The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
The good news is that the bad things that cause a broken silencer are very rare
Even though silencers are generally built like tanks, knowing what your silencer is capable of and what you should be paying attention to, can greatly preserve the life of your silencer.
We know your silencer is your baby, and you don’t have to give it that sweet, nurturing touch, but it does need a little TLC. So, we’ve laid out a few occurrences we’ve seen, as well as described what preventative measures to take in order to circumvent those avoidable issues.
RATED FOR A REASON
Would you eat at a restaurant or stay at a hotel without checking the rating first? Well, this is the same thing, except for a little different. Ratings are the biggest indicators of whether or not your silencer will do what you want it to do.
Here are a few things to be aware of:
- Make sure that your barrel rating is compliant. For example, a silencer rated for a 5.56 can have different barrel ratings. Barrel ratings on 5.56’s tend to be 10-16 inches, so if you have a barrel length of 7 inches, make sure that your suppressor is able to handle it.
- The caliber rating is also important. Shooting a caliber the suppressor isn’t rated for is a recipe for potential disaster – there’s a reason you know what ammo to buy for your firearm, right? Same thing goes for your suppressor mounting on to that host firearm.
Rate of Fire, and Full Auto Versus Not Full Auto:
- Some silencers are made lighter and can’t handle the heat. Literally.
- What this will tell you is how many rounds you can shoot through the silencer in a certain number of minutes (this is called rate of restriction). For example, many super-light silencers typically used for hunting have a rate of fire restriction. This restriction indicates what the can is able to handle, and these ratings can vary greatly.
WHEN YOUR AIM ISN’T THE ONLY THING THAT NEEDS TO BE PRECISE
Concentricity is the measurement used to ensure precision in the alignment of your firearms bore and muzzle threads.
The implication of a threading that is any bit off comes into play when a silencer is added to the host firearm because it will exaggerate the angle, ultimately throwing your muzzle device and/or silencer out of alignment. This misalignment could lead to baffle and end cap strikes as well as causing the silencer to back off and wobble.
Thankfully, because most modern firearms are built on modern machines to measure acceptable tolerances, this issue is extremely rare. So as long as your threaded barrel is coming from or being customized by a reputable place, this shouldn’t be an issue.
ON THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW. NO, REALLY.
Improper mounting and alignment are two factors that need to be considered as well. This is a common user error that is relatively easy to remedy.
Here are a few examples of why and/or how mounting incorrectly or misaligning happen and ways to prevent them:
- Usually seen on a QD system: the user does not secure the silencer onto the firearm
- Know how the indication your silencer makes to ensure that it is locked in place – does it make a clicking sound, have an indexing system, etc.?
- The muzzle device is not clean due to carbon fouling, leading to the inability for the silencer to lock in place
- Do we need to say it? Clean your muzzle device! At a minimum, make sure that the mating surface between silencer and muzzle device is free of carbon buildup and/or dirt.
- The incorrect washers are used
- Do not use crush washers; use shims! The crush washers will crush inconsistently whereas shims will maintain their structure and have consistent thickness all the way around, therefore not allowing for any misalignment when the silencer is installed correctly.
- Misalignment from poor threaded or installation
- Although this isn’t full proof, to check alignment, you can look down the bore (from the rear of the firearm) with your silencer attached and you’ll be able to see if there is a shadow cast one way or the other.
- Another option is to use a bore alignment rod that will allow you to see on the endcap what the deviation is from the center of your bore.
FEELIN’ THE BURN
Silencers get hot. One issue we run into is complaints that people burned themselves.
Would you grab the exhaust on your car with your hand after a long road trip, or put your hand on a stove after cooking? No! So don’t grab the silencer with your bare hands. That’s a boo-boo waiting to happen.
When versatility can come back and bite you is when you forget to change out the end cap. Sure, it’s great to have a suppressor rated for various calibers, but when you switch it from one host firearm to the other, make sure that you switch out that end cap to the correct caliber. If the end cap is too small for the caliber you are shooting, it will either end in a strike or the end cap will come flying clean off. Either way, just be sure to remember to switch them out.
SQUEAKY CLEAN… KIND OF
This is pistol specific for the Nielsen device, but still needs to be addressed. If your piston gets too dirty or dry, it could result in strikes or cycling issues. Additionally, there are rubber O-rings used as a seal that need to be cleaned and lubricated as they are prone to wear and tear. Always make sure that you’re cleaning and lubricated the parts on your silencer to keep it in its best condition.
CHA CHA CHANGES
This one doesn’t affect the overall competence of the silencer, but it’s still worth a mention.
If you get a lighter color can especially, the process of heating and cooling the silencer over time will lead to discoloration, even on the best of cans. This is inevitable if you’re shooting through the silencer, but it’s something to be cognizant of in order to know that it’s okay that it’s changing colors a little bit.
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