Continuing on in our muzzle device series, we want to give a formal introduction to the compensator. Besides answering your question of what is a compensator, we’ll also dive into what compensators do, their pros and cons, and finish out with a few examples. Now, without further adieu, let’s get started!
What is a compensator?
A compensator is a muzzle device designed to reduce muzzle rise (aka muzzle climb or muzzle flip). Simply put, compensators "compensate" for a firearm muzzle’s rise after it’s shot, which directly affects follow-up shots because they help shoot flatter.
What does a compensator do?
Okay, so we’ve covered that a compensator’s bread and butter is reducing muzzle climb and muzzle movement in general. But what does a compensator do and how do they actually work in the wild? Let’s talk about it.
We've talked about Newton's Third Law of Motion before that states that for every action, there is an opposite and equalreaction, and the same law applies here. While muzzle brakes reduce felt recoil by redirecting these forces to the sides, compensators counteract the natural muzzle rise of the firearm by venting these gases up and to the side, or omnidirectionally.
Can you use your suppressor with a compensator? Yes, although there is some overlap in function between the two devices. By containing and diffusing gases, suppressors tend to fulfill a similar function as compensators — dampening recoil and muzzle rise. One arguable benefit is that compensators might also act as a sacrificial baffle, reducing wear and tear on your suppressor. The jury is still out on how much muzzle devices can protect the blast baffle, but you can tell us what you’ve found in the comments below!
Compensator Pros & Cons
What are the unique pros and cons of compensators? Let's start with the ample positives.
Less muzzle rise and felt recoil. This is the primary purpose and benefit of compensators.
Compensators allow faster, more accurate follow up shots and generally tighter groupings. If you're a long-range precision shooter, you won’t see much benefit at a slow rate of fire. If, however, you’re taking a carbine course this weekend, you’ll print a smaller group on the target during a faster paced fire schedule.
Compensators may offer protection for your silencer. Silencers are durable, but it never hurts to have a compensator act as a sacrificial baffle of sorts.
We couldn't leave this unsaid: They look awesome.
Compensators can add a bit of noise. Here at Silencer Shop, we're all about making shooting easier on the ears. But by redirecting gases more toward the shooter, compensators can also raise the volume for you and your friends at the range.
If you're already shooting suppressed, the benefits of compensators won't be as noticeable.
Like muzzle breaks, compensators need to be timed correctly, i.e. threaded to the right orientation. But if you've gotten this far, the timing process shouldn't slow you down.
Popular compensator calibers
Now you may be wondering what are some examples for the popular calibers for compensators. Well, it depends on your setup! More and more manufacturers are working toward universal mounting setups, so you might be able to mix-and-match depending on what you’ve got.
We should also note that while we’re discussing these by caliber, some of these compensators can be used on other calibers. It’s always a good idea to check with the manufacturer to see what your muzzle device can be used with (muzzle or suppressor)! Alright, now here are a few examples of compensators:
As you may already know, compensators for handguns are very different from compensators for PCCs, or pistol caliber carbines. The CGS Cube is a great example of a handgun compensator, but as you can see, you will need to remove it if you want to mount a suppressor onto it.
Alternatively, with PCCs, you can opt to use a compensator with or without a suppressor. A great example of a 9mm pistol compensator is the Griffin Taper Mount Hammer Comp.
AR 15 compensator (5.56 and 7.62 comps)
What is a good example of an AR 15 compensator? There are several great options to choose from! But the example we’ll use for this article is the Griffin M4SD Comp which is a solid choice and compatible with a good amount of silencers to boot!
For the purpose of comparison, we want to offer another example of an AR 15 compensator with a different aesthetic. The Q Cherry Bomb is a great example of an omnidirectional compensator, so the gases will port in all directions equally.
Bringing out the big guns? For .308 compensators, the example we’re going to use is the F1 Tombstone Compensator. Similar to the Q Cherry Bomb example earlier, this F1 compensator is omnidirectional.
As you can see, compensators are a great tool for giving you that extra edge for accuracy and performance while shooting. Just like with the other muzzle devices in this series, the compensators we sell allow for you to use QD suppressors, which can be a game changer for some folks. We hope we gleaned some insight on what is a compensator, what does a compensator do, as well as give you some real world pros and cons.