What is a flash hider, flash suppressor—whatever you prefer to call it?
For simplicity, a flash suppressor, which is one type of muzzle device, suppresses the flash. And if you have a really good one, it hides the flash really, really well. Unfortunately, muzzle devices, in general, get people confused.
There are a few options on the market, compensators, muzzle brakes, and of course, what we’re covering today, the flash suppressor.
Not only are these three different devices, but you can also find hybrid versions. If you don’t know what you’re looking at, it can be easy to confuse them. What’s worse, many people are sitting behind gun counters and writing up product descriptions as third-party sellers, and they, too, are getting it wrong.
All this confusion is why I’ve decided to put a couple of different articles together, so you can know what you’re looking at and how they work. So, let’s dive in, what’s a flash suppressor, how does it work, and what are the benefits of having one on your muzzle?
What is a Flash Suppressor?
Unlike the other muzzle devices, which you can read about in my blog: Muzzle Devices | Compensators vs. Muzzle Brakes, a flash suppressor has these small slits all the way around the device. Of course, depending on what brand you go with, these slits can look more like round holes. The big thing that matters on this one is that those holes are evenly spaced and all the way around the device. If you see those evenly spaced slits on the top, but a solid bottom, then you’re looking at a suppressor/compensator hybrid. This means your muzzle device attempts to do two jobs simultaneously (neither very well), compensate for muzzle rise, and suppresses flash.
How does a Flash Suppressor work?
These slots and their equal distance are both important, essential really because they keep the gasses from igniting. Those evenly spaced slots are responsible for dispersing the gas and preventing it from igniting like it normally would without this device mounted on the end.
Hybrid Flash Suppressor
You can get a hybrid that does the job of all three devices—compensating, muzzle braking, and flash suppressing—again, not very well.
Think about it this way. Would you be better at talking on the phone, reading a book, and watching tv all at the same time or better at doing only one of those things at a time? Sure, you can do all three at once; you’re the multitasking king or queen. But, chances are, if you only have one job to focus on, you’ll always do that one job better when that’s all there is because there’s nothing to distract you.
The reason that compensator/muzzle brake/flash suppressors can’t give you good-quality flash suppression is that the gas can’t be evenly dispersed around the entire device. Therefore, some gas will ignite, and you will get a flash.
Why use a Flash Suppressor?
There are two arguments you’ll commonly hear. The first is that a flash suppressor keeps the enemy from knowing where the shots are coming from. While this is true because there are some pretty awesome flash suppressors on the market, it’s not the entire story. One often forgotten point, particularly by those who don’t actually shoot at night, is that it protects the shooter’s eyes. And then there’s a matter of safety.
Using Flash Suppressors in Low-Light Settings
Flash suppressors are most useful at night or in low-light settings. Why? Because the flash at the end of your muzzle is pretty bright. If you’ve never experienced shooting without a flash suppressor at night, even a hybrid version, you should give it a try. Shoot a rifle without a muzzle device, then shoot one with a flash suppressor on it. There’s a noticeable difference! One will leave you blinded for a moment, and the other will let you continue firing with your eyesight intact.
Of course, depending on what kind of suppressor you have, the flash can be partially suppressed or extremely hidden. Watch a few clips on YouTube, and you’ll see the difference. In fact, watch this clip below to get an idea of the different brands and how well they work.
Again, hybrids are an option, but nothing works quite as well as a single-functioning flash suppressor. But both will work better than having nothing at all at the end of your muzzle—without a device that suppresses the flash, even a little; you will absolutely destroy your night vision.
Next, we have safety. It’s no secret that there is someone out there trying to ban something firearm-related with every passing day. Whether it’s to take our guns away completely or ban the devices we can attach to them, someone is making an argument you’re not in favor of.
One reason people fight to get rid of flash suppressors is that they think it somehow makes your rifle more dangerous. For instance, if the enemy can’t see you, neither can the cops. But, here’s the thing, a flash suppressor can actually make firing your weapon safer, especially if you’re using it in the line of work/self-defense.
One of the many safety rules when firing a weapon is not to point your weapon at anything you don’t intend to shoot. And then there’s also the one about knowing what’s behind your target.
If you have no flash suppressor on the end of your muzzle, and you go to fire a round in self-defense, you’ve suddenly lost the capability of seeing what’s behind your target and if the target you’re pointing at is still that same target. Did you miss them, and they ran away? Did he fall to the ground, and now a small child ran out and is standing in your line of fire? You can’t really know if you’re “blinded by the light…” Which only gets worse the later into the evening you get.
Difference Between a Compensator and Flash Suppressor
If you haven’t read my other blog about muzzle devices, here’s a quick recap. Compensators compensate for muzzle rise. They do not hide the flash. You can get a hybrid version, but it’ll never work as well as a single-functioning muzzle device.
Difference Between Muzzle Brake and Flash Suppressor
A muzzle brake helps fight against recoil. A flash suppressor does not. A flash suppressor only suppresses flash, nothing else. Again, this is the case if you have a single-functioning flash suppressor. You can get a hybrid brake/suppressor. But it’ll never be as good as a muzzle device that has one purpose only.
Related Article – Choosing the Best Flash Hider for your AR-15
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