What Does A Compensator Do On A Gun?

If you’re new to gun ownership or want to learn more about gun accessories and attachments, you may wonder what a compensator is and whether you need one.

A compensator is one of many attachments you can add to your gun to improve its performance and your enjoyment but what exactly does it do?

What Does A Compensator Do On A Gun (1)

In this article, we will look at what a compensator does, how it works, and whether you need one.

What Is A Compensator?

A compensator attaches to the end of your gun barrel. They can differ slightly in design, but they all have a number of holes or vents in the sides and are usually a few inches in length.

A compensator can reduce muzzle rise, which is the tendency for a gun to move upwards when a shot is fired.

A compensator can reduce this effect and help with the accuracy of any follow-up shots. They can also dampen recoil and can reduce this by up to 50 percent.

Reducing recoil and muzzle rise is especially handy if you have a powerful gun or are struggling with arm or shoulder injuries.

How Does A Compensator Work?

When a gun fires a bullet, it produces a large amount of energy, pressure, and gas. This is what propels the bullet out of the chamber at high speeds.

As this gas rushes out of the barrel, it creates an equal force in the opposite direction and this is what causes recoil to be as fierce as it is.

The more powerful your gun and the more powder it uses, the more recoil you will have.

A compensator acts to reduce this recoil by diverting some of the gas. The compensator has a number of holes or vents that direct the gas into baffling and expansion chambers.

This slows and cools the gas down. These vents then divert the gas upwards, causing an equal and opposite force to be applied downwards and onto the gun.

This downwards force prevents the gun from rising and reduces the muzzle rise that occurs after a gunshot.

What Is The Difference Between A Compensator And A Muzzle Brake?

This is a common question because in many cases, the words are used interchangeably.

You may even meet people who will tell you that a compensator and muzzle break are exactly the same.

The reason for the confusion is because they both serve a similar purpose of reducing the movement of a gun after it is fired.

Both attachments do this in the same way also, by deflecting the gas produced when a shot is fired.

Their difference is in how they deflect the gas. A compensator directs gas upwards to reduce muzzle rise. A muzzle brake directs gases to the sides or rear of the gun to reduce the recoil that way.

As you can see, they serve roughly the same purpose and achieve their goals in very similar ways. This has led to many people using the terms interchangeably, although this is technically incorrect.

Does A Compensator Silence A Gun?

It is not possible to completely silence a gun. Even attachments made specifically for this purpose can’t actually silence a gunshot and simply reduce the noise.

The silencers or suppressors that you see used in Hollywood movies are not realistic. 

The real question should be, does a compensator reduce the noise level of a gunshot? The answer to this is also no.

In fact, in some cases, a compensator can make the gun sound louder as it is the release of gas that makes a gunshot so noisy.

Without a compensator, all of the gas rushes out of the barrel of the gun and in the opposite direction from the shooter.

With a compensator, some of the gas is directed upwards instead, so the gunshot can sound louder to the person holding the gun.

If you want to reduce the noise, you should choose a suppressor. It is possible to attach both a suppressor and a compensator to your gun if you want to reduce both noise and muzzle rise.

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Does A Compensator Affect Accuracy?

Muzzle rise occurs after the bullet has already left your gun, so reducing muzzle rise will have no effect on your accuracy. However, it can help if you are firing a series of rapid shots.

As your gun won’t rise as much after every individual shot, you can more easily fire a series of shots at the same target and accuracy without as much need for correction.

The reduction of recoil might also help improve your accuracy and prevent your arms from tiring as quickly.

When you first start firing with a compensator, you will need to see how it affects your barrel and your aim.

Adding extra weight to your gun can change the way it fires and your own aim, especially if you are used to your gun and experienced at firing it without any attachments.

Do I Need A Compensator?

Ultimately, this is a decision that you will need to make for yourself. Compensators have both advantages and disadvantages and you will need to consider both before deciding whether you should buy one.

For many, the reduction in muzzle rise and recoil makes a compensator worth the purchase.

They can make firing a gun easier and more enjoyable for those that struggle with the force of their gun recoil and find themselves flinching or tiring easily.

However, for others, compensators add unnecessary weight and length to the gun. Compensators can be expensive and may require a professional to fit them to a gun safely, also. 

Final Thoughts

A compensator is an attachment added to a gun to reduce recoil and muzzle rise.

It works by diverting some of the gas produced by a gunshot upwards, causing an opposite force to act on the gun and prevent it from rising.

Compensators can improve your enjoyment of your gun but aren’t an essential purchase.

Matthew Osborn

Matt is an entrepreneur who has created and successfully exited multiple companies and brands. Now, he dedicates his time to Legionary, where he produces content on guns, family, and freedom.

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