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Mounting Pistol-Caliber Suppressors
In this post, I’m going to cover the basics of mounting a pistol-caliber suppressor. First, I’ll go over the parts of the suppressors themselves, then I’ll show how they are attached; and, finally I’ll spend some time on potential weapon modifications.
I’m going to use a 9mm Evolotion suppressor from Advanced Armament; but, don’t worry since other models and brands work the same way.
OK, let’s get started!
First, the basic parts of a pistol-caliber suppressor are:
The actual suppressor tube itself, including the internal baffles. This is where the work of suppressing the muzzle blast gets done.
The recoil booster, or Nielson device, is attached to the rear of the suppressor. (I’m considering the rear to be the side that faces the weapon.)
A piston resides inside the recoil booster (as part of it) and provides the threads that are used to actually attach the suppressor to your weapon.
A recoil booster is required for weapons where the barrel tilts while they are cycling. Most pistols fall into this category; including your favorite Glock, XD, M&P, Sig, etc…
For weapons with fixed barrels, a recoil booster should not be used. There are two basic ways that manufacturers deal with fixed barrels in their pistol-caliber suppressor products:
- For suppressors containing a recoil booster, a fixed barrel spacer (shown below) is used to disable the booster.
- Some pistol-caliber suppressors are created specifically for fixed barrel weapons. In those cases, the suppressor doesn’t contain a recoil booster at all – but they won’t function reliably on weapons with tilting barrels.
A fixed barrel spacer is an incredibly simple device. To install it, simply replace the booster spring with the spacer and then re-insert the piston back into the suppressor.
Now that we’ve covered the basic parts, let’s spend a little bit of time on how to attach the suppressor to your firearm.
As you can see in the following pictures, the end of the piston that protrudes from the suppressor has female threads. The type of thread depends on both the caliber being used and the firearm. For example, a 9mm firearm will typically use either a 1/2-28 thread or a metric 13.5mm-1 left-hand thread. (That’s right! Some suppressors actually screw on ‘backwards’, which is typically shown in the specs using the abbreviation LH.) Other calibers use different thread patterns.
When you purchase your suppressor, you need to pay attention to the thread pattern used by your firearm and get a piston in the suppressor that matches it. One advantage to this system is that you can swap out the piston easily, and fairly inexpensively, in order to mount your suppressor to multiple firearms with different threads.
In some cases, you will also have the option of buying a smaller-sized piston for a larger caliber suppressor. That makes it possible to thread your .45 can directly onto a .40 or 9mm pistol – or to put a 9mm can onto a .223 rifle. The possibilities are endless; but, be sure to check that your suppressor is rated for the pressure of the caliber you are trying to suppress!
As far as weapon modifications go, the most important thing you’ll need is a threaded barrel. More and more weapons are coming with threaded barrels from the factory; but, most pistols still don’t (except as an option). Since, in most cases, the factory barrel doesn’t protrude far enough from the frame – this typically requires purchasing a new barrel. This is an area where you can spend as little or as much as you want. At Silencer Shop, we’ve had great luck with Storm Lake Barrels and will soon be adding them to our online store for many common handguns.
In conclusion, I hope I’ve made it clear how simple pistol-caliber suppressors really are. I get a lot of questions on this topic; but, I think it’s one of those things where a picture is worth a thousand words.