100+ for a linear compensator.
Know what you want or intend the gun to do and decide which muzzle device is best for you. Do some research and read some reviews to make sure you’re spending your money effectively.