The intent of this guide is to provide you, the end user, with things to look for and consider in the journey of purchasing your next, or perhaps first, suppressor.
Bottom line up front: there is no suppressor that can do everything you need/want it to do without significant sacrifices in certain areas. Sorry, not sorry, to burst your bubble. You’ll have to buy multiple suppressors for different purposes. My goal is not to sell you on any suppressor but to provide you with what to look for. I can make recommendations based upon your wants and needs, but this article isn’t an article about why you should or shouldn’t buy a certain suppressor.
I don’t want to sell you something that you don’t want. Hint: every suppressor company says they are the best at whatever it is you’re looking for.
Another thing I want to be clear on. I’m not an expert on human inner ear response, hearing damage, or anything anatomical. Throughout this article, I will reference others who are much better educated than I am on certain things. I also don’t have any fancy sound measuring equipment, nor have I shot every suppressor in existence on every weapons system in existence.
Pew Science is a third-party company that does testing on suppressors. They have compiled a decent bit of data on a variety of suppressors on different weapons systems. They use a 0-100 rating for the effectiveness of a suppressor on a specific weapons system. I'll reference their ratings at various times throughout this article. See www.pewscience.com for details.
Quick summary on how to buy a suppressor.
I’ve partnered with Silencer Shop. So, you can go to one of their kiosks for your digital fingerprints and photos. From there, you’ll need to establish an account on the ATF E-forms website. I, as the seller, will initiate all your paperwork. I even have it set up to where you pay your tax stamp to me, and I handle paying the ATF. I will try to make it as simple as possible for you, the end user. Then you wait 6-12 months for the tyrants to approve your paperwork and you now can take your beautiful suppressor home! That’s the quick and dirty short version.
Quick note on pricing.
While MSRP can provide some consistency, to help you, the end user, I am going to provide the average street price I can find. Sure, it may be cheaper or more expensive somewhere else, but this will give you a price close to what you can expect to spend. Like always, I’ll do my best to match or beat any price on any item.
Now that all the mumbo jumbo is out of the way, let’s dive in!
Based upon my experience, it’s my belief that you as the end user will need 3 suppressors if you want to fit most roles. One for your 22 firearms, one for your centerfire rifles up to .308 caliber, and one for your pistols and pistol caliber carbines (PCC). If you only own one firearm, and never intend to purchase more, feel free to ignore my advice.
The “multi cal” suppressors such as the Dead Air Primal or the SilencerCo Hybrid 46 are suppressors that claim to be a “do all” suppressor. Do they work? Yes. Do they sacrifice a lot? Also, yes. If your budget is that constrained that you could never afford more than one suppressor, I could see it being an option. However, I would not recommend this. I understand dropping thousands of dollars isn’t an option for everybody, but this article is aimed at giving you the best information I can. It’s up to you to determine what’s best for you.
From here, I’ll break the article into 4 sections. One will cover 22 suppressors, one will cover centerfire rifle up to .308, one for pistol/PCC, and one final section to cover those suppressors that fall outside these 3 categories. Let’s dive in to 22 suppressors.
Part 1. 22 Suppressors
I put these in their own category because you really can’t go wrong with a dedicated 22 suppressor. They are purpose built for the caliber. They are typically user serviceable, which is needed to clean them. 22LR is a dirty caliber and regular cleanings are needed. Can you shoot 22LR through your 5.56 suppressor? Sure, but it may not be the best idea. This can lead to a build up of lead typically found on 22LR bullets.
*NOTE: some suppressor companies will void your warranty for shooting 22LR through your 5.56 can. Odin Works is an example of this. Now, multiple thousands of rounds of 22LR have been put through the Odin Works Baja we currently have, and it works, but is not recommended by the manufacturer.
For this reason, I recommend a dedicated 22 suppressor. I know the 200-dollar tax stamp might sting, but again, if you don’t own any 22 firearms, feel free to ignore this advice. There’s also instances of some manufacturers providing free 22 suppressors with other larger purchases during special promotional times. This can help offset the tax stamp for an extra suppressor.
Here’s a cost breakdown of some of the most popular 22 suppressors we have sold.
CGS Hydra AL – $249.99
CGS Hydra Ti - $419.99
Dead Air Mask - $439.00
Odin Works Nav22 - $331.55
Q Erector 22 – $400.00
Q El Camino (Titanium) - $380.00
Rugged Oculus - $399.00
The reality of suppressing a 22 is that there isn’t much to it. For this reason, I highly recommend the CGS Hydra AL. The price and quality are superb. It’s an affordable, high quality 22 suppressor. Plus, when you’re getting into nearly half the price of most 22 suppressors on the market, it’s hard not to pick a clear winner here. But like with everything else, do your own research.
Part 2. Centerfire Rifle Suppressors up to .308 caliber.
Most of this part of the article will revolve around the AR platform. Bolt guns perform differently due to the lack of moving parts, but some valuable information can still be gathered. If you came here looking for info on suppressing the AK platform, go back home commie. I kid, but the AK platform can be a different animal.
Most people reading this are probably interested in suppressing their 5.56 rifle. Here’s where we will dive into many different metrics of the AR platform in 5.56.
There are so many factors to consider when it comes to suppressor purchases for your 5.56 AR platform.
Increased back pressure
Sound reduction/signature at the muzzle
Sound reduction/signature at the shooter’s ear
Barrel length restrictions
Let’s break down these factors.
Price is self-explanatory. What does your budget allow you to purchase? Keep in mind purchasing price, sales tax, and your $200.00 tax stamp. Example for my state of Indiana: a suppressor that costs $1,000.00 comes out to $1,270.00 after all the taxes. Fuck taxes and fuck tyranny, amiright?
We will come back to pricing of specific suppressors later in the article.
Mounting options are the second biggest factor when it comes to purchasing a suppressor. Sound reduction/signature is my number one factor. However, if it sounds great, but I must buy proprietary mounts that don’t work with any of the rifles I currently own, it ends up costing me significantly more to outfit all my rifles with new muzzle devices. Or buy a different suppressor for each firearm you own. Spend your money how you see fit.
If the suppressor you are looking to purchase has what’s called “HUB” mount compatibility, that means that the rear of the suppressor is threaded 1.375”x24. Many suppressor companies have adopted this as the “standard” however not all suppressors share this. If the suppressor has this thread on the rear of the suppressor, you can install your preference of mounting system.
*Example: The Aero Precision Lahar series of suppressors comes from the factory with a direct thread mount. However, the Lahar features the HUB threads. This means you can install your Dead Air Keymo, Rearden Atlas, Q Plan B, Dead Air Xeno, or whatever other mounting system you prefer into that suppressor.
On the flip side, many suppressor companies use their own proprietary mounting system. Examples would be Huxwrx (formally known as OSS), Griffin Armament, Dead Air, SilencerCo, and Surefire just to name a few. I named Dead Air on this list because the Sandman and Sierra series of suppressors have their mount permanently attached, i.e., they are not HUB compatible.
So, which mounting system is right for you? I have a decent bit of experience with a wide variety of mounts. I have yet to run into an issue where, consistently, one mounting system is off center. I use the Geissele suppressor alignment rods to check every suppressor I install. I’ve had issues occasionally, but for the most part, every mounting system I’ve used has been concentric with minimal issues.
For me, what it boils down to is preference for the various mounts. Rearden Manufacturing provides a solid mounting option at a great price. It’s not as quick to install or take off as the keymo system, but does that make it worse? You are the judge. I’ve also seen a Dead Air Sandman get launched 20 yards off a firearm because the ratcheting system that keeps the mount tight failed and caused an endcap strike. Does that make it worse because it failed once? Again, you be the judge.
Let’s list some mounts, and pricing for those mounts. One thing to keep in mind for mounting options is you’ll have to buy the mount that attaches to the suppressor and a muzzle device to attach to your firearm. I’ll list out mount options that will fit into HUB threaded suppressors. The pricing will be broken out as follows: Mount price/muzzle device price.
Dead Air Keymo - $199.00/$72.99
Dead Air Xeno - $106.99/$72.99
Rearden Atlas - $89.00/$64.00
SilencerCo ASR (Bravo is HUB compatible) - $137.70/$79.90
Q Plan B - $125.99/$84.99
Yankee Hill Machine Phantom - $74.50/$82.75
Please remember this is not an exhaustive list of mounting options but lists out many of the most popular ones. Additionally, there are many companies that make direct thread options for your HUB compatible suppressor. Also remember that if you buy a suppressor that is not HUB compatible, you will have to buy the muzzle device that fits that mounting option. Suppressors like the Surefire RC2, Huxwrx Flow, Dead Air Sandman, and Dead Air Sierra are examples of this.
I’ll touch on mounting options for your pistol/PCC in that section.
Increased back pressure
The AR operates via gas pressure causing your bolt carrier group to move rearward (oversimplification). When you add a suppressor, this increases the amount of gas driving your carrier (again, oversimplification). This can result in gas blowing into the shooter’s face during firing, especially with a heavy firing schedule. Some suppressors like the Huxwrx Flow 556 and Flow 762 use what is called “flow through technology” to reduce this additional gas blowback. This technology does have some downsides as well. For reference, the Flow 556 has a suppression rating from Pew Science of 31.8 at the shooter’s ear, but only 25.8 at the muzzle. So, what does this mean? It means this suppressor is louder for by standers than for the shooter.
Inversely, the Otter Creek Labs Polonium has a rating of 19.7 at the shooter’s ear and 37.6 at the muzzle. Showing it is louder for the shooter than the by stander. So which one is better? If you’re looking at back pressure only, the Huxwrx is the winner. If you want something that is quieter for by standers, the Polonium is the winner. When you get into price, the Polonium is about half the price. Again, you be the judge on what you want.
Sound reduction is not linear when it comes to decibel readings. Decibel readings also are not the end all for whether one suppressor is quieter than another. Every suppressor company claims their suppressor has a decibel rating of “x,” but what equipment did they use to assess this metric? Did they do their testing in-house? What ammo were they using for this test? Not many of them have these answers.
This is why, in my experience, Pew Science has been an unbiased third-party tester that produces these answers. Check out their website for all the specific reviews and details. The chart below is for suppressors tested on the mk18 platform using supersonic 5.56 ammunition. For those that don’t know, the mk18 is an AR with a 10.3” barrel and an H2 buffer. Why does the buffer weight matter? Because a heavier buffer will keep your bolt locked longer, reducing gas into the action and the shooter’s face.
Pew Science uses three ratings. One is the rating at the shooter’s ear, one is the rating at the muzzle, and the third is the overall rating. Below are the suppressors tested, sorted by the overall rating.
NOTES: For the Surefire SOCOM in both 5.56 and 7.62, when the Warcomp muzzle device was used (indicated by **) the suppression rating was lower than when a Surefire flash hider (indicated by *) was used.
Again, I want to remind you that I did not evaluate these suppressors nor produce these numbers. I have shot many of these suppressors though. However, it would be foolish of me to not use data that’s published to help you make an informed decision. Pew Science has done all the work and research, I’m simply providing you with information published on their website. See www.pewscience.com for all their articles and details of every test they’ve performed to date.
Below is a chart to help translate what those ratings numbers mean. Suppressing supersonic 5.56 isn’t easy, and you will always have the crack of the round being supersonic.
This metric is something quick and easy to elaborate on. How quickly does the suppressor heat up? Most people won’t care about this metric much. But, if you want to run your suppressor tucked inside your handguard, you might care. Most companies won’t have any data for this, and it can be very subjective. My best advice is to talk to those who have shot it and make as informed a decision as you can.
Barrel Length Restrictions
While not a large metric, it can be something to consider. Most, if not all, manufacturers have this data published on their product page. Just something to pay attention to.
Getting away from the 5.56
Up to this point, we’ve spent most of the article on suppressing your 5.56. This is what a lot of people use, therefore gets the most attention. But let’s talk about your AR10 or your bolt gun. When it comes to suppressing the larger calibers, many things can be brought over from our 5.56 conversation.
Pew Science has done quite a bit of testing on .308 bolt guns and subsonic 300 Blackout in a bolt gun. I won’t insert another chart here but check their suppression ratings chart and sort by ammunition type.
Sub-sonic 300 Blackout will sound phenomenal in just about any 30-caliber suppressor we’ve talked about. I chose to focus more on the 5.56 aspect, but for 300 Blackout, you can’t go wrong with the Aero Precision Lahar L, CGS Hyperion, or Otter Creek Labs Hydrogen L.
Now for the moment you actually care about. Prices for specific suppressors.
Reference the chart above. Which displays the suppressor, the price, and which mount it comes with out of the box. Remember our conversation about mounts earlier? This is where all that information will come into play in your overall pricing.
The chart lists out prices for most suppressors listed on the Pew Science ratings chart from earlier, as well as some that I have personally used and would recommend.
When reading the chart, the mount included column shows what is included on the back of the suppressor. In the notes column is where it informs you if it includes a muzzle device or not. For the ones that are proprietary and not HUB compatible, the mount is permanently attached to the suppressor.
A few quick highlights for comparison sake. Let’s compare the OCL Polonium to the Huxwrx Flow 556k. The OCL has an rating of 19.7 at the shooter’s ear. The Huxwrx rating is 31.8. The muzzle rating is 37.6 and 25.8 respectively. So the Huxwrx is quieter at the shooter’s ear, and louder at the muzzle. The Huxwrx requires you to purchase or already own a muzzle device in order to mount the suppressor. The Polonium can direct thread. You could purchase another mounting option, and spend more, for the Polonium if you wanted, but let’s compare what you get out of the box.
You’ll spend $1125.00 for a Flow556k with a muzzle device, compared to $532.00 for the Polonium. Is the extra money worth the reduced blowback and quieter signature for the shooter? You be the judge.
Part 3. Pistol and PCC
Reference the pistol tab on the attached spreadsheet for some popular 9mm suppressors and the prices.
Up to this point, we’ve discussed many things to look for when it comes to suppressing your centerfire rifle cartridges. Pistol and PCC suppressors are one of those areas where they are similar, but not the same. While the suppressors themselves may be interchangeable, it’s typically the mounting systems that change. In this section, since it’s most popular, we will focus on 9mm.
Most pistols on the market today use some type of tilting barrel design. Because of this, when you add the weight of a suppressor, the explosion from the cartridge doesn’t provide enough inertia to move the slide all the way rearward. SilencerCo posted a phenomenal video on YouTube with high speed footage showing why the piston and booster is needed. Check that out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ__Uq6dlJY.
However, if you are using the same suppressor on your PCC, such as an AR, MP-5, or other type firearm with a barrel that doesn’t tilt during operation, you will need a mounting system that is fixed. This can be accomplished with either what’s called a fixed barrel spacer in place of your spring in your booster assembly, or with a different mount (direct thread, 3 lug, etc.) all together.
Like with centerfire rifle cartridges, one thing to pay attention to when it comes to purchasing a suppressor for your pistol and PCC platforms is what mounts come in the box with it. Some come with a fixed mount, some come with a piston and booster assembly, and some come with no mount at all.
Many companies allow you to run your 308, 300 Blackout, or other rifle cartridges through your 9mm suppressors designed more for fixed barrel. However, you have to pay very close attention to what the manufacturer states for compatibility. For example, Dead Air says the Wolfman is ok to use on centerfire rifle cartridges IF you use their Key Micro attachment system. This requires more money spent for more mounts. Again, another reason why I suggested having a separate suppressor for your 9mm firearms.
As you can see by looking at the price chart, there’s a wide variety of costs for mounts. No manufacturer is the same, and accessories aren’t always interchangeable. It’s up to you to determine what is best option for your specific wants and needs.
Part 4. Other Suppressors
I have zero experience with suppressing calibers like 338LM or .50BMG. I won’t speak to any of those. When it comes to suppressing larger calibers, you’ll spend a lot of money. Larger caliber suppressors may also be necessary if you have something like a 45-70 or similar caliber.
There’s two suppressors that come to mind when it comes to “multi-cal” suppressors. These are the SilencerCo Hybrid 46 and the Dead Air Primal. Both claim to “do it all”, but both fall short. Are they good quality suppressors? Yes, but there’s some serious downsides to them as well. Mainly, the overbore really messes with the sound signatures. If you truly can’t afford more than one suppressor, then these could be a viable option, but I recommend against it if it’s avoidable.
I know this article has been lengthy, but this is not a topic that is able to be summarized quickly. Most people that I have these conversations with center the conversation around 5.56 and 9mm. This is why I’ve chosen to focus on these areas for this article.
I want you to remember that when suppressing calibers like 6mm ARC, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 Grendel, and supersonic .308 you’re always going to have a crack from the round being supersonic. When purchasing a suppressor for these calibers specifically, your best bet is to get a 30-cal suppressor.
In my personal experience, the Lahar L and OCL Hydrogen L have been great performers for those 6/6.5 cartridges. Our prototype 6mm ARC rifle used the Lahar L through 75% of its testing phase. While the round was still supersonic, the tone of the shot was significantly reduced for the shooter.
I hope this article has given you enough information to help you make an informed decision on your suppressor purchase. As always, I’m available for any and all questions you may have. It’s my goal to help inform you the best I can to aid you in making the best decision.
If you want to test out many of these suppressors first hand, come to the Noddy After Dark event in Sweetwater, TN on October 27-28. You’ll be able to try out every suppressor we have, as well as night vision. And let’s not forget about the over $15,000 in raffle prizes. Head over to www.noddyafterdark.com to get your tickets.
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