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Best AR-15 Muzzle Devices [Hand-Tested 2020]

Precision Armament Hypertap
April 13, 2020 18209 view(s)

Best AR-15 Muzzle Devices [Hand-Tested 2020]

Today you’re going to find the best AR-15 muzzle device for you.


In fact:


I’ve hand-tested 26 different muzzle devices for this review. 


The best part?


I’ve sorted the top 3 by use. So whether you’re on a budget or looking for the very best AR-15 muzzle device, you’ll find it here.


Let’s get started!


Why Use a Muzzle Device?


They solve 3 core problems: 


  • Recoil
  • Accuracy
  • Flash/Dust


Muzzle brakes throw a brake on recoil. Compensators reduce muzzle climb. Flash hiders make your bright fire balls disappear. 


The best part?


It does this by a simple attachment to the end of your barrel. But which one is right for you? Let’s break down...


The Difference Between a Muzzle Brake, Compensator, and Flash Hider


What is a Muzzle Brake?


A muzzle brake significantly reduces recoil.


It achieves this by redirecting gases to the side.


Here are the pros/cons:




  • Reduces recoil
  • Improves speed
  • Improves accuracy




  • Creates louder side noise
  • Increases barrel length (by about 3”)


Who is it for?


If you need to make faster follow-up shots or you’re using larger cartridges (like .300 Blackout or AR-10 chambered in .338 Lapua), then a muzzle brake is for you.


However, if you intend to hunt — especially dangerous game — then don’t get a muzzle brake. It’ll defean the people around you. 


Instead, go with a compensator. 


What is a Compensator?


A compensator reduces muzzle climb.


It does this by redirecting gases to the top. Here are the pros/cons:




  • Improves speed
  • Improves accuracy
  • Reduces muzzle rise
  • Reduces dust when shooting prone




  • Hard to find a true compensator


Who is it for?


For people that want to improve accuracy or make faster follow-up shots, then get a compensator


It significantly reduces your muzzle rise, making it easier to place a second shot. That’s why most combat forces and competitive shooters around the world use a compensator.


What is a Flash Hider?


A flash hider hides your AR-15’s fire balls.


So it goes from this ugly muzzle flash…



...to 007 stealthy:





  • Less disorientation
  • Reduces light signature
  • Useful with night vision




  • More expensive
  • Banned in some states


Who is it for?


If you shoot at night or use night vision, then get a flash hider.


But what if flash hiders are banned in your state (like California)? 


In that case, go with a hybrid device. I’ll show you some down below. 


So that sums up the differences between the three main types of muzzle devices. To recap, here are...


3 Reasons to Upgrade Your Muzzle Device


Here are 3 reasons why you should upgrade your AR-15’s muzzle device...


  • Reduces Recoil: The 5.56 x 45 mm doesn’t kick much. But, would you say no to even less kick with very few drawbacks? I wouldn’t. 
  • Reduces Flash: Going from massive fireballs to virtually nothing makes you a formidable night time predator.  
  • Improves Accuracy: Less muzzle climb = faster follow up shots for improved accuracy.


Couple those 3 reasons together and you start to understand why pro shooters always use muzzle devices in their setups. 


Convinced? Let’s talk products.


Best AR-15 Muzzle Devices


Top-Rated AR-15 Muzzle Devices Muzzle Device Type Best For Price
Precision Armament Hypertap Muzzle Brake Overall $170.99
Precision Armament M4-72 Muzzle Brake Value $85.49
Battle Arms THUMPER Muzzle Brake Budget $59.00
Rainier Arms FHV2 Flash Hider Flash Hider Budget $59.00
Surefire Warcomp Flash Hider Flash Hider Overall $129.00
Surefire Flash Hider SF3P Flash Hider Combat $114.00
Silencerco Saker Trifecta Flash Hider Flash Hider Value $84.55
Hera Arms LC Linear Compensator Gen 2 Compensator Value $113.05
Ferfrans CQB Modular Muzzle Brake System Compensator Overall $179.95
Ferfrans CQB Modular Muzzle Brake System Compensator Combat $170.95
(CMT) Tactical ZCOMP Linear Compensator Budget $98.50


Best-Rated Muzzle Brakes


Here are the best-rated muzzle brakes on the market in 2020…


1. Precision Armament Hypertap: The Best Overall Muzzle Brake


The Precision Armament Hypertap is the best overall muzzle brake.


Precision Armament Hypertap


In fact:


The reticle movement is nearly eliminated. My follow-up shots are faster. And my overall accuracy skyrocketed. 




Keep reading to find out...


Felt Recoil Reduction


The Hypertap claims to reduce recoil by 84% — the highest on the market. 


Is it true?


To figure out, I put the claim through an exhaustive “sled test”. 110 rounds later and I’ve concluded...it’s true.


The Precision Armament Hypertap reduces felt recoil by more than 80%.


How is that possible?


Three things:


  • 35-degree baffle angles
  • Wide bore clearance of .06 inches
  • State-of-the-art Convergent-Divergent porting


Put another way:


It’s engineered like no other muzzle brake on the market. As a result, you’ll be able to make more accurate and faster double-taps — ideal for competitions or combat scenarios.


Muzzle Climb


Out of the box, the Hypertap comes muzzle climb neutral. However, it has easy-to-tune gas biasing for the marksman who wants to get even more precision out of his shots.




Recoil reduction and concussion go hand in hand. 


When you tip the scale in one direction, you get more of the other. With the exceptionally high recoil reduction (over 80%), you can expect some powerful blasts.


At 6 feet behind the shooter, you can expect some felt concussion. 


You’ll also want to make sure you are wearing ear protection if you are anywhere near a person shooting Hypertap, as the average decibel output is around 154.




The Hypertap won’t break.


It’s built with the highest quality heat-treated stainless steel. Then, it’s coated with an Ionbond CrCN finish — which makes it nearly scratch proof. Finally, it’s manufactured with a 5-axis simultaneous machining process. 


The result?


An indestructibable muzzle brake that’ll outlast your firearm. 




It’s compact and ergonamic.


Here are the Hypertap’s dimensions:


  • Length: 2.54 inches
  • Outer diameter: .86 inches
  • Bore diameter: .28 inches
  • Threading: .5 inches
  • Weight: 3.07 ounces


Its smaller size makes the Hypertap perfect for sleek weapon profiles and transportability.


Ease of Cleaning


The Hypertap is insanely easy to clean.


Since it’s made with an open muzzle crown as well as fully exposed baffles, the Hypertap design prevents carbon deposits from building in the first place. 


If they do happen to build up, however, the integrated universal timing nut makes it super easy to take off and clean. 


All you need are the tools that come with the Hypertap, a cleaning solvent, and a rag. 


Calibers Supported


The Hypertap is mainly used on .223 Remington/ 5.56 NATO caliber weapons. 


However, they do make Hypertaps for:


  • .9
  • 6.5
  • 8.6
  • .45 
  • .308 Winchester


With these other calibers, expect recoil reduction to drop closer to 70%. If you are shooting 6.5 Creedmoor, Vg6 Precision makes an awesome brake called the Gamma 65.




The Hypertap costs $179.99.


That’s way more expensive than any another other muzzle brakes on this list. But again, it’s the best one. 


Precision Armament Hypertap Review: Is It Worth It?


If you’re looking for the overall best muzzle brake for your .223, then get a Precision Armament Hypertap.


Here’s why. It’s: 


  • Compact
  • High-quality build
  • Easy to clean/remove
  • INSANE recoil reduction


It’s the highest recoil reduction brake on the market. There’s zero muzzle flash increase. And my accuracy and speed doubled. 


For less than $200, that’s a hell of a deal.


Buy Now


2. Precision Armament M4-72: The Best Valued Muzzle Brake


If you’re looking for the best valued muzzle brake, then look no further than the Precision Armament M4-72.


Precision Armament M4-72


In fact:


It’s one of the lowest priced muzzle brakes on the market, yet performs similar to more expensive ones (like the Hypertap).




Let’s break it down, starting with...


Felt Recoil Reduction


The felt recoil reduction came in at about 74%.


That’s about 10% less than PA’s Hypertap. Although it’s slightly less, I didn’t notice much of a difference.


Precision Armament achieved this by designing the M4-72 with two reverse vents on each side, 40-degree triple baffles, and a .060-inch bore clearance.


In short:


With that much recoil reduction, I was able to put out faster, more accurate shots. Stack that with the best AR-15 scope, and your accuracy will improve ten folds.


Muzzle Movement


My rifle didn’t move with the M4-72 attached. 


Designed with a narrower signature on top, closed on the bottom, and top vents, I didn’t get any  noticeable rise or twist of the muzzle. 


The unique design also makes for a very low dust signature, so you won’t get that annoying blowback when shooting prone. 




If you don’t wear ear protection, this device WILL cause permanent hearing loss.


It is significantly louder than other devices because all the energy is directed to the sides. Anyone within a 10-foot radius and 60 degrees of the shooter should expect massive backblast and average noise around 120dB. 


So be sure to wear hearing protection




PA is known for making products that withstand extreme conditions and the M4-72 is no exception. 


It’s machined with heat-treated stainless steel and an Ionbond CrCN high-temp finish similar to the Hypertap. 


Which means, the M4-72 will last through heat, erosion, and the wear of repetitive use. It’s that reliable.


Ease of Cleaning


After I got the thing disassembled, there was nothing to the cleaning process. 


The only problem was that unlike the Hypertap — which comes with everything you need to field strip — the Accu-Washers needed to install and take the M4-72 apart are sold separately.


Not a deal breaker, but something to keep in mind. 




The Armament M4-72 is one of the most compact and lightweight compensators on the market.


The standard caliber option M4-72 came out of the box as follows:


  • Length: 2.25”
  • Largest diameter: .865”
  • Weight: 2.55 oz.


Calibers Supported


The PA M4-72 Severe-Duty comes in two caliber options:


  1. 5.56mm/.223 
  2. 7.62mm/.308


For higher calibers like .40 or .45, I like Kaw Valley Precision Linear Comp.




Here’s the biggest difference between the M4-72 and the Hypertap:




The Hypertal retails at around $180, whereas the M4-72 sells for only $89.99. 


For $50 less than some popular other brands, you get similar amounts of recoil reduction and all the benefits of muzzle control like quick double-taps. 


Precision Armament M4-72 Review: Is It Worth It?


If you can’t afford the Hypertap and looking for the second best muzzle brake, then go for the Precision Armament M4-72.


Here’s why. It’s:


  • Reliable
  • Compact
  • Affordable
  • 74% Recoil Reduction
  • Negligible Muzzle Rise


In short:


Precision Armament’s M4-72 Severe-Duty Compensator will increase your speed and accuracy all at a price that won’t break the bank.


Buy Now


3. Battle Arms THUMPER: Best Budget Muzzle Brake


What if the Hypertap is way out of your budget…


...and you can’t afford the Armament M4-72?


Then get the best budget muzzle brake on the market — the Battle Arms Thumper.



Although it doesn’t perform like the Hypertap, it still does a great job at reducing recoil and muzzle climb.


Let’s take a closer look...


Felt Recoil Reduction


With a single-stage chamber, the Battle Arms Thumper muzzle device effectively reduces felt recoil by about 50%. 


While this device didn’t put up as big of numbers like the 84% of the PA Hypertap or 74% of the M4-72, I could still feel quite a bit of drop in recoil compared to my weapon without the Thumper attached.


Muzzle Climb


The Thumper did a great job at minimizing muzzle rise. 


This, in part, has to do with the top porting that reduces dust kick-up as well. 


Again, if you put it side by side with the Hypertap or M4-72, it would come up a little bit short, but still shows a vast improvement over a naked muzzle weapon. 


But here’s my favorite part: The addition of 4 extended flash-hiding prongs in the brake. This makes the Thumper a brake, compensator, and flash hider all in one. 




Here’s where the Thumper did slightly better than its competition...


Since the Hypertap and M4-72 had more recoil reduction, they also had way more blasts. 


With the slightly lower recoil reduction of the Thumper, it seemed like the blast was pretty close to average. At least, I didn’t feel like I was going to immediately lose my hearing like with the others :)




As soon as it came out of the box, I noticed the quality of the machining. 


It was solid.


Made out of 17-4 stainless steel, the Thumper will last as long as your gun itself. Add on the black Nitride or raw stainless steel finish, and you’ve got a solid, made-to-last piece of American engineering. 


In fact, I’ve been using my AR-15 red dot sight along with a Thumper for the past several years now with zero issues.




The Battle Arms Thumper is slightly more compact than its Hypertap and M4-72 compatriots.


Here are the dimensions:


  • Length: 2.19 inches
  • Outer bore diameter: .865 inches
  • Weight: 2.5 ounces 


It’s a nice, compact size that easily fits my standard AR-15. 


Ease of Cleaning


The Thumper really didn’t need to be cleaned much at all. 




Since it’s made out of stainless, the device is compatible with the barrel material and so corrosion really isn’t a factor. 


The best part?


It was easy to install and came with the needed crush washer. 


Calibers Supported


The Thumper comes in a standard 2.23 Remingon/5.56 NATO with 1/2x28 threading, but can also be purchased in 30 caliber and 9mm.




I was looking for a reasonably priced brake that minimized recoil, reduced muzzle rise, and controlled flash. 


The Thumper did all that for at least $20 cheaper than the M4-72 (which is $100 cheaper than the Hypertap). 


You can buy it here for only $59.


Battle Arms Thumper Review: Is It Worth It?


If you’re looking for the best budget muzzle device that reduces recoil, then get the Battle Arms Thumper


Here’s why:


  • Compact
  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to maintain
  • High-quality build
  • 50% recoil reduction


Put another way:


If you want faster, more precise shots and are on a budget, then the Battle Arms Thumper muzzle device is for you.


Buy Now


Best AR-15 Flash Hiders


If you’re looking for the best AR-15 flash hiders on the market, then keep on reading…


1. Rainier Arms FHV2 Flash Hider


Rainier Arms Flash Hider is one of the best AR-15 flash hiders for the price.



It’s 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. 


The black nitride finish provides the highest level of durability.


Buy Now


2. Surefire Warcomp Flash Hider


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 AR-15 flash hider. 



Its patent-pending design provides three valuable functions:


  1. 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.
  2. It virtually eliminates muzzle rise, which enhances monitoring of target reaction and staying on target for faster follow-up shots.
  3. 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 — making it one of the best AR-15 flash suppressor you can buy.


Buy Now


3. Surefire Flash Hider SF3P


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.


Buy Now


4. Silencerco Saker Trifecta Flash Hider



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


Buy Now


Best AR-15 Compensators


Wondering what’s the best AR-15 compensator? Keep on reading to find out…


1. Hera Arms LC Linear Compensator Gen 2


Hera Linear Compensator


Here are some of the top 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.


These features combined make the Hera Arms Compensator one of the top-rated AR-15 compensators on the market.


Buy Now


2. Ferfrans CQB Modular Muzzle Brake System


Ferfrans CQB


The new Ferfrans CQB Modular Muzzle Brake System is a 2 part system consisting of the performance Muzzle Brake Mount and the CRD (Concussive Reduction Device), which features a built in quick attach / detach mechanism. 


Ferfrans CQB Modular Muzzle Brake System allows you to run your gun with all the benefits of an efficient Brake/Compensator reducing muzzle rise. 


When the need arises, simply attach the Concussive Reduction Device (CRD) via its quick detach mechanism and it redirects the percussion forward making it suitable for prone, CQB, out of vehicles or on a crowded range. I’d definitely rank the Ferfans as one of the best AR-15 compensators.


Buy Now


3. Fortis Control Shield 


Fortis 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!


Buy Now


4. CMT Tactical ZCOMP Linear


Cross Machine Tool's ZCOMP™ LINEAR provides forward directional muzzle blast control desired on rifles with shorter barrels.


CMT Tactical


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. It’s also made in the good ol’ USA.


Buy Now


Which of These Muzzle Brakes Is Best For You?


To recap:


If you’re looking for the overall best muzzle brake, then get Precision Armament Hypertap. It reduces recoil by over 80%! 


However, if you don’t want to spend that much, then I’d recommend the best valued muzzle brake — the Precision Armament M4-72. It’s durable, easy-to-clean and reduces recoil by about 74%.


Finally, if you’re on a budget, go for the Battle Arms THUMPER. Although it’s not as great as the other two muzzle brakes, it reduces recoil by over 50%. Not bad.  


Whatever muzzle brake you choose, you’re bound to hit a good, reliable muzzle brake. I’ve fired more than 100 rounds through each one with no issues. 


With that said, now I’d like to hear from you:


Which of these muzzle brakes will you choose? Maybe the Hypertap or the Battles Arms THUMPER?


Whatever you choose, let me know in the comments down below. And if you’re interested in an AR-15 rifle scope, I’d recommend checking out this beginners guide to Rifle Scopes


About the author:

Richard Douglas is a firearms expert and educator. His work has appeared on large gun publications like The National Interest, Daily Caller, ODU Magazine, American Shooting Journal, SOFREP and more. In his free time, he reviews various optics and firearms on his Scopes Field blog.

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