7 Best Pistol Compensators

Here are the 7 best pistol compensators to reduce muzzle rise. For pistol red dot sight shooters, this is a great addon!

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These are popular choices among Glock, Sig P320, VP9, CZ and other pistol variants

Strike Industries Mass Driver - Best Recoil Reduction

strike industries G4 mass driver glock 19

Caliber: 9mm

Thread Pitch: 1/2X28

Weight: 6.7oz

Length: 35.85mm

This new counter mass compensator (MDC) creates an equal and opposite reaction when the bullet exits the barrel. The best part is that it doesn't require a threaded barrel, and currently available for Glock pistols.

Reduces Muzzle Climb - Compensator acts as a counterbalance to keep front sight as flat as possible to get back on target fast

Easy Install - Legal in all 50 states, swap out the stock guide rod, tighten the comp - You're good to go!

Faster Dot Acquisition - Less muzzle climb means reacquiring the red dot faster > faster follow up shots

No Barrel Attachment - The comp mounts independently of the barrel to eliminate any negative effect of reliable slide cycling (No cycling impact)

Works With Non-Threaded Barrel - No need to purchase aftermarket threaded barrel - Huge savings

Pros

  • Very innovative design, first of its kind
  • Forward counterweight system reduces recoil impulse

Cons

  • No threaded barrel required
  • A bit heavy

Killer Innovations Velocity - Best Barrel Locking

killer innovation g19 velocity comp

Caliber: 9mm

Thread Pitch: 1/2X28

Weight: 1.9 - 2.1oz

Length: 36.8mm

The Velocity Compensator has the best mounting system beyond just applying barrel thread torque.

Never Get Lose - Threaded locking ring holds the comp tight against the barrel to prevent tilt or shift

Flush Fit - The comp shoulders against the Killer Innovation Glock barrel with perfect timing on the threads. No recoil will shake the comp off axis.

Perfect Bore Alignment - Equal air gap eliminates uneven gas expel to ensure bullet accuracy and muzzle climb reduction

No Tools Required - Install without tools. No torque wrench needed. Just tighten the locking ring.

Recommend using 13lb spring to function correctly (Do not use wire spring on G19)

Pros

  • Very light
  • Locking ring prevents compensator tilt

Cons

  • 9mm only for now

Griffin Armament Micro - Best For CCW

griffin armament micro

Caliber: 9mm

Thread Pitch: 1/2X28

Weight: 

Length:

The Griffin Armament Micro works on many 1/2X28 pitch threaded barrels right out of the stock. This means no proprietary barrel is needed, and it runs flawlessly with most stock guns without messing with recoil springs.

No Timing Alignment Required - 3 built in ports without the need to time it perfectly while torquing it down on the barrel

Increases Split Time - Faster follow up shots while maintaining small shot group sizes

Conceal Carry Size - It's the same length as a thread protector, and it's low profile that clears the muzzle through most conceal carry holsters

No Blinding - Muzzle flash doesn't blind the shooter in low light

Easy Install - Use a flat wrench and torque to 8 ft lb to secure the comp

Recommend using 13lb spring to function correctly (Do not use wire spring on G19)

Pros

  • Similar size as a thread protector
  • Very short
  • Fits through most open ended holsters

Cons

  • No timing alignment required

Primary Machine - Best For The Money

primary machine compensator

Caliber: 9mm

Thread Pitch: 1/2X28

Length:

Primary Machine offers tons of compensators for many popular gun models like Glock, CZ, Sig P320 and others.

This design is similar to the KKM Precision, but has more options for other handguns. It performs the same as KKM or ZEV at a great price point. (KKM requires barrel purchase to go with the comp)

Roland Special Look - This particular design closely matches the Roland special setup if you desire

Hostler Compatible - Fits through any open ended holster

No Extruding Screws - Hidden  setscrews on the underside of the compensator

Pros

  • Very simple design

Cons

  • Not compatible with conversion barrels
  • Recoil spring fine tune required
  • Held on by set screws
agency 417 compensator

Caliber: 9mm

Thread Pitch: 1/2X28

Length:

This is a two chamber design with 2 vertical gas ports and 2 side venting ports. What's special among other is that the front iron sight can be mounted on the comp instead of the slide for slightly longer sight radius.

For Glocks - Works for Glock 17, 19 and 34

Works With Hotter 9mm Loads - Slide cycles with 115gr bullet, but it also works better with heavier charged ammo

Pros

  • Very slick design
  • Front sight post can be installed on the comp
  • Work with most standard 115 gr 9mm

Cons

  • Not compatible with conversion barrels
  • Recoil spring fine tune required
  • Held on by set screws

Faxon EXOS - Best Flush Fit For Most Slides

Caliber: 9mm

Thread Pitch: 1/2X28

Weight: 0.8 oz

Length: 27.94mm

faxon exos compensator

This is a similar compensator like the KKM or the Primary Machine, but it's large top gas port and angled side venting ports make a huge performance difference. It's the little things that matter, and Faxon EXOS made it happen.

Deflect Gas Upward - Angled side gas ports reduces muzzle flip even more while improving reliability

Flat Shooting - Way less muzzle rise than non-compensator 9mm.

Fast RDS Follow Up - Red dot centers right back to the shooter's field of view after each shot

Pros

  • Works with most threaded 9mm barrels
  • Works for many popular gun models
  • Super lightweight

Cons

  • Set screws can get loose
  • Timing alignment required

Radian Arms Afterburner - Compact Size

Caliber: 9mm

Thread Pitch: No thread

Length: 11.94mm

Radian Arms RAMJET

The Radian Afterburner Micro is a slick compact design that requires the Radian's RAMJET match-grade barrel for Glock 19 pistol.

50 States Legal - No threaded barrel required

G19 To G17 Length - Chamfered edges help with smooth holstering (Fits G17 size holster)

No Tilt, Fully Locked In - Afterburner Micro Locks on RAMJET's proprietary INTRA-LOK mounting system that perfectly times the compensator as it locks down onto the V-shaped muzzle front

Rugged Built - It uses hardened 17-4 stainless steel, and it provides about 40% recoil reduction when using standard 115 gr 9mm ammo

Pros

  • Legal in all 50 states (Still double check)
  • Perfect mounting system without timing

Cons

  • RAMJET barrel required
  • Only for Glock for now

FAQ

Does Ammo Type Affect Compensator Performance?

It's important to understand that recoil and muzzle climb will feel different using different ammo type.

Standard ammunition work with most compensators on the market. There are many variables that affect compensator performance such as caliber, load, barrel length and shooter's overall grip.

Compensator will significantly reduce muzzle climb when using hotter loads (+P) and other self defense rounds.

It's important to test run different ammo types to find what works for you. The same compensated gun the shooter run with standard ball ammo, may perform differently with personal defense rounds.

Does Compensator Help Reduce Muzzle Climb And Faster Red Dot Acquisition?

Compensator definitely reduces muzzle climb, but not completely.

The key phrase here is "It only mitigates muzzle climb, but NOT completely".  The shooter still has to apply good pistol shooting fundamentals to make accurate shots.

An experienced red dot sight shooter can experience faster follow up shots and reacquire the dot faster when the slide cycling action stays flat.

A large window red dot sight on a compensated handgun is a completely different shooting experience!

Should Competition Shooters Use Compensator?

Competition pistol shooters should absolutely use compensator on their race gun to keep their gun recoil action flat and reduce split time.

Compensator technology has been around for a long time throughout history for rifles, tanks, machine guns and other big caliber weapon systems. 

Does Added Compensator Fit Existing Holster?

Most open ended holster will fit a pistol with compensator as long as the comp clears and the profile of the comp closely matches the slide shape.

Added compensator will increase the overall length of the gun. A subcompact gun with a compensator generally extends the length to a full-size gun.

For example, A Glock 19 with a comp turns into a Glock 34 length pistol. 

Is Threaded Barrel Required? 

Yes, threaded barrel is required to mount a pistol compensator.

However, there are some slick gun designs out there where the compensator is independent of the barrel, or the compensator is already a part of the barrel profile such as the Agency NOC, STI Staccato XC and many others

There are tons of threaded barrels you can buy on the market, and you can check them out here

*Be aware, some states prohibit the sales of threaded barrel, and this is where buyers can look at other innovative designs such as the Radian AFTERBURNER + RAMJET or the Agency NOC.