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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 7/20/2002 3:54:36 PM EST
Okay, new here but I've been reading this forum for about a couple of weeks now. Expect me to be asking a quite a few newbie questions in the not so distant future. :)

So, I know what "flash suppressors", "muzzle brakes" and "compensators" are, but for the life of me, as far as physical appearances go, I can't determine what makes one a "flash suppressor"... or any of the other two, and what does not. the closest I can see is that most of the muzzle brakes have round holes as opposed to slots cut in them. And there are others that don't. How does the ATF determine which is legal to install on a post-ban and which is not? Functional differences aside, I can't distinguish the difference from any of the following three.


Bushmaster A2 Bird Cage Flash Suppressor.



Kurts Kustom Muzzle Brake.



Cav Comp Muzzle Brake

Link Posted: 7/20/2002 4:02:28 PM EST
A flash suppressor generally has slits all the way around, but a compensator/muzzle brake(for an AR15) just has slits/holes on the top half. The A2 birdcage is actually a compensator because there are no slits on the bottom. The big .50s like the Armalite and Barrett have compensaters that are completely different, ussually a few plates in a "can" that defelct the gases backwards and/or up, to minimize felt recoil. A flash suppressor ussually doesnt do this, it just suppresses the muzzle flash.
Link Posted: 7/20/2002 5:20:13 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/20/2002 5:24:34 PM EST by JonnieGTyler]
I've wondered about the physics involved in what makes a flash suppressor work the way it does, also.

But look closely at your two pictures. Muzzle brakes will have a closed end and some sort of "expansion chamber." A flash suppressor won't.

The expansion chamber designs, similar to the Wilson Combat unit you have pictured, allows the gases to expand in a uniform pattern while the closed end at the muzzle forces those gases out of the sides, top, bottom of the unit. Some units look just like the ones on artillery pieces. The gas expands out to the sides without the benifit of an expansion chamber. But they still have a closed end to divert the gases.

The A1 and A2 birdcage flash suppressors have a conical taper from the bore to the muzzle end with no "end cap." Thus allowing the gases to expand more gradually than just dumping into the air like a bare muzzle. I don't know why it works, but it does. And someday maybe I'll figure it out.

Edited to add: ooops..

Welcome aboard. Glad to have you here.
Link Posted: 7/20/2002 5:28:19 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/20/2002 5:28:47 PM EST by DOCPIG]
Very observant Valkyre but totally wrong. The reason the slits on an M16 flash suppressor are not on the bottom is so the blast coming from the flash will not create a dust signature when the rifle is fired in the prone position.

JonnieGTyler has it right.
Link Posted: 7/20/2002 5:35:20 PM EST
Flash hiders create a 'star' pattern when the rifle is fired.

No flash hider allows the gases to cone straight-out and form a 'balloon' of exploding gases.

It is MUCH harder to see the 'star' pattern than the 'balloon' pattern, especially when you are the target.

Also, without a flash hider, the gases, when viewed from the front, last longer because you are looking at it along the length.
Link Posted: 7/20/2002 5:40:06 PM EST

Originally Posted By DOCPIG:
Very observant Valkyre but totally wrong. The reason the slits on an M16 flash suppressor are not on the bottom is so the blast coming from the flash will not create a dust signature when the rifle is fired in the prone position.

JonnieGTyler has it right.



i knew that, but it functions as a comp that way. The A1 birdcage had slits all the way around, it was a suppressor.
Link Posted: 7/20/2002 5:41:40 PM EST

Originally Posted By DOCPIG:
The reason the slits on an M16 flash suppressor are not on the bottom is so the blast coming from the flash will not create a dust signature when the rifle is fired in the prone position.

Ah, very interesting. I always assumed it was to counteract muzzle climb, but the dust signature theory/explanation makes more sense for a battle rifle.
Link Posted: 7/20/2002 5:54:18 PM EST
DocPig is correct about the bottom of the A2 f/s. (hey...scratch my back, I'll scratch your's. )

The design was changed to reduce the dust signature from prone fire.

Although the military does call the A2 f/s a compensator I'm really of the opinion that any compensating it does is rather negligible, especially in semi auto fire.

Unfortunately, I don't have access to an M16 or I would see if my opinion holds water or not.
Link Posted: 7/20/2002 5:59:52 PM EST
Didn't mean to insult you Valkyre I was trying to help Aces-and-Eights by giving him a proper explanation.

Anytime JonnieGTyler

Link Posted: 7/20/2002 6:13:16 PM EST
Oh by the way, thanks DA for the explanation on the workings of a f/s. I guess I never really thought along those lines. Must have been looking for something more...magical???
Link Posted: 7/20/2002 6:26:40 PM EST

Originally Posted By DevilsAdvocate:
Flash hiders create a 'star' pattern when the rifle is fired.

No flash hider allows the gases to cone straight-out and form a 'balloon' of exploding gases.

It is MUCH harder to see the 'star' pattern than the 'balloon' pattern, especially when you are the target.

Also, without a flash hider, the gases, when viewed from the front, last longer because you are looking at it along the length.



D. Advocate,
only because this is a technical issue you folks are discussing let me point out you're describing a flash suppressor and not a flash hider.
The birdcage is a good example of a flash suppressor but a flash hider is a conical (funnel) shaped device and not much used any more.
One suppresses the muzzle flash from an enemy and the other protects the eyes of the shooter.
(If I remember correctly.)
Link Posted: 7/20/2002 6:29:21 PM EST
1. Yes, the closed bottom is to prevent a dust signature when firing from the prone,

2. Having the top end open, this forces the gases up, which pushes the muzzle down, assisting you in muzzle climb during fire.

3. I always thought that flash suppression meant reducing my muzzle flash so as to not be seen so easily by the enemy, but I have also heard a few different times over the years that it is actually for the benefit of the shooter's eyes, having not experienced a total flash and losing his sights/target.

Anyone know the real deal?
Link Posted: 7/20/2002 6:36:47 PM EST

Originally Posted By dc306:
1. Yes, the closed bottom is to prevent a dust signature when firing from the prone,

2. Having the top end open, this forces the gases up, which pushes the muzzle down, assisting you in muzzle climb during fire.

3. I always thought that flash suppression meant reducing my muzzle flash so as to not be seen so easily by the enemy, but I have also heard a few different times over the years that it is actually for the benefit of the shooter's eyes, having not experienced a total flash and losing his sights/target.

Anyone know the real deal?



Actually, I believe the newer flash suppressors do a little of both. I was just trying to draw a distinction between a true flash hider and a true flash suppressor.
Link Posted: 7/20/2002 6:44:36 PM EST

Remember to old WWll conical flash hiders on the M1C, M1 carbine and M1 Grease Guns. They hid the muzzle flash from the operator, but didn't really hide the flash from the target.

Then the M1D got the pronged flash suppressor. I don't know how well they really worked at their intended function. Although I think they worked good enough or better at "hiding" the flash from the target.

Somehow I always figured the conical internal dimensions of the A1 and A2 f/s was there to work as the WWll flash hiders did, ie., hide the flash from the operator. The slots would then preform the function as DA stated to "hide" the flash from the target.

I have not given this subject serious study but this seems to make sense to me, however PHYSICS does not always make sense at first blush.
Link Posted: 7/20/2002 6:54:03 PM EST
Too bad my ex wife got my digital camera as well as both my balls. (Had a nearly new Titleist and a used MaxFli. yeah, right LOL)

The early attempts by ArmaLite, on the AR-10, to move from a flash hider (although they did use a true flash hider on the shorty AR-18S) were a scream. One was about six inches long and looked like a pickle covered with screen wire. Finally they got it right but only after much trial and error.
Link Posted: 7/20/2002 7:38:40 PM EST


Neither fish nor fowl.

This is for a mini 14. The comp does a good job keeping the muzzle down. The FS is probably on par with an A2. Haven't tried it at night yet.



I kinda like the m14 style myself.

I had a night shoot with a few friends on the 4'th of July. My m1a's signature was on par with a a1 style colt sp1 even though it was burning twice as much powder. (308 vs 223). Maybe the long slots promote a more complete burn????

I realize they are old hat compared to a Vortec or Phantom. Any thoughts???
Link Posted: 7/21/2002 4:08:21 AM EST
Link Posted: 7/21/2002 4:27:31 AM EST
So would an A2 Birdcage flash suppressor be a nice compromise between flash suppression and a muzzle break? That's the impression I get.

The Phantom and the Vortex are two of the most popular names of flash suppression on this board.

MMmmmm.....not sure what to think. Ironically, I purchased my first preban YESTERDAY!!! and I'm going to the range right now....it's got an A2 Birdcage on it. I'm curious to see how it works.
Link Posted: 7/24/2002 7:01:10 AM EST
I mounted an SKS double muzzle brake on my Norinco SKS for awhile, but took it off because i couldn't get the pin in place so after 10 shots it would magically leave the barrel and go flying towards my target. It was really good at making the muzzle flash all but invisible. Alot better than the massive ball of fire from the plain muzzle.
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 2:35:47 PM EST
Smoken44: I point out that the old 3-prong works nearly as well as a Vortec, esp on my shorty, and only $5 or so.

Also, if a muzzle device is 22 mm, the ATF considers it a grenade launcher. So, it must be larger or smaller than that size to be legal post ban. If pre-ban rifle, it does not matter... go figure.
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 2:39:35 PM EST

Originally Posted By DOCPIG:
Very observant Valkyre but totally wrong. The reason the slits on an M16 flash suppressor are not on the bottom is so the blast coming from the flash will not create a dust signature when the rifle is fired in the prone position.

JonnieGTyler has it right.



I was just gonna say that!
Link Posted: 7/25/2002 6:26:41 PM EST

Originally Posted By DOCPIG:
Didn't mean to insult you Valkyre I was trying to help Aces-and-Eights by giving him a proper explanation.

Anytime JonnieGTyler




Not a problem. I just failed to share all of my knowledge on military flash suppressors, so its probably my fault i got insulted.

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