Crosshair recoil buffers are a hydraulic rate/recoil-reducing buffer which provides a drop-in replacement for existing mechanical buffers. The machined aluminum hydraulic buffer drops into any standard carbine buffer tube to absorb recoil, slow cyclic rate of fire, and suppress bolt bounce. Linear deceleration technology helps increase service life of parts by reducing the force of impact, and the softer recoil impulse is easier on optics. It works with any standard carbine buffer spring.

AR-15 rifles use a recoil spring to cycle the action. For reliability, Stoner used a buffer and a spring. After firing, gas pushes the bolt carrier group back into the buffer tube. The bolt pushes against the buffer’s mass compressing the spring. The spring stores the energy and pushes the buffer and bolt carrier group forward. The moving weights inside the buffer keep the bolt from bouncing.

Barnes Ballistics Research conducted a series of tests to analyze and assess a Crosshair recoil buffer built for the AR-15 platform. It was noted during accuracy testing that there was a significant difference of felt bolt bounce by the shooter when comparing the Crosshair recoil buffer to the stock buffer. While firing full auto during the cyclic rate test, there is an added level of control of the firearm due to the lowered rate of fire. This aids the shooter and his ability to reduce muzzle climb and stay on target.
-Greggory Sloan, Barnes Ballistics Lab

The carbine length gas system on direct impingement AR rifles is the 7” long. This provides less time for the brass to cool and contract before the gas pushes the bolt carrier group back to extract it. Many AR manufacturers, seeking to prevent malfunctions with popular brands of under-loaded cheap ammunition, over-drill their gas ports from the military spec of .063 and use a standard weight carbine buffer. This causes excessive pressure which can create excessive wear on the action spring, receiver extension, bolt carrier, and extractor, and exponentially increases malfunctions. We can mitigate all these issues by using a hydraulic buffer.

The Crosshair hydraulic buffer reduces the energy transferred to the rifle and moves the gun less. It accomplishes this by reducing the bolt carrier reaction force and return velocity after each round is fired. When the bolt goes forward and chambers it takes a fraction of a second for the hydraulics to go all the way forward to stop the bolt when closing. When using a carbine length gas system, the delay allows the hot expanded brass to shrink back down more which allows easier extraction from the chamber. Less recoil aids in fast follow-up shots, too.


The Crosshair buffer housing is made from a high-strength aluminum alloy that is highly corrosion resistant and designed for use in the most extreme environments. Durable high-impact steel striker cap withstands long use.

I got mine and rushed home to throw it into a gun and get to the range. As promised, installation is simple – you just replace the buffer. If you have a serviceable recoil spring, you may use the same spring. The first thing you notice when doing a function check it that the buffer doesn’t just stop at the end of the receiver extension. When you pull the charging handle back, it kind of mushes to a stop.

I loaded up about 300 rounds of Walmart American Eagle Ammunition 62 grain green tip with my Caldwell Mag Charger and started with a Colt M-4. With a Colt recoil spring and an H2 buffer, split times are almost exactly .1 seconds. Installing the Crosshair with the stock Colt recoil spring had no measurable difference in cyclic rate. I did notice a reduction in muzzle climb and better target transition. There was a slight reduction in felt recoil.

I switched to a PAC West lower and a Colt LE 6920 16” M-4 Upper. The amount of felt recoil is minimal, but that’s not the primary purpose of this device. The reduction in muzzle rise helps you stay on target, especially beneficial during rapid shooting for follow-up shots and target transitions.

I started with a Sprinco WHITE Spring, STANDARD Power Buffer Spring. This worked well with both the H2 buffer and the Crosshair hydraulic buffer. Because I had them, I tried the Sprinco RED and ORANGE Carbine springs. They were too strong for this set up and did not function well. A simple test to see if your gun is over-sprung is to load a magazine with one round, load it and fire. If the bolt locks back, your bolt is going all the way back. If the bolt fails to lock back, your buffer and spring are probably too heavy.

A Crosshair hydraulic buffer will enhance any gun, but it is particularly useful…
If you are shooting full auto or very fast semi-auto. (you guys know who you are.)
If you will be shooting with a suppressor.
If you will be shooting hot loads or very heavy bullets.
If you want maximum recoil reduction.

Adding a Crosshair hydraulic buffer will give you a higher functioning rifle and extend the service life of its parts. It keeps the rifle in battery slightly longer so the extractor is more effective. The Crosshair buffer can also reduce the recoil impulse especially with over-gassed guns allowing for more efficient shooting.

Crosshair Hydraulic Buffer features:

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  • Drop-in Replacement
  • Reduces Felt Recoil
  • Improves Accuracy
  • Reduces Bolt Bounce
  • Protects Optics from recoil damage

The Crosshair recoil buffer is compatible with .223 and 5.56x45mm NATO cartridges. Machined aluminum exterior, green anodized finish, steel striker cap. 3½” (8.8cm) long, .95″ (2.4cm) O.D. 3.2 oz. (91g) wt. For use on rifles fitted with M4-type collapsible butt stock.

Where to Buy

The Crosshair recoil buffer can be purchased from:

Photo courtesy of Crosshair