How to Remove a Flash Hider from Your Gun

How to Remove a Flash Hider from Your Gun

How to Remove a Flash Hider from Your Gun

There’s a very good chance that if you bought a complete AR-15 from a dealer or even just a complete upper receiver, it’s going to have a flash hider on the end of the barrel.

Flash hiders are great muzzle devices, so why would you want to remove one? There are a number of possibilities, including replacement with a different brand or style that suits your needs better, but by and large, the biggest reason for removing a flash hider is so that you can attach a suppressor.

Step-by-Step Flash Hider Removal

Removing a flash hider is a fairly simple process, but you’ve got to have the right tools for the job and know what you’re doing in order for the removal to be successful without damaging your gun.

Secure the Barrel of the Gun

Before you start the removal process, you’ve got to secure your gun barrel so that it’s not moving around on you while you try to remove the flash hider.

It’s recommended that you use a barrel clamp or reaction rod to protect your barrel from any unwanted movement or bending. While you could accomplish the same thing by just putting your receiver in a vise, that puts extra stress on the barrel and it could result in breaking, bending, or shearing.

Determine How the Flash Hider was Secured

There are a variety of different ways that flash hiders are attached to a barrel. No one way is better than another; they’re all just different ways of achieving the same goal. Here are the most common methods used in securing a flash hider:

  • Screwed on tight
  • Pinned and welded
  • Secured with Loctite
  • Secured with Rocksett

Removing a Pinned and Welded Flash Hider

Before you attempt to remove your flash hider, you’ll first want to identify if it’s been pinned and welded in place.

Determining if your muzzle device has been pinned and welded is usually easy to spot with a quick visual inspection. Look at the rear of your muzzle device where it attaches to the barrel and look for a small (3mm-5mm) hole that has been filled with a pin and welded in place.

Use an Angle Grinder with Cut Off Wheel

Some people aren’t comfortable with the idea of taking an angle grinder to their gun. If that’s the case, take it to a competent gunsmith. They can complete the job for you.

If you’re adventurous and want to do it yourself, here’s what you need to do. You’ll want to apply the angle grinder to the top of the weld and cut through the weld to expose the pin. Once the pin is exposed, you can drive it out and then unthread the flash hider from the barrel.

Remember: you only need to cut through the surface weld. Don’t cut through the threading on the barrel.

ATF Warning

Most of the time when a flash hider has been pinned and welded, it’s because the muzzle device is being used on a barrel that is less than 16 inches in length and needs the device to bring it up to the legal length.

If you remove a pinned and welded flash hider on a barrel that is under 16 inches, you need to file a Form 1 with ATF and have the approved form in hand before removing it. Failure to do so will result in your possession of an unregistered Short Barreled Rifle, which is an NFA item, and you can face serious fines and penalties for this.

Unscrew Flash Hider with a Wrench

The simplest way to remove a flash hider is with a wrench. Whether you choose to use a regular wrench from your toolbox or a purpose-built wrench like the ones found on an AR-15 armorer’s tool is up to you. Either way, the goal is to grip the flash hider securely in the wrench and give it some good, hard turns.

If it doesn’t break loose after attempting to apply a reasonable amount of torque to the barrel, then it’s probably not just screwed on tight and there’s some other force at work keeping the flash hider attached to the barrel.

Removing a Flash Hider from a Loctite Seal

Loctite is the most commonly used way to secure a flash hider to a barrel. Thankfully, Loctite can be defeated with heat, usually in the 400-500 degree range.

Apply High Levels of Heat

Quite simply, all you’ve got to do is heat up the flash hider where it joins your barrel threads and bring it up to a temperature where the Loctite breaks down and releases the bond. Here are the two most commonly used methods of heat application:

  • Torch
    • By far, a torch is the easiest and fastest way to reach the temperature
  • Heat Gun
    • This method will take longer to reach the temperature, but it’ll still work.

Heating Time Varies

Obviously, the time it takes to heat the Loctite will vary. Mainly, it will depend on your heating source and the amount of Loctite used on the threads.

Removing a Flash Hider from a Rocksett Seal

Rocksett is a ceramic cement that is sometimes used to attach flash hiders. Unlike Loctite, which requires heat, Rocksett is a water-soluble compound, meaning that it breaks down when wet. As a result, it’s fairly easy to remove a Rocksett seal.

Soak Barrel in Warm Water

You don’t need to soak the entire barrel in warm water – just the muzzle end. You only need to submerge the flash hider and the threads. Let it soak in the water for a few hours so that the compound breaks down.

It’s also a good idea to spray WD-40 on your barrel first to prevent any rusting that might occur.

Apply Torque

Once the Rocksett has been broken down, all you’ve got to do is apply some torque. Go back to the top where we discuss removal with a wrench. It’s that simple.

At Home Flash Hider Removal Made Easy

As you can see, it’s not difficult to remove your flash hider so long as you’ve got the right tools and the knowledge to back it up.

Once your flash hider is removed, you can easily attach another muzzle device. Obviously, we’d recommend going with a suppressor.

At Silencer Central, we’ve been selling silencers all day every day for more than 15 years to people in all 42 states where suppressors are legal. Moreover, we’ve been selling them to people from the comfort of their homes, taking care of the entire process on our end, and delivering your suppressor right to your front door upon approval.

When you’re ready to experience silence made simple, give us a call and we’ll get you started today!