New to suppressors or just need a refresher? Our Suppressor Guide has you covered. Whether you’re not sure what type of suppressor to get and what mounts it needs or you’d like to learn more about using a suppressor in general we’ve got your back.
Suppressor Guide Index
Benefits of Using a Suppressor
Before we go into finding the best suppressor for you and tips for using it, you may want to know why you should even spend the time and money to get one. Most of us never even considered getting a silencer until our first experience with them. One thing is certain once you’ve experienced suppressed life it’s hard to go back. For those that haven’t had a chance to get hands on with one or just don’t have much experience, here are some of the biggest benefits of shooting suppressed.
The fact that suppressors reduce the sound of a firearm is well known, but how much of a difference they make in protecting your hearing is usually overlooked. Have you ever noticed that even if you wear hearing protection your hearing is declining over time? A large reason is that traditional hearing protection isn’t capable of reducing sound to safe levels for most firearms.
A rifle is around 165 decibels (dB) (decibels are essentially a measurement system for sound levels), the common “hearing safe” standard you’ll hear is 140dB for one shot in a 24 hour time period. Keep in mind this is only for 1 shot at 140dB per 24 hours, the second shot alone can cause hearing damage. Now a good pair of hearing protection has a rating of 30 NRR (Noise Reduction Rating), when you convert this to decibels it comes out to 11.5 of decibel reduction. Even with hearing protection your rifle is still at 153.5dB, which is well above hearing safe! To top it off, if you’re using a muzzle brake, short barreled rifle or shooting in confined spaces (barricades, indoors etc.) you’re experiencing concussive hearing loss. This occurs from the concussion of shooting going through your facial bones to your ear drums. Mark Kuczka from Accurate Ordnance wrote a great article going over this, check it out here.
This is where suppressors come to the rescue. Our Micro30 even in it’s short configuration (5″) will bring that rifle down to right about 140dB (at the ear). Now when you factor in using your traditional hearing protection, you’re all the way down to 128.5dB. On top of that suppressors direct the firearms blast forward and away from the shooter to help prevent concussive hearing loss.
Teaching New Shooters
Shooting a gun for the first time can be intimidating. Especially for younger students and those who haven’t spent time around firearms. Suppressors not only make the firearm quieter but help reduce the recoil. This allows a new shooter to spend more time focusing on the fundamentals, instead of worrying about the gun going off. They also allow instructors to better communicate without having to shout over gun fire.
Contrary to video games, using a suppressor does not reduce your range or accuracy. Suppressors can actually increase muzzle velocity with what’s called free bore boost. In simple terms the suppressor can act almost as a barrel extension and increase muzzle velocities up to 50fps. Our suppressors are also tested for accuracy and minimal point of impact shift. This means your rifle’s accuracy won’t be negatively affected and you can take your suppressor off and put it back on without having to re-zero your rifle.
As mentioned previously, suppressors help prevent the shooter from anticipating the shot resulting in improved fundamentals. The reduction of recoil allows you to maintain your position and keeps you on target for better follow on shots. You’d be surprised by how much a suppressor can positively impact your shooting ability.
Prevent Noise Pollution
Let’s face it, more and more people are trying to close gun ranges, hunting land, and keep you from shooting on private property. Using a suppressor will help reduce these people’s noise complaints. Even your gun loving neighbors will appreciate your suppressor when you’re sending rounds downrange at the end of the day!
Finding the Correct Suppressor
Trying to figure out which suppressor to get can be daunting. To clear things up you first need to decide what calibers you’d like to suppress. Generally suppressors are going to fall into rifle, pistol and rimfire categories. If you’re looking to suppress center fire rifle calibers you can jump to our rifle suppressors here. Our pistol suppressors cover almost every pistol caliber along with a majority of lever actions, and some straight walled rifle cartridges, find the best option for your here. If you’re looking to suppress rimfire calibers click here.
Our rifle suppressors are all quick detach and use our Dual Taper Locking System™. Unlike some QD mounting systems our Dual Taper Locking System™ provides repeatable point of impact shift and doesn’t negatively effect the accuracy of your rifle. To ensure this, we test fire every single one before they ship. All of our rifle suppressors are multi-caliber and rated for practically every center-fire rifle round up to .300RUM (with the exception of the Razor5.56) with no barrel length restrictions. Whether your priority is maximum suppression, ultralight weight suppression or staying as compact as possible we have a solution for you.
The SurgeX is one of the quietest suppressors on the market for those who have suppression at the top of their priority list. The Surge is Belt Fed Rated® to withstand anything you throw at it. With ADAPT™ Modular Technology the SurgeX can be configured for maximum suppression or minimal blowback with a compact size. The SurgeX is also universally threaded in order to work with our Universal Direct Thread mounts, Titanium R.U.M. or other industry standard mounts.
If weight is your priority, but you don’t want the sacrifice in durability typically associated with lightweight suppressors, the Radiant762 is for you! At only 12.5oz the Radiant is still Full-Auto Rated with no barrel length restrictions. The Radiant features our ADAPT™ Modular Technology giving it 2 lengths in one suppressor.
At only 6.4″, the Razor762 is the perfect combination of sound suppression and length/weight savings. The Razor762 has reduced gas blowback which means your semi-auto platforms will run cleaner and you’ll have less gas in your face. The Razor is Belt Fed Rated® to withstand any rate of fire.
The Razor556 is the built specifically for 5.56 in order to have improved sound performance and weight reduction. The Razor556 has reduced gas blowback which means your semi-auto platforms will run cleaner and you’ll have less gas in your face. The Razor556 is Belt Fed Rated® to withstand any rate of fire.
Trying to stay as short as possible? The Micro30’s short config. adds less than 3.5″ to the end of the muzzle device. The game changer is that you’re not stuck with a micro style suppressor due to our ADAPT™ Modular Technology. The Micro30 has reduced gas blowback for a cleaner running gun with less gas in your face.
Our pistol suppressors provide industry leading suppression to your handguns, pistol caliber carbines, lever actions and some straight wall caliber rifles. With ADAPT™ Modular Technology the Obsidan9/45 gives you two lengths in one suppressor. Our pistol suppressors are fully user serviceable. With 100% Stainless Steel baffles the Obsidian can use virtually any cleaning method. The Obsidian9/45 are Belt Fed Rated® to withstand any rate of fire and last a lifetime.
The Obsidian45 is the quietest 45 suppressor on the market and is rated for practically all centerfire pistol calibers. The Obsidian45 isn’t just limited to pistol calibers, it can handle some lever actions including 45-70, .300BLK subsonic and 450 Bushmaster to name a few.
The Obsidian9 is for those looking for a shorter, lighter and even quieter option for their 9mm hosts. Even though the Obsidian9 is optimized for 9mm it’s not limited to it. It’s also rated for most pistol calibers with a bullet of 9mm or smaller, 300BLK Subsonic, and 350 Legend.
Don’t overlook a rimfire suppressor. They are tons of fun and a great way to introduce and train new shooters. They also offer the quietest sound levels and cheapest ammunition so you can enjoy them without breaking the bank.
Rated for 22LR, 22 WMR, 17 HMR, 17 WSM, and 5.7x28mm the Oculus22 provides unbelievable suppression in both it’s short (3.25”) and long (5.25”) configurations. With cleaning and durability in mind the entire suppressor is machined from 17-4 Stainless Steel bar stock.
At only 3.3 ounces the Mustang22 is one of the lightest suppressors on the market. The Mustang22 is constructed of Hard Coat Anodized Aluminum and Titanium in order to be as light as possible while retaining durability.
Hybrid suppressors are designed to suppress rifle and pistol calibers and generally have the ability to be used with large bore rifle calibers. Our Alaskan series is designed to suppressor rifle calibers up to .338 and 9mm, .357 mag etc. in order to provide the most versatility possible. They also feature universal threads in order to use a multitude of mounts to include our Rugged Universal Mount (R.U.M.), Direct Thread Mounts or Universal Cage for pistol attachments.
The Alaskan360 is light enough to fit well on a handgun, while having the durability to handle a full-auto rifle. This makes it extremely flexible in order to handle various hosts and calibers. The Alaskan360 ships with our R.U.M. in order to attach to any of our Dual Taper Mounts.
The Alaskan360Ti is the lightest suppressor in it’s class. Making it perfect for backcountry hunters who are counting their ounces. The Alaskan360Ti also works great with pistol calibers for individuals looking to have the lightest system weight possible.
Finding the Correct Attachments for your Firearms
To start, if you’re not sure what thread pitch your firearm is our Thread Pitch Guide has you covered.
If you’re using a rifle suppressor you’ll need one of our Dual Taper Locking System™ Muzzle Devices. Our rifle silencers are designed to be cross compatible and can attach to any of our muzzle brakes or R3 Flash Hiders. We offer muzzle brakes and R3 Flash Hiders in multiple thread pitches to use your suppressor on as many compatible host weapons as possible.
In order to mount pistol suppressors on various hosts with different operating systems and threads pitches, we have multiple attachments to give you as much versatility as possible. Generally for handguns you’ll need a booster system to allow the pistol to cycle properly (The booster system is included with our Obsidian9/45). The booster system includes a piston, which is the part that threads to your firearm. We have pistons available in multiple thread pitches in order to mount your Obsidian on various host firearms.
Being that the barrels on PCCs, subguns etc. are fixed in place, using them with a booster system can cause damage to the suppressor. We have multiple mounts to cover these style firearms based on shooter preference and the firearms functionality. Our Pistol Suppressor Attachments Guide will help you find the best mount for your needs.
Optimal Ammunition for Silencers
When you’re trying to get as quiet as possible a huge factor you need to consider is ammunition. A suppressor won’t do anything to prevent the crack of a supersonic bullet breaking the sound barrier. This is where subsonic ammunition comes in.
Subsonic ammunition generally travels slower than 1100 feet per second (FPS). Since it’s below the speed of sound it’s significantly quieter, as it’s not breaking the sound barrier. The most commonly used subsonic ammo is 9mm, 45ACP and 300 BLK. As a reference, 9mm with a bullet weight of 147gr or above and 220gr 300 BLK are typically subsonic, while almost all 45ACP is subsonic. With that being said some ammo manufacturers make rounds specifically for suppressors that are cleaner and quieter than standard subsonic rounds.
How to Prevent End Cap/Baffle Strikes
Even though our Unconditional Lifetime Warranty covers baffle and end cap strikes they can still ruin a range day. Strikes are rare but they can happen. Below we break down the most common causes of strikes for pistol and rifle suppressors to help you prevent them.
The most common cause of strikes on rifle silencers is from barrel threads not being concentric. This is why we recommend purchasing a barrel from a reputable manufacturer or having your barrel threaded by a professional gunsmith. That being said, even the best manufacturers can make a mistake and an alignment rod is a great option to confirm everything is good to go.
Another rare but possible reason for a strike is the bullet not stabilizing. We recommend against using subsonic 5.56 and .308, as stabilization (along with semi-auto firearm functionality) are a common issue. As long as you’re using quality ammunition with a good barrel you shouldn’t encounter any issues.
The most common reason for a strike on a pistol can is due to “walk off” . Suppressor walk off occurs when the suppressor loosens itself from the threaded barrel while firing. We recommend making sure the suppressor is tight in between magazines to prevent this. Wrapping the threads of your barrel with teflon tape/plumbers tape drastically reduces walk off and is a cheap and easy solution. We have found that left hand threaded barrels have less walk off than traditional right hand threads. Some people will put o-rings on their barrels to stop walk off, but we DO NOT recommend using o-rings on barrels as they throw off alignment and can cause strikes. Our article How to Prevent Suppressor Walk Off goes over these solutions and features a video showing them in use.
If you’re using a booster system (piston with the spring) make sure to keep your piston clean and lubricated. We recommend using standard white lithium grease on the outside diameter of the piston. This will also allow your handgun to cycle smoother and prevent malfunctions.
A barrel’s threads not being concentric can also cause strikes. We recommend purchasing a barrel from a reputable manufacturer or having your barrel threaded by a professional gunsmith.
Keeping your Silencer Running
Keeping your suppressor clean and properly attaching it to your host weapon will allow you to consistently enjoy and depend on it.
Preventing Lock Ups
When attaching your suppressor to the host firearm make sure they are both similar temperatures. If the suppressor is hot and the host is cool vise versa, they can become seized due to different rates of thermal expansion. To prevent this you can lightly thread on the suppressor so that it can acclimate with the host firearm. This typically takes no more than a couple minutes. Just make sure to properly tighten the suppressor onto the host before firing!
This same concept applies to modular suppressors. When switching between long and short configurations be sure to allow the parts to acclimate before firing. For more information and to see some of these tricks and tips in action check out our How to Prevent Suppressor Lock Up Video/Article.
Cleaning your Suppressor
Our rifle suppressors are very similar to car mufflers in the fact that they are self regulating. Just keep the threads clean, add a small amount of gun oil and that’s it!
Pistol silencers require a little more maintenance. We recommend cleaning the baffles and tube every 1000 rounds. The most common method for cleaning baffles, pistons and springs is using an ultrasonic cleaner with 50% warm water and 50% purple power. Make sure to only use an ultrasonic cleaner on stainless steel parts as it will degrade aluminum. For non-stainless steel parts such as the aluminum tube, a typical carbon remover and a brush can be used. Make sure to keep your piston lubricated with white lithium grease before each range trip. Silencer Shop has a great article How to Clean my Silencer that goes more depth on various cleaning methods.
Optimizing your Firearm for a Suppressor
To get the most out of your suppressor it’s generally a good idea to tune your host firearm for suppressor use. As a heads up most firearms will work as they are with a suppressor but these features/changes will allow the host to run quieter and cleaner. Let’s face it this also gives you another justification to make more modifications to your firearm. Here are some things to look for whether purchasing a firearm already optimized or plan to do the work yourself.
Aside from needing a threaded barrel, a bolt action rifle is ready to rock with a suppressor. We are going to focus on improvements for an AR platform as they’re the most popular semi-auto suppressed host.
Adjustable Gas block
Suppressors inherently increase the gas blow back of the rifle (some models more than others). An adjustable gas block is a great first step to combat this and can make the most difference. (PWS has a great video illustrating gas blow back and their proprietary system to reduce it here) There are tons of after market adjustable gas blocks out there. You can even get kits to turn your direct impingement AR into an adjustable piston system, like this one from Superlative Arms. More manufacturers are coming out with models that ship standard with adjustable gas blocks so it’s something to look out for!
Optimized Charging Handle
Suppressor optimized charging handles help direct gases away from the shooters face. There are multiple options on the market like the Radian RAPTOR-SD that work great.
Optimized Buffer System
Using a heavy buffer can reduce gas blow back, sound and improve reliability. The optimal spring and buffer weight will differ on barrel length, gas setting/length and ammunition. JP offers Custom Buffer Springs and Silent Captured Springs that are an awesome option.
Let’s face it suppressors can get pretty hot. That heat can create mirage to impede your view or burn you when slinging your rifle. If you shoot precision/long range or use a sling, a suppressor cover is a great idea. Not all covers are designed for high rates of fire or short barreled rifles. If you plan to use a short barrel or shoot rapidly make sure your cover is rated to do so. There are some great options out there like Col-Tac who will make a completely custom cover for you and Burn Proof Gear for short barrels.
Obviously if you’re wanting to use a suppressor on your pistol you’ll need a threaded barrel. Here are a few modifications that can improve your silenced pistol experience.
Silencer Height Sights
Standard sights are not tall enough to see over suppressors, but for most targets and distances if you align the sights and hold center mass it’s not an issue. Silencer height sights aren’t necessary but they do provide an improved sight picture for smaller and further targets. Suppressor height iron sights and red dots such as the popular Trijicon RMR are great options for those wanting to get the most out of their pistols.
If your pistol has issues cycling suppressed and not going fully back into battery, a lighter recoil spring is most likely the fix. We recommend gradually using lighter recoil springs until your pistol cycles reliably with super and subsonic ammunition.
If your pistol has a different point of impact when shooting suppressed, there’s a quick fix without having to adjust your sights. First confirm your pistol is unloaded, then pull the can away from the pistol, twist it and allow it to lock back into position. Continue to make these adjustments until your point of impact aligns with your point of aim.
Find a Rugged Suppressors Dealer
Get hands on with our suppressors at one of our dealers. If this is your first suppressor they’ll be more than happy to walk you through the buying process.