Using A Suppressor With Your Rifle

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Modern suppressors—like the Silencer Central Banish 30 above—are often modular and can be taken apart for easy cleaning, in addition to being lighter and more robust than their predecessors.

Tools that can be adapted for changing needs are popular for both economic and utilitarian reasons. That’s probably why modularity now factors so heavily into firearm-related product designs. In recent years, the sound-suppressor industry has joined this modularity party. Gone are the days when you could have your suppressor in any style, so long as it was long, heavy, difficult to keep tight and once tightened, nearly impossible to remove.

Thanks to 3-D printing and other marvels of modern manufacturing, the newest suppressors have more in common with those ubiquitous plastic building blocks your kids play with than with the Army-issued behemoth that was attached to my 1990s-era CAR-15. Many new suppressors allow length, weight and sound-reduction levels to be changed by simply adding or subtracting modular body and baffle sections. Simultaneously, materials like Inconel and aerospace-grade titanium allow reductions in bulk and weight from that of older, stainless steel suppressor designs.

Way back in the early 2010s, .22- and .30-caliber suppressors were still our main choices. New-suppressor-owner enthusiasm was usually tempered by the excessive cost, time and paperwork involved in buying multiple suppressors. Inevitably, any concerns about the sound-reduction capabilities of over-bore suppressors gave way to economics, as many of us chose to use the largest-caliber suppressors on multiple rifles.

Suppressor manufacturers began taking note and, as a result, we now have models that can handle every centerfire chambering from .22- up to .338-caliber. Larger-bore suppressors that can handle common pistol calibers and a variety of centerfire-rifle chamberings are also offered. As someone who uses .30-caliber/7.62 mm suppressors on 15 (and counting) different rifle chamberings in my work life, I can attest to the appeal of the one-bore-size-fits-most approach.

The common methods of attaching sound suppressors, direct thread (DT), quick detachable (QD) and thread-over-mount (TOM), have also evolved. Companies like Thunder Beast have incorporated well-designed tapers into their TOM muzzle devices, keeping suppressors tight and centered. Most of the early QD designs’ flaws have been remedied, and in recent years, SureFire’s SOCOM and Dead Air’s KeyMount systems have risen to the top for QD-mount security and ease of use.

In addition to Dead Air, several other companies offer muzzle devices that incorporate the KeyMount locking system. The resulting wider variety and lower cost of mount options, combined with rock-solid lockup, make Dead Air’s “KeyMo” a favorite among users. In the old days, if you preferred one company’s mounting system, you were tied to their suppressors, but thankfully, that’s changing, too.

Where suppressors’ hindquarters used to be permanently attached, many makers now use thread-in tail mounts. Of the available body-thread sizes, 1.375×24 has become king. As near as I can tell, SilencerCo was the first to use this in the form of its “Bravo” mount system. It’s also known as HUB, 1.375×24, Standard Pattern and Omega (after the Omega suppressor from SilencerCo). HUB seems appropriate, as it’s being widely used within the suppressor industry. The beauty of this system is that the back end of a HUB-threaded suppressor can adapt to a wide variety of different DT mounts and QD or TOM muzzle devices.

This is great news for people who have HUB-compatible models or are in the market for new suppressors, but what about those of us who bought cans before suppressor manufacturers started playing well with others? Fortunately, ECCO Machine is here to help. In addition to manufacturing its own suppressors and a wide variety of mount adapters, these hard-working, Colorado-based folks offer a fantastic conversion service.

ECCO can modify a wide variety of sound suppressors to accept HUB mounts. In simplistic terms, it does this by removing the back end of the suppressor, welding in a conversion piece blank, then boring and threading it to accept 1.375×24 adapters. Afterward, Ecco applies a durable finish to the suppressor body in one of several colors. The end result is a suppressor that can accept any Bravo/HUB adapter. The quality of ECCO’s work is exceptional. I sent the company five of my suppressors for this modification, not as a gunwriter or fellow Class II SOT/Manufacturer, but as a regular, paying customer seeking to make some old suppressors useful again. They came back quickly and appearing like new. Alignment checks using caliber-specific rods on numerous rifles show that the suppressors are centered to bores as well as or better than when factory new. Best of all, I can now mount them any way I want to.

This service varies in price, depending on suppressor model, but tops out around $215. ECCO Machine publishes a detailed set of instructions for its services (including re-coring of suppressors). I strongly recommend reading and following those instructions closely to avoid stalling and gumming up the works for you and everyone else. The company runs HUB modification batches in three-month cycles, so checking the schedule and instructions on ECCO’s website (eccomachine.net) is the best way to start the process.

If you prefer SureFire’s excellent, proprietary SOCOM mounts, you’re still in luck. ECCO Machine will convert SureFire Warden blast deflectors into SOCOM QD-to-HUB adapters. My own modified Warden works perfectly, allowing the use of several companies’ suppressors on my family’s SureFire muzzle-device-equipped rifles.

Sending a suppressor off to someone (other than the manufacturer) for service is likely to void warranty coverage. If they’re out of warranty or of obsolete design, this may be a moot point. But, for still-covered items, check to see if the manufacturer offers any retrofitting services before shipping it off for third-party modification.

In spite of improved thread tapers, carbon-locking of threaded suppressor-body sections still happens. Purpose-built wrenches, such as SilencerCo’s Bravo Spanner Tool, make tightening and removing threaded sections and mounting adapters much easier. A strap wrench is also helpful for applying opposing directional torque when tightening or loosening with a spanner.

Finally, just because a suppressor’s bore size and mount fit a particular rifle, don’t assume it’s rated for that specific barrel length and cartridge combination. Check the manufacturer’s ratings before use. Doing your homework ahead of time will help you get set up to make the most of your suppressor’s modularity.

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