AR-15 Muzzle Device Buyer’s Guide
World of Firepower muzzle device showcase: 72 ways to top off your rifle.
Equipping your rifle with the right muzzle device can enhance everything from how it feels when you shoot it to its accuracy and even its looks. Picking out the perfect one for your rifle can take some trial and error, but finding out what’s available and what may suit your needs is the first step.
When we researched just how many muzzle devices are available for an AR-15 chambered in 5.56x45mm or .223 Remington, we were floored. There are hundreds, if not thousands of devices available. While we’d love to show you all of them, we simply don’t have the pages. Instead, we zeroed in on some all-time great performers as well as the latest devices to hit the market. All pieces showcased in the guide are available for the standard 5.56/.223 thread pitch of 1/2x28-inch and may be available for other calibers well.
Before we dive into the 72 devices that might be tipping your rifle next, let’s figure out what kind of device does what first. It’s important to understand that there is no standard designation for different types of devices, which is why you see the terms like compensator and suppressor thrown around all willy-nilly. We organized this guide with this in mind and sometimes ignored the manufacturers’ names and categorized devices by their function instead.
Muzzle Brakes & Compensators
Muzzle brakes reduce recoil. They redirect gases to help counterbalance the rifle’s rearward momentum when a cartridge is fired. They often have a flat face with holes at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions. They are known to increase concussive forces to the side and sometimes even back toward the shooter. Compensators usually have holes at the 12 o’clock position and are made to keep muzzle flip to a minimum. Compensators allow for faster follow-up shots on target. Many times you will see combinations of the two with vents at the top and on both sides of the device in order to give you the performance characteristics of both types.
Flash hiders are designed to do just that: They attempt to shroud the fiery flash at the barrel’s end when the weapon is fired.
Some devices try to combine all of the above into one package. We call these hybrid devices. They try to soften recoil like a brake, keep muzzle flip at a minimum like a compensator, and diffuse flash from the barrel tip like a flash hider.
Linear devices generally project everything that comes out of a muzzle forward and away from the shooter and his or her neighbors (how considerate). Flash, concussive forces, smoke, and other debris get funneled to the front.