If you’re looking to go to the range this weekend, you might want to up your game with a compensator. What is a Compensator? What does a compensator do? And, is it a good addition to your rifle? Is there any pro to using it? Or is it just another gimmick for your AR 15? Let’s dive into these questions and find the answers to state the AR enthusiast in you.

What is a Compensator?

A compensator, often mistaken for a muzzle break, is a device connected to the barrel, or a muzzle of a firearm. They “compensate” the rise of the muzzle, the “kick-up” that you feel after taking a shot, something that can ruin your subsequent shots. Like the muzzle controlling the recoil, a compensator subsides the gun’s upward rise.

What does a compensator do?

When you shoot, the chemical reaction creates a small explosion. Even though controlled, this explosive power is enough to give your gun a forceful upward kick when you shoot.

Why does this happen? The answer to this is simple: it is a reaction borne from shooting.

When you shoot, the reactional coil directly backwards on the bore axis and counters the forward push the hands below it. As a result, after you shoot, the gun goes up.

And for the bullseye enthusiast in you, the chances of your next shot hitting the target goes down.

Enter the compensator. It is a device that goes at the end of the barrel. It has one goal – to redirect the gases borne out of that explosion and redirect them in either direction or all of them.

It does two things for you.

  1. One, it controls the upward kick your gun receives when you shoot.

  2. And two, it gives you a chance to hit the target precisely even the second time around.

Simply put, for assault rifles, compensators are like real-life aim assist. The best compensators can maintain the flow of your shooting when you fire repeated rounds.

How is a compensator different from a muzzle break?

Whatever words we have used to explain the compensator can just as easily be used to describe a muzzle break. And it is the reason many innocently mistake one for the other.

But they aren’t wrong in their assessment, for the difference in the tasks that these devices perform aren’t many, but one.

The muzzle break suppresses the recoil, while the compensator suppresses the upward rise. Both of these devices redirect the gas from the combustion to keep the aim as steady as possible.

However, you can find other differences between the two. And they stem from their working principle.

  • The muzzle break doesn’t entail top and bottom ports. Instead, it has side ports that are angled backwards. So, whenever you shoot the gun, the gas is directed through these ports to the sides. It thrusts the gun forward. As a result, the recoil generated becomes less. The muzzle break “breaks” that recoil. And you can shoot knowing the kick you feel in your chest could have been far worse if not for the muzzle break.

  • A compensator on the other hand “compensates” the shot’s recoil. The ports in a compensator are not on the bottom, but at the top. By redirecting the combustion caused by shooting upwards, it thrusts the gun downwards to control the upward kick due to reactionary recoil. Simply put, it tries to push the muzzle down as it is about to jump.

The most reliable compensators can hold your aim steady even during repeated shots – allowing you to take follow up shots to be precise.

In simple terms, it will help you shoot faster.

So, that’s it when it comes to the difference between a muzzle break and a compensator.

Now, let us look at this device objectively by looking at its pros and cons.

Advantages to gain from a compensator

When you attach a compensator to your assault rifle, you will get feel the following benefits right away:

  1. Keeping you safe: Your gun can do a lot of damage (to you) if its upwards thrust exceeds your grip. The jumping motion of the muzzle, without compensation, can make you lose the grip of your gun. Think of what it would do if the muzzle hits your face. With a compensator, you can prevent that from happening.

  1. Keeping your aim steady: With reduced recoil and less barrel rise, you can shoot steadily repeatedly. You’ll be getting more precise shots on your target the next time you reach the range if you’re taking a good compensator with you.

  1. Keeping the noise, less: The right compensator registers less noise than a muzzle break. You will be able to go longer without worrying about extra sounds.

Disadvantages of a compensator

The following reasons might make you think twice about getting a compensator:

  1. They are noisy: While they make less noise than a muzzle break, the bodacious crack compensators makes when the gun goes off is much more than an uncompensated gun. Your friends might not want to stand beside you. Some say that the decreased muzzle rise isn’t worth the sound.

  1. Only good for repeater weapons: Compensators are a good addition for rapid-fire pistols and assault rifles. However, for a lengthy and heavy sniper rifle, it won’t be of much use. With single shot weapons, the goal is precision, not speed. This device is meant to add speed.

  1. You have to stand in a conducive position: There might be those among you who prefer to be in the close retention position when shooting. The Compensator will stop you from doing that. At close, the upward shootout of the gas cloud won’t do you any good. Simply put, you have to stand safely if you want to gain benefit from this device.

Final words

Compensators will give you an edge if you want your repeated shots to hit the target. And, the device as a whole can be a game-changer for some. However, it will make your gun a bit extra noisy. So, make sure that you have a suppressor by your side as well. The reduced sound, coupled with the combination of fast rounds, will truly give you a gifted day at the gun range.

So, are you looking for a good compensator for your Assault Rifle? Click here to check out our best deals.