The AR-15 is America’s most popular rifle, and for good reason. It’s an amazing platform that can be assembled in almost limitless configurations due to the vast number of aftermarket accessories available for it. These days 3 Gun AR setups are all the rage as competitors try and squeeze every bit of accuracy as they can while keeping their rifles as light as possible. Another desirable attribute to a competition rifle is smoothness. A lighter recoil and minimal muzzle climb allows for faster followup shots down range. One way to do this is with muzzle brakes or by running rifle length uppers.
Another way to make your rifle smooth like butter is by swapping out the buffer. The folks over at KynSHOT has one they claim will reduce recoil, improve reliability, reduce wear and tear on parts, suppress bolt bounce and reduce the shock and vibration on optics. That’s a mighty bold claim from swapping out one part.
So what makes KynSHOT’s buffer so special compared to the competition? Most AR-15 buffers come with various types of cylindrical steel or tungsten weights depending on the buffer size. KynSHOT’s is a hydraulic buffer, essentially a shock absorber for your AR. It’s made out of 17-4 stainless steel and weights in at 4.2 ounces.
The first thing you notice about the KynSHOT buffer is how pretty it looks. The stainless body and buffer face looks of very high quality. Side-by-side with my standard carbine buffer you can see the size difference. The KynSHOT buffer just drops right in like any standard buffer, it takes 5 minutes tops to install it. Their buffer works with any standard buffer spring, but retailer NoKick.com recommends on their KynSHOT product page to use their buffer with the JP Tuned and Polished Extra Power Buffer Spring to make your rifle even smoother.
I don’t have one of those, but I do have a Damage Industries Enhanced Buffer Spring (pictured below) that I used for the test. You might be thinking, it’s just a spring. While I can’t vouch for the JP Tuned buffer spring, I love the Enhanced spring from Damage Industries. Even with the standard carbine buffer the Enhanced Buffer Spring ran smoother and was much more quieter, no more SPROING sound.
Back to the KynSHOT, so how did it feel? I used the KynSHOT buffer with both the standard buffer spring and Damage Industries spring in two different AR-15 rifles. A 16″ Bravo Company mid-length upper with a standard A2 birdcage muzzle device and with a 16″ Primary Weapons Systems piston-driven AR-15 (seen above). Check out our review of the Primary Weapons Systems AR-15 from a while back. Oh yeah, back to the buffer, so how did it feel?
After the first few shots it was pretty evident that the KynSHOT had an effect on the rifle. The AR-15 is not a hard hitter when it comes to recoil, the .223 and 5.56 rounds are pretty tame to shoot. However it did feel smoother and the recoil was less pronounced. This was more so on the Bravo Company AR-15 with the A2 birdcage as the PWS AR-15 has the PWS FSC compensator which reduced much of the recoil already, but I did feel the difference with the PWS rifle as well. Follow-up shots were a bit quicker. Reliability was not affected, which is a downfall of some of the other hydraulic buffers on the market.
I used the KynSHOT buffer over four range sessions and put around 500 rounds downrange and didn’t have a single malfunction. The buffer did seem to cycle slower however. The one major downfall to the KynSHOT buffer which holds true for most other hydraulic buffers is when pulling back the bolt with the charging handle. Because of the extra length of the KynSHOT buffer compared to a standard buffer it took increased effort to pull back on the charging handle and made it feel mushy as you tried to lock back the bolt. Another downfall is price, the model I used retails for $110 which is significantly more than a standard buffer. If you’re a competitor trying to get an edge or just looking to make your rifle as smooth as possible then the price may not be an issue to you. KynSHOT also offers a 10 year one million round warranty on their buffers which is a pretty awesome deal.
– Reduces recoil
– Faster follow-up shots
– 10 Year/one million round warranty
– Makes charging handle feel mushy
– Price (although this is relative)
One thing I wasn’t sure belonged in the Pro or a Con column was the fact that it causes the buffer to cycle slower. This can lead to short stroking, but it also helps reduce the recoil.
The KynSHOT hydraulic buffer performed as expected, it reduced recoil and made for a smoother running AR-15. It was not without it’s faults however, but that’s how it usually goes with performance parts. Is this an absolute must have for your rifle? Probably not, is it something that’s nice to have? Definitely. If you’ve already modded out your rifle and are looking to make it even smoother then the KynSHOT is definitely a worth while addition. Just bought an AR-15 that’s completely stock? Throwing in a KynSHOT wouldn’t be a bad idea either. For more info, check out Kynshot.com.
The KynSHOT Hydraulic Buffer is also available online at Brownells.com.
Check out all of our past reviews at our Reviews Page.