FHT2_AAC-Brakeout

As a follow-up to the AR-15 Flash Hider Shootout, test #2 here adds a variety of new flash hiders to the mix and also includes a lot of combination devices and even some straight-up brakes and comps. So, yes, for the pedants out there this is a “flash hiding” test, not a “flash hider” test. We received a lot of comments from people more curious about how the all-around muzzle devices and brakes fare than how the dedicated FHs do, so there’s a good mix of contenders here. Once again, not only did we capture photographs of each device in action, but with the use of a trick light meter we were able to record actual brightness measurements and scored some real, objective data . . .

EDIT: In addition to the first 5.56 flash hiding test linked above, the first 5.56 muzzle brake test is HERE, the second 5.56 muzzle brake test is HERE, and the first .308 brake test is HERE.

First, this test was made possible thanks to Sharp Shooting Indoor Range & Gun Shop in Spokane, WA. They were nice enough to not only loan me their entire south shooting bay with all of the lights turned off, but also loaned me a couple of the muzzle devices seen here. Sharp Shooting has dozens of flash hiders, brakes, triggers, grips, optics, and just about every other rifle part you can think of in stock along with many hundreds of firearms, NFA items, holsters, ammo, and other gear. In fact, they’re one of the largest Primary Weapons Systems dealers in the U.S. and should have every single PWS product in stock and they ship ’em free of charge.

20151117_084929
Why yes, that maple bar is indeed sausage-stuffed and bacon-topped.

If you appreciate all this data as much as I do, they’re happy to ship guns (to your dealer) and gear and can be reached at (509) 535-4444 or through their website or Facebook. Ask for Jeremy Ball or Nick Brown.

Flash Testing

Protocol for the test was as follows:

  • Camera was set up a couple feet to the right of the muzzle and elevated to see the top and the right side of each muzzle device.
  • Aperture, shutter speed, and ISO were locked for the entirety of the test. The shutter was open for 3.2 seconds for each device.
  • The light meter was placed about two feet from the muzzle off at a ~30° angle to the front, which should have ensured its ability to “see” brightness emanating from all sides and even from down inside the muzzle of each device.
  • The light meter I purchased is capable of recording flashes as brief as 10 milliseconds. It was set on “peak hold” to hopefully record the brightest single moment for each device.
  • Three shots of Federal American Eagle XM193 5.56 were fired while the camera’s shutter was open. This means every photo seen below actually shows the total light from three gunshots combined. Same goes for the light meter, which recorded the peak brightness moment of all three of those shots.
  • This was all fired through my go-to upper, which is an Adams Arms gas piston upper with 16″ barrel.

In the first shootout, the ambient brightness reading was 0.25 Lux. This time around, it was higher at 0.95 Lux. I believe this is because I chose to aim the light meter more towards the business end of the rifle and less at the side of it, in order to get closer to a straight-on reading and allow the light meter to “see” down into the muzzle device. After all, those who are worried about flash signature are worried about enemies downrange seeing it from a basically head-on perspective.

The side effect was that this also pointed the meter towards Sharp Shooting’s lobby windows and resulted in a higher ambient light level reading. No worries, though, as the winner in test #1 added 0.06 Lux to the ambient reading and we actually got the exact same result this time around, too.

Which means, yes, despite the addition of some extremely worthy and highly-anticipated competitors, the JP Enterprises’ Flash Hider (no longer sold. More info below under B.E. Meyers and JP detail sections) took the crown in shootout #2 here as well!

JP-Enterprises-FH-Large

Click any of the charts, graphs, and photographs that follow to enlarge them. Click here to download the Excel doc with all of the data — Lux reading, weight, length, diameter, and price — for each FH.

FHT2_Lux_Graph

^^^ note that bare muzzle and AAC Brakeout are missing from the graph above. As you’ll see in the chart below, they were so bright that including them would have destroyed the scale of the graph.

FHT2_Chart1 FHT2_Chart_All

Flash Hiders

Listed [mostly] alphabetically. All stated weights and dimensions are as measured by me. I noted obvious errors and/or complete omissions on many manufacturers’ sites so chose not to use any of their info across the board.

Bare Muzzle:

FHT2_bare-muzzle
10,932 Lux

A2 Birdcage:

FHT2_A2
1.13 Lux

FHT2_A2-2 FHT2_A2-1

Fairly standard going rate for a brand new A2 Birdcage style flash hider is about $9. Of course, there’s a good chance that one came on your rifle from the factory. If hiding flash is your priority, the ol’ birdcage is always going to be the budget champion. It provides very solid flash killing performance and you probably already, accidently own one(s).

Material: steel
Finish: parkerized or black oxide
Length: 1.622″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.866″
Weight: 1.787 oz
MSRP: $9

A1 Birdcage:

FHT2_A1
1.12 Lux

FHT2_A1-1FHT2_A1-2

Before the A2 was the A1. It’s nearly identical but, while the A2 got rid of two slots to make for a solid bottom for dust signature reduction and possibly some muzzle rise compensation, the A1 had evenly-spaced slots all the way around. It did hide flash ever-so-slightly better.

Material: steel
Finish: parkerized or black oxide
Length: 1.77″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.866″
Weight: 1.956 oz
MSRP: $7

M16 3-Prong FH:

FHT2_M16-3Prong
1.15 Lux

FHT2_M16-3Prong1FHT2_M16-3prong2

The M16s that first hit Vietnam were equipped with this 3-prong flash hider of Stoner’s design. Most of the stories I’ve heard claimed that, while the 3-prong reduced muzzle flash better than the A1 and A2, it was being used as a pry tool by soldiers leading to warped barrels, so they 86’d it. I don’t know about the pry tool part, but the assertion that the original M16 3-prong is a better flash hider definitely didn’t pan out in this test. However, it did exchange some of the bright points of light that occur on the ends of the birdcages’ slots for more of the dim flame that comprises the fireball. The result, though, is an overall brightness increase.

Material: steel
Finish: parkerized or black oxide
Length: 1.772″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.866″
Weight: 1.978 oz
MSRP: $7

AAC BRAKEOUT 2.0 Compensator:

FHT2_AAC-Brakeout
23.42 Lux

FHT2_AAC-Brakeout1 FHT2_AAC-Brakeout2

First seen in muzzle device recoil test #1, the BRAKEOUT 2.0 is supposed to combine the best features of a conventional muzzle brake along with excellent flash suppression. Machining is very crisp and precise, and the finish looks great (it’s either a higher gloss nitride or AAC’s “SCARmor”).

AAC says it’s “the best of both worlds in a truly compromise-free design,” and I think it looks great but it wasn’t particularly good at reducing recoil and it’s also a pretty terrible flash hider.

Material: steel
Finish: not stated
Length: 2.677″
Diameter (at largest point): 1.139″
Weight: 4.625 oz
MSRP: $124.99

B.E. Meyers 249F:

FHT2_BE-Meyers1
1.03 Lux

FHT2_BE-MeyersFHT2_BE-Meyers3

The 249F was missing from the first test, and readers definitely let us know about it! This bad boy was highly anticipated and many people thought it was a sure winner. According to B.E. Meyers it won a US Army flash hider mini-evaluation, but in this testing it was very narrowly defeated by our reigning champion, the JP Flash Hider. At any rate, machining and finish are both flawless. This is an extremely high quality piece and one of the most effective flash hiders on the market.

Update: B.E. Meyers determined that JP Rifles had infringed upon aspects of B.E. Meyers’ patent(s) in JP’s design of the JP Flash Hider. JP, in keeping with its good reputation, considered B.E. Meyers’ claims and conceded potential or likely infringement. The JP Flash Hider is no longer available for purchase.

Material: steel
Finish: Melonite
Length: 2.756″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.866″
Weight: 3.58 oz
MSRP: $92.95

Delta P Design BREVIS II 5.56:

FHT2_BREVIS-II-556
1.11 Lux

DSC03808 DSC03810

Last month we went hands-on with the BREVIS II line of 3D-printed suppressors and, despite their insanely compact size, they seemed to hide flash extremely well. As Sharp Shooting has its FFL07 and SOT, Delta P was able to send up a BREVIS II for inclusion in this test. I bet they’re happy they did so, as it performed admirably while also being by far the most pleasant muzzle device to shoot in the indoor range. At only ~twice the length of an A2 birdcage, its noise (134-135 dB on 16″ bbl), blast, and flash suppression performance is amazing.

Material: DMLS Inconel (also available in “Ultra,” which is Ti with an Inconel blast baffle)
Finish: High temp ceramic
Length: 3.7″
Diameter (at largest point): 2.0″
Weight: 11.5 oz (Ultra is 6.6 oz)
MSRP: $1,386 (Ultra is $1,491)

Franklin Armory Triumvir:

FHT2_Franklin-Triumvir
1.10 Lux

FHT2_Franklin-Triumvir1 FHT2_Franklin-Triumvir2

Considering the short length of its “venturi cuts,” the Triumvir surprised me with its solid performance. One of the three cuts is longer than the others and is to be timed upwards. This vents gas upwards first, which lessens dust signature and provides a compensating effect to combat muzzle rise. Machining is super clean, and this heat treat finish is pretty spiffy.

Material: 17-4 steel
Finish: heat treat or salt bath nitride
Length: 2.26″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.906″
Weight: 3.704 oz
MSRP: $124.99

Griffin Armament M4SD Hammer Comp:

1.59 Lux
1.59 Lux

FHT2_Griffin-Hammer-Comp1 FHT2_Griffin-Hammer-Comp2

The Hammer Comp is designed as a QD mount and sacrificial blast baffle for Griffin’s M4SD suppressor line. On its own, it’s made to reduce recoil and provide muzzle rise compensation, but flash suppression isn’t one of its listed features. However, compared to many brakes and comps it isn’t very flashy at all. Machining and finish are great, and it offers a compact, A2-like external design.

Material: 17-4PH stainless steel
Finish: black oxide
Length: 1.772″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.866″
Weight: 2.269 oz
MSRP: $94.95

Griffin Armament Taper Mount Flash Suppressor:

FHT2_Griffin-Stealth
1.06 Lux

FHT2_Griffin-Stealth1 FHT2_Griffin-Stealth2

Crisp machining with no tool marks, and a perfectly even finish. This 3-prong device is a highly effective flash hider that works as an interface for taper mount compatible suppressors, and comes with a knurled thread and taper area protector for when it doesn’t have a suppressor attached.

Material: 17-4PH stainless steel
Finish: Melonite QPQ
Length: 2.677″
Diameter (at largest point): 1.071″ (without thread protector. With it on it’s 1.181″)
Weight: 4.198 oz (without thread protector, which adds 0.843 oz)
MSRP: $99.95

Houlding Precision Firearms HPF-15 Curse Muzzle Brake:

FHT2_HPF-Curse
1.86 Lux

FHT2_HPF-Curse1 FHT2_HPF-Curse2

Designed to be a good all-around brake and comp, the Curse is a dual-chamber brake with a bunch of relatively small slots instead of full-on, open ports. This keeps blast and concussion to a minimum, while reducing recoil, keeping the muzzle stable, and reducing flash signature (vs. bare muzzle) as well. Machining shows a couple of nicks and slightly rough edges. Finish is an even, matte black.

Material: 1144 stressproof steel
Finish: melonite
Length: 2.95″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.975″
Weight: 4.75 oz
MSRP: $124.95

JP Enterprises Flash Hider:

FHT2_JP-FH
1.01 Lux

FHT2_JP-FH1FHT2_JP-FH2FH-JP2JP-Enterprises-FH-Large

Update: B.E. Meyers determined that JP Rifles had infringed upon aspects of B.E. Meyers’ patent(s) in JP’s design of the JP Flash Hider. JP, in keeping with its good reputation, considered B.E. Meyers’ claims and conceded potential or likely infringement. The JP Flash Hider is no longer available for purchase.

At first glance JP’s Flash Hider is a fairly standard, 3-prong job, although a tad longer than the norm. Look closer and you’ll notice the serrations on the inside of each prong. Apparently they’re effective, as this was the least-flashy unit in yet another test, with the also-internally-serrated B.E. Meyers 249F coming in a close second. The base of the JP actually overlaps the barrel by about 1/2″ for easier pinning and welding, so the length stat below slightly exaggerates the effective “installed length.”

I see no imperfections in the machining, and the finish is entirely even. It ships in a standard JP clamshell package complete with ear plugs, crush washer, pin for permanent attachment, and install instructions. The JPFH-556 is also under $60, which is below average for MSRPs in this test.

Material: steel
Finish: magnesium phosphate
Length: 3.125″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.875″
Weight: 3.75 oz
MSRP: $59.95

Precision Armament AFAB-556:

FHT2_PA-AFAB2
1.21 Lux

PA_AFAB1 PA_AFAB2 PA_AFAB3

Previously seen in Muzzle Brake Shootout #2, the new AFAB — that’s Advanced Flash Arresting Brake — takes the old design to a slightly more extreme level, with deeper grooves and a baffle pattern inside the bore. It kind of reminds me of a Graboid (not an insult).

For a hybrid compensator design that mitigates recoil as well as muzzle movement in other directions, all with a bare minimum of blast and concussion, the AFAB manages to turn in decent results as a flash hider as well. It has been my go-to muzzle device since installing it in place of the old AFAB, which was my previous go-to. I like the size, looks, control, low concussion, and quality.

Machining is as good as it gets, and the Ionbond finish is very nice.

Material: HTSR 416 stainless steel
Finish: Ionbond CrCN
Length: 2.23″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.866″
Weight: 3 oz
MSRP: $109.95

Precision Armament M4-72:

FHT2_PA-M4-72
2.47 Lux

FHT2_PA-M4-72-1 FHT2_PA-M4-72-3DSC01578

I got a lot of requests to include the M4-72 in this flash hiding test, as it handily won both muzzle brake (recoil reduction) tests and people have been curious how bad it is for fire and flash. In fact, there were many requests to include some brakes, comps, and other “combination” devices in this test.

Anyway, it’s actually pretty tame for a straight-up brake. Especially for one that has so far proven to reduce recoil more than possibly anything else on the market. The muzzle just doesn’t move with this thing on it. Like the other muzzle devices from Precision Armament that I’ve tested and used, the machining and finish are top notch (keep in mind it’s been removed and reinstalled a dozen times and has seen hundreds of rounds prior to these photos).

Material: HTSR 416 stainless steel
Finish: Ionbond CrCN or bead blast
Length: 2.25″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.875″
Weight: 2.55 oz
MSRP: $89.99

Primary Weapons Systems Triad 556:

FHT2_PWS-Triad
1.10 Lux

FHT2_PWS-Triad1 FHT2_PWS-Triad2

One of the three cuts on the Triad is longer than the others, which provides muzzle movement compensation by venting gas and pressure out of this groove first. With the logo at 12:00, compensation is designed for a right-handed shooter in that it combats muzzle rise as well as rightwards motion. Timing that longer groove differently will adjust compensation direction. With such an open internal design and pretty short prongs, it killed flash a lot better than I thought it would.

Machining is perfect, although the slightly pebbled texture finish — which I like a lot, for the record, and looks great — would cover up any minor imperfections anyway.

Material: steel
Finish: not specified
Length: 2.205″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.866″
Weight: 2.546 oz
MSRP: $69.95

Strike Industries King Comp:

FHT2_Strike-Ind-King-Comp
2.01 Lux

FHT2_Strike-Ind-King1 FHT2_Strike-Ind-King2

The King Comp is fairly new to the market from Strike Industries, and it’s a pretty cool looking brake. Nick got some great photos of a brake from Dead Air Armament that uses forward-angled ports at the rear to “blow out” flash and fire that would otherwise plume outwards from the brake’s chambers, and the King Comp has the same feature, although marketed in this case as a means of reducing side concussion. It just might work to blow out flame as well, though, since this thing is nowhere near as flashy as it could be. The effect of those jets is clearly visible in how the flames curve forwards in the above photo.

Machining and finish are quite good. Better than some of the less expensive SI products and probably nicer than I’d expect at this price point.

Material: heavy duty steel
Finish: parkerized
Length: 2.61″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.97″
Weight: 3.875 oz
MSRP: $44.95

SureFire 3P Eliminator 556:

FHT2_SureFire-3P
1.07 Lux

FHT2_SureFire-3P1 FHT2_SureFire-3P2

Sure, I might chuckle at an “it’s a flashlight company” joke every now and again, but SureFire makes high quality products. The 3P Eliminator is no exception, with a solid build, precise machining, and a really good looking melonite finish. It also works. Well. And at a reasonable price. Performance of this version, which doesn’t act as a fast-attach SureFire suppressor mount, is supposed to be identical to the versions that do.

Material: heat-treated stainless steel bar stock
Finish: black melonite
Length: 2.689″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.866″
Weight: 3.845 oz
MSRP: $59

SureFire WARCOMP 556:

FHT2_SureFire-Warcomp
1.11 Lux

FHT2_SureFire-Warcomp1 FHT2_SureFire-Warcomp2

SureFire calls the WARCOMP “the world’s most shootable flash hider.” I didn’t test that here, but it’s obvious how the ball-dimpled ports vent gas upwards to combat muzzle rise, and they do so while hardly creating any upwards flash whatsoever. The WARCOMP also serves as a mount for SureFire’s SOCOM fast-attach suppressors.

Like all of the other SureFire muzzle devices I’ve had through here, the machining and finish are perfect.

Material: heat-treated stainless steel bar stock
Finish: Ionbond DLC
Length: 2.736″
Diameter (at largest point): 1.0″
Weight: 3.845 oz
MSRP: $149

Tactical Advantage Armory FH-23 Titanium Flash Hider:

FHT2_TAA-Ti-FH
1.47 Lux

TAAFHT2_TAA-Ti-FH1FHT2_TAA-Ti-FH2

Bead blasted titanium always seems to throw off a lot of sparks, but I was hoping it would stop after a break-in. This flash hider now has over 400 rounds through it and, as you can see above, it’s still good for a mini fireworks show. A bit dazzling, but not actually all that bright in terms of Lux. And certainly way less than when it was brand new:

FH-TAA-Ti1

The FH-23 is also available Cerakoted in various colors, and that would completely prevent the light show right off the bat. Minus the sparks, it looks like it would be approximately on par with an A2 birdcage.

It’s a sharp-looking muzzle device that’s machined with excellent precision, and it’s incredibly lightweight.

Material: Grade 5 Titanium
Finish: satin (also available in various Cerakote finishes)
Length: 2.06″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.94″
Weight: 1.153 oz
MSRP: $115.99

Thunder Beast Arms CB Series Flash Hider:

FHT2_Thunder-Beast-CB
1.11 Lux

FHT2_Thunder-Beast-CB1 FHT2_Thunder-Beast-CB3

The “helical multi-axis” prong design looks pretty dang cool, especially from the business end, and sure seems to work even with the prongs’ short length. Thunder Beast says this is a “no ringing” design and, indeed, it’s one of the only pronged flash hiders I’ve ever shot that didn’t audibly ring like a tuning fork. At least not noticeably so. It’s available in .223 and .30 cal, and acts as a mount for Thunder Beast’s CB series sound suppressors.

Quality is top notch.

Material: steel
Finish: Ionbond DLC
Length: 2.323″
Diameter (at largest point): 1.063″
Weight: 3.702 oz
MSRP: $125

Thunder Technologies 5.56 Heartbrake:

FHT2_Thunder-Tech-Heartbrake
1.60 Lux

FHT2_Thunder-Tech-Heartbrake1 FHT2_Thunder-Tech-Heartbrake2

The Heartbrake appeared in muzzle brake test #2, and I was amazed by the recoil reduction performance from this ‘sideways heart’ port shape, which also seemed to have the benefit of mixing gasses up and reducing flash. At least flash was very minimal in the daylight shooting video, so I threw it into the mix here and it didn’t disappoint. Pretty darn minimal flash for a dedicated brake.

Machining is good, parkerized finish is standard.

Material: stainless steel
Finish: black (also available in satin stainless)
Length: 2.2″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.877″
Weight: 2.64 oz
MSRP: $54.99

VooDoo Innovations Manimal A2 Extended Flash Hider:

FHT2_Voodoo-Manimal
1.12 Lux

FHT2_Voodoo-Manimal1 FHT2_Voodoo-Manimal2

Take an A2 birdcage and stretch it out until it’s long enough to bring a 14.5″ barrel up to 16″, and the result is VooDoo’s Manimal. Flash hiding performance is almost identical to the A2, although I suspect it compensates for muzzle rise just slightly more. Machining is better than your typical A2, and VooDoo’s LifeCoat finish is much nicer than your standard parkerizing or black oxide.

This would be a great choice for someone wanting the traditional A2 look but also needing to bring a 14.5″ barrel up to legal length by pinning and welding on a sufficiently-long muzzle device. Additionally, VDI points out that the outer diameter of the Manimal is small enough that a standard 0.750″ gas block can slide right over it. An important note, as pinning and welding one’s muzzle device on often has the unintended or unrealized consequence of preventing gas block replacement without a bunch of extra labor.

Material: steel
Finish: LifeCoat process
Length: 2.008″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.748″
Weight: 1.477 oz
MSRP: $53.72

WEAPONTECH PUNISHER-556 Compensator/Flash Hider:

FHT2_Weapontech-Punisher
1.55 Lux

FHT2_Weapontech-Punisher1 FHT2_Weapontech-Punisher2

The Punisher Comp is billed as a hybrid brake/comp and flash hider, and from what I can tell so far it succeeds on all counts. I’ve had this mounted on my AR-15 as well as on my Tavor, and it feels highly effective at reducing recoil and resulted in a pretty dang rock-steady muzzle. It will be in muzzle brake test #3, which should be publishing in January. On the flash suppression front, it doesn’t beat out the A2 but it will beat out most brakes and comps. Additionally, much of the brightness is relatively shielded from downrange view.

Machining is really excellent and I always like a melonite finish. By fluting the prongs and then effectively crowning the muzzle, WEAPONTECH has also created glass breaker tips that look like a natural part of the design. For more on the design features, Primary Arms (WEAPONTECH partner) put out this video.

Material: 4140 steel
Finish: melonite
Length: 2.36″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.866″
Weight: 2.983 oz
MSRP: $99 (more like $60 from Primary Arms)

WEAPONTECH STARS-556-CMD:

FHT2_Weapontech-STARS
1.11 Lux

FHT2_Weapontech-STARS1 FHT2_Weapontech-STARS2

The STARS is similar to the PUNISHER, but without the brake ports and with longer flash-hiding prongs. It also compensates for muzzle rise through the use of top-side cuts (gap between prongs) that are longer than the bottom-side cuts, meaning more gas and pressure vents upwards than downards. This also reduces dust signature. Like the PUNISHER, the prongs are fluted and the muzzle is crowned, resulting in a glass break. The STARS is supposed to be less concussive and more pleasant to shoot without ear protection than an A2, which is important for military and police.

Although it did outperform the M16 3-prong, A1, and A2 in this test, I feel like I probably cost it a couple/few points as it clearly shot a jet of fire out of the pre-drilled pin-and-weld hole on bottom, which makes me think I didn’t tighten it down enough. At any rate, like the PUNISHER I didn’t see any machining mistakes or unsightly tool marks at all, and the melonite finish is great.

Material: 4140 steel
Finish: melonite
Length: 2.291″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.866″
Weight: 3.192 oz
MSRP: $99 (more like $60 from Primary Arms)

White Sound Defense FOSSA-556:

FHT2_White-Sound-FOSSA
1.05 Lux

FHT2_White-Sound-FOSSA1 FHT2_White-Sound-FOSSA2

I think this is one of the coolest devices in the test, and am excited to see what it does in the next muzzle brake recoil test. You see, it isn’t only a dedicated flash hider, but is supposed to function as a compensator and at least a little bit as a recoil-reducing brake as well. The widest of the three prongs gets timed at bottom, resulting in more gas and pressure venting upwards to combat muzzle rise and to reduce dust signature. To provide recoil reduction, the prongs actually taper inwards — they get thicker and restrict the bore diameter — towards the muzzle. This provides some of the effect of a blast baffle to create a brake-like forwards force, but without any increase in concussion.

Again, I have to admit that it’s possible this thing would have performed better if I did my job better. I didn’t notice it was coated with machine oil, and some of the flash could have been a one-time thing from the oil burning off. Or maybe it actually helped (unlikely). I’ll definitely test this guy again in the future. Keep in mind, if you’re comparing this photo to the JP and B.E., that the camera is looking right at a prong instead of a slot. The photo doesn’t show the goings-on inside of it like it does the other two, but the Lux meter was able to see down into there.

Slight tool marks are only visible on the insides of the prongs, but that tiny bit of texture may actually help reduce flash. The black oxide coating is nothing to write home about, and is offered for those who want mil-spec. A nicer, aluminum titanium nitride finish is also available.

Material: 17-4PH stainless steel
Finish: black oxide or AlTiN
Length: 2.205″
Diameter (at largest point): 0.866″
Weight: 3.094 oz
MSRP: $99 ($109 in AlTiN)

Final Thoughts

Truth be told, without high ISO and the light from three shots being captured in each photo, the naked eye performance of the top four or more flash hiders in this test is indistinguishable. Even right up close. Heck, even with all that it’s pretty much indistinguishable in the photos and I’d probably call a 3-way tie without the added input of the Lux meter.

Furthermore, the A2 is a good flash hider, and anything in its ballpark is as well. My arbitrary threshold here for what I’d consider combat-sufficient flash hiding would probably be up to and including the AFAB or maybe a tad flashier. It looks more like the following photo in real life, and from the shooter’s perspective or (presumably) the downrange perspective it’s pretty much flash-free.

FHT2_PA-AFAB1

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52 Responses to AR-15 Flash Hiding Test #2

    • They told me they’re going to send a cerakoted one for the next test. That’s like 99.9% guaranteed to get rid of all of the sparks related to it being titanium. Just guessing from the photo, I think sans sparks it would come in right at A2 performance level. …which brings up a topic of slight debate, actually, as some people only consider a muzzle device to be a “flash hider” or “flash suppressor” if it performs better in this task than the A2 Birdcage, but some people would call anything that suppresses flash as compared to a bare muzzle to be a “flash hider / suppressor.” I’m mostly in the bare muzzle camp. IMHO if it has less flash than a bare muzzle then it’s suppressing flash. Even though the A2 is a standard of sorts, it’s still an add-on muzzle device.

  1. I have the “birdcage” which comes on the Ruger 10/22 and/or MkIII on my Tavor because I like the way it looks. I’d be interested to know how it performs compared to these others… unless it is inherently unsafe using a .22LR hider on a 5.56/.223 rifle of course. I mean, I haven’t died yet from using it so I assume it is OK.

    Dyspeptic Gunsmith (or anyone else), am I in for an unhappy trip FROM the range some time?

    • The .22 LR ones are usually made of aluminum and won’t hold up to use on .223/5.56. Depending on design they could shatter during use or the good outcome would be that they just slowly erode away on the inside. If it’s actually steel then it’s probably fine.

  2. Didn’t the last test have a Fh that actually INCREASED the lumens? It was lime 20,000 or some bs,how do you increase lumens compared to the bare muzzle

    • Yes, it was the DoubleStar Dragon. One hell of a fireball from that thing! I wasn’t expecting it, and it blinded me pretty good. With the bare muzzle and some of the others, I closed my eyes for the shots since I knew they’d be flashy and my vision was adjusted to the really dark room already. Since that thing said “flash hider” on the packaging I didn’t think much of it and it was quite the surprise haha

  3. So you tested a discontinued AAC original Brakeout and not the currently available Brakeout 2.0 which is purported to have better flash hiding capabilities than the original? Reasoning behind that?

  4. Update: B.E. Meyers determined that JP Rifles had infringed upon aspects of B.E. Meyers’ patent(s) in JP’s design of the JP Flash Hider. JP, in keeping with its good reputation, considered B.E. Meyers’ claims and conceded potential or likely infringement. The JP Flash Hider is no longer available for purchase.

  5. I’m a bit disappointed you didn’t screw in your sausage and bacon stuffed and wrapped maple bar onto the end of your barrel.

    In the Army when outside of the FOB, if we found ourselves surrounded by extremist terrorists and we have no air support due to weather, and no armor for backup, we would often put our sausage and bacon filled Maple bars on the end of our barrels.

    Almost always, the enemy would retreat and run away, often dropping their weapons if they knew we were using pork projectiles.

    On a more serious note, I did enjoy this review. It’s no easy task to capture muzzle blasts on film using non high speed camera’s. Kudos on doing so.

  6. @ Jeremy S. In regard to ,”In the first shootout, the ambient brightness reading was 0.25 Lux. This time around, it was higher at 0.95 Lux. I believe this is because I chose to aim the light meter more towards the business end of the rifle and less at the side of it, in order to get closer to a straight-on reading and allow the light meter to “see” down into the muzzle device. After all, those who are worried about flash signature are worried about enemies downrange seeing it from a basically head-on perspective.”

    If your above statement is correct, then the first shootout is now useless and we are unable to accurately compare flash hiders from both reviews.

    Are you going to do another review all of the flash hiders from the old review with the new method?

  7. @ Jeremy S. In regard to, “^^^ note that bare muzzle and AAC Brakeout are missing from the graph above. As you’ll see in the chart below, they were so bright that including them would have destroyed the scale of the graph.”

    The AAC Blackout was ranked SECOND PLACE in your “AR-15 Flash Hiding Test #1” test. You, having noticed this, should have realized that your testing methods were faulty.

    http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2015/06/jeremy-s/ar-15-flash-hider-shootout/

    Again, the first test needs to repeated with the same light meter angles as the second.

    • AAC’s Blackout and AAC’s Brakeout are different muzzle devices.

      We’re interested in how much brightness is added above ambient. It would be nice if ambient had stayed the same so the results from the first test could be compared more directly to those of the second test, but the results of both tests are absolutely valid regardless. Comparing the performance of a muzzle device in this test against a muzzle device in the first test isn’t clean because of that change in ambient, but it’s still possible by looking at it in terms of lux above ambient or by using devices that appeared in both tests as “controls” against which to measure. Plus I’m pretty sure plenty of people don’t care about the data anyway and go with the photos instead, which is a big reason why they’re there.

  8. Jeremy S,
    First and foremost, I have really enjoyed your very thorough and concise reviews, I have learned quite a lot from them so thank you. Second; if you will…..can you give me your take on if you had to chose one muzzle device that best combined all three aspects….Flash hiding, Recoil, and Jump control for a 16″ 1 in 7 twist barrel what would chose?

    • Well it’s a very personal decision as everybody will weigh all of the things you mentioned differently… plus aesthetics and price and maybe size, weight, quality, etc. All of the muzzle devices balance these things differently. I have some reservations about voicing my choice here because it’s pretty subjective. But…

      I typically run the Precision Armament AFAB. I think it’s the best balance of everything. I fully admit that even though the EFAB apparently slightly edges it out in both recoil and flash reduction, I continue to go with the AFAB because I like its looks more. On a precision rifle that I’m shooting pretty much exclusively off a bipod, I’ll go with a dedicated brake instead. I’ve run the Precision Armament M4-72 quite a bit for this use (and general use, sure) since it won both 5.56 recoil reduction tests (and the .308 recoil reduction test) but I’ve also run some others when I wanted a more traditional, more subdued brake look, including the Precision Firearms LMD. Really, the only one I’ve stuck with long-term and go to first for an all-around rifle is the AFAB.

      …unless a suppressor is on the table. I’d take that over anything.

  9. How does the VG6 Epsilon 556 compare to the AFAB as per lux and recoil in inches? Looking for the lowest lux with best break feature.

    • Epsilon has quite a bit more flash, fire, and brightness but reduces recoil more than the AFAB does. The Epsilon also has more blast/concussion since it has two open ports with blast baffles while the AFAB is more of a compensator with a bunch of small vents.

  10. Your test shows jp enterprises flash hider as the best, so I went to their website and it is available, diffrent than the one tested?

    • They had to change it. The following text is up in the article in a few places to explain why:

      Update: B.E. Meyers determined that JP Rifles had infringed upon aspects of B.E. Meyers’ patent(s) in JP’s design of the JP Flash Hider. JP, in keeping with its good reputation, considered B.E. Meyers’ claims and conceded potential or likely infringement. The JP Flash Hider is no longer available for purchase.

      • Are you familiar with the changes or how they affect performance? If it’s still a good product the price point is great.

  11. Have you had the chance to test the White Sound Defense FOSSA-556 for recoil yet; and if not an official sled test, just by feel how did it feel? I’m shopping right now to finish out a build and I’m torn between the punisher and the whitesound for a multi-purpose comp/brake/flash suppressor

  12. Any chance on getting both of SilencerCo Specwar Trifecta Flash hider and muzzle brake tested?

  13. I just wanted to thank you for conducting these flash hider and muzzle brake tests. I was really on the fence on what muzzle device to put on my X95, and was having a tough time deciding between flash suppression and recoil mitigation. I ended up going with the Precision Armament AFAB-556 because your tests have shown that it really has no down sides. Sure there are better dedicated flash hiders, as well as better dedicated muzzle brakes, but it doesn’t seem like anything else on the market comes close to being as good at both as the AFAB (aside from the EFAB, which PA says is best on barrels shorter than 16″).

  14. Thanks for all your hard work. Great creativity in figuring out how to measure these things.

    Cheers.

  15. I would love to see how the best flash hiders compare to the comps for recoil reduction. Also, would there be a way to test the concussion/noise? I think it would be awesome to have all the muzzle devises in a table that you could compare, flash, recoil, and concussion.

    • Basically all of the flash hiders do zero for reducing recoil and perform within a few percent of a bare muzzle. I’ve left them out of the recoil tests at this point for that reason, unless there’s something in the design specifically for reducing recoil. However, there’s definitely a lot of interest in how much flash the brakes and comps have, so that’s why they’re in the FH test.

      I don’t have a way to test volume or concussion. I think concussion would be more interesting, as all muzzle devices other than suppressors are way above the hearing safe threshold anyway so you’re going to be wearing ear pro regardless. I’d like to find something like an overpressure sensor that can measure the concussion’s pressure spike, but I’ve yet to see anything like that on the commercial market.

      • I feel the opposite. A sound test would be enormously helpful for those of us using an AR-15 for home defense. Given that:

        1) A “bad shoot” with a can attached means huge federal mandatory sentences attached for the use of an NFA device in a crime of violence (unless the Hearing Protection Act passes and removes silencers from being considered NFA items), meaning that having a silencer on a home defense weapon is a huge risk if the prosecutor decides to press charges; even a state crime pinned on the homeowner could tie in federal prison with it–and we have seen how even in relatively gun/defense-friendly states a high-profile case can find a prosecution searching for anything they can possibly use to imprison the person who defended themselves.
        2) There may be no time for hearing protection to be donned in a home defense situation. Nor might other family members living in the residence have the opportunity to don any.
        3) Decibel ratings are logarithmic, meaning that small increases in the decibel rating actually reflect large increases in the total sound (for example: an increase of a mere 3 decibels DOUBLES the level of sound; an increase of 10 decibels multiplies the sound level by 10 times).
        4) Shotguns and pistols are also extremely loud. (Just to burst the bubble of anyone ready to chime in with “don’t use an AR!”) Using them isn’t necessarily any better, and any improvement will depend on specific models.

        Finding which muzzle devices are even slightly quieter than others, particularly in an indoor environment, would be of ENORMOUS help in protecting the hearing of firearms owners. While there is an obvious correlation seen from Vuurwapen’s tests between flash hiding ability and sound levels, a more thorough test with an eye toward sound levels specifically would be a real boon.

        • The “don’t use an AR” crowd has a good point. In fact, it’s your point #3. If you’re so concerned about “which muzzle devices are even slightly quieter than others” than why reject looking to a firearm that may be significantly quieter than an AR?

          Anyway, the answer is a linear compensator. Those beat out any FH or brake or comp on the market by a wide margin when it comes to dB to the side of the muzzle (mil-spec test) or at the shooter’s ear. By a lot.

          And don’t get me wrong, I’d definitely throw in dB measurement — why not? — but to do it properly you’re looking at like $3,000 in equipment and that ain’t in the budget.

          18 U.S.C. § 924(c) says committing a violent crime with a semi-auto ‘assault weapon’ nets you a mandatory 10 spot, btw. You don’t have to delve into the NFA in order to find yourself in the realm of extended, federal, mandatory minimum sentences. Maybe you should reconsider that shotgun instead of an AR? The longer the barrel, the quieter they are, too. But if somebody has forcibly broken into my home and is posing a physical threat, I’m not worried about being prosecuted or even charged. Even if I use my suppressed SBR. Which I almost certainly would.

          …btw shoot subsonic .300 BLK or 9mm (or .45), especially through a linear comp, and you can end up well under 150 dB at the ear and maybe even tickling up on 140 dB “hearing safe” threshold if the barrel is somewhat long. I’d be willing to bet a dollar that 147 grain 9mm Federal HST going through a 20″ barrel, ideally with a linear comp or similar device, would mil-spec meter as confidently hearing safe.

        • As far as shotguns and pistols are concerned, the data I was able to find on them suggests they often reach up to at least A2 birdcage levels of sound. Not enough volume of data nor precise enough data in my hands though to really stake down how they compare. Not to argue against your core point, because yes, if they are a bit quieter that is a strong point in their favor.

          I’d considered linear compensators in the past, just never found any data on their effectiveness nor have had a chance to test one firsthand. I’ll take your word on it and see about getting my hands on one–namely because I would really like to see how they and flash hiders stack up when shot indoors with that sound reflecting off the walls. But for now my budget also does not include being able to drop $3k on audio testing equipment.

          Thanks for pointing out 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). Definitely food for thought. Shotguns have a lot of limitations that I don’t like and I feel a sporter rifle outclasses them in nearly every way that counts, but they’re by no means a terrible option. For what it’s worth I do agree with you as far as immediate survival necessarily being far and away the higher priority over legal concerns–but most of us don’t keep and carry guns because of what will most commonly happen, we worry about the edge cases.

          One more thing: I haven’t yet mentioned my appreciation for the test data. Let me rectify that: sound or no sound, the data you compiled in your series of tests is exceedingly helpful and much appreciated. Thank you for running the tests and preparing the results for public consumption, I and others I know have used it already in purchase decisions.

  16. With all four tests done, could you narrow down a few of your “do all” devices? Obviously they won’t be the best at flash reduction or recoil management, but out of everything tested, which would you think does both decently? From what I read, I’m thinking it’s between the J comp and the SF war comp. Accurate?

      • I’m a little hesitant to do that because other than obviously weighing in with my impressions of machining and finish quality I’d like to stay objective and let the data speak for itself. Plus aesthetics is so important to people when it comes to muzzle devices and that’s completely subjective. And I may weigh the importance of recoil reduction or flash hiding or low concussion or looks or price or size or downwards force on the muzzle differently from both of you so my “best all-around” might favor flash hiding while yours should be favoring recoil reduction or whatever else instead.

        I certainly think the J-Comp is up way high on the awesome all-around device list, though, especially considering the super low price point. There’s a J-Comp 2.0 out now as well (http://www.strikeindustries.com/shop/index.php/strike-industries-jcomp-2-0.html), which I haven’t gotten my hands on but has more modern/aggressive looks (while I believe, functionally, the only change is more gas venting out the top to push the muzzle down a bit). I’ve been personally running the Precision Armament AFAB as my choice of all-around muzzle device as I like its balance of performance aspects with pretty low concussion/blast plus I like its looks a lot.

        There’s no right or wrong choice, though, as it’s very personal or subjective, really.

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