When it comes to the sub triple digit compensator/flash hider market, there is a LOT to sort through when you want something better than the birdcage that came on your new AR.
You don’t have to be a fighting soldier, law enforcement or competitive shooter to demand more from your rifle. And there is such a wide variety of sub-$100 comps and hiders that do different things to get more enjoyment and results from shooting your rifle. The cool thing about your muzzle device is that it is not an arbitrary piece of the rifle that can be a “just because” part like laser etched dust covers and take-down pins. This is the part of your rifle that belches out fire, gas and most of all, the copper and lead. When that happens, physics will make sure that you feel some sort of recoil in an upward rise of the muzzle and rearward motion into your body.
All these different devices have different purposes and we wrote an article with video in the past showing the differences between Flash Hiders and Compensators/Brakes. Some even claim to do both compensate as well as hide flash. We like testing these out because it is an easy part swap out, there is INSTANT feedback on how it performs, and we can document the felt recoil, rise and flash very easily. Today, we got to try the STRYKER from 556 Tactical.
She’s a mean looking little bugger with lots of nice little jagged points crowning the muzzle. The design is aggressive looking which gives aesthetic appeal with it’s spikes as well as the “Shark Gills” along the sides. If you were going for looks and that look is “mean” then this is a great comp to use.
The “Shark Gills” as I mentioned actually have a specific purpose and if you hold your rifle with a good solid grip and 3 points of contact, they do a really good job of keeping the muzzle on target with minimal recoil pushing the muzzle up. Similar to the birdcage there is more opening on the top of the muzzle device than there is on the bottom. This aids in pushing gasses and fouling UP to counteract the physics of the muzzle rising. Simultaneously the shark gills are angled aft which helps direct some of those same gasses back and away. This will NOT take recoil away. You will still be very aware you shot a weapon, however, it is enough blowback to again, keep the muzzle on target. Side Note: Mentioned in the video, if you do not hold your weapon like you should (light support hand or screwing around and not focused) this has enough redirection of gasses to push the muzzle DOWN.
Another thing I notice about some comps is there ability to not just keep the muzzle steady, but to also choke the life out of your esophagus and blind you with burnt fouling and gasses. I actually was relieved after seeing the shark gills and firing it and didn’t taste burnt powder. There are many cheapos out there that do a great job, unless you want to breathe.
As a flash hider, it did not really function in a manner that 100% reduced any kind of visible signature from firing, especially under sustained firing. I believe the several small forward facing vents in the face of the comp aid with taking care of flash for a great majority of the time and it did it WAY better than others we have tested that are specifically labeled as compensators. I did not have any noticeably flash and it was only after watching and editing video did I see some little flickers of fire coming out. If you need zero flash coming out, and you know who you are, then although this does a great job with the extra duty, it is listed as a compensator and it functions great as such.
I have no problems with recommending the STRYKER from 556 Tactical. At $50, this thing actually did exactly what it said and then some. I like it and will probably be running it for quite some time. (556Tactical)