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It's time to wrap up our blog series on the most popular types of muzzle devices by discussing what is a flash hider and how does a flash hider work? We've covered muzzle brakes and compensators, now we'll dive into the pros and cons of flash hiders (also known as flash suppressors) and share some flash hider examples in popular calibers. There is a lot to cover here, so let's jump in.

What is a flash hider?

The purpose of a flash hider (as you may have guessed) is to suppress the flash caused by the combustion of unspent powder exiting a firearm barrel (i.e. why some people call them a flash suppressor). Who are we hiding the flash from? Primarily the shooter — flash hiders do a good job of protecting a shooter's vision in low light or no light, when a bright muzzle flash can ruin your natural "night vision."

How does a flash hider work?

Simply put, flash hiders work by breaking up the unspent gunpowder and gases expelled when a projectile exits the barrel, thereby reducing the amount of combustion occurring outside the barrel. Whereas other muzzle devices channel these gases in certain directions to reduce recoil or muzzle flip, flash hiders are designed to protect your vision.

Flash hiders are manufactured in all different shapes and sizes. Generally they have three or four evenly spaced prongs and can either be open- or closed- tine systems. The A2 birdcage is a very common example of a closed-tine flash hider. Open-tine flash hiders can provide even more variety because the lengths of the prongs can either be the same or different. Sometimes open-tine flash hiders that have the same length prongs can produce a “tuning fork” effect. Having variable length prongs can mitigate that effect.


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Suppressors and flash hiders

Do people use flash hiders with their suppressors? They sure do. One huge benefit of using a flash hider instead of muzzle brakes and some compensators is the fact that it doesn’t have to be timed. As you may already know, it takes time to time, and some people just don’t want to deal with that.

We’ve mentioned this before, but it’s definitely worth noting again. Compensators and muzzle brakes are considered to act as a sacrificial baffle of sorts, providing an added layer of protection to your silencers from carbon buildup or lead fouling. While the amount of protection is up for debate, there is one common agreement: unlike their brake and compensator brethren, flash hiders do not serve as a sacrificial baffle because of how they’re constructed. Another notable mention is that by diffusing and muzzling gases, a good suppressor accomplishes the same goal as a flash hider: flash reduction.

Flash hider pros & cons

What are the pros and cons of flash hiders? Let's start with the good stuff.

Pros

  1. Less flash. If this bothers you when shooting, here's your solution.
  2. More effective low-light or no-light shooting.
  3. No timing! Other muzzle devices need to be threaded to the right orientation — a process that can take time. Flash hider installation is a much simpler process.
  4. Flash hiders vary in appearance, but they share one thing: strong aesthetics.

Cons

  1. Flash hiders do not act as a sacrificial baffle, compared to muzzle brakes or compensators.
  2. Flash hiders don't offer significant recoil or muzzle rise reduction.

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Popular flash hider calibers

What are some good flash hider examples in popular calibers? We’re glad you asked! While we’re giving you examples, it’s important to note that some flash hiders can be used with a different manufacturer’s suppressor - but always be sure to check before you try mounting a suppressor on. Ok, now let’s discuss a few notable choices:

9mm flash hiders

The SilencerCo ASR Flash Hider is a great option for use with any ASR mount. This SilencerCo flash hider comes in various thread pitches and calibers, but we’re giving it time to shine with its 9mm flash hider. With three prongs of different length, the ASR flash hider is very effective and reduces the tuning fork effect that is common with flash hiders.

AR 15 flash hider (5.56 and 7.62 flash hiders)

Now it’s time to discuss a few AR 15 flash hider examples that have different aesthetics so you can see how much they can vary.

  • The OSS Flash Hider QD is an effective option and great example, compatible with the full line of OSS's Helix quick-detach suppressors.
  • The SureFire WARCOMP Closed Tine flash hider is a hybrid device designed to also reduce muzzle rise in addition to muzzle flash. It's a strong mounting option for SOCOM Series Fast-Attach suppressors.
  • The Dead Air Flash Hider is another great option for 5.56 and 7.62 calibers, and is compatible with the popular Sandman-S, Sandman-K and Sandman-L suppressors.
  • Lastly, the YHM .30 Caliber Phantom Flash Hider is yet another example of a well-engineered flash hider providing a unique look. This YHM flash hider is designed to prevent and reduce carbon buildup inside compatible suppressors, such as the .30 Cal. Phantom Q.D. Sound Suppressor.

Conclusion

Alrighty! This how does a flash hider work post concludes our muzzle device series! We hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have. As you now know, if you engage in a lot of low-light or no-light shooting, or just want to cut down on muzzle flash, flash hiders (aka flash suppressors) are effective and easy to install. When planning to use a flash hider with a suppressor, always be sure to double check compatibility. We're here if you have any questions!