What Does a Compensator Do On a Pistol?

Posted by refactortactical.com on Nov 13th 2023

What Does a Compensator Do On a Pistol?

What Does a Compensator Do On a Pistol?

Originally posted here.

Pistol Compensators, especially the Faxon EXOS, are becoming a go-to for shooters looking to up their game by making their pistols easier to handle and more accurate.

Known for its effectiveness, the EXOS stands out as a top choice for managing recoil and improving accuracy.

What does a compensator do on a pistol?

  • Reduces Recoil: It vents gases upward to counteract the rearward force felt when firing.
  • Minimizes Muzzle Rise: The upward venting of gases helps keep the muzzle down, allowing for quicker follow-up shots.
  • Enhances Accuracy: By managing muzzle movement, it contributes to better shot precision.
  • Improves Handling: Adds minimal weight to maintain ease of handling, crucial for concealed carry.
  • Consistent Performance: Optimized to work across various loads for reliable shooting.
  • Seamless Integration: Designed to integrate smoothly with the pistol’s aesthetic and function without adding bulk.

Interested in how a compensator like the Faxon EXOS could change your shooting experience? Keep reading to discover if adding one to your pistol could be the right move for you.

What Does a Compensator Do On a Pistol

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What is a Pistol Compensator

A pistol compensator is a firearm accessory designed to counteract the upward motion of the barrel (muzzle flip) that occurs when the gun is fired.

This movement is mainly due to the recoil and the gases that escape from the front of the barrel. The compensator works by diverting some of these gases through ports or vents typically located on the top or sides of the device.

This diversion of gases creates a counter-force that helps to push the barrel down and stabilize the pistol, allowing for faster follow-up shots and improved accuracy.

What Does a Compensator Do on a Pistol

A compensator is a real asset for anyone who shoots a 9mm pistol, whether at the range or for everyday carry.

It’s a small but mighty addition to the muzzle end of a gun that tackles recoil and muzzle flip head-on. Here’s the simple truth: when you pull the trigger, the compensator’s ports redirect the exiting gas upward, counteracting the pistol’s kick and lift.

This means you can keep your sights on target and get off those follow-up shots faster and with more precision.

For shooters who like to run their 9mm hard and fast, a good pistol compensator makes all the difference. Take the Faxon EXOS, for example. It’s not just another piece of gear—it’s a performance enhancer for your handgun.

You’ll feel the difference with every shot, and you’ll see it in the tight grouping on your target.

What Does a Compensator Do On a Pistol

Sure, adding a compensator to your carry pistol has its considerations—it’ll extend the length of your gun a bit and requires a bit of adjustment to your draw technique.

Is it worth putting a compensator on a pistol? The benefits, like faster recovery between shots and a smoother shooting experience, can’t be overstressed. Whether you’re a seasoned shooter or just starting, the right pistol compensator can seriously up your shooting game.

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Compensator vs Suppressor

Compensators and suppressors serve distinct roles, and understanding their differences is critical.

A compensator’s primary function is to mitigate felt recoil and muzzle rise, employing gas redirection to counteract the forces that disrupt aim and handling.

On the other hand, suppressors, often referred to as “silencers," are designed to reduce the noise signature of a discharged firearm by trapping and cooling the expanding gases that exit the muzzle, thereby dampening the sound intensity.

Incorporating a pistol compensator like the Faxon EXOS on a carry gun brings its own set of considerations. The compensator’s ability to reduce recoil and muzzle rise translates into quicker, more accurate defensive shooting. The enhanced control and stability can be crucial in a high-stress situation, where the shooter may need to make multiple shots under duress.

However, there are trade-offs. A compensator, by design, adds length and potentially some snag points to the firearm, which may hinder a smooth draw from concealment.

Moreover, the redirected gases and increased muzzle flash could be disorienting in low-light conditions, which is a typical scenario for defensive encounters. There’s also the consideration of the increased noise level, which can be a factor in enclosed spaces.

What Does a Compensator Do On a Pistol
Add a comp to your Sig P320!

For those who carry daily, the decision to add a compensator must be weighed against these potential drawbacks.

Regular training and familiarization with the modified setup are imperative to ensure that the advantages can be fully utilized when they count.

From my experience, while a compensator can give shooters a performance edge, it demands practice to adapt to its function and potential pickiness with ammo. In my experience, I’ve found that 124-grain loads work the best.

What is better silencer or compensator? Choosing between a compensator and a suppressor comes down to the shooter’s needs: control and precision with the former, and stealth and noise reduction with the latter.

RELATED – Glock 43x Threaded Barrel and Compensator Combo

Pistol Compensator Pros & Cons

Advantages of Using The Faxon EXOS Pistol Compensator:

  • Reduction in Recoil and Muzzle Rise: Shooters can expect to feel 25-40% less recoil and muzzle flip when using the Faxon EXOS, enhancing overall control.
  • Efficient with High-Power Ammo: The compensator is designed to work harder with more potent rounds, like +P ammo, ensuring the recoil feels the same even with higher-caliber shots.
  • Optimized for Red Dot Optics: It aids in keeping the sight steady, making for quicker and more accurate follow-up shots with red dot sights.
What Does a Compensator Do On a Pistol
The EXOS Comps are like magic. Reduces muzzle flip by 27% on average on the G43!

Potential Downsides:

While the benefits are significant, there are a couple of considerations to keep in mind:

  • Increased Length of the Pistol: Attaching a compensator like the EXOS will add some length to your firearm, which could be a factor in concealability or handling.
  • Need for a Threaded Barrel: Installation requires a threaded barrel. If your pistol isn’t already equipped with one, you may need to invest an additional amount (around $200) to upgrade to a compatible barrel. To ensure optimal performance and compatibility, a Faxon threaded barrel would be the ideal match for the EXOS compensator.

The cons, while present, are relatively minor compared to the performance enhancements offered by a compensator.

For many shooters, these trade-offs are a small price to pay for the significant gains in accuracy and control.

9mm Compensator | Faxon EXOS

The 9mm round remains the most popular choice for concealed carry due to its balance of power and manageability. In enhancing the capabilities of this already versatile caliber, a compensator can be a game-changer, particularly for those who carry daily.

Among the myriad options, the Faxon EXOS compensator stands out for its exceptional performance with 9mm firearms.

What Does a Compensator Do On a Pistol

Designed with precision, the Faxon EXOS effectively diminishes muzzle rise and felt recoil, features that are particularly beneficial with the snappier recoil of 9mm rounds in compact carry guns.

By redirecting the gas upwards and dispersing energy more evenly, the shooter can maintain better control and achieve faster, more accurate follow-up shots.

This level of performance refinement is not just appreciated; it’s crucial in high-stress defensive situations where every second and every shot counts.

While the market is flooded with various compensators, the Faxon EXOS distinguishes itself by providing a perfect balance between size, weight, and functionality. Its sleek design minimizes bulk, making it an ideal complement to a concealed carry setup without significantly disrupting the firearm’s profile.


$85.00 at Faxon Firearms VIEW DETAILS
Prices accurate at time of writing

For carriers looking to optimize their 9mm pistols, the Faxon EXOS is a top-tier choice that marries improved shooting dynamics with the practicality demanded by concealed carry needs.

RELATED – Improve Accuracy With the Faxon EXOS Pistol Compensator


A compensator is a vital upgrade for any serious pistol owner. It significantly reduces muzzle rise and the kickback you feel when firing, which sharpens your shot-to-shot accuracy.

These improvements are crucial for both competitive shooters aiming for precision and those carrying concealed looking for more control and accuracy in stressful situations.

Visit Faxon Firearms to discover the EXOS compensator, made to enhance your shooting performance with a cutting-edge design.