I'm in California... Unfortunately. So a suppressor isn't an option for me.
That is true, however unfortunate.... A lot of really good advice in this thread. A lot depends on your specific application. As a Texas resident I have more leeway.
I use different things for different applications including and not limited to: a Lead Sled for sighting in, a suppressor/silencer, a brake, the use of the Past Recoil Shield in the above post, a really good recoil pad - PAST is a great one, and a rifle with a stock that is fits you well. Weight is always a bonus if you do not have to carry the gun a long way.