Since the AR-15/M16 came out in 1957, it has become the one of the most popular firearms platforms in the world. During the last ten to fifteen years, many companies have been manufacturing aftermarket parts, such as stocks, trigger groups, bolt carriers, foregrips and muzzle devices.
Even though the A2 flash hider has been around for a long time and is still very popular, many new designs have come out recently, each having their own benefits.

What’s the difference between a brake, a Linear compensator and A Flash hider?

A very common question is which muzzle device is right for my application? Brake or Hider? A vast majority of users in the civilian space by a ratio of almost 10 to 1, buy a muzzle brake for its’ attributes for minimizing muzzle rise and will find little to no benefit in a hider to minimize “flash” or “muzzle signature” to mask the shooters location.

The primary focus for Muzzle Brakes is to minimize barrel rise by diverting gases leaving the barrel, behind the projectile. The goal is two folds. First being to minimize felt recoil and rise. And second is to return the sight faster. Something we call “shot recovery”. Allowing quicker follow up shots.

The primary focus for a Flash Hider, is as the name implies. To hide the flash or what we call “muzzle signature” so that it does not give away the shooters location as well as the flash generated, allowing little to no disturbance in the shooters line of sight. This is of great importance from a self-defense or military or law enforcement stand point.

There is also a hybrid of the flash hider called a Linear Compensator or a blast deflection device, which has no ports for lateral dispersion allowing for the gases to leave directly behind the bullet and projected forward. This allows for the device to be used in conjunction with handguard that may ride over the device, but also serves a performance purpose for shooting out of vehicles or ports. Another application is for teams when other shooters may be lateral of the shooter. So that they are not hit with the lateral gases from traditional Flash hiders and brakes. If you’ve ever shot next to a guy with a Brake or Hider, you know the concussion is incredibly loud when you are directly beside the muzzle. These are more used in shorter barrel applications, or applications when the user wants to use an extended handguard that will tuck the muzzle device into the handguard.

TOP-RATED AR-15 Muzzle devices by category

Top 5 AR15 Muzzle Brakes

  1. Precision Armament M4-72
  2. VG6 PRECISION EPSILON 556 MUZZLE BRAKE – BLACK
  3. Fortis Muzzle Brake 5.56
  4. Lantac Dragon Muzzle Brake 5.56/.223
  5. Battle Arms Development Thumper

Top 5 AR15 Flash Hider

  1. Rainier Arms Flash Hider
  2. Surefire Warcomp Flash Hider
  3. Surefire Flash Hider SF3P
  4. SILENCERCO SAKER TRIFECTA FLASH HIDER
  5. Primary Weapon Systems Triad Flash Suppressor

Top 5 AR15 Linear Compensator / Blast Shields

  1. Hera Arms LC Linear Compensator Gen 2
  2. Ferfrans CQB Modular Muzzle Brake System - 5.56
  3. Fortis Control Shield and Muzzle Brake
  4. NOVESKE KX3 FLASH SUPPRESSOR - 5.56MM
  5. CMT ZComp Linear

 

2019 Product Review: Best Muzzle Brakes

#1 - Precision Armament M4-72

Price: $85.49

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The Precision Armament M4-72 Severe-Duty Compensator has a large initial expansion chamber which allows combustion gases to first expand and then dissipate at lower pressures. This combined with angled vents redirect lower pressure gases to the side and rearward delivering superior recoil reduction with minimal blowback and felt concussion. In addition, vents are precisely canted upward virtually eliminating muzzle rise and dust printing. Collectively, these features allow significantly greater reduction in recoil and muzzle rise compared to similar sized compensators. Precision machined from high strength HTSR 400-series stainless steel bar for superior heat and corrosion resistance. The M4-72 can withstand the extreme heat of combat conditions and automatic fire without being subject to rapid erosion. Designed to fit .223 caliber (5.56mm) AR-15/M16/M4 style rifles with 1/2-28 muzzle threads. Available in ultra-wear resistant DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) matte black finish. Will accept devices designed to fit over the standard A2 flash suppressor. Accu-Washer Muzzle Alignment System recommended for installation.

Specs:

  • Material: HTSR 416 stainless steel bar, HRC 26-32
  • Finish: Matte black DLC finish
  • Thread: 1/2X28 TPI
  • Diameter: 0.875"
  • Weight: 2.6oz

See Product Details

#2 - VG6 PRECISION EPSILON 556 MUZZLE BRAKE

Price: $84.95

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Muzzle-Brake-1

The VG6 EPSILON 556 is their highest performing tactical muzzle device. Designed for the discriminating shooter and professional end-users, VG6 Precision's EPSILON 556 Tactical Brake brings you the best recoil mitigation the industry has to offer. This is a true combination muzzle brake / compensator / flashhider. It is the only muzzle brake that can substantially reduce muzzle flash while retaining full recoil-reducing properties.
Specs:

  • Material: 17-4ph Heat Treated Stainless Steel
  • Finish: BLACKNITRIDE - Satin Finish (Half Gloss)
  • Surface Hardness: 68RC
  • Caliber: 5.56mm/ .223 Rem only
  • Thread: 1/2x28 RH

See Product Details

# 3 - Fortis Muzzle Brake 5.56

Price: $85.45

Fortis Muzzle Brake 1Fortis Muzzle Brake-2

Fortis Muzzle Brake was inspired by the sharp lines of our brand. Like many of our products, the machining on this brake takes a lot longer than the competition. We take our time to create the very best products out there. Sure, we can make it simple, and in the end, fatten the profit margins -- but we owe it to our customers to create not only a product, but an amazing experience. Try the new muzzle brake once and you'll be glad you did. The performance is unmatched and muzzle rise is non-existent. Keep your speed and accuracy up. Put more down range and on target.

**Compatible with new Fortis Control Blast Mitigation Device (BMD).

    • Bead Blasted
    • For the .223 / 5.56
    • 1/2 x 28 TPI
    • Comes with a crush washer
    • 2.8 ounces
    • 2.28 inches
    • Made in America
    • Fortis Control BMD compatible

See Product Details

#4 - Lantac Dragon Muzzle Brake 5.56/.223

Price: $99.99

 

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LANTAC Dragon® Muzzle Brake DGN556B™ for AR15, M16 & M4 Rifles.

Manufactured to the highest quality standards and featuring a patent pending design, the LANTAC DGN556B™ Muzzle Brake offers improved recoil management and muzzle rise over competitors products.
Its unique Short Energy Pulse system reduces length of recoil so that repeating shot energy cannot overlap and knock the shooter off target.
Full auto fire is possible with massively reduced recoil and muzzle climb, meaning that all shots fall on target.

Specs:

  • Caliber: 5.56X45mm / .223
  • Material: Hardened Mil-spec Steel
  • Dimensions: L: 2.570'', DIA Body: 0.866''
  • Weight: 3.2oz
  • Thread: 1/2-28 UNEF R/H
  • Serial Numbered for Quality Control
  • Comes with appropriate crush washer.
  • NOT considered a flash hider - California legal.
  • Made in the USA.

See Product Details

#5 Battle Arms Development - Thumper

$59.00

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BATTLEARMS™ THUMPER™

Specs:

  • 17-4 Stainless Steel
  • Threaded 1/2x28
  • 22Cal (2.23/5.56)

See Product Details

 

2019 Product Review: Best Flash Hiders

#1 - Rainier Arms Flash Hider

Price: $59

rainier arms flash hider 2flash hider RA

Rainier Arms Flash Hider is designed to muzzle flash to preserve the shooter's night vision by directing the gases away from the line of sight of the shooter and to reduce the flash visible to the enemy. Black Nitride finish provides the highest level of durability

Specs:

  • .223 / 5.56 (1/2 X28 TPI)
  • Length: 2.2 Inches
  • Diameter: .860 Inches
  • Weight: 3.0 oz
  • Finish: Black Nitride
  • Made in the USA

See Product Details

#2 - Surefire Warcomp Flash Hider

Price: $129

The revolutionary SureFire WARCOMP-556-1/2-28 flash hider, which fits M4 / M16 weapons and variants with ½-28 muzzle threads, is the world’s most shootable flash hider. Its patent-pending design provides three valuable functions:

  • It provides over 99% reduction in muzzle flash compared to a plain muzzle, which helps to conceal the shooter’s location and preserve his dark-adapted vision.
  • It virtually eliminates muzzle rise, which enhances monitoring of target reaction and staying on target for faster follow-up shots.

It serves as a rock-solid mounting adapter for all SureFire SOCOM Series 5.56mm Fast-Attach® suppressors, including our SOCOM556-RC model, which placed first in the most extensive and rigorous suppressor testing ever conducted by US Special Operations Command.

Precision machined from US Mill-certified heat-treated stainless steel bar stock — including high-precision single-point cut threads for optimum thread interface — the WARCOMP-556-1/2-28 features an Ionbond DLC coating to provide maximum protection under harsh environmental conditions and to facilitate cleaning even after extreme use.

When used in conjunction with a SureFire SOCOM Series Fast-Attach suppressor, the WARCOMP provides multiple bearing surfaces to ensure superior suppressor alignment and prevent any ringing of tines inside the suppressor. A rear labyrinth seal mitigates gas leaking from the back of a suppressor, minimizes potential carbon buildup in the indexing system, and facilitates suppressor removal after extended firing. Every SureFire WarComp is individually inspected for concentricity and alignment.

For rock-solid mounting of a SOCOM Series suppressor, unparalleled flash reduction, and minimizing muzzle rise, there’s literally nothing like a SureFire WarComp—the world’s most shootable flash hider.

MOUNTS: All SureFire SOCOM Series 5.56mm /.223 caliber sound suppressors
NOTE: SureFire SOCOM Series Fast-Attach sound suppressors and current-model WarComps, muzzle brake and flash hider adapters are NOT compatible with previous (non-SOCOM) SureFire Fast-Attach sound suppressors, muzzle brakes, or flash hiders.

Features

    • Patent-pending design provides over 99% flash elimination; virtually eliminates muzzle rise
    • Serves as rock-solid mounting adapter for SureFire SOCOM suppressors
    • Multiple bearing surfaces provide suppressor alignment and prevent tines from ringing inside suppressor
    • Precision machined from US mill-certified heat-treated stainless steel bar stock
    • High-precision single-point cut barrel threads for optimum thread interface
    • Individually inspected for all critical dimensions, including concentricity and alignment
    • Ionbond DLC coating provides maximum protection against harsh environmental conditions and facilitates cleaning after extreme use
    • Labyrinth seals prevent carbon buildup on suppressor lock ring indexing system
    • Installation requires no permanent modifications to weapon
    • Made in the USA and backed by SureFire No-Hassle Guarantee

See Product Details

#3 - Surefire Flash Hider SF3P

Price: $114

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The advanced SureFire SF3P-556-1/2-28 three-prong flash hider, which fits M4/M16 weapons and variants with 1/2x28 muzzle threads, features a patent-pending design that greatly reduces muzzle flash—typically greater than 99%—when compared with a plain muzzle. Boasting robust tines built to withstand the rigors of combat, the SF3P-556-1/2-28 also serves as a rock-solid mounting adapter for SureFire SOCOM Series 5.56 mm Fast-Attach® suppressors, the SOCOM556-RC model having placed first in the most extensive and rigorous suppressor testing ever conducted by US Special Operations Command.

When used in conjunction with a SureFire SOCOM Series suppressor, the patent-pending design of the SF3P-556-1/2-28 provides multiple bearing surfaces to ensure superior suppressor alignment and to prevent the audible ringing of tines inside the suppressor. A rear labyrinth seal minimizes potential carbon buildup in the indexing system and facilitates suppressor removal after extended firing.

SureFire flash hiders are individually inspected for concentricity and alignment and are covered by SureFire’s No-Hassle Guarantee.

See Product Details

#4 - SILENCERCO SAKER TRIFECTA FLASH HIDER

Price: $84.55
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The patent-pending resonance suppression effectively eliminates the tuning-fork effect common with competing 3-prong flash hiders.

Features:

  • 1/2x28 threads for 5.56
  • 5/8x24 threads for 7.62

See Product Details

#5 - PWS TRIAD FLASH SUPPRESSOR .223 MOD 2

Price: $49.26
triadtraid2

Triad 556 Flash Hiding Compensator MOD 2

Features

  • Caliber – .223 Length – 2.1"
  • Diameter – .863
  • Thread Pitch – 1/2×28 RH
  • Weight – 2.53 oz
  • Coating- Parkerized

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2019 Product Review: Best Linear Compensators / Blast Shields

#1 - HERA ARMS LC LINEAR COMPENSATOR GEN2

Price: $113.05
hera compensatorhera compensator 2
Features:
12 separate expansion chambers
Reduce Noise
Gases escape straight from the front of the compensator, hence free float hand guards and rail systems like the HERA-ARMS IRS can overlap on the compensator
Easy Installation
223 / 5.56 Linear Compensator for use on short barreled rifles.  The inside design with 12 separate expansion chambers leads blast and noise straight forward to increase shooting comfort and reduce noise at the shooters ears. Generation 2 with 30% less weight and a reduced outside diameter for perferct fit under our IRS handguard system.

  • ​Available with 1/2 x 28TPI and 5/8 x 24" threads.
  • Cal. max. 223REM / 5,56mm with Barrel Thread in 1/2"x28
  • Cal. max. 7,62 mm with Barrel Thread 5/8"x24

Made in Germany
See Product Details

#2 - FERFRANS CQB MODULAR MUZZLE BRAKE SYSTEM

Price: $179.95
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Specifications:

    • Weight - 4.0 oz
    • Length - 2.28"
    • Brake Thread Pattern - 1/2x28
    • Caliber - (.223/556)

See Product Details

#3 - FORTIS CONTROL SHIELD AND MUZZLE BRAKE 5.56-BUNDLE PACK

Price: $170.95
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Offering the Control Shield and our Muzzle Brake as a bundle. Order together and save.

Control Shield:
You breach, shoot a few rounds and then can't hear feedback from your team because you're temporarily deaf from the concussion and blast noise from your muzzle device. The Fortis Control Shield was designed to push the noise forward for combative situations or even for simple range use, while the top ports keep the muzzle device flat on target. The patent pending quick detach system will be made available for other manufacturer's to use in conjunction with their muzzle devices.
So whether you're knocking down doors or shooting at the range, let's help save your hearing.  So click on the Control and go!
Features:

  • 4140 Steel
  • 4.2 ounces
  • 2.36 inches
  • Diameter 1.49 inches
  • Made in America

Muzzle Brake
Our new Fortis Muzzle Brake was inspired by the sharp lines of our brand. Like many of our products, the machining on this brake takes a lot longer than the competition. We take our time to create the very best products out there. Sure, we can make it more simple and in the end, fatten the profit margins -- but we owe it to our customers to create not only a product, but an amazing experience.  Try the new muzzle brake once and you'll be glad you did. The performance is unmatched and muzzle rise is non-existent. Keep your speed and accuracy up. Put more down range and on target.
Features:

  • 4140 Steel
  • Nitride coated
  • For the .223 / 5.56
  • 1/2 x 28 TPI
  • Comes with a crush washer
  • 2.8 ounces
  • 2.28 inches
  • Made in America
  • Fortis Control Shield compatible

See Product Details

#4 - NOVESKE KX3 FLASH SUPPRESSOR - 5.56MM

Price: $113.05
noveske supresor

  • (Patent Pending)
  • Made in Grants Pass, Oregon USA
  • Heat-Treated CM Construction
  • Black Nitride
  • 7.2 ounces
  • 1.35" Dia
  • 3.28" OAL
  • 1/2x28 Threads - Fits 5.56/.223

The Noveske KX3 Flash Suppressor is intended for use on Short Barreled Rifles. It is the latest refinement of the KFH concept. It is lighter than the KFH by 1.5 ounces, and outside dimensions remain the same. All KX3s are individually serial numbered for quality control.

See Product Details

#5 - CMT TACTICAL ZCOMP LINEAR FORWARD DIRECTIONAL MUZZLE BLAST CONTROL

Price: $98.50
muzzle blast cmtmuzzle blast 2 cmt tactical

Cross Machine Tool's ZCOMP™ LINEAR provides forward directional muzzle blast control desired on rifles with shorter barrels. The outer diameter fluting and front nose cuts not only reduce the overall weight of the device but also blend with the aggressive aesthetic appearance of our Trademark magwell grooves on CMT UHP15 series Lower receivers. Function of the ZCOMP LINEAR muzzle device is equaled by the exceptional visible manufacturing quality & apprearence you expect from Cross Machine Tool products. MADE IN USA.

Features for ZCOMP™ LINEAR

  • 1/2 28 RH ID threads
  • 1.187" max diameter x 2.75" OAL.   Nitride finish
  • Weight- 5.5 ozs.
  • Caliber- 5.56mm / .223 Remington only
  • Rating- Full Auto
  • Zero porting on bottom side to reduce ground signature when fired from the prone position
  • Zero porting on the center top side to reduce flash sight obstruction through optics/sights
  • minimal side port holes minimzing side blast concussion
  • Crush washer include

See Product Details

Conclusion

At the end of the day, any of these above mentioned will be a significant upgrade to the stock A2 bird cage muzzle device. The key is to find the correct application for the guns purpose. The AR rifle can be as general or as specific as you like. And the muzzle device, is amongst the easiest to get you closer to your intention of that rifles serving great purpose, as well as making it something you are proud to own and encourages you to get out there and shoot more. These findings are all based on the hottest selling and customer feedback and reviews we receive. As newer contenders for