Muzzle Brake vs Compensator – What to Know

Muzzle Brake vs. Compensator
Alfred Mendoza

If you are contemplating between a muzzle brake vs. compensator, know that the two are different tools but almost have similar functionality.

Is your gun equipped with the correct muzzle device? 

Review the differences we listed below to determine if what you have fits your needs or if it is time to switch.


A compensator is a device that helps significantly in balancing muzzle flip. It gives a chance to go back to the target right away, very handy for those who need quicker follow-up rounds.

A muzzle brake, on the other hand, is a tool that works on the recoil. These tools minimize the recoil felt by the shooter, which then advances precision. Also, the slam on the shooter’s shoulder lowers each time the bullet leaves.




Muzzle brake



A Closer Look At The Differences

How It Works In General

Muzzle Brake

We first considered that the primary purpose of a muzzle brake is to lessen the recoil felt by the shooter.

Whether this is on a rifle or artillery, they share one concept. These are to redirect combustion gases at the rear of the firearm upon the projectile ascending upward.

It will reduce felt recoil because of the expanding fumes spreading on the sides of the holes of the muzzle brakes, whether with a silencer or not. 

For muzzle brakes attached to handheld firearms, the designs are to provide a specific outcome.

muzzle brake

There are also muzzle devices that are for large artillery, as mentioned above. These are under the same principle, and that is to minimize drawbacks. 

In a raw tank form, without muzzle brakes, it can significantly affect a shooter’s aim. In the present day, though, most tanks do not use this device anymore.


Functionality-wise, a compensator is to aid with muzzle rise. Therefore, it works best with firearms that do not boast too much recoil. 

Each works very well in smaller guns since the direction of the expanding gasses is going upward, which then neutralizes the climb of the muzzle. 

For an average shooter, this can be a good fit as it helps them stay on target quicker even if they are firing successive rounds.

Perfect for indoor shooting or outdoor or even competitive shooting.


One downside is that they do not focus on reducing pullbacks, which is not good on felt recoil. All the energy blast will go to the shoulders of the shooter when using this machinery.

How it Works with Suppressors


Muzzle Brake

Hybrid muzzle attachments are to work like suppressors or what most people call a silencer. While a brake is great in lessening the impulse and muzzle blast in a rifle, it is not a great suppressor or a silencer even. Because of the limitation of each tool, they incorporated them to provide more helpful functionality when connected to firearms.

It is not easy to pinpoint the origin of the sound with a suppressor or silencer. It contains the impact as it comes out of the holes from the chambers of the tool. Flash suppressor is also a good combination with a muzzle brake, considering that a regular brake has designs where the flames come out at the end of the barrel. 

Without a suppressor on the muzzle device, the shooter’s sight will not be on the target. For a shooter on the range, sound suppression is not the primary goal but accuracy—the more precise the target, the better.


Attaching this tool with a suppressor in a rifle also has its benefits. Though drawback is not its best trait, it can help significantly with muzzle flip. You can fire successive rounds if the shooter can keep the muzzle down.

A compensator works the same with tanks and other artillery. A silencer, especially with the military, will not give its location away because the sound will project where the holes on the mechanisms are facing.

Muzzle climb is already addressed with a compensator while a flash suppressor cools down the gasses to hide the signature of the firearm. However, since not all muzzle devices are created as flash hiders, enhancing this feature can significantly benefit.

If the shooter is firing his rifle during nighttime, this device’s only option is to use a flash hider. This way, he can keep his precision and fire successive shots without any problem.

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Mounting Options

Muzzle Brake

Installation of a muzzle device on rifles is not considered a light task, just like attaching a silencer. Typically there is a threaded barrel, so it is an option for you to look for the necessary washers to ensure the required fit. 

It would help if you considered your rifle caliber and the thread pitch before picking up the muzzle device you intend to use. Each one has its specified length and, of course, is built on the inside. 

It is common to find threads at the end of the rifle’s barrel, but the pitch threads vary, which will create complications. Therefore, washers, crushers, and peelers are a necessity when installing your muzzle brake.

The shooter should also consider the caliber and bullets(1) of their gun. Also, the internal diameter where the shot is coming out is going to be more significant.


The installation of a compensator would be almost the same as installing a muzzle brake on rifles or a silencer. Placing it in a prone position, you can mount this along with the jam nuts on a gun.

Other nuts and washers ensure that the compensator is fitted perfectly with the rifle or whatever firearm you will use. There are specific sizes for every caliber and make of a weapon.

The positioning of the holes in the tips of the devices is for that purpose. 

If you are unsure how long you will be using the tool on your rifles, it would be wise to grease it before mounting it. But then, removing it from your weapon once you decide on it will not be a hassle.

Design and Material

Muzzle Brake

When it comes to variety, muzzle brakes also have their options, and that depends on the type of weapon you have. Being said that military-grade weapons use a muzzle brake, they need to be created sturdy. If not, it will crack when firearms get fired.

A muzzle device is of stainless steel(2) or reinforced alloy. Some are even finished with nitrate to extend more years.

These are not to last for so many years as they will give in after taking so many blasts. However, using it for a couple of rounds would be a good option.

Design-wise, as these are to minimize recoil impulse, they are designed to deliver a solid result.

The holes on the side are constant to offset the impact. 

They shoot the rifles with a minimal jump if they choose the right brake.


A compensator, on the other hand, can be made from various types of materials. The most common are those made of stainless steel to withstand impact as firearms get fired.

Different types are rubber and neoprene. These are to endure muzzle blast though these are not created mainly for drawbacks. A grenade launcher has machinery designed for them as well.

The build for these tools is almost the same. They place holes or sometimes slots in the body of the machinery. The rifle with a mechanism will not show a design that has holes in all parts of it. 

Instead, it will only be in the upper part to ensure that the pressure stays at the bottom and does not go upward once the bullet gets fired.


It depends. For example, if you are using your rifle for long-range shooting or hunting, your best option would be a muzzle brake. 

However, if you are on active duty or need to fire multiple rounds, your choice would be the attachment.

Muzzle attachments and such are legal in most states for as long as they do not perform as a flash hider or silencer in some states when connected to guns.

Yes, they add to the barrel length since these are on the rifle’s threaded end. The weight will be evident to the shooter because of the added barrel length to the gun.

The special forces use gadgets like these (flash suppressor, flash hider, muzzle device), and since these attachment trails back to them, they are mere enhancements and improvised versions.

Parting Shots on Compensators & Muzzle Brakes

If you are contemplating which one is better – a muzzle brake vs. compensator – the answer would always depend on what their purpose is going to be. 

For example, if you are shooting with night vision devices, then a compensator with a suppressor is best for you. On the other hand, a few barrel rounds with your rifle will be a satisfying feat with this tool.

If you are into hunting and have no care for noise, then pick the muzzle brake. The difference with a silencer or none wouldn’t matter after that rifle gets fired. 

Once you pull the trigger and the dust clears out, your expectations are going to be delivered if you make the right choice.



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