July 13, 2010
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Richard Fairburn Law Enforcement Firearms
with Richard Fairburn

Product Review: BattleComp 1.0 Compensator

The list of screw-on accessories for the AR/M16 series of rifles has become far too long to list and is still growing. I must honestly admit that I am out of the loop on this array of accessories, mostly because I think the majority of them are merely gimmicks designed to separate “Gun Shop Commandos” from their money. Beyond battle-tough optics, a flashlight, and tactical sling, most of the “stuff” I see mounted on police carbines eventually comes loose or gets in the way and ends up in someone’s desk drawer. I suppose a vertical foregrip is fine if you like them.

So, when PoliceOne Editor Doug Wyllie asked me to review the BattleComp compensator I was ready to be unimpressed. I was wrong. The BattleComp 1.0 truly does what it claims and, since it isn’t something that will work loose or get in the way, it is a worthwhile accessory.

The BattleComp claims to reduce recoil and muzzle jump without the attendant increase in muzzle blast so common to other compensators. I’ve never felt the AR/M16 rifles were at all difficult to control on semi-auto, so a full-auto test was in order. My old friend Sergeant Duane Long, of the Quincy, Illinois Police Department, has ready access to a full-auto carbine and far more experience than me with the “buzz” guns. I have a lot of trigger time on AR’s, being one of the first writers arguing for patrol rifles in the early ‘80s, but I always avoided the full-auto models, unless someone else was buying the ammo. This time I offered up the ammo, so Duane and I wrung out a BattleComp on the end of a light barreled 16 inch Colt M16A1.

The BattleComp is the same size as a standard A1/A2 flash suppressor, so it doesn’t look overly large, if that matters. A quick examination of the comp showed excellent workmanship, it is made from stainless steel and can be had either “in the white” or with a matte black finish. The comp screwed on readily and the crush washer allowed proper indexing, with the solid part down, directing the expanding gasses up and out to reduce recoil and muzzle jump. Wasting no time, we rolled the selector all the way back and let rip.

To put it succinctly, the BattleComp works. The accompanying photo shows me on rock-n-roll, with two empties hanging, but you’ll notice that the barrel is level — no muzzle rise here. Even when I dumped a full magazine in one long burst, the gun set me back a bit, but the dot stayed easily in the middle of the silhouette’s Kill Zone. As for loudness... I didn’t notice it being any louder than normal for a 16-inch AR, which is unusual for a recoil reducing compensator. I’d say the blast of the BattleComp was more noticeable than my 20 inch H-BAR with its issue A2 suppressor, but the short rifles always pack more muzzle blast. Some brands of comps are so loud they’re literally dangerous, especially in a shoot house.

Speaking of shoot houses, after some open range time, we diverted to the shoot house to check out the indoor noise level and flash effects. Again, the 16-inch rifle with the BattleComp might have been a bit more percussive than my 20-inch, but the lack of dramatic increase in noise speaks well of the BattleComp design. Firing both frangible and ball ammunition showed considerably more muzzle flash with the BattleComp than the mil-spec A2 flash suppressor, but again in comparison to other brands of recoil reducers, the BattleComp looked good.

 
The BattleComp’s flash isn’t excessive compared to a standard A2.

I swear some of the recoil reducers I’ve seen on night-fire ranges are brighter than a rifle with no suppressor at all! I took total darkness photos of both rifles firing M193 Ball ammo and merged them side-by-side in the illustration to the right. Again, it’s not a direct apples-to-apples comparison, since the A2 suppressor photo used a 20-inch barrel compared to the shorter 16-inch version with the BattleComp. Anyone who has handled a short AR at night knows the volume of unburned powder (and therefore muzzle flash) is considerably greater, so the BattleComp’s flash wasn’t excessive. At a retail price of $149.95, with either the stainless or black finish, The BattleComp compares favorably to its competitors. I’m told there’s also an agency price, but I don’t know what that is. If you’re looking to reduce the recoil and muzzle jump of your AR or full-auto M16/M4, take a look at the BattleComp.

You might want to look fast — as this is written, their website says they are currently sold out, so some other folks must think they’re a good investment.

About the author

Dick Fairburn has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience in both Illinois and Wyoming, working patrol, investigations and administrative assignments. Dick has also served as a Criminal Intelligence Analyst and as the Section Chief of a major academy's Firearms Training Unit and Critical Incident training program. He has a B.S. in Law Enforcement Administration from Western Illinois University and was the Valedictorian of his recruit class at the Illinois State Police Academy. He has published more than 100 feature articles and two books: Police Rifles and Building a Better Gunfighter.

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