There’s been a resurgence in pistol compensators lately as a few manufacturers such as Faxon Firearms have come out with new pistol compensator options for various handgun models.
We’re always looking for ways to improve our accuracy and give us an edge against the competition (if you’re a competition shooter) or against an assailant if our life is on the line.
The Faxon EXOS Pistol Compensator is one of the best to enter the industry. Granted it’s not the only player in town, its design, ease of installation, and performance have put the competition on its heels.
Before we jump into what makes the Faxon EXOS so great, let’s address some commonly asked questions about pistol compensators.
What Is a Pistol Compensator?
When you shoot a pistol there is an explosion from the primer igniting the gun powder which propels the bullet through a barrel. The result of this explosion is a bunch of hot gas following the bullet as it exits the muzzle.
This controlled explosion is what created the recoil and muzzle rise.
A Pistol Compensator is a muzzle device that’s attached at the end of the pistol barrel. The purpose of the pistol compensator is to take those gases as they exit the muzzle and redirect them in a way that mitigates the recoil and muzzle rise.
How Does a Pistol Compensator Work?
We know that a pistol compensator’s main purpose is reducing muzzle rise and overall recoil. But what does a pistol compensator do and how do they actually work? It’s actually pretty simple.
Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction. The same law applies to pistol compensators.
While muzzle brakes reduce felt recoil by redirecting these gases to the sides they don’t control the rise and fall of the muzzle. Pistol compensators counteract the natural muzzle rise of the firearm by venting these gases up AND to the side.
This omnidirectional venting of the gases mitigates both the muzzle rise and recoil of the compensated pistol. Basically, the baffles/ports of the pistol compensator trap the gasses and redirect them.
However, once you have your pistol compensator installed, it’s absolutely necessary to test fire your pistol at the range to ensure proper functionality and safety. You may find out that you need to tune the pistol in order to compensate for the compensator.
How To Tune a Compensated Pistol
Any pistol modification that reduces recoil has the potential to cause malfunctions, and experiencing a malfunction in a real gunfight can be fatal.
How does reducing recoil affect reliability? In semi-auto pistols such as Glocks, the recoil is what cycles the action causing the spent casing to be ejected and a new round chambered.
Softening recoil with a pistol compensator slows that action. If it gets too slow, the timing of the cyclic action gets screwed up and you increase the chances of malfunctions happening. A way to mitigate that is through the use of recoil springs.
Many shooters recommend running 1,000 rounds through a pistol after making changes to ensure reliability. Nowadays, with the prices and availability of ammunition, that isn’t a realistic approach. To save time and money here are 10 steps to test and tune your compensated pistol.
Find your pistol’s stock recoil spring weight. They typically range from 13 to 20 pounds.
Order 3 recoil springs: one 3 lbs., 4 lbs., and 6 lbs. lighter than the stock OEM spring. If your pistol is a Glock, just get the spring that’s 3 lbs. lighter. If you go any lighter on a Glock pistol, you’ll need to swap out the striker spring for a lighter, longer one.
Use medium and heavy-weight ammo for range testing
With the compensator NOT installed yet, fire one round. Look for the path of the casing as it was ejected; It will probably eject 6-8 ft away.
Fire one round at a time to get a consistent look at the ejection path of the casing. Having a second person with you can help with this step.
Make a note of the distance where the brass lands and the overall path.
Install your pistol compensator.
Repeat the process of shooting your pistol and recording where the spent casings land.
If the casings land less than 6- to 8 feet away, install a lighter recoil spring. Reducing the spring weight by only 1 pound adds 1.5 to 2.0 ft of ejection distance. If you need 3 to 4 more feet of distance, try a spring that’s 2 pounds lighter.
If your lightest recoil spring doesn’t give you the 6 to 8 ft of ejection distance you need, then try heavier ammo.
Constructed of black anodized 6061 Aluminum, the Faxon EXOS Pistol Compensator features a uniquely angled front port single chamber design, enabling the compensator to improve shot-to-shot consistency by reducing muzzle climb and recoil.
The angled port design allows gas to deflect upwards as opposed to only deflecting to the sides, reducing the up and down muzzle movement and improving overall reliability.
The Faxon EXOS Pistol Compensator is designed to fit flush with the slide and has been optimized for Faxon pistol barrels. For all other 3rd party pistol barrels, the barrel should protrude .600" or less for a flush fit.