I recently wrote an article that revolved around the idea that practice can help you reduce and control muzzle rise more than a $100-400 muzzle device and that muzzle brakes make good shooters better; they don’t turn poor shoopers into good ones. A few of you pointed out that you don’t need to spend $100 on a muzzle device. While I don’t think the availability of relatively inexpensive muzzle devices changes the truth of the article, it is certainly worth taking a look at some muzzle devices that won’t break the bank.
All of the muzzle brakes/compensators mentioned below are devices that I have used and that cost less than $60 retail (much less in most cases). This is not a complete list of sub-$60 muzzle devices…
Cavalry Arms Cav Comp – The Cav Comp has been around for what seems like forever and at less than $30 it is easy to see why if you try one. It works quite well at keeping the muzzle level. It is loud but not the loudest comp that I have tried. It also tends to be fairly flashy (more than an A2 flash suppressor but less than a bare muzzle).
Manticore Arms NightBrake – The NightBrake is available for AKs and ARs. The AK version is impressive in that it is at least as effective as the AKsevntifur brake with less flash and less tooth rattling shock wave. It is also designed to create some back-pressure so it make take the place of a booster for some SBR AKs. I have limited time with the AR version but the experience was much the same as with the AK version. It is well balanced in terms of flash, concussion, performance, and price.
PWS Triad – The PWS Triad is an interesting device. It is the only device on this list that isn’t a compensator or muzzle brake. It is actually a flash suppressor that uses some unique internal geometry to redirect muzzle gasses in such a way that muzzle rise is reduced without the concussion of a brake or compensator. In my experience, it keeps the muzzle down but doesn’t do much for recoil so, if you don’t have a good feel for how to completely control all phases of recoil, the carbine will still move around a bit.
Carlson Comps Carlson Comp – The Carlson Comp looks a bit like an AK 100 series brake for the AR but there is a key difference in the performance. The Carlson Comp directs more of the noise and concussion upward rather than to the sides. It isn’t quiet but it also isn’t as harsh as other comps to those who are standing to the sides of the shooter.
Levang Linear Comp – The Levang Linear Comp is fairly unique among the devices listed. It does reduce muzzle rise a bit but its main mission is to redirect sound. It pushes concussion and sound forward which makes the lives of the shooter and those around the shooter much more pleasant. It does not reduce sound. It simply redirects it. These are popular for use on an SBR to redirect the concussive sound from the shorter barrel away from the shooter.
Rainier Arms XTC – The Rainier Arms XTC is a bit of a hybrid device. It has properties from both a compensator and a flash suppressor. The result of the mix of features is a device that suppresses flash fairly well and controls the muzzle very well. It seems to suppress flash nearly as well as an A2 flash suppressor and it is on the loud side. I find this to be very well balanced in terms of muzzle rise mitigation.
Rainier Arms Mini Compensator – This is also somewhat unique among the devices listed due to its incredibly small size. It is very light weight and very compact. I found that it was fairly loud and a bit flashy but it was also very effective (more effective than many other larger devices that I have tried).
All of the devices listed above will help a shooter who has a trained to a proper grip and stance keep the muzzle very flat. However, shooters who do not already have a degree of muzzle control built into their technique will find that the muzzle will still move quite a bit with just about any muzzle device. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a great muzzle device but you do have to spend the time it takes to get the most out of it.