Muzzle Devices: Difference Between a Muzzle Brake, Flash Hider and Linear Compensator

Muzzle devices are mitigation tools. Initially, muzzle device systems were invented to assist the military on the ends of tanks and rifles. Then with the ideation of the short-barreled rifle (SBR) the barrel was closer to you, and the impacts of that were noticeable. Muzzle devices nowadays are used for rifles of all barrel lengths to help mitigate. Whether to decrease muzzle flash, jump, or recoil, the overall goal of a muzzle device is to reduce the negative impacts of an AR15 muzzle when shooting an AR platform. 

Many modern muzzle devices are multi-purposed, and often eliminate more than just one issue. Generally speaking it’s safe to say:

  • Muzzle brake - reduces recoil
  • Linear compensator - redirect muzzle blast forward, ideally also pushing the noise away from the shooter
  • Flash hider - reduces flash

Let’s take that a step further and break down the big differences between the three:

1. Developed for the muzzle end of a rifle barrel, muzzle brake systems have multiple openings allowing gas to escape on the side or top of the muzzle device. Muzzle brakes specifically redirect the gas upward or to the side to fight recoil and muzzle rise, and can improve your accuracy. Most muzzle brakes send gases to the side, creating a flatter shooting experience. Early use of the muzzle brake is seen on military weaponry such as the M47 Patton tank.

2. A flash hider, also known as a flash guard, flash suppressor, or flash cone, cools or disperses the gases as they’re exiting the muzzle so as not to blind the shooter. In other words, they hide the flash. In ARs, the propellant has less length to fully burn out, causing a larger muzzle blast. Popularized toward the end of WWII, flash hiders were utilized not only to reduce the blinding effects of the flash but also to decrease the chances of being spotted by the enemy in low-light battles. Nowadays, it mostly addresses the former. 

The CMMG ZEROED .22 LR Flash Hider is the perfect accessory for reducing muzzle flash and protecting your barrel’s crown. It’s machined from 6061-T6 aluminum with an anodized finish and is the ultimate upgrade for your .22 LR.

3. Although many similarities exist between these muzzle devices and their capabilities, a linear compensator is best suited for an AR. Unlike a muzzle brake that has openings for gas to escape in a desired direction, linear compensators push the gas forward so that the noise moves toward the target, overall reducing muzzle blast and rise.

A compact and sleek improvement to traditional muzzle devices and thread protectors, CMMG ZEROED Linear Comps are made from 303 stainless steel with a nitride finish and can be effortlessly installed with a 3/4” wrench, enabling you to elevate the performance and look of your gun in a matter of seconds.
Whatever muzzle device you need, CMMG can deliver. Our new ZEROED line’s Linear Compensator and Flash Hider are now available for purchase, with more exciting products to come!

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