Many people mix up these two phrases. Take the AFAB (Advanced Flash Arresting Brake), which is actually designed to serve as a compensator and the M4-72 Severe Duty Compensator that is technically speaking a muzzle brake (found on cannons, tanks, and other bigger weapons). It is easy to see how quickly people can get confused as to functions of either a compensator or a muzzle brake device.
So What is the Big Deal?
Well, 308 muzzle brakes, as well as recoil compensators, are made to vent expanding gasses so the shooter would not feel the effects of the recoil when shooting. In other words, it serves to reduce the rearward recoil momentum to bring about a softer experience. It sure helps a lot to reduce shooter fatigue when one deals with larger calibers.
308 Muzzle brakes would feature large gas venting ports that face rearward. What it does is to push the swelling gasses back to the shooter while the rifle is being pushed forward to counteract the momentum one experience when the projectile exits the barrel. What happens though is that you have to deal with a monstrous muzzle blast that is much louder than a gun that has no muzzle device fitted.
Compensators do not necessarily reduce the rearward motion but strive to vent the gasses in a pattern, so the muzzle itself remains stable, thereby reducing muzzle jump. This way, the shooter can take faster follow up shots and fare better at watching the effect on his or her target. These are also associated with concussion and noise, but not as bad as you would experience with dedicated brakes.
Muzzle Brake Brands from All Around the Nation
You just have to conduct a search for muzzle brakes to discover there is a myriad of reviews and discussion where comparisons would be made. Somehow, there is a shortfall in these articles as they only focus on measuring the rearward recoil force. Whereas a proper comparison would take a look at both the forces that deflects the muzzle rise and the rear recoil forces.
One company did a pretty good job by conducting a thorough approach to testing what happens during a brake shootout.
We have not mentioned flash hiders yet. We take it that most of you are familiar with these as they are made to vent gas in such a way that it reduces the temperature and pressure as well as the flash signature of the unburned powder. Flash hiders, as you may know, have no effect on recoil.
The .225/5.56 cartridge and AR-15 are not known for heavy recoil. Due to this, much effort is being put into hybrid devices that do a bit of everything. They may feature numerous port sizes and vents that are designed to spread gasses in all directions to reduce recoil, stabilize the muzzle, and reduce flash. Typically, these guys will be outshined by other devices that are made to do only one of the things mentioned quite well. Make no mistake; hybrid devices do play a major role in that they perform tasks well enough.
So, as you can see from what we discussed, brakes equate to far less recoil while the shooter has to deal with a lot more blast and noise. Unless you opt for a one of a kind muzzle brake brand like the Triple-Port Muzzle Brake by MadHouse Design. Compensators ensure one experiences a more stable point while aiming during recoil and you’d still have to deal with some noise along the way. Flash hiders to not offer much help in reducing recoil, but you experience less flash out in the dark and hardly any noise.
Overall, we still prefer having a high-quality muzzle brake fitted where it does an outstanding job of stripping the gasses as the bullet makes its way through the barrel of the gun you’re shooting. We like the fact that the brakes literally grabs the gasses and pull the rifle away from your shoulder as a way to decrease the recoil coming from your gun when taking a shot. Best of all, you get to stay on target. What is more, the gas is being pushed down to the solid bottom of well-known brake designs like the Triple-Port range by MadHouse Design, you can go to the website here.