If you already own your AR-15, even if you went with a budget AR-15, you are probably already feeling overwhelmed with all the additions it is possible to put on your gun. An AR-15 has a host of interchangeable parts, making shopping for new parts, such as an AR-15 Flash hider, fun stuff. But the AR-15 flash suppressor (sometimes a flash hider is called a flash suppressor) is one of the more confusing AR-15 add-ons. Lots of folks get them confused, don’t know what they are, or aren’t sure which is the best AR-15 flash hider on the market. The truth is, most people who find this article actually want an AR-15 muzzle break. Unless you are firing your weapon at night or in super low light conditions, a flash hider isn’t likely to benefit you. We plan to break down the best AR-15 Muzzle Breaks, the best AR-15 Compensators and of course, the best Flash Hiders. Make sure you check out our best AR-15 Budget optics list for more info on adding a red dot tactical.
I’m here to attempt to end the confusion. I have a full list of the best AR-15 Flash hiders below. But if you are lost in what a flash suppressor is actually supposed to do, there is a lot of good literature here that I encourage you to read prior to going over that list. You can always read any list of the best flash hiders, but unless you fully understand what a flash hider is for, you can’t possibly make the best decision to meet your needs.
Flash Hider Vs. Muzzle Break
Whenever you purchase an AR-15, it most likely has a flash hider on it. Unless you bought it independently, the manufacturer should have a flash hider poking out of the top of the gun’s barrel. An AR-15 has what is called a threaded barrel. This allows the gun owner to screw in (or out) flash hiders. This is why most people searching for flash hiders that have new AR-15s usually end up deciding on a muzzle break.
What Is An AR-15 Flash Hider?
A flash hider’s goal is simple to understand. When you fire your AR-15, the burning powder is, essentially, what thrust the bullet from the barrel. AR-15s designed with a Mil-Spec NATO 5.56 chamber can fire both .223 or 5.56 rounds. You can read my 5.56 vs .223 ammo article for more details on that. The 5.56 NATO round, by design, burns fully to the barrel’s end. After the round is fully evacuated and firing towards its target, some of that powder potentially didn’t burn off. This creates a large burning ball of fire. Its quick, but it is very visible. If you are a soldier in a combat scenario, this could lead to giving your location away, as well, it can cause you to lose sight of your target for the next round. For us regular folks, losing sight of the target is no good, but also, that big flash might feel uncomfortable to us and those around us at a range. Hence, we use a flash hider.
Flash hiders are savvy in the way that the use the surrounding air and the unburnt powder to subjugate flash. Different flash hider manufacturers accomplish this feat in a variety of ways.
Here’s a look at a birdcage flash hider on my M&P Sport 2 AR-15
The birdcage flash hider is the most common flash hider found on AR-15 rifles. It is extremely effective at suppressing the flash that derives from the end of the barrel. If you have the M&P Sport 2, for example, you already have a good flash hider so at this point, you’re just upgrading to upgrade (nothing wrong there, but if someone convinced you that you have to, you don’t).
What Is An AR-15 Compensator?
There is something called a compensator, which is similar to a muzzle break, however, you don’t want to shoot using it at night as it will temporarily blind you. The compensator serves to thrust the gasses derived from inside the barrel in a more vertical direction.
What Is An AR-15 Muzzle Break?
A muzzle break, on the other hand, has the intention of lowering recoil. Yes, that means suppressing the kick you receive from firing the gun. When you fire your gun, the gas pressure builds and inevitably has to release in any way possible. This amounts to a bit of kick from the gun. In an AR-15, the kick is not substantial, however, in a combat scenario, or for improved rapid fire accuracy, an AR-15’s recoil could serve to your detriment.
The muzzle break serves to force those exiting gasses to first hit a wall that absorbs initial pressure that will eliminate some of the ultimate force from the inevitable gaseous exit. The interaction between the gasses and the metal wall actually allow the gun to thrust forward, something you’ll not detect because that forward force is merely countering the typical recoil. In the end, it means you feel less recoil, even though the science has all the forces the same. Did that make sense? Let’s hope, I really did the best I could.
Muzzle breaks and silencers go hand-in-hand. Silencers, of course, are controversial, so at times, you might hear people say “muzzle break” just as a way of being more gentle with terminology. A silencer has the unintended result of lowering recoil similar to a muzzle break.
Muzzle breaks are often criticised for being loud and unruly add-ons. They typically emanate more noise and upset other hunters or people at the range.
Best AR-15 Flash Hiders
SMITH ENTERPRISE – AR-15 VORTEX G6-A3 FLASH ELIMINATOR 22 CAL (around $66 depending on deals)
A set up of four flutes will almost totally suppress any instances of flash from the barrel of your AR-15. Even if you were to use an auto-rapid fire, you wouldn’t see much flash deriving from the barrel. This is for .22, .223, .224 caliber rounds. The AR-15 Vortex G6-A3 Flash Eliminator uses 8620 bar stock steel, which is commonly found on good quality AR-15 bolts. It also should help you be a bit more accurate in your shooting.
B.E. MEYERS & CO., INC. – AR-15 D249F FLASH HIDER 5.56
The B.E. Meyers 249F Flash Hider is one of the best flash hiders on the market. It has been shown by the US Army to suppress flash at an astounding 96% rate. The B.E. Meyers 249F Flash Hider will keep your eyes safe firing at night which will allow you faster and more accurate shot recovery.
Best AR-15 Muzzle Breaks
LANTAC USA LLC – AR-15 DRAGON MUZZLE BRAKE 22 CALIBER (around $125 depending on deals)
The LANTAC Dragon Muzzle Brake is one of the best quality muzzle breaks that money can buy. Its Short Energy Pulse system prevents what is known as stacking while also serving to decrease the recoil length. Even if you go fully automatic, all your follow up shots will benefit from the LANTAC Dragon. You will definitely be zeroed in for longer on multiple shots. It has flats on the side which allow for installation with a common wrench.
VG6 PRECISION – AR-15 GAMMA 556 MUZZLE BRAKE 5.56
The VG6 Gamma 556 muzzle break also acts as a compensator. You will get hardly any recoil and barely any barrel movement. Having both a compensator and muzzle break hybrid can increase follow up shot accuracy at amazing levels. It’s a stainless steel finish.
SUREFIRE – AR-15 PROCOMP MUZZLE BRAKE 22 CALIBER
The SureFire ProComp 556 muzzle brake fits M4 and M15 that use with 1/2-28 muzzle threads, its a 22 Caliber (.223-.224). It will largely reduce the amount of recoil felt and lower the muzzle’s rise. You will have much more sustainable accuracy shot after shot. The ProComp 556 is made from US mill-certified steel bar stock.
Best AR-15 Compensators
PRECISION ARMAMENT – AR-15 M4-72 SEVERE-DUTY COMPENSATOR DLC 22 CALIBER (around $89 depending on deals)
With a large expansion chamber that spreads out the pressure of the barrel gas, this hybrid compensator will lower the pressure and serve as a solid muzzle break. The reverse venting design vastly lowers recoil while eliminating rise from the muzzle. The Precision Armament AR-15 M4-72 Severe Duty Compensator is corrosion resistant and made from stainless steel. Caliber: 22 Caliber (.223-.224).
HERA ARMS LC LINEAR COMPENSATOR Gen2 (Around $113 depending on deals)
The Linear Compensator Gen2 has 12 various expansion chambers to help both reduce noise and lower the muzzle break. It should vastly lower the sound from firing your gun.
DPMS – AR-15 MICULEK COMPENSATOR 22 CALIBER (Around $29 depending on deals)
Muzzle gasses are directed far to the side using six side ports from six baffles. This should stop recoil almost completely. The Miculke Compensator is also an easy clean.
Most people are really looking for the best AR-15 muzzle break, rather than flash hider, when they land on this article. The confusion between compensators, muzzle breaks, and flash hiders is typical when you first buy an AR-15. Muzzle breaks allow for faster shot recovery by eliminating recoil. If you are without a good budget optic, check out my best AR-15 Budget optics list.