2018 Best-Rated AR-15 Muzzle Devices
Since its design in 1957, the AR-15 has become one of the most popular firearms platforms in the world. As such, there is a wide variety of aftermarket parts available, such as foregrips, stocks, trigger groups, bolt carrier assemblies and muzzle devices.
Three muzzle device types are brakes, flash suppressors and compensators, and each have their own benefits.
What is a Muzzle Brake?
A muzzle brake is designed to redirect or deflect the high-pressure and high-velocity gases of the gun either to the side or the rear. This lessens the effects of recoil on the body and the shoulder in particular, allowing you to keep better control of your weapon.
Since the effects of recoil are reduced, the shooter is better able to acquire and reacquire targets after firing the weapon.
While muzzle brakes are suitable for use on smaller weapons like the AR-15, they are also often found fitted on large-caliber rifles like the Barrett M82.
What is a Flash Suppressor?
A flash suppressor, or flash hider, uses the rifle’s vented gases to reduce or eliminate muzzle flash. This helps keep the shooter’s position concealed when on nighttime combat operations and also helps to reduce or eliminate night blindness.
What is a Compensator?
A compensator is designed specifically to direct the gases from the muzzle upward, thereby reducing muzzle climb. Reduced muzzle climb means successive shots are easier and overall control of the gun is increased, making for tighter groupings during rapid fire.
Reasons to Upgrade Your Muzzle Device
There are several different reasons to upgrade the muzzle device that comes stock with your rifle:
- Caliber. While the AR-15 was initially developed with the 5.56 x 45 mm cartridge in mind, some shooters choose to use larger cartridges, such as .300 Blackout or .308 Winchester. Using a muzzle brake or compensator with these larger cartridges can help bring recoil down to a manageable level.
- Recoil management. While the kick of the 5.56 x 45 mm is nothing to write home about, it can still be daunting for a novice shooter, and a compensator can help bring recoil levels down to something the shooter feels comfortable with.
- Muzzle blast. The 5.56 x 45 mm cartridge gives off a good-sized muzzle blast when fired. Not only can this make follow-up shots difficult by obscuring the target, but it can also be distracting for other shooters. Flash hiders can help reduce or eliminate muzzle blast by efficiently mixing the leftover powder and the surrounding air.
|Top-Rated AR-15 Muzzle Devices||Muzzle Device Type||Price|
|Fortis RED Rapid Engagement Device||Muzzle Brake||$66.45|
|LANTAC Dragon Advance||Muzzle Brake||$125.19|
|Fortis Muzzle Brake||Muzzle Brake||$85.45|
|Seekins Precision AR ATC||Muzzle Brake||$85.00|
|VG6 Precision GAMMA Muzzle Device||Muzzle Brake||$63.99|
|Strike Industries Venom||Flash Suppressor||$39.95|
|Noveske KX5||Flash Suppressor||$124.99|
|Seekins Precision||Flash Suppressor||$52.95|
|Noveske KX3||Flash Suppressor||$124.50|
|Smith Enterprise Vortex Flash Eliminator||Flash Suppressor||$57.95|
|Strike Industries J Comp||Compensator||$34.95|
|Strike Industries King Comp||Compensator||$39.95|
|Rainer Arms RMC 2.0 Mini||Compensator||$52.95|
|Strike Industries Cookie Cutter||Compensator||$54.95|
|Odin Work ATLAS 5||Compensator||$94.05|
Best-Rated Muzzle Brakes
If you’re looking for a muzzle brake, you want to make sure your investment is worth it. The following are a few of the best-rated muzzle brakes on the market:
Fortis RED Rapid Engagement Device 5.56 Muzzle Device
Built out of 4140 or 303 stainless steel and finished with either a bead-blast or a coating of nitride, the Fortis Rapid Engagement Device is designed to put an end to harsh recoil and irksome muzzle climb
The large gas ports on the sides and top of the muzzle brake help mitigate recoil and ensure a smooth-firing AR-15, while the included crush washer provides a smooth fit so the RED won’t come loose, even under sustained rapid fire.
While the RED is built primarily for law enforcement officers and three-gun competition shooters, it’s a solid choice for anyone who needs to bring the recoil on their AR down to manageable levels. Customers praised the RED not only for its recoil and muzzle climb reduction but also for its ease of clean-up thanks to the large gas ports.
LANTAC 5.56 Dragon Advance Muzzle Brake
Using its patent-pending “short energy pulse” system, LANTAC’s Dragon Advance Muzzle Brake prevents the overlap of muzzle energy by shortening the weapon’s recoil, meaning even fully automatic weapons become easy to control.
Not only do the large gas ports on the side of the Dragon stabilize your weapon’s horizontal orientation, but the top ports work to counteract muzzle climb as well. Not only that, but the quick gas dissipation of the Dragon means a definite reduction in muzzle flash — a boon for any shooter.
The Dragon muzzle brake currently enjoys a five-star rating, marking it one of the best AR-15 muzzle brakes on the market. Customers praised the fact that the Dragon significantly reduced the amount of felt recoil, with at least one reviewer remarking that the Dragon was worth every penny they spent.
Fortis Muzzle Brake 5.56/.223
Much like its cousin, the RED, Fortis’s 5.56/.223 muzzle brake is built out of one of two different kinds of stainless steel. Customers have the option of picking 4140 steel with a nitride coating or 303 steel with a bead-blast finish.
It also comes standard with a crush washer to ensure that perfect Fortis fit — just like its cousin. However, Fortis’s standard muzzle brake is also compatible with its Blast Mitigation Device. Together, the two products help reduce concussion and muzzle blast to almost non-existence.
The five-star ratings for both the standard Fortis muzzle brake and the RED mean customers think Fortis makes some of the top-rated AR-15 muzzle brakes on the market, with at least one customer claiming they can never go wrong with a Fortis product.
Seekins Precision AR 5.56 ATC Muzzle Brake
Built out of 416R stainless steel, Seekins Precision’s Advanced Tactical Compensator uses proprietary front-facing ports to help reduce and control the motion of your weapon when it recoils by reducing the force of the hot gases exiting the barrel.
Instead of using a crush washer like other designs, the Seekins Precision ATC uses a knurled timing nut to ensure installation is quick and easy — almost as easy as brushing your teeth.
In addition to the regular 5.56 x 45 mm variant, the ATC also comes in models for shooters who wish to use .308 Winchester, 7.62 x 51 mm and .300 Blackout.
For value, quality and price, Seekins Precision rates five stars out of five, with at least one customer calling their ATC absolutely amazing.
VG6 Precision GAMMA 556 Muzzle Brake
Built out of 17-4 ph heat-treated stainless steel and finished with black nitride, the GAMMA muzzle brake by VG6 Precision uses a unique staggered top vent system to reduce muzzle rise. The two-stage side ports also help effectively reduce recoil, while the radial cutouts around the front end help to significantly reduce muzzle flash.
Even though the GAMMA is designed with 10.5 to 18.5-inch barrels in mind, it can work with a wide variety of compatible firearms, including AR pistols and short-barreled rifles (SBRs). The GAMMA is also compatible with VG6’s CAGE device, which helps reduce and eliminate lateral concussive forces.
The GAMMA, like all of VG6’s muzzle brakes, is built for reliability and tuned for versatility, meaning it will stand up to whatever punishment your rifle can dish out, no matter how it’s designed.
Best Flash Suppressors
If you’re looking for flash suppressors, check out one of these top-rated models:
Strike Industries 5.56/.223 Venom Flash Hider
The four-pronged design of Strike Industries’ Venom flash hider helps aid gas dissipation, cutting down on both muzzle flash and muzzle blast. The Venom also functions as a barrel extension, turning any 14.5-inch barrel into a 16-inch barrel. This design creates instant airflow around the barrel, eliminating excess gas combustion at the source.
The stainless steel construction and parkerized finish of the Venom mean it will hold up where it counts. The five-star rating of the Venom makes it one of the top-rated AR-15 flash hiders on the market, with customers saying it’s just as good as higher-end flash hiders that cost two or three times as much.
Noveske KX5 5.56 Flash Suppressor
The Noveske KX5, also known as the “Flaming Pig” after the picture of the pig belching fire engraved on it, is Noveske’s entry into the flash suppressor market. Featuring heat-treated chrome molybdenum construction and a nitride finish, the KX5 is designed to work when it counts.
While the KX5 is primarily designed to increase the reliability of SBRs or AR pistols, it works on any AR-15 barrel out there, with one customer remarking there was no seen flash from their perspective when were using a 16-inch barrel.
Each KX5 is individually serial-numbered to ensure it’s a quality piece worth the Noveske name. This reputation for quality control, along with its five-star rating, means the KX5 is one of the top-rated AR-15 flash suppressors on the market.
Seekins Precision 5.56 Flash Hider
The Seekins Precision Rook Flash Hider is built for hard use. The Rook is machined out of stainless steel, and then melonite coated to increase durability. An added benefit of the melonite coating is a decrease in cleaning time, as carbon fouling does not adhere as easily to melonite as it does to other finishes.
The tri-prong design of the Rook swirls hot gases as they leave the barrel, which not only extinguishes the flame of any muzzle blast but eliminates visible flash as well.
The Rook does not need a timing nut or a crush washer for installation. Instead, flats machined at the back of the flash hider accept a number of commonly available wrench styles — no special tools needed.
For price, value and quality, the Rook rates five stars out of five, making it one of the top-rated AR-15 flash hiders on the market. Customers praised a number of qualities, including:
- Workmanship. Customers praised the build quality of the Rook, with one customer in particular having put three magazines through his with no sign of wear and tear.
- Price. Customers were consistently surprised that Seekins’ Rook was able to put out as much punch as it did at so low a price point — nearly half of what other flash hiders cost.
Noveske KX3 5.56 Flash Suppressor
The Noveske KX3 flash suppressor is much like its cousin the KX5, right down to the flaming pig engraved on the side. Each KX3 is built out of chrome molybdenum and heat treated to improve durability. This is followed by a phosphate finish to resist corrosion and wear.
As opposed to many other flash suppressors on the market, the KX3 is designed to push expelled gases forward instead of out to the sides, protecting anyone standing adjacent to the shooter.
The KX3 also negates much of the felt recoil of the 5.56 x 45 mm round, specifically on SBRs or AR pistols, though it delivers those same benefits to rifles of any barrel size.
Each KX3 goes through a strict quality-control process. Flash hiders are capped with the engraving of a unique serial number onto the product — a testament that it is fit to wear the Noveske name and become one of the best AR-15 flash hiders on the market today.
Smith Enterprise Vortex 5.56 Flash Eliminator
Each Smith Enterprise Vortex is machined out of 8620 steel and heat-treated to ensure it can stand up to whatever brutal punishment you can dish out. The mil-spec phosphate finish helps repel corrosion and reduce wear, making cleaning a breeze.
The secret to the Vortex’s design is its four-pronged, fluted helical grooves. The fluted helical grooves mean the Vortex is capable of dissipating muzzle flash from a variety of angles, resulting in almost non-existent muzzle flash.
The Vortex has another trick up its sleeve, too: The helix design helps align the escaping barrel gases, which increases overall accuracy with all bullet types.
All of these features combine to make the Smith Enterprise Vortex one of the best AR-15 flash suppressors on the market today.
When you’re in the market for a compensator, consider the following top-rated options:
Strike Industries J Comp
A clone of the compensator found on the Type 89 assault rifle used by the Japanese military, the Strike Industries J Comp is one of three such compensators designed by Strike Industries.
The J Comp uses six ported side vents in a double chamber system to help redirect the gases released by firing your rifle. The front two ports of the J Comp minimize flash to help protect your night vision, ensuring you can land accurate follow-up shots in low light environments.
The J Comp is rated a 4.82 out of five by law enforcement professionals, and regular customers rave about it, too: Several customers talked about how their J Comps kept the flash down, eliminated muzzle rise and reduced recoil. All of this for a fraction of what you’d pay for other compensators.
Strike Industries 5.56/.223 King Comp
The Strike Industries King Comp is designed to be a blend between a compensator, flash hider and muzzle brake. The King Comp’s large dual chambers reduce felt recoil, while side concussion is reduced by the angled gas ports. The four serrated prongs at the end of the King Comp are designed for flash suppression.
Each King Comp is built out of steel and parkerized to ensure it stands up to wear, tear and whatever punishment you can throw at it. The King Comp currently enjoys a five-star rating, with customers praising several qualities, including:
- Build quality. Several customers have referenced how well the King Comp is put together, with at least one customer giving it an A+ in materials and construction.
- Function. Several customers have mentioned how well the King Comp reduces recoil, with one customer going from a 2.5” - 4” grouping to a 1.5” - 2.5” grouping with the King Comp.
All of its features, plus the customer reviews, combine to make the King Comp one of the top-rated AR-15 compensators on the market.
Rainer Arms RMC 2.0 Mini Compensator
Rainer Arms’ RMC Mini Compensator is designed for those shooters that are building lightweight AR-15s. The RMC weighs in at only 1.4 ounces, meaning it can cancel out recoil without adding extra weight to your rifle. The four ports on the top and two large ports on the side mean recoil is almost non-existent with the RMC.
Each RMC is also only 1.4 inches in length, making it perfect for carbine builds, where length must be kept to a minimum.
If you’re looking for a compact way to reduce the muzzle climb of the 5.56 x 45 mm round, look no further than the RMC.
Strike Industries 5.56/.223 Cookie Cutter Comp
Strike Industries’ Cookie Cutter Comp is designed to be the only heavy-duty compensator you’ll need. The large single gas port expels gas out to both sides, cutting down on muzzle blast and making follow-up shots easier.
The large surface area of the Cookie Cutter Comp helps it more substantially reduce recoil compared to other devices. This makes it ideal for use in SBRs and AR pistols, but the Cookie Cutter will deliver those same results no matter your barrel size.
Strike Industries’ reputation for quality products means the Cookie Cutter Comp, with its heavy-duty steel construction and parkerized finish, is one of the best AR-15 compensators on the market.
Odin Works ATLAS 5 Compensator 5.56/.223
The Atlas 5 is Odin Works’ new offering for 2016 — and what an offering it is. Specifically designed for the 5.56x45mm round, the Atlas 5 does away with crush washers, peel washers and shims. Instead, users time the device as necessary to direct the gas ports. Installation is a breeze, too — just use the added hex to tighten or loosen the three screws on the end cap as needed.
The Atlas 5 is first modular compensator for the AR-15, so if you’re looking for the most cutting-edge technology, the Atlas 5 is it.
Trust Wing Tactical for All Your Muzzle Device Needs
Since 2013, Wing Tactical’s mission has been to serve every kind of shooter. Whatever your firearms needs, Wing Tactical has it in stock — muzzle brakes, flash hiders, compensators, you name it. If you’re looking to upgrade your rifle’s muzzle device, look no further than Wing Tactical.