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Choosing your first Rifle Suppressor: Five Things to Consider Before Buying

  1. Multi-Caliber / Quick Detach System

For some folks, a suppressor for multiple calibers is a moot point since they only intend to suppress one caliber. Even if this is your current plan, a .30 cal. can that will handle multiple calibers is still a wise option because it is highly effective at suppressing smaller calibers. Also, you may branch out into other calibers in the future, and you will already have the silencer you need when and if that time comes.

In order to make a suppressor work across multiple calibers, you will need one with some sort of quick detach or adapter system. Thread pitches are different on .30 caliber rifles than on 5.56x45mm, meaning a .30 cal. can will not thread directly onto a 5.56x45mm rifle. You will need a correctly threaded muzzle adapter or a brand-specific muzzle device to do this. My recommendation is to get a .30 cal suppressor that can handle .300 win. mag. down to 5.56×45. This will cover all the major hunting and defense calibers (.300 mag., .308, .300BLK, 30-30, 30-06, .270, 7mm mag., .243, .223/5.56, etc.)

  1. Reputation / Service

Some of my cheapskate friends have criticized the brand of suppressor I went with because there are cheaper options out there. My response is very simple – I went with the company who has maintained military contracts for decades servicing a community with higher demands than I will ever place on my suppressor. I also speak to a real person when I call with questions or concerns. An acquaintance of mine recently waited 8+ months for his silencer stamp to come through, only to have his can get stuck on the muzzle device at the wrong angle (re: baffle-strike). This manufacturer defect was impossible to correct because he could not get anyone at the company to pick up the phone and their voicemail box was full. At least he saved a couple hundred bucks, though!

    1. POI Shift

Point of Impact (POI) shift is an important consideration when selecting a suppressor. Depending on your application, you may run your rifle both with and without the suppressor on it. The goal is to find a silencer where you don’t have to adjust your hold or your optic to remain on target. The company I went with guarantees minimal & consistent POI shift. On the left is a rested, unsuppressed 5 shot group next to a quarter. On the right is the results of a quick 3 shot group with the suppressor on. I’ sure if I took my time, that group would tighten, but the POI is the focus – no scope adjustment needed unless I am hunting something smaller than a quarter!

      1. Sound Reduction / Signature

Of course the whole point of a suppressor is sound reduction, but sound signature, where the shot came from, is also a consideration. Some would say sound signature is just for military applications but there are plenty of hunting applications, especially on the feral hog-infested crop farms here in Georgia, where concealing sound signature allows for more productive harvests of invasive species. Unless the manufacturer addresses common suppressor challenges like decibel reduction, full-auto rating, POI shift, signature, etc, IN WRITING, they probably haven’t addressed it in manufacturing, either. If a company can only speak to it’s impressive decibel reduction, there may be a quality issue to go along with their attractive price tag.

      1. Longevity

The longevity of a silencer depends not only on what caliber and what speed – subsonic or supersonic – you shoot out of it, but also what rate of fire you choose. However, your suppressor should be tough enough to handle at least 90 rounds of sustained fire. A high quality barrel will last upwards of 15,000 rounds. Find a suppressor that will outlast your barrel!

It’s a free country and you can spend your hard-earned cash wherever you please! Just make sure that whatever muffler you choose has answers for these 5 considerations. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the suppressor that satisfies all these for me is the Surefire SOCOM300 SPS.

by Michael Aaron Hanke.

Mike enjoys recreational shooting, hunting, sports, and the outdoors. He firmly believes that every life event is an opportunity to help others.   http://mikadobaptist.org/profile/mike-hanke/
Featured photo courtesy by Jens Hammer

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