Tactical Solutions Pac-Lite Compensator Review
Recently I reviewed a Ruger 22/45 Lite Pistol and stumbled across a photo on the internet showing the 22/45 Lite with a Tactical Solutions Pac-Lite Compensator and I was instantly captivated by the enhanced look of the pistol. At that moment I knew a Pac-Lite Compensator was a "must have" for this pistol. After taking a look at the Tactical Solutions website and seeing their MSRP of $42, I felt this upgrade was reasonably priced. Because I'm always looking for the best price (value), I did a quick internet search and found that I could get one from Amazon for $37.33 with free shipping and felt this was a heck of a deal for the enhanced look you get by adding the compensator and the quality you get from Tactical Solutions products.
During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturer's claims where possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Tactical Solutions website on 9/11/12 and this information gives the key features for the Pac-Lite Compensator.
When my Tactical Solutions Pac-Lite Compensator arrived, it was packaged as shown below.
The two photos below show everything on the cardboard backing. Not that it matters, but I think their packaging should have put the compensator above the lower text allowing you to see American flag and "Precision Crafted in the United States". The color compensator shown in this review is the Matte Black which is model number PLCMP-02.
These next two photos give you some isometric views looking at the back and front of the compensator. The compensator is a single piece that is machined from 6061-T6 aluminum alloy. Although not specifically stated at their website, I believe the black compensators are type III anodized which is typical for aluminum firearms products. The internally threaded (1/2" x 28 TPI) hole depth is about 0.55" so I believe it could screw on an external thread of about 0.50" in length. The threaded hole in the compensator also has a generous countersink to ensure you never have a sharp corner on the compensator bear up against a radius on the barrel's external thread. The compensator has 40 radial holes (~.187" in dia.) in eight rows of five each and eight holes (~.15" in dia.) that pass axially through the material between each radial hole. The holes are symmetric about the centerline of the part so gasses should escape evenly producing minimal interruption (if any) as the bullet exits the barrel. Overall there is a large amount of breaking (compensating) surface for the pressure to act against to help reduce muzzle flip. One could argue about the amount of muzzle flip you get from a rimfire pistol, but any reduction is always better for quicker target acquisition.
As stated in the specifications, the outside diameter measured 1.00" and the compensator had a total length of 2.00".
The Pac-Lite Compensator weighed in at 1.40 ounces and the thread protector on the Ruger 22/45 Lite weighed in at 0.35 ounces. Basically you are adding about one ounce to the total weight of your pistol when you add the compensator.
To install the compensator, simply unscrew the thread protector and screw on the compensator. Because the 22/45 Lite Pistol comes with a spring washer that goes between the barrel surface and the compensator surface, there is some ability to clock the compensator so the radial holes line up with (or not) the sights. Alignment is only for the look of the pistol. The compensator will function regardless of how it is clocked on the barrel.
These next couple of photos show the compensator installed on the pistol and as I mentioned earlier, I think this is a great look for the Ruger 22/45 Lite Pistol.
I performed some range testing using the Pac-Lite Compensator and a Bushnell TSR-25 Red Dot Sight and was not able to detect any change in group size comparing groups with or without the compensator. I also tried to detect differences in muzzle flip shooting with or without the compensator and it is hard for me to say there was any significant difference. I might have been able to detect some reduction, but it wasn't a night and day difference.
The photos below are of a two 5-shot group that I shot from a bench at 13 yards while using the compensator. They measured 0.82" and 0.85". These groups are similar in size to what I achieved during my range tests of the Ruger 22/45 Lite Pistol where I was shooting without the compensator.
I love the look of the compensator on the Ruger 22/45 Lite Pistol and the compensator along with the Bushnell sight makes for an extremely attractive shooting platform. Separately I shot some groups with and without the compensator and couldn't see any noticeable change in group size. The aluminum compensator adds about 1 once to the weight of the pistol and I feel the looks are well worth the weight. I can't say that I could tell any significant recoil difference when shooting this rimfire pistol with the compensator, so from my view the addition is primarily from a looks perspective. For a price of about $38, it is well worth it.