The State of Modern Rifleman: Q2 2015

Every three months, I look forward to reserving time to reflect on this site and evaluate the Modern Rifleman’s progress toward goals I set at the beginning of the year. Though I keep a close eye on visitor and article statistics, most of my daily observations are simple data points that lack the perspective needed to assess overall site health and productivity. In this vein, yesterday signaled the end of 2015’s second quarter here at Modern Rifleman and I am excited to share the results.

PageviewsQ22015

Since the site’s inception in April of 2013, Modern Rifleman has enjoyed relatively steady month-to-month growth. While this trend has been less reliable in recent months, daily traffic seems to indicate that the site is still on a very healthy growth trend and it looks like monthly views consistently in excess of 10,000 may soon become a reality. Compared to Q2 2014, this past quarter saw at least 100% growth for each of the three months. While Q1 2015 was more successful overall (28,055 views versus 25,637), much of February’s traffic was driven by the ATF’s attempted M855 ammunition ban and that momentum did carry over into early March to skew the metrics. Q2 enjoyed much more diverse readership than Q1 as views were distributed over a wider variety of articles.

At time of writing, Modern Rifleman is ranked 798,873 in the United States in terms of traffic over the last 30 days according to Alexa Site Rankings. This is good for the 3,808,634 spot worldwide. While the site has plenty of room to grow, these rankings are surely headed in the proper direction. At the halfway point of 2015, daily traffic averages 297 views, up 70% from 2014’s 174 view average.

Site ranking according to Alexa.com

Site ranking according to Alexa.com

Unsurprisingly, reviews and tutorials significantly outpaced most political articles for the quarter. Another strong driver of traffic was the Suppressor Performance Database, which now features over 120 entries with detailed statistics for some of the industry’s most popular suppressors. The success of this feature can in large part be attributed to support from NFA powerhouse, Silencer Shop, who has kindly offered to assist in the collection and compilation of data for the database. On the reviews side of the ledger, Modern Rifleman partnered with Atlantic Firearms to examine the Inter Ordnance AKM247. While the review was not as positive as both of us would have hoped, this has opened the door for future engagements with one of America’s favorite sources for Kalashnikov rifles.

Top posts for Q2 2015

Top posts for Q2 2015

While the first half of 2015 has been incredibly encouraging, I expect that this is only a small sample of what is to come for Modern Rifleman. Look for an exciting announcement within the next few weeks regarding a new and innovative partnership that could bring some truly unique articles to the site. Additionally, I have already begun work on another round of reviews that are sure to offer quality insight on some of the firearms world’s most popular guns and gear. With this sort of momentum, it is truly exciting to think about what might rest just over the horizon.

Thank you to all readers out there. Without your participation and input, none of this growth or these opportunities would be possible. I look forward to continuing this journey with all of you in the months to come.

Palmetto State Armory AK Release: Some Thoughts

When the PSA AK-47 released yesterday afternoon, the reception among enthusiasts was surprisingly mixed. Many were excited to see what appears to be a quality US-made AKM clone, but others expressed disappointment at the hefty $750 price tag that accompanies the Magpul-equipped initial release. With Arsenal rifles fetching a mere $150 more than the MOE Edition of the PSA AK, it is difficult to find fault with this latter group’s complaints. It was not until later in the evening, when PSA posted the barreled receiver and MOE build kit as separate SKUs that the whole picture began to develop.

While the complete PSA AK with MOE furniture comes out at $750, purchased separately as a barreled receiver and build kit, the total package sells for just $600 ($250 for the barreled receiver and $350 for the kit). For anyone who is willing to take on a (very easy) project, this second option carries substantial savings over the complete rifle. Even so, the price can be brought down even lower. Instead of purchasing the MOE kit, buyers should be able to find mismatched Polish or Hungarian (the PSA AK resembles a Hungarian rifle) AKM parts kits for between $250 and $300. These kits come with several parts that would not be needed to complete the PSA AK, including the front and rear trunnions, front sight block, gas block, and rear sight block. All of these parts could be sold to other collectors and a complete rifle would be possible for $500 or less, depending on fire control group (FCG) choice.

While the complete MOE Edition AK might not be revolutionary, the barreled receivers present an interesting new option for those looking to do semi-custom builds at a very reasonable price. I expect that these will be very popular choices as soon as availability stabilizes.

Polish AKM kit from Atlantic Firearms

Suppressor Performance in Perspective

While working to compile data for the Suppressor Performance Database, a surprising revelation came to me: suppressor comparisons, even between direct competitors, are not “apples to apples” endeavors. Indeed, two apparently similar suppressors may actually offer completely different shooting experiences. This has led me to wonder if the community has a whole has become so obsessed with decibel-chasing, especially as measured at the muzzle, that we often miss other important details that are equally relevant to the complete performance picture.

During my research, a lengthy thread at AR15.com sprung up where a shooter expressed some dissatisfaction with the SilencerCo Octane 45. After having a chance to shoot his Octane next to AAC’s Ti-Rant 45, he felt that his suppressor was significantly bested by the AAC can. His experience suggested that the Ti-Rant was noticeably quieter from the shooter’s perspective than the Octane when fired on the same gun using the same ammunition. Shooters who only passively dig into the issue might assume something was wrong with the Octane as it typically meters within a decibel of the Ti-Rant. Such a difference is hardly enough to pick a “winner”. If this is the case, how is it possible that the Ti-Rant could sound considerably better to most shooters? The answer lies in how each suppressor manages the hot gasses that have been “caught” by the baffles and which subsequently attempt to escape out of the back of the suppressor. This phenomenon is generally referred to as backpressure and its severity is dependent on a number of factors, including baffle design and suppressor bore size.

Backpressure is something that suppressed shooters address and contend with regularly, especially on rifle platforms where firearm design and human anatomy dictate that the shooter’s face must be held close to the rifle’s action. As far as suppressed rifles are concerned, backpressure is usually referred to in the context of comfort (gas blowback to the face) and cyclic rate. Because rifles are loud by their very nature, we often do not delve into backpressure’s effects on perceived or measured suppression. Typically, the discussion only goes deep enough to say that some suppressors are “gassier” than others, but at-ear SPL (sound pressure level) is largely ignored. For our Octane/Ti-Rant discussion, backpressure remains a very significant factor and one that is usually not considered at all when suppressing handguns. When fired dry, most pistol shooters are unlikely to notice that one suppressor is “gassier” than another. The handgun is just too far away from the user’s face to feel the gas blowback and the pistol cartridge by its nature generates less pressure than a rifle round. Even so, the effects of backpressure and differences in suppressor design can be felt and measured with both handguns and rifles.

Without “at ear” SPL measurements, it is almost impossible for prospective buyers to determine which suppressor will sound better or provide a better experience to the shooter. The very nature of legal suppressor ownership makes even subjective analysis difficult to find for multiple suppressors. Unfortunately, objective testing data for at ear SPL is something that historically has been ignored in manufacturers’ publications and largely unavailable for the average consumer. Thankfully, Silencer Shop now includes such measurements as part of their frequent testing videos and the results are enlightening to say the least.

Because more data is currently available for the Octane 9 and Ti-Rant 9 suppressors (rather than the .45 ACP versions initially discussed), let us dive into the information Silencer Shop has gathered for these cans. A quick look at the spreadsheet shows that SPL attenuation as measured near the muzzle is virtually the same for each suppressor when used on the same host. Historically, this would be the only data available and many shooters would consider the suppressors equals for all practical purposes. Moving to the at ear measurements, we begin to see the whole picture. Here, in extreme cases, the Ti-Rant comes out almost 3 decibels quieter than the Octane. While this is not a huge margin, it should be enough for shooters to detect a small advantage for the AAC can when used on the same host and in the same environment.

Interestingly, the Octane and Ti-Rant use two distinctly popular and competing baffle designs. The Octane’s famous click-together CTA baffles are conical in shape and made entirely of stainless steel. These cone baffles are popular for their simplicity and excellent performance. Compared to competing designs, cones take up less space in the suppressor tube and are usually rated for higher pressure usage, but their funnel-like shape does not effectively prevent gas from traveling back toward the shooter. In contrast, the Ti-Rant uses modified K-baffles. The Ti-Rant’s blast baffle is steel, but subsequent baffles are aluminum. The reason for this material choice is that a K-baffle is considerably more voluminous than a comparable cone baffle and weight is a major concern, especially for pistol suppressors. When viewed from the side, the Ti-Rant baffles are literally shaped like a “K” with a flatter, ported blast surface that funnels gas along a cone-shaped secondary surface towards outer chambers at the suppressor tube’s walls. The relatively flat blast surface not only disrupts gas heading toward the muzzle, but it also traps hot gasses that attempt to travel backwards, thus limiting backpressure. This design factor is largely why the Ti-Rant and Octane produce noticeably different results at the shooter’s ear, but perform similarly at the muzzle.

A separate (but no less significant) consideration must be made when firing sub-calibers through larger suppressors on both rifle and handgun hosts. The “seal” between bullet and baffle that is achieved by firing the designated caliber through a suppressor minimizes gas escape and maximizes suppression at the muzzle, but also generates backpressure that ultimately releases in the direction of the shooter. A smaller diameter bullet will allow more gas to escape around the projectile and out the end of the can, but less gas will be directed back toward the shooter. This, more so than the increased suppressor length, is largely why an Octane 45 can be expected to outperform an Octane 9 from the shooter’s perspective when used with 9mm ammunition. The same principle applies to AAC’s Ti-Rant series. While the .45 ACP suppressors are measurably less efficient at the muzzle, the 9mm cans relinquish their advantage (and then some) when we move back to the shooter’s viewpoint.

When talking about rifle suppressors, we see a similar trend. Measuring 1 meter left of the muzzle on a 16-inch AR-15, Silencer Shop has metered the AAC SR7 at 146.4 decibels. Under the same conditions, the AAC M4-2000 metered at 135.2 decibels. There is no question that 11.2 decibels is a huge difference, but what does this mean for the shooter? During the same test, the SR7 yielded an at ear average of 142.2 decibels compared to the 144.0 average for the M4-2000. The SR7 is just 1 inch longer and 2 ounces heavier than the M4-2000. Despite the impressive 11+ decibel disadvantage at/near the muzzle, the SR7 might actually sound better to some shooters and is almost guaranteed to produce less backpressure. This is also why oft-parroted claims that Surefire suppressors are “loud” should be taken with a grain of salt. Surefire’s apparently larger bore might hinder muzzle performance, but shooters are likely to find these suppressors quite pleasing in comparison to many other options.

So why is this information significant? The answer to such a question can be found in a variety of places. First, muzzle (or near muzzle) testing for SPL attenuation seldom tells the whole story or even comes close to portraying the actual shooting experience with a particular suppressor. Suppressors that perform well at the muzzle frequently suffer when metered from the shooter’s perspective and vice versa. This is often attributable to bore size and baffle design. Second, in over-bored suppressors, overall length can compensate for a larger bore aperture when it comes to muzzle readings, but it typically will not affect at ear performance. Lastly, reasonably over-bored (e.g. 9mm ammunition through a .45 ACP suppressor, 5.56mm through a 7.62mm can) suppressors will often produce a more pleasing result in terms of sound/tone and backpressure for shooters. Thus, shooters looking to save money by purchasing a single, larger bore suppressor are unlikely to feel shorted as far as practical suppression is concerned.

I thank Silencer Shop for adding these “at ear” readings to their tests as the data has proven to be immensely useful in effective suppressor comparisons. I hope readers, especially suppressor novices, will find this information enlightening and thought provoking as they make their way through the often confusing world of “cans”.

The State of Modern Rifleman: Q1 2015

Traditionally known as April Fools’ Day, last Wednesday, April 1 also signified the end of the first quarter here at Modern Rifleman. As we closed the book on our second year in operation (founded 4/4/2013), it was exciting to celebrate Modern Rifleman’s most successful quarter yet. Led by new partnerships, popular reviews, and timely political insight, Q1 2015 brought Modern Rifleman to new heights and I am excited to share this progress with readers.

PV2015Q1

There exists no better measure of Modern Rifleman’s success than our monthly pageview counts for Q1. As readers can see, we continued the growth trend from Q4 2014 all the way through February. This strong growth can largely be attributed to a joint effort with Rugged Suppressors, coverage of the suppressor market in general, and analysis of the ATF’s failed M855 ban proposal. Q1 saw 28,055 total pageviews compared to Modern Rifleman’s previous best of 21,482 during Q4 2014. We also recorded our best month this past February with 11,120 total pageviews.

As of today, Modern Rifleman is the 1,153,141 ranked website in the United States according to Amazon’s Alexa site rankings. Despite strong viewership growth, this reflects a significant fall in our relative site ranking. A down March is likely to blame for this statistic as readership trailed off some following the ATF’s abandonment of its proposed ammunition ban.

Alexa Site Ranking

Alexa Site Ranking

Last quarter, I mentioned that political articles are often sources of short-term readership infusions that seldom drive sustainable growth. The fall in readership between February and March of Q1 nails this fact to the wall. While we experienced strong short-term growth during the ATF’s M855 ammunition debacle, as soon as the proposal was abandoned, readership of M855-related articles dropped precipitously. Suppressor coverage helped to offset some of this viewership reduction, but negative growth in March can almost certainly be attributed to the cyclical nature of political articles. Top posts for the quarter and all time can be seen below. Note that reviews continue to be our strongest drivers of website traffic.

Top articles for Q1 2015

Top articles for Q1 2015

Top Articles All Time

Top Articles All Time

Astute readers may have noticed my uncharacteristic use of “we” to describe Modern Rifleman. While post authorship is still very much a one man job here at Modern Rifleman, I did enlist my brother to help in designing our new logo. Thanks to his design and Photoshop skills, last month we were able to design a logo that I feel brings greater legitimacy to Modern Rifleman and is a more fitting face for the site. It is simple and clean, yet bold enough to catch readers’ eyes.

Old Logo

Old Logo

New Logo

New Logo

New Short Logo

New Short Logo

I’d like to take a moment during this quarterly review to thank Henry and Michael at Rugged Suppressors for reaching out and offering us a chance to work with them on exclusive content. Our press release and Q&A were very well received among suppressor enthusiasts and it was incredibly interesting to get an inside look at this new and exciting company. This was our first direct engagement with an industry player and it absolutely has been a key reason for our Q1 success.

In order to help fund the growing (and ever more demanding) site, we opened what I like to think of as the Mk I (Mark 1) version of the Modern Rifleman webstore. Hosted by Cafepress (www.cafepress.com/modernrifleman), this provides us with an outlet to sell logo products and other firearm-themed items. Funds from this store will be poured directly into our increasing site maintenance costs. It is also likely that we will announce a fund raising effort later in Q2 that will be geared toward raising money for Second Amendment organizations like the NRA-ILA, SAF, or GOA.

As we move into Q2, I look forward to sharing more fascinating content with our readers. We are currently trending ahead of schedule for our hosting move and it is likely that space constraints and readership demands will push us to migrate within the next month or two. The introduction of tutorials has also been a highlight of this quarter and there are plenty of additional “how to” articles on the docket for Q2. On the whole, I am elated with our Q1 growth and am optimistic that this success will continue through this still-young Q2.

In Celebration of Ohio HB 234

Last week, a bill originally known as Ohio House Bill 234 officially went into effect. The legislation was a huge win for Ohio gun owners as it reduces training hours for concealed carry licenses, legalizes suppressors for all forms of hunting, provides a “shall certify” provision for NFA acquisitions, and legalizes the use of magazines designed to hold over 30 rounds in Title I firearms.

DSC_0873

Beretta APX Signifies End of an Era

Beretta APX

Not long ago, fans of striker fired pistols had only a handful of polymer “wonder” guns with which to fill their holsters and satisfy their hammerless appetites.  Indeed fewer than ten years ago, companies like Glock and Walther (and to some degree Springfield Armory) were among the only options for popular, reliable striker pistols that also had some sort of military or police following and pedigree. Because of this, there has always been somewhat of a divide in the handgun market. Some companies, such as Glock and Walther have earned impressive reputations for manufacturing high quality striker fired pistols while others, such as Heckler & Koch, SIG Sauer, and Beretta have practically always been major players in the hammer fired world. Until recently, these two worlds have coexisted, but seldom overlapped. In light of this segregated history, this week’s Beretta APX announcement is particularly noteworthy as it marks the end of an era for handgun manufacturers and possibly the end of hammer fired pistols as a whole.

When Smith & Wesson released the M&P line of striker handguns in 2005, the decision seemed like a logical departure from the company’s troubled Sigma line of Glock clones (or copies). Noticing Glock’s dominance in the law enforcement market, a sector once firmly held by hammer fired S&W pistols and revolvers, the Massachusetts-based company sought to take a bite from Glock’s market share with the M&P. If you are reading this article, you are likely aware that the M&P has been a resounding success for S&W and is really second only to Glock in terms of law enforcement usage in the United States.

Noticing the success of companies like Glock and S&W, several other manufacturers have begun to shift away from hammer fired guns in favor of simpler striker options. Fabrique Nationale revamped their FNP/FNX line with the FNS in 2011 and SIG Sauer and Heckler & Koch released the P320 and VP9 respectively in 2014. Each time, these companies latched on to a new, striker-loving segment of the market that previously would have looked elsewhere. In light of this precedent, Beretta’s announcement this week it too will join the striker fired ranks should come as no surprise to the business-savvy shooter.

The APX takes many cues from SIG Sauer’s P250/320 series of handguns. Built around a steel chassis, the polymer “frame” of the handgun can be swapped out without further FFL involvement. This means that the pistol will be easily adaptable to concealed carry applications, as well as competition usage without the need for more than one firearm. While the design is uglier than homemade sin (in my opinion, but look at those slide serrations), the low bore axis and ergonomic grip should make it a nice shooter as long as the trigger meets the same sort of standard that we have come to expect from Beretta. The firearm is also built with both hands in mind and will be fully ambidextrous while packing 17 rounds into its double-stack magazine.

While I love to see new designs come to market, I have to admit that a degree of sadness or nostalgia came over me when reading about the APX. I grew up playing games like CounterStrike, America’s Army, and Ghost Recon in which handguns like the Beretta M9/92FS and the HK USP were common features. Excluding variations or incremental releases, it has now been several years since we have seen a new hammer fired design from any of the major manufacturers and it appears that no new developments are on the horizon. Because of this, the APX may signal that it is time to put the hammer-fired pistol to bed once and for all. Even though I highly doubt that companies like Beretta will stop making their classic hammer pistols, I simply do not expect any new hammer fired guns any time soon.

Modern Rifleman’s Comments on ATF Framework Proposal (M855 Ban)

Regrettably, the ATF has taken it upon themselves to issue a regulatory ban on yet another popular type of ammunition. This time, the agency has targeted the popular 62 grain M855 round used by many shooters as a versatile and reliable target ammunition in service-grade 5.56/.223 rifles. This marks the fourth time in the last two years that the ATF has attempted to abuse its regulatory capacity to attack peaceable and law-abiding shooters and collectors (ATF 41P, 7N6 reclassification, SIG brace flip-flop, documentation changes for 01 and 03 FFLs). The proposal is linked below and I have included contact information for the ATF. My official comment is also posted below. I encourage everyone to write coherent, vulgarity-free, comments to submit for ATF consideration before the March 16 deadline. Please also take time to contact your legislators to inform them of this overstep.

http://www.atf.gov/sites/default/files/assets/Library/Notices/atf_framework_for_determining_whether_certain_projectiles_are_primarily_intended_for_sporting_purposes.pdf

Contact information:

ATF will carefully consider all comments, as appropriate, received on or before March 16, 2015, and will give comments received after that date the same consideration if it is practical to do so, but assurance of consideration cannot be given except as to comments received on or before March 16, 2015. ATF will not acknowledge receipt of comments.
Submit comments in any of three ways (but do not submit the same comments multiple times or by more than one method):
ATF website: APAComments@atf.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
Fax: (202) 648-9741.
Mail: Denise Brown, Mailstop 6N-602, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement Programs and Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, 99 New York Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20226: ATTN: AP Ammo Comments.

Modern Rifleman’s comment:

Denise Brown
Mailstop 6N-602
Office of Regulatory Affairs
Enforcement Programs and Services
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
99 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20226
ATTN: AP Ammo Comments

 

Ms. Brown,

The BATFE (ATF) recently published and invited public comments for a proposal “ATF FRAMEWORK FOR DETERMINING WHETHER CERTAIN PROJECTILES ARE “PRIMARILY INTENDED FOR SPORTING PURPOSES” WITHIN THE MEANING OF 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(C).” The below paragraphs shall serve as my comments on the proposal for agency review and consideration.

While the document is rife with errors and topical ignorance, the first problem within the ATF framework proposal is the agency’s explicit acknowledgement on page two that LEOPA of 1986 was adopted to protect police officers from “criminal use of handgun ammunition capable of penetrating protective vests” and ATF’s clarification of this to mean ammunition that would penetrate soft body armor. ATF should be aware that no soft body armor as used by police organizations is rated to withstand any rifle or intermediate caliber rounds. This is a widely known fact and penetration of soft armor is not exclusive to M855/SS109. The presence of steel within the core of the projectile is irrelevant at common law enforcement engagement distances and any cartridge capable of reaching sufficient velocity can be expected to defeat soft armor. M855 simply performs exactly like any other rifle round in this regard. As far as officer safety is concerned, this proposal fails to advance the issue in any legitimate way.

Next, on page three of the proposal, ATF references 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(B) for the relevant statutory definition of “armor piercing ammunition”. In doing so, ATF highlights two standards, a partly subjective one (i) wherein a projectile made of certain materials which may be used in a handgun would be considered “armor piercing”. The second (ii) is a more objective one where a projectile “designed and intended for a handgun” over .22 caliber with a jacket that makes up more than 25 percent total projectile weight would also be considered “armor piercing”.  Coincidentally, M855 meets neither definition. The subjective definition (i) contains an objective and condition which requires the projectile core be made entirely of (or a combination of) tungsten alloy, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium. M855 does not contain a steel core as traditionally defined. Instead, the core used in M855 is a combination of steel and lead wherein lead accounts for over 80% of the overall projectile weight and the steel less than 20% of the projectile weight. The US military does not designate M855 as armor piercing, but has a separate tungsten-cored round (M995) that has been defined as such. Definition (ii) does not apply to M855 as the statute explicitly states that the round must have been “designed and intended” for use in a handgun. ATF has misapplied the definitions laid out in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(B) in this proposal and should revoke it on these grounds.

Not only is ATF’s analysis of M855 inconsistent with statutory definitions, it also runs counter to determinations made by other agencies. The decision to ignore the substantial section of lead in the projectile as somehow not part of the bullet’s core is counter to numerous previous determinations, including analysis from the very EPA referenced in the proposal. Indeed, as recently as 2013 the EPA encouraged the development of the M855A1 steel/copper cored round as a replacement for the M855. In doing so, the EPA cited the lead within the core of the M855 as their reasoning for supporting the change. The validity of the data behind the EPA push notwithstanding, the fact that the agency noted the lead within the core of the round should not be ignored.

ATF’s attempt to justify the proposal using a “sporting purpose” argument fails to address many concerns held by legal sportsmen. The first of these is the apparent ignorance on the part of the agency with respect to M855’s popularity with target shooters. This can only be taken as ATF’s outright refusal to acknowledge the AR-15 as the most popular target rifle in the nation, both in formal competition and recreational shooting. The M855 has a total projectile weight of 62 grains. This weight (and requisite projectile length) works extremely well in most common barrels with 1:9 and 1:7 rifling twist ratios. M855 happens to be favored by target shooters because it has passed the accuracy requirements of the US military and is one of the highest quality and most consistent options for shooters using commonly available 5.56mm/.223 caliber barrels.

As part of the same “sporting purpose” argument, ATF almost inexplicably delves into standards for determining a pistol as “primarily intended for sporting purposes”. In doing so, ATF narrowly defines “sporting” pistols as single-shot firearms and wholly ignores the overwhelming use of semi-automatic handguns in target competitions. In fact, semi-automatic handguns far outnumber single-shot handguns in competitive shooting. In keeping with this theme, ATF references concealable handguns as one type of firearm not “primarily suited for sporting purposes”. This is completely unrelated to the subject at hand, but leaves readers wondering what the agency’s intent might have been in mentioning these firearms. If the concern is that a handgun can be concealed, AR-15 pistols are just about the least concealable option out there and are every bit as “large” and “heavy” as the single-shot handguns referenced on page thirteen.

It is intriguing that the proposal specifically names AR-15 as a concern for ATF and police. While the agency seems particularly hung up on the idea that a firearm the size of a very large laptop could be easily hidden on the body, ATF also appears completely ignorant of the fact that 5.56mm pistols are far from a new concept. Bushmaster released a similarly sized pistol in 1977, known as none other than the Bushmaster Arm Pistol. This firearm actually predates the exemption that was issued (albeit unnecessarily) for M855 ammunition. Surely this weapon was known when the exemption was issued, so why is ATF ignorant of this history today?

Arguably the most disturbing part of the proposal is ATF’s dedication to implementing the new rule and associated disregard for the state-level ramifications of such a ruling. At this time, as many as twelve states (Alabama, California, Connecticut, Indiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Michigan, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas) explicitly forbid the possession of armor piercing ammunition. In several of these, possession constitutes a felony. Simply put, the proposal would instantly turn thousands of peaceable gun owners into felons simply because ATF chose to arbitrarily reclassify one of the most popular 5.56mm cartridges on the market. The consequences of such an action could be quite severe, but at minimum, thousands of gun owners will have sufficient standing to bring the agency to court.

In light of these facts, ATF should take two significant actions. The first is that the agency should immediately withdraw the proposed framework referenced in the opening of this letter. The second action should be prompt removal of the armor piercing classification for M855/SS109 as the projectile does not meet either statutory definition within 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(17)(B).

 

<Place your full name and address down here>

Rugged Suppressors Official Announcement and Exclusive Q&A with Modern Rifleman

rugged

For official release:

Back in October, the suppressor industry was abuzz with news that former SilencerCo mastermind, Mike Pappas, would be returning with a new company, Dead Air Armament. At the time, I speculated that Dead Air may eventually enlist Henry Graham, also formerly of SilencerCo and former owner of Southeastern Weaponry Research (SWR). Perhaps fortunately, it looks like I was wrong.

On December 31, news broke that Henry would be starting a new company named Rugged Suppressors to reassert himself in the suppressor industry. As a designer on some excellent suppressors such as the Specwar and Octane series of cans, Henry’s work is well known and he is credited with some of the quietest suppressors on the market. In the interest of full disclosure, I own an Octane 45 HD and have a Specwar 556 pending at my local dealer, but published numbers from reputable sources like Silencer Shop have consistently shown these suppressors to be some of the top performers in their respective classes. With the above in mind, it should be no surprise that Henry’s departure from SilencerCo fueled the internet gossip mill for weeks as enthusiasts speculated on his future.

As their first release with Rugged Suppressors, Henry and co-founder Michael Derdziak have announced the SURGE 762. This suppressor appears to be an evolution of the experience Henry gained while working on the popular SilencerCo Saker, with a similar removable end cap and full Stellite baffle stack, but should revolutionize the industry as the first adjustable length rifle suppressor. The mount is also unique in that it takes the taper mount concept further by having two taper surfaces, one that works in conjunction with the mount’s threads and another that helps to secure the locking device on the suppressor itself. MSRP on the SURGE 762 is $1300, but some dealers are reporting that the street price will be just under $1000. This should put the SURGE in a tight race with competition from Dead Air and SilencerCo.

While the company is extremely busy pumping out SURGE 762s, Henry sat down to answer some of the questions that this news brought to mind:

Modern Rifleman: How did you guys get involved in suppressors? What inspired you?

Henry Graham: Suppressors started as a hobby that became an obsession that became a business. I started out as a firearms dealer with a focus on NFA and suppressors. When Joe Gaddini retired from SWR, I had the opportunity to purchase the company along with Matthew Pallett and William Ellison. Together, we ran SWR for about 6 years before selling it to Silencerco. I moved to Utah to run SWR and which led to running the R&D and Operations for the company. When that ran its course, I moved back to South Carolina, joined Michael Derdziak and began Rugged Design.

I consider suppressors to be my calling. I’m a suppressor nerd and I love every part of it. I find the design side of it so rewarding but designing a more durable, quiet, or versatile suppressor is just one facet of it, really. The best design is nothing without the processes to actually make it on a large scale. The challenge is to make thousands of something in a niche industry, where  many times no one else has done something the way you are proposing to do it, and make it perfect every time. It’s exciting, frustrating and surreal all at the same time.

MR: Has entering the industry changed since your SWR days? If so, in what ways?

HG: There is more competition for sure. The market has become like huge tree branches growing in every direction. There are multiple consumer choices in most segments of the market for modular 45 cans, or lightweight 308 cans, and of course 22 cans.

It’s really cool to see. Every time a new player gets in the market, the market just grows more to accept the products. The suppressor and general firearms industry is great because as an innovator, you can create your own market. For example, four years ago there was no market for user serviceable pistol cans. We were able to introduce a new product and create a market that now dominates that segment.

MR: Given tight competition, how do you see the Surge standing out from those made by companies like Dead Air and SilencerCo?

HG: I really enjoy making suppressors that give the user maximum versatility. So many people wrestle with the choice: Do I buy a longer, heavier, quieter suppressor or do it get the shorter, lighter, louder suppressor? Each choice has their benefits and drawbacks and each has role to play on a specific host rifle platform.

This is where the SURGE 762 shines. It is a short suppressor, which spec for spec rivals the market leaders in both lengths. In the 7.5″ length it offers similar sound reduction to existing suppressors in its length class. The SURGE 762 does this at a weight that is several ounces lighter than the competitors. The suppressor itself is only 17.5 oz. Most of the competing designs weigh in over 20 oz. In addition our muzzle brake is a full ounce lighter than competing designs. This makes the total system weight over 4 oz lighter than a Saker 762 or 762SDN6. Over half the length of the SURGE 762 is machined from one solid bar of 17-4PH stainless steel, and full circumference welded Stellite core so you do not give up one bit of durability or longevity.

We offer an Unconditional Lifetime Warranty on every product we make. Our website warranty page is perhaps the emptiest page on our site. If you have a problem with your RUGGED product we will repair or replace it. That’s all. No conditions, no disclaimers, and no asterisks. It’s just a plain statement, in actual English words, that states we will take care of you whatever happens. If you don’t think that is a big deal, cruise over to any competitor’s website and read through their multi paragraph warranty statements with various disclaimers which state your warranty only exists so long as they say it does.

MR: Let’s talk about the Dual Taper Locking System; how does it work and what are the advantages?

HG: The Dual Taper Locking System incorporates some really useful features and addresses some problems that I have observed over the years.

First of all, the SURGE 762 uses no locking teeth, on either the suppressor body or the muzzle device. Timing the rotational of the mount with the lock of the teeth has plagued various mounts since the beginning. When you tighten a suppressor on, it is held on either directly or indirectly by locking teeth. If the timing is just slightly off, the lever does not make it to the next tooth. Your locking mechanism backs off a few degrees, and now your can is loose. That sucks!

The Dual Taper Locking System uses spring pressure against a taper to both provide anti-rotational force to the suppressor and keep the locking mechanism closed. Think of it as a lock nut. The nut prevents rotation by limiting the outward travel of the bolt, not by trying to prevent the bolt from rotating, but by preventing outward travel you have also locked the rotation.

The effects of thermal expansion and contraction are also mitigated by the Dual Taper Locking System. The spring arms provide constant force compressing the suppressor mount against the muzzle device. As the mount heats up, the metal expands. The spring arms take up this slop by pushing on the rear taper to keep the forward taper of the muzzle device driven into the corresponding taper on the mount.

The spring arms alone are very stout. You’ll have trouble moving the arms much at all with just your hand pressure. That’s where the locking collar comes into play. The rotation of the collar enables the long cam surface machined in the inside of the collar to drive the spring arms into against the rear taper of the muzzle device. The arms are driven down and to the rear. All of that torque you have imparted is now stored in the spring arms to push against the rear taper.

MR: After developing a high performance suppressor, how do you then return to the drawing board to build on that success/performance? Is a successful release followed by a sort of “engineer’s block”?

HG: Brainstorming with others helps a great deal. I’m a suppressor junkie so most all of my designs stem from features and attributes that I want in a product for myself.

MR: We’ve seen companies come out with lighter, tougher, and more versatile suppressors. Do you think we are reaching the limits as far as suppression is concerned?

HG: I have thought maybe we are reaching the limits a few times before and then the industry surpasses the limits and keeps going. So no, I think there will also be new products taking it further in every direction. New materials, manufacturing methods, and off the wall ideas will keep it fresh.

MR: The Surge 762 is one of only a few adaptable length suppressors and the first of its kind for rifles. Has the ATF changed its position on adaptable suppressors or is it a feature that simply was not fully fleshed out from an implementation/regulatory perspective until recently?

HG: Well from a regulatory perspective there is nothing to address. The SURGE 762 ships as a 9″ suppressor that can be made shorter and then returned to its original 9″ configuration. Nothing controversial or odd about that really.

MR: Beyond the Surge 762, can you clue us in on any other upcoming products from Rugged Suppressors?

HG: We are developing a full line of suppressors

MR: Will we be seeing Henry’s SWR-esque testing videos on YouTube?

HG: Yes, I enjoy the testing videos and it is such an effective way to get the info out to everyone.

MR: Last fall, we saw some amazing deals and promotions on suppressors. What was the driving force behind these historically low prices?

HG: The entire firearms industry was in a deep spending hangover from several years of panic buying. People blew their “gun money” on whatever thing might get banned and that affected the broader firearms market. Incentives kept the sales flowing. Definitely get those deals while they last, as I do not think we will see those incentives again for a while.

Rugged Suppressors SURGE 762 Preview:

Rugged Suppressors Website: http://www.ruggedsuppressors.com

Modern Rifleman’s Favorites of SHOT Show 2015

While I may have already proclaimed 2015 the “year of the suppressor“, SHOT Show 2015 was loaded with plenty of other news-worthy developments and releases that should not be ignored. While I was once again unable to attend the show, I have endeavored to keep tabs on all the major firearms releases from last week’s show. After sorting through all the new guns, accessories, and gear, I feel that this round-up highlights most of my favorites from SHOT Show 2015.

Without further ado, let’s see which firearms will be lightening our wallets over the next few years:

Palmetto State Armory AKM

The last two or three years have been fairly rough for AK fans. Kits have been drying up, sanctions have been levied against Russian imports, Russian 7N6 surplus 5.45mm ammunition was recently classified as armor piercing and banned from import, and on the whole even garden variety AKs have risen in price to the point that an AR-15 is simply a better deal for most shooters. As prices have risen, so too has the feasibility of a fully US-made AK. Previously considered a waste of time and money, US companies are taking another look at the possibility of manufacturing AKs domestically.

PSAK-47 (image credit: http://www.outdoorhub.com)

Palmetto State Armory’s new AK looks at first glance like a reasonably well executed AKM clone. The receiver has relatively accurate dimples, the gas block looks like an early-to-mid era milled AKM block, and the front sight also resembles a mid production AKM part. From the images I have seen, the bolt carrier actually has the outward appearance of an AK-47 carrier, while the recoil spring guide is apparently collapsible aluminum (similar to some early AKs) rather than segmented wire like we have come to expect in most AKMs.

The barrel on PSA’s new AK is supposedly nitride treated. While I would rather have a correct chrome lined, cold hammer forged barrel, the nitride treatment should make for a very durable part. There is some disagreement as to who is actually making the parts for the PSAK-47, but based on what I have seen, it is not the same rifle as the Century RAS 47, nor does it share parts with the InterOrdnance/Pioneer Arms AKM. PSA has apparently stated that they intend to keep the retail price under $700.

Kinetic Research Group FOX-42

After Bushmaster and Remington botched the release of the Magpul-designed ACR, many firearms enthusiasts were to speculate on the future of Magpul’s other modern rifle design, the Massoud. Built to shoot 7.62x51mm along with other full power rifle cartridges, the Massoud was to be the ACR’s (Masada) bigger brother. Unfortunately (or maybe not), the Massoud disappeared after the release of the ACR.

KRG FOX-42 (image credit: http://www.thefirearmblog.com)

Luckily for fans of the design, one of the original developers of the Massoud has decided to revive to project with Kinetic Research Group. While KRG’s FOX-42 will differ in some significant ways from the original Massoud, it retains much of the same appearance and ergonomics that made the original prototypes so appealing. While pricing and a release date have yet to be determined, this rifle looks like it will be worth watching

HK/Walther G36 .22 LR

Okay so this rifle probably is not as intriguing as some of the others in this round-up. Even so, I think it is worth mentioning. Like the MP5 and HK416 clones that Walther has produced, the G36 is another joint effort between Walther and Heckler & Koch to bring a .22 LR version of one of HK’s popular rifles to market. Based on my experience with the Walther straight-blowback system, these G36s should be reliable plinkers.

Walther/HK G36 (image credit: http://www.guns.com)

RWC/Kalashnikov USA AKs

Like PSA’s PSAK-47, RWC’s decision to rebrand and begin US manufacturing under the Kalashnikov USA name is driven by supply issues and sanctions against Concern Kalashnikov in Russia. Prior to the sanctions, RWC was the primary importer of Saiga rifles and shotguns in the US. Now, the company is facing inevitable supply challenges as new imports are unlikely to come any time soon. In response, the company plans to begin full scale manufacturing in the US by the end of 2015. It is unclear as to what configurations will be made by Kalashnikov USA, but many expect a 9mm AK variant to be one of the offerings. Modern Rifleman will be following developments on this front very closely.

Kalashnikov USA booth (image credit: http://www.outdoorhub.com)

Colt OEM AR-15s

While Colt has long been the measuring stick for the AR-15 market, the company has faced stiffer competition in recent years. Other companies like Bravo Company, Palmetto State Armory, and Spikes Tactical all have come out with milspec-or-better ARs at lower prices than Colt’s base 6920. In order to better compete with these brands and to acknowledge that most people replace the stock furniture on factory ARs, Colt will be releasing OEM models of their 6920 and lightweight 16-inch ARs. These are expected to sell for under $700 so they should be solid options for shooters looking to customize their rifle from the outset.

Colt OEM-1 and OEM-2 rifles (image credit: http://www.policemag.com)

SIG Sauer MCX

SIG’s MCX is the rifle caliber companion to their highly anticipated MPX. Built around a piston system and three different calibers (300 BLK, 5.56 NATO, 7.62x39mm), the MCX seems to be somewhat like an evolution of the AR-15. This is partly because the MCX’s upper receiver group can be used on a standard AR-15 lower receiver. At 6 pounds unloaded, the carbine version of the MCX is fairly light for a piston rifle. All controls minus the bolt release are ambidextrous.

SIG MCX Carbine (image credit: http://www.gunsandammo.com)

The only part of the MCX that I really do not care for is the stock. It is excellent that the stock can be folded to take full advantage of the MCX’s piston system, but the folding stock seems somewhat out of place on the otherwise attractive rifle. It also seems to lack the nice cheek weld that many of us who use SOPMOD or similar stocks on our AR-15s.

Fabryka Broni (RADOM) MSBS

The FB Radom MSBS was initially announced a few years ago as a sort of Polish answer to the Bushmaster ACR. Initially, there were no plans to bring the rifle to the US and FB seemed set on gaining Polish Army acceptance for the rifle. Now it appears the company will be bringing the rifle to US civilian shooters. Aesthetically, the MSBS is everything the ACR should have been. It has all the features shooters are looking for in a “next-generation” rifle, but is lighter than the Bushmaster and remarkably can be adapted to a bullpup configuration. As of now, details on release and pricing are scarce but with FB looking to begin importing their own rifles (instead of partnering with Inter Ordnance)  and opening manufacturing stateside, it is a safe bet that we will see the MSBS here in the US at some point.

FB Radom MSBS (image credit: http://www.aftermathgunclub.com)

LWRC SMG-45

The LWRC SMG-45 might have been the most drool-worthy firearm at this year’s SHOT Show. According to LWRC, the SMG-45 was originally developed to compete for an overseas contract and civilian release was not part of the initial plans. However, after an impressively short 3-month development program, LWRC now plans to bring the piston-delayed .45 carbine to the US civilian market. Yes, that is right, the SMG-45 uses a unique piston system rather than the much more common and heavier straight blowback action that is shared by most pistol caliber carbines. While the SMG-45 resembles the Heckler & Koch UMP, the piston system and AR-style controls should make it a more appealing option. Unfortunately, we likely will not see the SMG-45 on the civilian market until at least the second half of 2016 and it will likely carry a price tag north of $2000.

LWRC SMG-45 (image credit: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com)

German Sport Gun MP-40 9mm

GSG alongside partner ATI are well known for their popular .22 LR clones of several modern and classic firearms. Together, the two companies essentially created today’s “tactical” .22 market when they released the GSG-5 several years ago. However, after recently bringing STG-44 and MP-40 clones to the US, many collectors began to clamor for more. It seems GSG might have heard these cries.

GSG MP-40 9x19mm (image credit: http://www.gunsamerica.com)

Later this year, ATI will begin importing a 9mm pistol reproduction of the venerable MP-40 submachine gun. While it won’t fire from an open bolt and will feature a mechanical safety, GSG’s offering looks like it will be a respectable clone of the original. Even better news is that the gun will carry a very reasonable $550 price tag, one that might be even lower after it hits the shelves.

2015: The Year of the Suppressor

Over the past few months, I have written several articles on suppressors and NFA topics in general.  For those of you who live in states where suppressor ownership is not an option, I apologize. There simply is not another segment of the firearms market that is moving as quickly as the suppressor industry.

As of publication, six states (Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Utah) have passed “shall certify” provisions for individuals seeking CLEO certification for NFA purchases. On top of these success stories, 34 states now allow hunting with suppressors for all in-season game. Even with dangerous proposals such as ATF 41P potentially looming on the horizon, NFA ownership has grown immensely over the last few years. In response, suppressor manufacturers have amped up their development efforts and every company seems poised to make significant additions to their product lines in 2015.

Let’s take a look at some of what is coming:

AAC Illusion 9
As suppressors have become more popular, so too have more interesting, purpose built cans that are intended to address certain niches in the industry. Often dubbed “eccentric” suppressors, these products frequently feature off-center bores, odd shapes, and unique baffle designs. The trend actually started back in the early 1900s with Maxim’s first suppressor and its off-center bore, but more recently the SilencerCo Ospreys seem to have revived this oddball segment of the market, The Illusion is AAC’s answer to the Osprey 9. Unlike the Osprey, it retains a cylindrical shape, but like the Osprey does feature an off-center bore intended to negate the need for raised pistol sights. Because AAC did not alter the overall shape of the suppressor, it surrenders some performance to its stable mate, the Ti-Rant 9.

Illusion

Caliber: 9mm
Diameter: 1.25”
Length: 7.88”
Weight: 10.4 oz
Baffle Material: Stainless Steel and 7075-T6 Aluminum
Tube Material: 6061-T6 Aluminum
Mount: Direct Thread
MSRP: $799

AAC Ti-Rant 45 M
AAC’s new Ti-Rant 45 M is the company’s response to the new modular suppressor trend that seems set to establish itself in the market in 2015. The Ti-Rant 45 M is threaded in the middle of the tube, allowing the suppressor to be shortened by approximately 25% when desired. With essentially the same materials and baffle design as the standard Ti-Rant 45, the M model should offer excellent suppression with the added benefit that users will no longer need to purchase both the Ti-Rant 45 and the Ti-Rant 45S to have both full-size and compact suppressor options on pistol caliber firearms.

Tirant

Caliber: Pistol up to .45 ACP
Diameter: 1.38”
Length: 8.74”, 6.75”
Weight: 13 oz, 11.3 oz
Baffle Material: Stainless Steel and 7075-T6 Aluminum
Tube Material: Titanium
Mount: Direct Thread
MSRP: $849

Dead Air Mask-22
Unfortunately, there is not much information out there on Dead Air’s first .22 caliber suppressors. Two models will be offered, a Heavy Duty Mask-22 with a titanium tube and stainless baffles, and a Light Duty Mask-22 with a titanium tube and aluminum baffles.

Mask

Calibers: .22 LR (Light and Heavy Duty), up to 5.7x28mm (Heavy Duty)
Diameter: 1.070”
Length: 5.25”
Weight: 6.3 oz (Heavy Duty), 5.0 oz (Light Duty)
Baffle Material: Stainless Steel (Heavy Duty), Aluminum (Light Duty)
Tube Material: Titanium
Mount: 1/2-28
MSRP: $499 (Both models)

Dead Air Sandman-S and Sandman-L
Dead Air’s Sandman suppressors are not exactly breaking news in the same way that some of the other models in this round-up are. Still, none of these are in customers’ hands so they are still “on the horizon” so to speak. Like similar offerings from SilencerCo and Rugged Suppressors, the Sandman suppressors feature Stellite baffle stacks and stainless tubes as well as interchangeable front caps.

SandmanS

Calibers: 7.62mm up to .300 Win Mag
Diameter: 1.5”
Length: 8.9” (Sandman-L), 6.8” (Sandman-S)
Weight: 21.8 oz (Sandman-L), 17.3 oz (Sandman-S)
Baffle Material: Stellite
Tube Material: Stainless Steel
Mount: Dead Air QD System
MSRP:  $1,199 (Sandman-L), $1049 (Sandman-S)

Dead Air Sandman-TI
The Sandman-TI is Dead Air’s direct thread option in the Sandman series. It features a titanium tube and the same Stellite baffle stack as the QD Sandman suppressors. The Sandman-TI offers suppression similar to the Sandman-L in a package that is slightly lighter than the Sandman-S.

SandmanTi

Calibers: 7.62mm up to .300 Win Mag
Diameter: 1.5”
Length: 8.2”
Weight: 16.8 oz
Baffle Material: Stellite
Tube Material: Titanium
Mount: 5/8-24
MSRP: $849

Gemtech ONE
The Gemtech ONE is a highly versatile compact .30 caliber suppressor that also happens to sport a very unique appearance.  It utilizes a titanium tube and Inconel baffles, but also features a shrouded blast chamber for additional strength and enhanced cooling. The ONE can be used with Gemtech’s excellent Quick Mounts or directly threaded to the barrel.

ONE

Calibers: 300WM (24″ or longer barrel), 7.62, .308, 5.56 (7.5″ or longer), and others
Diameter: 1.625” at shroud
Length: 7.5”
Weight: 16.3 oz
Baffle Material: Inconel
Tube Material: Titanium
Mount: Quick Mount or Direct Thread
MSRP: $1,025

Griffin Armament 30-SD
Griffin’s 30-SD is essentially a .30 caliber version of their well regarded M4SD and M4SDII line of 5.56mm suppressors. It brings Griffin’s SD-QD locking gate mechanism to .30 caliber firearms while also enabling compatibility with standard 5.56mm NATO flash hiders. The 30-SD is the first .30 caliber QD suppressor that can be quickly attached to a standard AR-15 flash hider, but it should be noted that the suppressor will not work with .30 caliber flash hiders that are made to look like the AR-15’s as there is no standard for these muzzle devices.

30sd

Caliber: 7.62x51mm
Diameter: 1.5”
Length: 7.6”
Weight: 19.5 oz
Baffle Material: Stainless Steel (Unconfirmed)
Tube Material: Stainless Steel (Unconfirmed)
Mount: NATO/A2 Flash Hider or Griffin SD Mounts

Griffin Armament M4SD
The M4SD is a more affordable version of Griffin’s M4SDII. It sacrifices around 3 dB of sound pressure reduction as compared to its more expensive brother, but mounts on all Griffin M4SD muzzle devices as well as standard A2 flash hiders.

M4SD

Caliber: 5.56mm
Diameter: 1.5”
Length: 6.7”
Weight: 16 oz
Baffle Material: Stainless Steel (Unconfirmed)
Tube Material: Stainless Steel (Unconfirmed)
Mount: NATO/A2 Flash Hider or Griffin SD Mounts

Liberty Regulator
The Liberty Regulator might be the quietest .22 LR suppressor I have ever seen. According to the company, the Regulator has been metered at less than 110 dB. Time and independent testing will ultimately verify or debunk these claims. The suppressor features a titanium tube and stainless steel monocore baffle stack.

Regulator

Calibers: 22LR, 22WMR, 17M2, 17HMR
Diameter: 1”
Length: 6.5”
Weight: 5.5 oz
Baffle Material: Stainless Steel
Tube Material: Titanium
Mount: 1/2-28
MSRP: $499

Rugged Suppressors Surge 762
The Surge 762 is an interesting reflection of a growing trend among suppressor manufacturers. Noteworthy in that it is the first adaptable length suppressor for rifles, the Surge 762 will join the Griffin Revolution, AAC Ti-Rant M, and SilencerCo Salvo as the first adaptable suppressors to market. Those who are unfamiliar with the Rugged Suppressors name might recognize company owner Henry Graham from his time at SWR and SilencerCo. In addition to its configurability, the Surge 762 also has a full Stellite baffle stack which should easily handle even the most intense firing schedules. Like the SilencerCo Saker, the Surge 762 will also feature interchangeable front caps.

Surge

Caliber: 7.62mm up to .300 RUM
Diameter: 1.5”
Length: 9” to 7.5”
Weight: 21.5 oz to 17.5 oz
Baffle Material: Stellite™ core
Tube Material: 316L Stainless Steel
Mount: Dual Taper Locking System
MSRP: $1300

SilencerCo Omega
The SilencerCo Omega might be the most intriguing suppressor to be announced for 2015. A compact .30 caliber suppressor, the Omega is SilencerCo’s first offering to use titanium. As a result, the suppressor is incredibly light and published sound pressure levels (SPL) are remarkable even before we consider its relatively compact size. The Omega ships with both a direct thread adapter and an Active Spring Retention (ASR) mount like the ones used in the Specwar and Harvester Big Bore suppressors. The Omega also features a Harvester-style Anchor Brake on its fore end that can be swapped with a flat front cap.

Omega

Calibers: Up to .300 Win Mag
Diameter: 1.56”
Length: 7.09”
Weight: 14 oz
Baffle Material: Stellite (Blast Baffle) & Stainless Steel
Tube Material: Titanium
Mount: Active Spring Retention (QD) and Direct Thread
MSRP: $1,100

SIG Suppressors
After years of being a relative non-player in the suppressor industry, SIG Sauer is looking to enter the market with an explosion of offerings. Over the next year, the company will be releasing 12 new models. SIG’s new rifle suppressors are interesting in that they are “tubeless” fully welded cans that are also impressively light for their size and performance. SIG has priced these suppressors very aggressively with base models in their centerfire lineup starting under $600. Improved models with QD mounts and titanium construction will carry modest premiums, but even their top-end titanium QD .338 LM suppressor, the SRD338TI-QD, carries an amazingly low $995 suggested retail price.

sig

Surefire Ryder 9
Surefire is in the process of revamping their entire lineup of suppressors and have even announced plans to release a purpose-built 300 BLK suppressor. Still, the Ryder 9 is probably the most compelling of the group. This is partly because it is made of a combination of titanium and stainless steel, but also because it is smaller in diameter than market leaders from AAC and SilencerCo at a svelte 1.25”. Even with this thinner tube, the Ryder 9 still performs fairly respectably according to Surefire’s numbers.

Ryder

Caliber: 9mm
Diameter: 1.25”
Length: 7.6”
Weight: 9.5 oz
Baffle Material: Stainless Steel
Tube Material: Titanium
Mount: Direct Thread (1/2-28 or M13.5×1)
MSRP: $799

Thunder Beast Ultra Series
Thunder Beast has announced that they will be discontinuing their 30CB series of suppressors and will be replacing them with the Ultra series in 5, 7, and 9 inch lengths. The Ultras will come in at around 25% lighter than the older CB cans and will also average around 5 dB quieter. It is almost ludicrous that TBAC can make a 5 inch, 7.6 ounce suppressor that can suppress a .308 rifle to just over 140 dB. While I find these new Ultra suppressors to be very intriguing, TBAC’s excellent reputation among long range shooters should have that segment particularly excited.

tbac

Calibers: 7.62mm up to .300 RUM
Diameter: 1.5”
Length: 5”, 7”, and 9”
Weight: 7.6 oz, 9.7 oz, 11.9 oz Respectively
Baffle Material: Titanium
Tube Material: Titanium
Mount: Compact Brake or Direct Thread
MSRP: $945-$1195

 

AAC Catalog: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/5fe0a3ac#/5fe0a3ac/1

Dead Air Armament: http://www.deadairsilencers.com/products.html

Griffin Armament Catalog: https://www.dropbox.com/s/kknc4z625mzlsui/2014%20Griffin%20Armament%20Catalog%20opt.pdf?dl=0

Gemtech ONE: http://www.gem-tech.com/store/pc/ONE-p1146.htm

Liberty Regulator: http://libertycans.net/rimfire-suppressors/regulator/

Rugged Suppressors: http://ruggedsuppressors.com/

SilencerCo Omega: https://s3.amazonaws.com/com.silencerco/support/product-specs/omega.pdf

SIG Suppressors: http://www.sigsauer.com/Catalog/sig-sauer-silencers.aspx

Surefire Ryder 9: http://www.surefire.com/product/sf-ryder-9-landing-page.html

Tunder Beast Ultra: https://thunderbeastarms.com/news/introducing-the-ultra-series-shot-2015/