Why Do I Need A Comp On A 9mm? | Gun Guy Thoughts

KKM Barrel

Glock 19 KKM Barrel Firing Federal HST 124 Grain +p Ammo

Since I have been working on this Roland Special series recently, many of you have asked why I need a comp on a Glock 19. You ask if the recoil is too much or point out that it can direct gasses back at the shooter. Well, the truth is, I don’t need a compensator on a 9mm, I want one.

There is a large difference between need and want before you keyboard warriors out there get dem typing fingers warmed up.

Why would I want something that internet gun wisdom says is a liability? Just reading through the comments on the video post “Comps Won’t Get You Killed” not only nearly gave me cancer, but they were full of that aforementioned internet wisdom. I’ll just lay out some bullet points covering some of my favorite nuggets of internet wisdom below.

  • It’s just another hole to get dirt in.
  • It will destroy your night vision.
  • The compensator will throw unburnt powder and debris into your eyes and blind you.
  • It’s louder than a bare muzzle.
  • A modified carry gun will get you convicted of premeditated murder. (This one is my personal favorite.)

I don’t think I have the patience to address every one of the complaints that I saw in the comments, but I will touch on the few favorites I listed above and give you my personal thoughts on them. Granted I have not done real, scientific testing to back up my feels, but there is plenty of real world use by guys and gals that rely on their sidearm for some reasonably dangerous jobs that cause most of us to poop our pants on a daily basis to rely on for data.

It’s just another hole for dirt to get into. – A bit of dirt or debris in the port of a compensator isn’t going to induce a malfunction. If anything the first shot will clear the ports, and the comp will function normally. Keep in mind, as you are carrying your gun in a reasonably good holster and not something ridiculous like Versa Carry, the holster should keep the gun free of debris.

It will destroy your night vision. – A normal bare muzzle has just as much of a chance of destroying your night vision. Several videos on the internet have been made by people that are knowledgeable and trustworthy showing the exact same compensator that I used in the testing being fired under complete darkness as well as with night vision. The results? No adverse effects on night vision.

The compensator will throw unburnt powder and debris into your eyes and blind you. – Every person that made this comment should take a step back and think for a moment. Have you ever carried a revolver? Maybe even tried shooting one from retention? That cylinder gap does a wonderful job of spitting some pretty nasty debris and unburnt powder out at you. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is worse than the compensator due to how far the cylinder gap is from the muzzle. On most comped semi-autos, the ports are far enough from the chamber to allow the powder to get a more complete burn than on a revolver in my humble opinion.

It’s louder than a bare muzzle. – Sure, it might be a touch louder. But stop and think about it, is a few decibels over the 170-180 dB that a bare muzzle normally runs really going to suck that much more? No, it isn’t. I have had cause to shoot a bare muzzle Glock 19 without ears while hunting and have been at the range with friends when they have shot my KKM 4-Port comp without me having ears on. Both suck about equally. Neither is ideal.

A modified carry gun will get you convicted of premeditated murder. – Come on. This is just pure gun shop stupidity. I ask that someone provide a case where an otherwise righteous self-defense shooting resulted in a conviction of any kind because the gun used was modified. Not only has this myth been dispelled by experts in the concealed carry field such as Massad Ayoob, but lawyers have frequently commented on the subject stating that there is simply no evidence of this. Stop being dumb, internet.

Now that we have touched on some of the main complaints that some of our esteemed commenters have made let’s move onto why I would want one. Simply put, it makes me faster. No, I don’t anticipate getting into a gun fight with the great Jerry Michulek or Rob Letham. Why wouldn’t I take every advantage I possibly can? While on a square range the pistol is a joy to shoot, transitioning between targets is significantly faster and follow up shots are also faster. Some people say that it shouldn’t be needed, I counter that I want the advantage. Why would I not use every angle and advantage if faced with a potentially deadly and all around crappy situation? As pro-sportsballer Joe Montana said, if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t trying.

While talking with a colleague, I made the comment that the resistance to comps and ported barrels on carry guns is very much like the resistance to red dots on a carry gun a few years back. Sure there are some older, nonprogressive types that still refuse to see the potential of the red dotted pistol, but many have relaxed their stance to seriously consider it.

Hopefully, this clears things up. I don’t need a compensator or ported barrel on my carry gun, I want one.



Patrick R

Patrick is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Co-Director for TFBTV. He is a verified gun nerd. With a lifelong passion for shooting, he has a love for all types of firearms, especially overly modified plastic handguns, precision rifles, and AR based things. You can follow Patrick on Instagram @tfbpatrick, Facebook, or contact him by email at TFBpatrick@gmail.com.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • Wolfgar

    Well stated! The difference between internet B.S, and reality from an experience shooter. Keep up the good work Patrick, I enjoy your posts.

    • Nicks87

      What exactly is an “experience shooter”? Is that like a bull shooter? Because then your comment makes sense.

      • Wolfgar

        It is opinion based but anyone who can shoot a strong C or B class or above in IPSC is an experienced “handgun” shooter. Bubba who shoots tin cans once a month does not qualify. Speed and accuracy….Speed and accuracy!
        You would be amazed how many law enforcement personnel fail at this. That said there is one I know who is a grand master. Like I said, it is my opinion.

  • Sebastian James Ray

    I tried a lone wolf break on a glock 19, it caused jams when ever the gun was shot limp wrist

    • Dracon1201

      Well don’t shoot it limp wristed then 😂

    • Matt Taylor

      Clearly the breaks fault…

    • Phillip Cooper

      Well then eat your wheaties, and if you don’t stop doing that other thing, you’re going to go BLIND!

    • Gggglock

      Bbbbbbut its a Glock! They CAN’T malfunctuon. Most reliable pistol eva haha da derp durp!

  • Dan K

    I really miss Alex S…

    • Dougscamo

      Alex C, you mean?

      • Dan K

        That’s what I get for making a comment when I’m still in bed.

        • Dougscamo

          Been there….anything I say before 2 cups of coffee is hereby subject to revision…

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      I miss Dan U.

  • needs vs wants

    Want. That’s the key. Gun manufacturers and the accessories market need you to want stuff to stay in business.

  • ExMachina1

    “Have you ever carried a revolver? Maybe even tried shooting one from retention? That cylinder gap does a wonderful job of spitting some pretty nasty debris and unburnt powder out at you.”

    Good article but this is a weak point. Yes, revolvers spit out nasty stuff from the cylinder gap…and every revolver shooter knows to beware of that! Retention shooting a revolver puts that gap *behind* the shooter’s face, shielded by the shooters own body. OTOH, with a comp the muzzle is guaranteed to be out in front and very much on the same plane as the shooter’s eyes. Moreover, revolvers only vent only a fraction of the amount of gas that the comp releases. IMO with this point, you’re only making the argument against comps more damming.

    • Matt Taylor

      I guess I’m just at a loss here. Mind you I am no operator level individual but we did practice a good amount of retention shooting when I worked for the DOC with old Ruger GP-100 .357s and the Ruger SR9. Add in my own random training through the years and I can’t ever think of a time that I’ve been showered with so much gas and powder that it’s an issue in a situation…

  • USMC03Vet

    Aka I don’t troll because I need to. I troll because I want to.

    Bravo. Welcome to the club.

    • plumber576

      World ain’t gonna troll itself!

  • Nicks87

    It’s OK, just admit it, you want one because it looks cool…

    • concerned citizen

      …and John Wick had them on the end of his P30s. 🙂

  • Noneofyourbuisness

    I have multiple cport pistols. Even had a vp9 cported.
    I have never had any problems. Sure they are louder, and they get a little dirtier.
    But it is the faster follow up shots that make it worth, which I think is more important than anything.
    Even my tiny sister who limp wrists her glock (still amazes me) and makes it jam doesent do that with my cports.
    My shoulders with multiple surgeries really appreciate the porting and it makes long days shooting plesant.

  • Christopher Wallace

    Word

  • PTMcCain

    It’s great for a fun gun, and hey, it is YOUR gun, so who cares what the keyboard warriors think? Enjoy and stay safe.

  • A.WChuck

    Here on the Patrick R Blog, another article justifying Patrick’s toys and establishing the tax write off on said toys as a business expense.

    • Reedin

      And don’t forget that if you haven’t put a suppressor on every gun you own, you’re a traitor to the gun industry for not buying already.

  • pun&gun

    I seem to remember one of Ayoob’s books recommending against modifying guns because prosecuting attorneys are slimeballs. Did he change his stance on that?

    • Phillip Cooper

      Concur. Also, didn’t Harold Fish get convicted specifically because the prosecuting attorney made much over his choice of a 10mm pistol as a “better tool for killing”?

      • Wolfgar

        A defense attorney could easily state a tricked out pistol is a sporting
        pistol designed for IPSC and games, not combat disproving any malice intent by use. The 10mm could just as easily be proven to be a viable defensive cartridge designed for bears, not humans as it is used for hunting not combat like the 9mm used by the military and law enforcement. The quality of the attorney will be the deciding factor not the firearm.

      • Dougscamo

        You got my curiosity up and I searched the Fish case and found where the jury had listened to both the 10mm argument and paid a LOT of attention to the use of hollow point ammunition that the prosecution harped on….
        The really ironic part was that the best source available on Fish that is still online came from Dateline NBC….and it was a balanced report for once!

        • Anonymoose

          The conviction came because of other factors, iirc, not his choice of caliber or cartridge.

          • Dougscamo

            I agree that the conviction came as a totality of the circumstances but jury interviews after the conviction showed that the portrayal of the weapon and ammunition was part and parcel of the circumstances….
            The overturning of his conviction (shooting an unarmed man) and exoneration came about from the trial judge’s error in not allowing evidence of the dead guy’s violent tendencies and his effect on others in the manner in which he demonstrated his anger….but I’m just reading it online because Fish has been out of prison and deceased from quite some time. Hadn’t heard of him until Phillip Cooper brought it up….
            Interesting case in that it changed the laws of the state in which it happened….

    • Anonymoose

      He probably did, and he did recommend not to use handloads,but that’s really more of a reliability issue than anything- unless you told the police it was your special handloaded ammo they probably wouldn’t know. Back when Mas said that, it was because certain cops were having issues with their own handloaded ammo functioning in their duty guns.

    • Pleaseee

      I fall in the camp that doesn’t really care what Ayoob and other “experts” have to say. Ayoob, Yeager, Costa, etc really rub me the wrong way. Then again the whole subversion to others promoted in shooting is annoying. I fail to see how people can’t teach themselves for the most part. It isn’t rocket science. It is also comical to see the resumes of these ” experts”. I was a cop, in the coast guard, etc. Well did you ever participate in and win any gun fights? Did you win the Bianchi cup? If not, you’re not anymore qualified than the next guy to teach jack about shooting.

  • DGR

    Id be interested in a comparison of a Comp’d 9mm, vs a 9mm with a longer barrel (same overall length as a comp’d gun). Heck, ill bet most of the benefits a comp gives, you would get with a bare 5.5″ slide/barrel. Not to mention an extended barrel gives you more velocity/accuracy (even if its a small gain, its still a quantifiable gain). I don’t have an issue with comps, but if I’m adding overall length I would just rather have the longer slide/barrel.

  • Phillip Cooper

    Waste of an article. We don’t really care why you want one, it’s fine that you do.

    How about use this effort to write more on the subject of the Roland Special, specifically to continue the series?

  • Edeco

    Well, OK, if you’ve heard one without ear pro and still like it.

    A more valuable comparison though would be G34 vs comped G19, sound measured at the shooters head. The G34 will move the point of origin a bit further out and should be slightly quieter.

    • Jared Vynn

      Or compared with a ported 17 as they are roughly the same size slide.

    • Anonymoose

      It’s not like putting a brake on a rifle. Any way you slice it you’re going to damage your hearing. May as well put a KX3 or an actual suppressor on there.

  • Ryan L

    We get it, glock and glock accessory based posts drive engagement. Quit beating a dead horse. Also be careful about changing the “voice” or “tone” of the posts too much. I already got ENDO -we don’t need another snark meme based honeypot.

  • Surfgun

    Prosecutor asks why you have a compensator? Defendant, so I can shoot more follow up shots. Prosecutor, jurors you heard it from the defendant, he wanted to shoot quickly to put more holes in the poor fatherless criminal victim to insure death.

  • ActionPhysicalMan

    The article was a bit of ‘self gratification” in the first place. Pretty much everyone here knows why one would and wouldn’t have a comp on a carry gun. That Patrick R does and why is not very useful or interesting information.

  • Big Daddy

    Gun guy thoughts not gunfighter thoughts. You do not carry a firearm everyday for your job. Maybe for self-protection but not as a tool for your job.

    I’ll say it again cause it has to and needs to be said. Not on a carry gun. Any experienced person who has used firearms in actual gunfights will tell you do not use them. I have talked to many guys who are experienced law enforcement and gun guys, they say the same thing. Do what you want to a firearm as long as it’s safe. But to fight with a gun is different, it’s not a toy. In a gunfight it’s not sanitary like a range or training course unless they go through a lot of scenarios.

    Unless the item has been tested extensively for carry/actual gunfight conditions you are doing so at your own risk. That goes for a holster system, magazine, ammo and anything you would put on your gun. Ammo goes through testing, would ya carry FMJ in a carry gun? No, because we know through testing that modern bonded JHP are the correct ammunition to use. The same goes for these modifications, unproven, untested and unknown. Unless it has been tested and used in actual duty service it is unproven and can cause you to lose your life.

    Use at your own risk.

    • Phillip Cooper

      .. and yet, it HAS been used in actual duty service.

      Do you now know what a Roland Special is?

      • Big Daddy

        Yes I do and they are used as secondary weapons. They are used by trained teams under different circumstances, not everyday carry sidearms for LEO or civilians. Do we even know what ammo they use in it? I don’t, if you do please tell me.

        They have NOT yet fully reported on their effectiveness and it is still a newly used weapon, I’m sure it’s classified and we are hearing anecdotal evidence. They need more maintenance than most shooters and people that carry are willing to do.

        When I see the majority of LEO and other armed people use them or similar for duty guns I will believe the system has matured enough for the average person to carry. I consider myself average.

        It has not…yet. It is not a mature system. But hey if someone wants to use it, that is their prerogative. Use at your own risk. Most people need to just go out and shoot more not buy more tricked out guns to carry around. But that’s another issue, I still see people carry FMJ in their carry guns.

        When it becomes a proven accepted mature system I will adopt it myself. I am not against improving a system.

        • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

          Yeah. I don’t you are that familiar.

        • DonDrapersAcidTrip

          The point of a roland special was for when all you could have was a handgun with you, you goof

          *posts article about obsolete gun forum wisdom*
          *bunch of people come in to “actually….” and repeat that obsolete gun forum wisdom*

  • ozzallos .

    “Why Do I Need A Comp On A 9mm?”
    Because it works for you. Anybody telling you otherwise is an elitist fudd.

    • Flounder

      Rephrase to “because I want it” and you might be closer to the truth.

  • ActionPhysicalMan

    It is ironic that Patrick who’s only claim to fame is as an internet gun blogger disparages “internet gun wisdom”. It is not like he is a modern day Tom Horn or even Bill Jordan.

    • Dan

      As he tries to spew his internet gun “wisdom” yes it’s very ironic. Someone needs to tell Alex C he left his garden gnome here and to come and get it.

      • ActionPhysicalMan

        I had forgotten that two years ago he was Alex’s gopher and camera man. A year of writing fluff pieces gave him cause to call himself “senior writer”.

    • DonDrapersAcidTrip

      looks like an internet gun wisdom guy having a meltdown over being called out. don’t worry you can still probably impress the 80 year olds in the local gun store

      • ActionPhysicalMan

        I don’t think Patrick is having a meltdown. He just being hypocritical. I myself agree with putting anything one wants on a carry gun. I do it myself. I very much doubt that that any of the modifications will will cause him a ill effect if he ever has to use it.

        • DonDrapersAcidTrip

          No I was referring to you

  • Toxie

    “Granted I have not done real, scientific testing to back up my feels, but there is plenty of real world use by guys and gals that rely on their sidearm for some reasonably dangerous jobs that cause most of us to poop our pants on a daily basis to rely on for data.”
    To be fair – ALMOST NONE of those people have a comp on their pistol. Most of the real-world pistol use in the US is done by law enforcement, and they don’t use modified pistols as a rule.
    Now, you like it and more power to you – can’t argue that! IMO if you’re going to comp your gun a longer barrel and/or slide is beddah. Make the weight and length you’re adding useful! A comp’d 19 that’s as long and nearly as weighty as a 17 is…pointless IMO. Spend that $ getting the 17 grip shaved instead.

    • Flounder

      Toxie, I agree with you completely, except on shaving the G17 grip… That sounds nerve inducing to me. But that is just my feels X’D

    • iksnilol

      But a comp works better with a shorter barrel, more gas vented.

    • DonDrapersAcidTrip

      can any of you even bother to read up on the roland special before you embarass yourselves like this lol

  • Flounder

    With you on the dirt,

    The nightvision… I don’t remember any worthwhile comments about nightvision…
    The comments were more like you were going to be visually impared to a greater degree with a comp than without. And that it was foolish to put yourself in a position where you are inviting your gun to blow crap at you. Lets see you shoot it without eyepro and see if you don’t agree! One more point A g19 with a comp has a comparable length to a g17. You have a flashlight guy these days… Get him to bring his equipment out and test the actually brightness of things! You have the resources and the job! XD Get to testing, Make it fun, enjoy it!

    Looks like i got too excited about that nightvision crack, and addressed your third point above. Autoloader =/= revolver. Most usually don’t switch between those, but your point is valid, getting off topic, but valid.

    This point is idiocy… Go test it, bring back the numbers, and keep in mind the scale. Are you actually suggesting that something isn’t that much louder when in fact it is an order of magnitude greater?
    (Decibel ratings are exponential… So an increase of 10 decibels is actually 10 times louder. IE, 40db is 1/10 the sound of 50db not 4/5ths the sound)

    The legal brief (youtube channel) has a worthwhile video on this exact topic and I believe you have covered them here. This is a valid point. A heavily modified carry gun may get you in a little more trouble but it probably won’t get the police to press charges by itself, so I think we agree completely here.

    The last few paragraphs are perfect in a certain light. Maybe even an article there on why we carry and how we never plan or want to shoot anyone. Or less importantly why we carry what we carry.

  • Bill

    “Granted I have not done real, scientific testing to back up my feels,”

    Well. don’t do real testing and just go with your “feels.”

    “there is plenty of real world use by guys and gals that rely on their sidearm for some reasonably dangerous jobs that cause most of us to poop our pants on a daily basis to rely on for data.”

    Who ARE these guys and gals and where are these volumes of data? I’m a member of NTOA and my state affiliate and none of the HSLD types there seem to use them on working guns. FBI HRT doesn’t. NYPD ESU doesn’t. USDOE OST doesn’t. LAPD SWAT doesn’t, neither does Miami Dade. LASO SIS doesn’t. USMS SOG doesn’t. USSS doesn’t. USDOS DSS doesn’t. On the rare occasion I’ve hung with my military counterparts they don’t. So just who does, other than a guy named Roland?

    • Dan

      He has probably only seen one or two people or heard from a friend of a friend. I swear this guy makes up 90 percent of the “facts” he uses.

    • CameronBenz

      Actually, “Roland” is a former Ranger and plank owner with Asymmetric Warfare Group. He retired January 1 2017.

  • thedarkknightreturns

    For a lot of piehitters, putting accessory comps on 9mm handguns is the hipster thing to do right now if you want to trick your blam blam out to operate correctly. For me, comps on 9 mils are the equivalent in the fashion world to toe shoes. Keep operating. Don’t forget to get your usual Venti gluten-free non gmo vegan latte on your way to operate on tactical goat Yoga mats.

  • Dan Goodwin

    Just ordered AlphaWolf 27/32 9mm threaded for my old issued pistol that I bought after department trade-in, plus 3-pack of Magpul GL9 26 mags. Mulling Primary Weapon v. TBRCi comps.

    My Shield 9 isn’t enough BBs in my burg these days. Still on the job on & off duty.

    Faster splits matter in the real world.

    Best,

    Uncle Dan

  • Dan Goodwin

    P.S. Turning all of my legacy .40s into 9s, for all the right reasons

  • Pleaseee

    How about the best reason of all? Comps fired with non major loaded 9mm do not produce enough gas to really do anything. Shoot Uspsa open and find out. You are experiencing what is mostly a mixture of placebo effect and extra muzzle weight. Your 124gr hst @ just under 1200 fps doesn’t have the oomph to make the excess length, noise, and cost worth while. I will also add that dot sights on carry pistols is still not mainstream. It is yet another thing you guys attempt to promote. Comping a 9mm with standard loads is about as logical as comping a .22

    • Quasimofo

      This. I’d be curious to see how a comp compares to a threaded-on barrel weight of similar mass when running a G19 with standard loads. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the results were pretty similar.

      • Pleaseee

        If comps were effective with standard 9mm ammo and the user must have a Glock, a ported G17 would be the logical choice here. Comping a g19 results in nearly equal length with less actual barrel length than the G17 with less capacity from standard mags, and a slightly shorter sight radius. This tacticool tom foolery at best. I bet a non comped metal frame gun recoils as flat if not more so than this wiz banged Glock. Cz 75 anyone?

        • DonDrapersAcidTrip

          “slightly shorter sight radius”

          it has a red dot dingus. and people who’ve put actually time on these guns instead of gun forum randos repeating old man gun almanac cliches have produced measurable improvements with the comps on. watch out, grandpa with his metal frame gun coming through to hassle “those kids nowadays and their polymer 9mms with comps”

        • SpartacusKhan

          it’s the port size and design that determines which ammo load is effective. there are smaller comps that work just fine with standard 9mm ammo and up. My EDC happens to be a CZ-75. With a threaded barrel and a magwell. Yep, IWB 24/7, sometimes even when I sleep.

  • CameronBenz

    And yet the real reason for the comp originally was to keep the soot off the lens of the X300 weapon light. And it works quite well for that.

  • DonDrapersAcidTrip

    lmfao what a nutjob you are. why put muzzle devices on any of your rifles? they’re just a crutch right? apparently we should all go out of our way to make firing guns as difficult as possile to prove our fragile masculinity to the world.

  • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

    Hey pumpkin. When I say I am not the best at something that is usually me being humble and/or pointing out that I am not the top 10 in the world. I insult some of you readers because a select few of you are a bit thick and don’t think too good. You might be one of them.