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Date Posted: October 29, 2012
The Best Flash Compensator
Blaine Chapman
If you want to remove your flash, get a flash hider; f you want to remove your recoil, get a muzzle brake. Anything that claims to do both does nothing well, or does it? With all the new muzzle device designs have they finally found a way to do both without it becoming a terrible compromise. It is time to take them to the range and do a serious test.

 

Growing up shooting in the woods, we never cared how much noise we were making. It was loud, and we liked it. However when you enter an indoor range, there is a different etiquette. Suddenly your loud bang could break someone else’s concentration and ruin their grouping. Add to this muzzle brakes which reduce and elongate your range time, but whose concussion can throw targets, ammo boxes and anything else around you on the ground or deafen your friends behind you. Flash hiders are effective at allowing you to keep your target in your sight without being blinded, but offer no help in keeping you muzzle on target. Thus the compensator has been introduced as some kind of salvation to both reduce your recoil and remove your flash, but have we found the ultimate muzzle device or are we still coming up with half baked compromises that leave us unsatisfied and angry.

        We decided to actually put these various devices in multiple hands under the same conditions and try and devise a consensus. Since the major factors we were dealing with all involve the unburnt powder that leaves the muzzle we decided to break out the Bushmaster 11.5” machine gun. The short barrel will allow us to really see the effect of the powder on the flash and having the full auto option will allow us to put the recoil reduction to a real test. The shots will be five rounds on semi auto followed by ten shots on full auto. This should test if the devices are good enough for civilian use and then put them to a real test.

        As with all tests we needed to have some sort of control with which to compare our results. We decided to use three different controls: bare muzzle, Griffin flash hider and a Surefire FA556 muzzle brake. The bare muzzle produced a good five foot fireball, and the flash hider actually reduced the flash to nearly invisible until you opened her up on full auto. The muzzle brake was where we encountered exactly what we were looking for, it reduced recoil amazingly, however the flash and report was insane. Redirected out the side and top ports, the fireball from before took on a different shape, but it was the same flaming demon from earlier. The concussion blast could be felt from fifteen feet away, not something you would enjoy being next to, especially inside.

        The true test began with the Griffin M4SDII Flash Compensator. A series of small ports around the cylindrical body leading to the flash hiding forks on the end make up the design of this new muzzle device, but will it allow for extended indoor use? After the first string, it is clear that the flash hiding capabilities of the Griffin M4SDII fall far short of a standard flash hider, leaving the operator blind. The flash was smaller than the beast from the bare muzzle and muzzle brake controls, but still got in the way when trying to keep your eyes on target. As this test finished all the operators said the same thing: the recoil reduction was decent but the flash was hard to see through and their ears were all ringing after 15 rounds. Next up was the much touted Battlecomp 1.5. Looking at the Battlecomp you can definitely see a pattern emerging in these devices design. The small cylinder of the Battlecomp lacks the flash hiding forks of the Griffin and is covered instead with small ovals, a design is quite akin to a small spice grater from a four star or higher restaurant. With just a few shots in semi auto the flash appears to be less than the Griffin and the recoil reduction feels a little better than the last, but even now my ears are feeling the pressure from the concussion and even the steel above us is resonating under the blast. After ten round dump after ten round dump I cannot wait for the test to be over. The blast is worse than just a muzzle brake, and if I am shooting inside next to you, I do not care as much about your flash as I do your concussion. After a few other devices from Griffin and a Knights Armament Triple Tap we kept receiving similar results: decent muzzle brake capabilities but no real flash hiding and more ridiculously loud noises, though it should be said that the Griffin Compensator and the Knights Triple Tap are much shorter overall and the Triple Tap is made from inconel and will last longer than the gun on which it is mounted. Lastly we put attached the PWS FSC 556, the muzzle device you see on the FNH Scar rilfes and the PWS piston ARs. It has the look of an alien core sampling device. An intriguing design it appears to have one and a half blast chambers and four forks on the end, each piece has a curve to it, almost plantlike in its design. With the first five shots I stood in awe, it was quieter than any of the others that had come before and fireball was gone. The fire demon from before had been replaced with a joyous spark show, beautiful in its design which I could stare directly at and not lose my night vision. On full auto the recoil could be felt slightly more than the Battlecomp, but when the dazzling display was done there was only silence, no resounding of the steel, no ringing in my ears and for that I was very pleased. With shooter after shooter the phrase I kept hearing was, “That was best”.

        While Battlecomp, Griffin and the other devices we tried were decent muzzle brakes and hid some flash, the concussion was such that you would be quieter and have better recoil reduction using a dedicated muzzle brake like the Surefire FA556. If you want to be invisible to those around you, use a flash hider or a suppressor. However if you want to reduce your recoil and hide your flash to keep your eyes and muzzle on target the PWS FSC 556 is the device you will need to install on all of your rifles.

 

Muzzle Device

Flash Reduction

Recoil Reduction

Noise

Total

No Muzzle Device

1

1

2

4

Surefire FA556 Muzzle Brake

1

5

1

7

Griffin M4SDII Flash Hider

5

1

3

9

Battlecomp 1.5

3

4

1

8

Knights Armament Triple Tap

2

2

3

7

Griffin M4SDII Flash Compensator

2

3

2

7

Griffin M4SDII Compensator

2

2

3

7

PWS FSC 556

4

3

3

10

 

Link to video of Testing: http://youtu.be/3_004H7tVgg



 

 

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