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Best Linear Compensators for AR & AK [Hands-On]

Want to direct gas and concussion away from yourself and your team? Check out the best linear compensators on the market right now for ARs and AKs.

The thing you stick at the end of your barrel can be very important in dictating how the weapon handles.

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When it comes to short barrels there tends to be lots of fire and fury, better described as noise and flash.

Linear Comp
Linear Comp on a NFA C-9, Full Review

So what is one to do to tame this?

Easy, check out Linear Comps. We’ll cover what they are and a couple of our favorites for both the AR and AK platforms.

Summary of Our Top Picks

  1. Editor's Pick Linear Compensator

    Kaw Valley Linear Comp

    Affordable, effective, and come in a variety of sizes and calibers.

  2. Combo with Front Sight

    Ultradyne C4 Dynamount Folding Front Sight with Compensators

    How about both a linear compensator AND folding front sight?

  3. Coolest Looking Linear Comp

    Troy Claymore Linear Comp

    Ribbed for cooling and with teeth for breaching.

  4. Go Big

    Hera USA Linear Comp

    Go big or go home with the Hera.

  5. Cheapest Linear Comp

    TacFire 5.56 Linear Compensator

    The most affordable option that still works.

  6. Best AK Linear Comp

    TacFire 7.62x39 14x1 LH Linear Compensator

    Our go-to for an AK linear comp.

  7. Short & Fat

    SLR Synergy Linear Comp

    Shortest linear comp that we've seen.

Table of Contents

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What’s a Linear Comp?

A linear compensator is a muzzle device that is designed to direct gas and concussion forward of the shooter. This also directs the noise from the gun forward of the shooter.

Most short barreled guns are louder than guns with longer barrels.

PWS Diablo MK107 2-M Upper
PWS Diablo MK107 2-M Upper, Full Review

Linear Comps do not reduce the noise of a gun. They simply redirect the noise away from the shooter.

If you are on the wrong side of that blast you’ll now have to deal with bullets and loud noise coming at you.

However, I doubt the noise coming at you matters as much as the other thing.

getting shot tropic thunder
Getting shot is generally bad for your health

Why Choose a Linear Comp?

Linear Comps aren’t for everyone or every gun.

They tend to have the best effect on short barreled guns. There isn’t much of a point to toss one of these on a 20 inch barreled AR, you could, but it’s a lot more effective on a 10.3-inch barrel.

Linear Comps make shooting short barreled rifles or rifle style pistols much more comfortable overall. I keep one of my little 7.5-inch pistol and it’s almost pleasant to shoot.

linear comp
The compensator should be at least a little past the rail

Also, if your state bans flash hiders as some spooky thing these linear comps are not considered flash hiders. That makes them quite legal in featureless builds.

The downside is they add length and they tend to be longer than most AR muzzle devices.

Best Linear Compensators

1. Kaw Valley Precision

The Kaw Valley Precision compensator was the first linear compensator I’ve ever used and it’s still in use on my 9mm carbines.

I use it mostly on my Kel Tec Sub 2k and when combined with the right ammo this makes the gun very comfortable to shoot.

KelTec Sub2000 Shooting
KelTec Sub2000 Shooting

Toss in some subsonic 147-grain ammo and the lack of a supersonic crack and the concussion being pushed forward makes this as close to hearing safe as you can get without a can.

Of course, this is only applicable to the shooter.

It’s slick in design and is compact and very small overall. It’s got a slick melonite QPQ coating and I will testify that this is a strong and corrosion-resistant coating.

How do I know? Because I’m dumb.

KelTec Sub2000 KAW Valley Compensator
KelTec Sub2000 with KAW Valley Compensator

Seriously, I was testing 9mm muzzle devices a year back and accidentally left this one and one other outside. For about 5 days before I went back out to shoot more.

There is sat, without a trace of rust.

Keep in mind I live on the coast in Florida, lots of humidity and salt in the air. Not a spot of rust. It’s now been about 2 years of use and is still in amazing condition.

The KAW Valley Linear comp is easy on and easy off, and comes in a wide variety of calibers. The KVP Linear comp even has flats to make tightening it down extremely easy.

Grab a wrench, some blue tape, and tighten this bad boy down. The flats also make it easy to remove the KVP Linear Comp.

36
at AR15 Discounts

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

The KVP comp is 2 ⅛ inches long has an outer diameter of .95 inches, and weighs 2.9 ounces. They now have different sizes and calibers too such as XL and slim.

It’s also superbly affordable and effective compared to other muzzle devices.

2. Ultradyne Athena C4 Dynamount with Folding Front Sight

This Linear comp is unique on the list because it is a combo package for AR-15s. The Ultradyne Athena is the linear comp and the C4 is a set of sights.

With this system, they are combined and this places a folding front sight right behind the Linear Comp.

I know, this could be really bad if it’s not done well, but Ultradyne did it well.

They did it very well.

The sight is way taller than most AR sights because it’s mounted on the barrel.

Combo with Front Sight
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at Ultradyne

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This extra height ensures the front and rear sight are on the same plane.

It also folds down and out of the way when not needed. The C4 sights are really interesting. They can be adjusted without tools, or you can use a standard AR front sight tool.

The C4 front sight aperture is round and has a hole in the middle that you look through while looking through the rear sight.

It’s odd but it works. You should focus on the front sight and this system does work better when your target is a bright color like the Shoot and See targets.

The biggest benefit is the longest sight radius possible, which makes it easier to shoot accurately.

The UIltradyne linear comp is one of the shorter comps for 5.56 guns, but it does do its job rather well. Since it sends the noise and concussion forward there is no risk of the sight being damaged by concussion.

The Athena is well made and the total system weighs only 3.8 ounces all together.

This system would be perfect for a short pistol. The extra sight radius would be a blessing and the linear comp would keep things nice and comfortable.

3. Troy Claymore

In terms of military talk a Claymore refers to an anti-personnel mine, and of course the old greatsword.

I’m gonna go ahead and say Troy designed this Claymore to have more in common with the mine than the sword. I know this because of the big Front Towards Enemy written on the rear of the Claymore, and the big arrow pointing forward.

troy claymore front towards

Who says we can’t stylize out gear first a little bit. The Claymore is the second linear compensator I went with.

I wanted to find something for my ultra-short 7.5-inch 5.56 AR. That thing was a fire-breather, a brutal, loud, and concussive gun that would rock the shooter.

It was fun, but not comfortable so the Troy Claymore was chosen. I chose it because it’s affordable, it does look cool, and the reviews I read seemed legit. It’s longer than most at 2.25-inches long and this helps when shooting in the prone.

It tosses dust and debris forward and this simplifies prone shooting with a short barrel. The Claymore is ribbed to help with cooling and the teeth like grip is supposedly for breaching, but let’s be real, it just looks cool.

It made my little AR pistol a lot more comfortable to shoot and it sends the blast and muzzle flash forward which is incredibly nice and makes shooting this gun very comfortable.

Coolest Looking Linear Comp
67
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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If looks matter the Claymore certainly looks nice, and it works, and its affordable.

4. HERA USA Linear Compensator

If you want to go big the HERA USA Linear Comp is the way to go. This is a big linear compensator and it’s specifically designed for Short barreled and pistol ARs.

The longer design adds length to a gun that’s supposed to be short but does allow you to use a long rail system on a short gun.

The HERA Linear Comp is 3.5 inches long and the diameter is 1.26 inches and this allows for lots of extra rail clearance.

Performance-wise this offers you 12 separate expansion chambers that do an excellent job of throwing noise and blast forward.

The extra length and diameter are likely the most effective at moving sound forward of the shooter. It is quite effective at doing its job. HERA Arms is known for innovative designs, some look cool, and some look cool and work.

This is one that does, in fact, look cool and does in fact work. To me, it looks like an old pineapple grenade and I’m cool with strapping that to the end of my rifle.

Most linear comps do an okay job of flash suppression, at least when it comes to suppressing the flash for the guy shooting, but it’s rarely beyond the standard flash suppressor.

muzzle flash
One of the biggest problems with shooting in the dark is losing your sights against the brightness of a muzzle flash.

The HERA arms linear comp does a much better job of preventing flash from creating discomfort for the shooter.

The extra length and room really allow the flash to disperse and to prevent creating blind spots for the shooter. The biggest downside is the 6.9-ounce weight.  To put this into perspective a standard A2 flash hider weighs 1.9 ounces.

Go Big
120
at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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It’s big, it’s brutal, but it does work very well.

5. Archon MFG AK Linear Compensator

It’s hard to find linear comps for the AK, which is odd because we all love short-barreled AKs right?

The hardest part is finding the left-hand thread with the 14×1 mm pitch. Archon MFG, however, makes an awesome model at a great price.

Their motto is Firearms Accessories for the Working Class and their linear comp comes in at only 50 bucks. They make them for 5.56 and 308 as well. The Archon AK Linear Comp is made from 330 stainless steel and has a tough and glossy black nitride finish.

Archon MFG linear comp
Archon MFG linear comp

It’s 2 inches long and has a .920 diameter. It’s quite compact and weighs only 3.35 ounces. Overall, it’s a solid linear comp and the Archon comps have a sterling reputation for diverting blast forward of the shooter.

A standard AK with a 16-inch barrel isn’t bad at all, but when we start shrinking the barrel into Draco size we run into a lot more blast and a much bigger concussion. This is where this comp shines, on AK pistols.

50
at Archon MFG

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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It’ll function a lot like the old Krinkov bulbous muzzle devices, but is more efficient due to the multiple blast chambers.

Think of it as a modern version of that muzzle device. It serves the same purpose as the old Krinkov brake, it’s just better at it.

6. TacFire Linear Compensator

Balling on a budget?

Check out TacFire that gets you in the linear compensator game for about $20.

It’s 2.26 inches long with an outer diameter of .87 inches…plus it weighs in at 3.7 oz.

Cheapest Linear Comp
20
at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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Need an AK variant? They have those too.

Best AK Linear Comp
20
at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

7. Synergy Linear Hybrid Compensator

Let’s get some jokes out of the way.

First, if you like them short and fat the Synergy Linear Comp is for you.

Second, is this what happens when we let see massive influence from those corporate leadership gurus?

Jokes aside, the Synergy Hybrid Comp is a short and fat linear comp, and is made by SLR Rifleworks.

It’s called the Hybrid for a few reasons outside of great MPG. First, its a steel core inside a titanium sleeve.

It’s a hybrid of two materials but at the same time its a hybrid of two devices. The SLR rifle works design directs the blast gas at 90 degrees from the barrel just like a standard compensator. This reduces recoil as the blast is then directed forward.

At the same time, it increases the effectiveness of the device as a linear comp. The design allows the Synergy Hybrid Comp to be shorter than most, but just as effective as longer linear comps.

It’s only 2 inches long and weighs 4.5 ounces. The outer diameter is a chunky 1.25 inches so it will fit inside most standard rail systems.

Short & Fat
147
at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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The rear end has nice wrench flats and the overall finish is unique due to the titanium sleeve.

What’s your take on this stubby little guy?

Readers' Ratings

5.00/5 (805)

Your Rating?

Conclusion

Linear Comps are awesome devices. They mitigate blast and flash, and they aren’t considered flash suppressors under AWB laws.

For short barreled rifles and rifle cartridge pistols a linear comp is a great option, but even for normal length rifles, they can still provide a lot of benefits especially when you’re dealing with larger calibers.

If we had to choose one…we’d go with the short SLR Synergy Linear Comp.

147
at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

A popular go-to would be the Kaw Valley Precision.

36
at AR15 Discounts

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

And the most affordable would be the TacFire. Plus it comes in AK flavor too.

20
at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

As a category linear comps are growing fast, so what are some of your favorites?

For some other awesome muzzle device options, take a look at the Best AR-15 Muzzle Brakes & Compensators and the AR-10 Version as well.

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14 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    tirod

    BRT Covert has been around over ten years and works. Weighs 2.2 oz and plenty of positive reviews. I have two, a 6.8 SPC and 5.56. Brakes turn the sound 90 degrees back toward the shooter and it really takes being top ten percent to take advantage of the slighter muzzle rise and minimal recoil reduction - after all, its 5.56, not larger than .338 Mag where brakes are preferred.

    Linears are also closed bottom and by directing more blast forward also amplify that when it's pointed at opposing forces especially close proximity. The best for the shooter is the quietest in pushing sound forward, anything with side ports wont do that.

    October 14, 2022 4:04 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Keith P.

    I have linear comps or blast forwarding devices on all my ARs. I don't need rapid fire muzzle control, and I'm not worried about recoil. Just want to reduce concussion and perceived sound a little, and they do the job nicely. Really noticeable for the guy next to you. When I'm shooting side-by-side with my son, makes it significantly more fun to shoot.

    July 12, 2022 10:47 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    tom hill

    i use the armaspec rifter on 10 inch barrel..223/556....very effective...any thoughts?...any tests on this device?



    thanks

    April 5, 2022 1:22 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jack Hauser

    I put a Hera comp on my 12.5 in. PSA 300 blackout “pistol”. Very quickly, the basic law of Newtonian physics roared its ugly head. It was like shooting a sawed off 12 gauge. But the muzzle barely moved.
    I think I’ll put it on at least a 16 in. barrel.

    May 26, 2021 4:54 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Valorius

    I have a Cobalt Kinetics linear comp on my 10.5" AR. It is significantly more pleasant to shoot than my buddies' 16" AR with a true lateral comp. Everyone at the range we've ever asked agrees that the Cobalt Kinetics linear equipped 10.5" AR has far less blast and concussion.

    It has a truly horrifying strike face, and it is claimed to work well at reducing flash as well (I have never tested this personally, but Cobalt Kinetics claims it is outstanding in this regard).

    It's pricey, but it's a premium component from a top end builder, so that's to be expected. I highly recommend it.

    January 24, 2021 9:55 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mateusz

    I recently got the Primary Weapons Systems CQB linear comp on my 762x39 galil ace pistol and it works wonders. I took some slow motion footage just to see where the blast amd gases go. I compared it to the standard birdcage that comes with it and the difference is immense. You can clearly see the gases and blast going straight forward and nothing goes off to the sides. I did notice that it did increase the pressure going back into the firearm. It seemed to act like the muzzle device on a Krinkov, storing some of the pressure to improve reliability. Luckily I have the KNS adjustable gas piston so I just opened that up a bit and it felt just as good. It is also not teeth jarring when you stand next to someone shooting it.

    November 16, 2020 10:53 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jason

    Could you do a test on the linear comps, measuring flash, recoil and sound at the ear?

    July 29, 2020 4:30 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Brad

    No love for the Midwest Industries Blast Diverter?

    July 21, 2020 5:23 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Kurt

    I have the Hera USA Linear Comp. It definitely works as advertised. Even at the local indoor ranges it mitigates noise behind the weapon really well. I've got it on a 300 AAC pistol with a 10.5" barrel. I'd say the biggest issue with it is the size, not the weight. The thing practically makes my pistol as long a weapon as my AR with a 16" barrel. Not exactly ideal for a CQB weapon.

    April 19, 2020 2:35 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Sam

    I have the TacFire on a 8.5" 5.56 AR. It makes it much more enjoyable to shoot.

    October 18, 2019 11:09 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      steve

      8.5" 5.56 OH SHIT WHAT R U DOING BABY?!

      August 23, 2020 12:18 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mike

    I also like the kaw valley, but how can you not even have the flaming pig on here? WIthout that, this list is pretty much null and void.

    October 18, 2019 9:08 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Valorius

      Who would use a half pound muzzle device in the year of our lord 2020?

      I can see why they left it off.

      January 24, 2021 9:58 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Michael

    I went with the KAW Valley Linear on my 6.5 Grendel build and have no regrets. It works, the recoil is still minimal and it keeps the hearing damaging sounds forward. The other shooters at the range are happy too... until I pull out my 300 WM with side port comp for a few rounds. ;)

    October 17, 2019 5:28 pm
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