Breath­ing Fire

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

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.

Hy­brid De­vices

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

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.

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