A Look Inside Dead Air: Interview
A Look Inside Dead Air: Interview
Mikeith Green, the Texas Sales Manager at Dead Air Silencers, visited with us, so we took the opportunity to get down and dirty into silencer talk and more. Having in-depth knowledge of silencers from both a professional and personal standpoint, Mikeith is a wealth of knowledge we couldn’t wait to pry into.
In the silencer world, Mike Pappas - the founder of Dead Air Silencers - has cultivated a distinct and recognizable brand that continues to gain diehard support year-over-year. Their claim to fame in the industry is setting themselves apart from the rest through innovative creations as well as new-age thinking with an old-world flare.
Their two most recent silencers to date are the Odessa-9 and the Nomad, which we wanted to hear more from Mikeith about, but we won’t ruin any surprises for you – read on!
What sets Dead Air apart from the noise of the silencer industry?
We look at each product we come out with. We look to fill a void in an area of the silencer world that we either haven't seen done the way that we liked, or we wanted to specialize in a certain area. The Odessa… is a perfect example of that. There have been pistol cans, the Ghost is a great one, but it still balances on that line that you can run it on a handgun or you can run it on a sub gun. Then we came out with the Wolf, which was primarily a sub gun can that you could use on pistols, but it wasn't really optimized for it. And then the new Odessa is a diehard pistol can that you can use on a sub gun, but it shines on a pistol.
When I think about Dead Air, one of the big voids that you guys filled was with the Wolverine. What inspired that?
That was probably one of the most iconic [silencers] we've done as far as being a niche can. There's so much more to guns than just Glocks and AR15's. There's so much more out there in the "communist bloc pattern." We saw it as something we wanted to suppress but we also saw it as something of a challenge because no one had been able to do it well mainly due to how gassy the system is and how much blowback it has, especially once you add a can to it. So, for us, it was something we wanted for our own personal reasons but also to fill that void and do something that someone else hasn't been able to do yet.
What're the differences between that and the traditional "old-school" AK silencer?
The [original] PBS1. The biggest difference, that can was primarily just a wipe can, and it's meant for subsonic rounds only. That's what it was designed for. It wasn't really meant for hard rifle use. As you know with our cans, we design our stuff to be really hammered on and you can't really do that with a PBS1. In places where silencers aren't nearly as regulated, [silencers] are considered usable, wearable, disposable parts.
How does Nomad 30 round out your lineup?
The Nomad 30 rounds it out in that even since the beginning of the Sandman, a lot of people have asked for a little bit lighter weight, some modularity on the back end, being able to run it direct thread or QD. So it's something we knew that we needed to do at some point, once we had the primary line up mostly filled.
One thing we didn't want to be was just another "me too" company, so if we were going to do something like that, then we wanted to come up with something revolutionary to set it apart from the rest of what's out there.
We wanted to design a baffle stack that works better in a larger volume, without first round pop, and without a lot of back pressure, and still getting really good muzzle suppression at the front of the can. Inherently, a lot of people don't understand that if a can is really quiet [at the front of the firearm], it's usually a lot louder [at the back of the firearm by the shooter's ear] and, if it's balanced, you're going to still be in the mid-higher 130 [decibel] range. For us to go back to the drawing board so that it accommodated those pressures while still keeping it quiet and not just gassing the shooter to death. Todd, our engineer, came up with a really good design for that baffle and that is what pushed the product forward.
Do you think the industry is headed toward more standardization in terms of mounting systems?
I think it's getting that way. And I certainly hope it is. [Ours is] a true quick detach; there are not multiple layers of threads and it takes less than a full rotation to get it locked into place. It's solid. We've had a lot of other manufacturers reach out to us, wanting to use our mount on their cans. We've been happy to help accommodate just because that's what it takes for us to be in that standardization as far as a mounting system goes. If it becomes a good mount, and everyone is using that as a mount then people can run whatever can they want without having to spend $700-800 replacing all their mounts on all of their rifles every time they buy a new can.
Can you elaborate on your relationship with BPI in Georgia a little bit?
When Dead Air started, one of the things that we didn't want to have was the headache of all of the manufacturing in house. So we partnered with one of the best manufacturers in the game that can help us with our manufacturing portion. That way we can focus on what we're good at, which is the design of silencers and let the people who are good at machining be able to handle that without us having to have the risk and load of having a huge cost of a manufacturing facility.
You’ve had two very successful models launched this year (the Odessa and Nomad) – where are you headed next?
We never like to let the cat fully out of the bag there. Those of you who know us know we like to do our best to do surprise launches with stuff in stock and ready to ship, that way people aren't suffering, seeing a new product they can't get. We've got a couple of things we're working on that should be out relatively soon. Everyone's asked about a big bore can, so you might see a variant of the Nomad in a bigger bore.
Marketing wise, Dead Air has kind of a scotch sipping, cigar club, leather couch vibe. Is this the target demographic or do you find that Dead Air takes all types?
We've got a lot of demographics. We've got die-hard old school NFA guys. We've got some of the hunting crowd that's starting to take on to our stuff. We do have the guys who like cigars and whiskey and that kind of stuff. Obviously, you can't market to everybody. But we want to be something that no one feels like they can't be in our wheelhouse as far as who we market to. We don't want to exclude anyone.
Can you talk a little bit about the Odessa-9 and baffle allignment/torqueing?
One of the number one questions we get is why they're numbered the way they are. One of the reasons is that its baffle stack is EDM bore cut. It's slightly tapered so it allows for some tolerant stacking on a gun (the first baffle has a smaller bore than the last baffle). You can either have a large overbore or you can run a tight tapered bore if you have the machining to do so, which we do. The other thing is since everything is torqued down, it's multiple stack tolerances, and, to do it well, you need to have a good, set torque, and then cut the bore after that torque has set. The problem is, is that after you find that torque, once you take apart the can and put it back together. So, we found the simple way was to torque everything down properly, cut the bore, and then go back and laser the numbers in a perfectly straight line so that when you're lining everything back up, you're able to keep it good and concentric all the way through the bore of the can.
How much fun is the Nomad?
It's all of the fun. It's great. It's a lightweight can, modular, and allows people to run direct thread, they can run on other legacy mounts, if someone is heavily invested in SilencerCo ACR mounts, they don't have to go and spend the money investing in all new Dead Air mounts, or if they like Q's new Plan B mount, they can run that solution on our can, or they can run just good old fashioned direct thread if they want, depending on what specific use entails for that rifle. I also run it if I want to lighten up a rifle for a class; it's a good solution for that. If I'm going to use just super heavy hard use, it'll still take way more abuse than most. We accidentally made it stronger than we meant to. But for die-hard heavy-duty use. I would kind of hover between those three - a Sandman-S, a Sandman-K and a Nomad. The new E-brake is really nice. It does a really good job of dispersing the gasses right there at the end.
I know that you guys made a Sandman-S naked. Do you have any plans of doing any other limited run, non-coated stuff like that in the future?
It's never off the table. What's funny about the naked one is that's just a picture that we posted on social media just to show part of the manufacturing process. And everyone went nuts over it and everyone asked. Finally, they came to us and asked to do an exclusive short run of them. So, we did. And they look really cool. Once you get them nice and hot, it looks like you've got some heat treating on them. They look really cool. We're not ever opposed to doing something like that in limited quantities. We kind of market and judge when the right time to do those is.
As a well-known name in the industry, we understand why Dead Air has had more than a few home runs. Methodically planning out their next step and only divulging enough information to keep us hungry for more, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for their next debut.
Let us know what you think is in the queue for Dead Air or what questions you want to ask them below!