Recoil - - Contents - BY DAVE MER­RILL

Size Mat­ters — Just Not the Way You Think

Back in the dark ages of the 1990s, when Will Smith was still a young comedic actor, Gemtech be­gan work­ing on a spe­cialpur­pose sup­pres­sor. It had to be as small as pos­si­ble, light­weight, and quiet. A lot of spe­cial and one-off items have been made for downed pi­lot sur­vival kits — the Aurora would be­come one of them. Get­ting your grub­bies on one of the orig­i­nals was hard, but now there’s a newer and bet­ter one out there: The Gemtech Aurora II.

The first sup­pres­sor to be made in-house by new Gemtech par­ent com­pany Smith & Wes­son, these Auro­ras will ac­tu­ally hit the larger open mar­ket.


Sev­eral changes and im­prove­ments went into the Aurora II. First and most ob­vi­ous is the ex­te­rior sleeve. It’s slot­ted and then slightly bent in at the mid­dle. This makes grip­ping the si­lencer to take it on or off ex­ceed­ingly easy. Se­condly, it’s tan­dem threaded and bidi­rec­tional. Have a 9mm pis­tol threaded M13.5x1LH? There’s an end for that. Have a 9mm pis­tol in the pre­ferred thread pat­tern of the only na­tion to put a man on the moon, ½x28? There’s an end for that too.

Each end comes com­plete with in­ter­nal thread pro­tec­tors and wrench flats that con­ve­niently fit into an AR ar­morer’s tool.

The in­ter­nals are a palin­drome of wipes and spac­ers, so it makes zero dif­fer­ence which end of the Aurora II you use.

Less ob­vi­ous are some of the in­ter­nal changes of the Aurora II ver­sus the orig­i­nal. Firstly, it uses wipe ma­te­rial that is 85A durom­e­ter polyurethane, much tougher than the orig­i­nal 65A ma­te­rial. Se­condly, the spac­ers are now bidi­rec­tional. While there were sev­eral dif­fer­ent ver­sions of the orig­i­nal Aurora, de­pend­ing on what year it was pro­duced, many had spac­ers with dif­fer­ent open­ings on ei­ther end. The idea was that hav­ing the muz­zle-end hole slightly larger gave more space for a wipe to cave into as it wore.

Af­ter a lot of test­ing and trial and er­ror, engi­neers at Gemtech de­ter­mined that sim­ply hav­ing the larger hole on ei­ther side ac­tu­ally in­creased wipe longevity. The change in ma­te­rial and spacer de­sign made for a tougher sup­pres­sor. How much? The orig­i­nal Aurora had an an­tic­i­pated wipe life of 10 rounds when mounted on a ser­vice weapon — and the Aurora II: 40.

Did we men­tion that the Aurora II is small and light? At just 3.3 inches long and a scant over 3 ounces, this can won’t crack any scales. Be­cause it’s so small and light, no booster or Nielsen de­vice is needed even when used with a Brown­ing tilt-ac­tion bar­rel.


Nor­mally when we think of si­lencers that use wipes, old Mitch Wer­bell de­signs come to mind. Wipes can be made from all man­ner of ma­te­ri­als, so long as it’s pli­able enough to al­low a pro­jec­tile to pass through but seals up fast enough to trap the ex­plo­sive gases be­hind. Those self-heal­ing tar­gets you throw downrange work much in the same man­ner.

There are def­i­nitely down­sides to wipes; they can’t be used very much be­fore re­place­ment, ac­cu­racy can get thrown off con­sid­er­ably be­cause the bul­let passes through the ma­te­rial, and gen­er­ally they aren’t as well suited for mod­ern weapons when com­pared to present-day op­tions.

But of course there’s a but. You can make a si­lencer ex­cep­tion­ally small with wipes and grease. As men­tioned wipes help keep the gas sealed in, and the grease is an ab­la­tive me­dia — in other words, a tem­po­rary per­for­mance en­hanc- er. If you’ve ever heard about a sup­pres­sor be­ing run “wet,” that’s in ref­er­ence to an ab­la­tive me­dia be­ing used.

Af­ter the Aurora II is packed with grease and fresh wipes, it can be tucked away for years with­out any wor­ries of leak­age or evap­o­ra­tion.


While you may think that the Aurora II might make for a nice lit­tle night­stand or carry can, you’ll have to pump the brakes here. Be­cause the pro­jec­tile passes through sev­eral wipes and some grease along the way, even with the X-aper­ture in the wipes them­selves, the bul­let strikes ma­te­rial on its way down range. This means hol­low points or any other ex­pand­ing am­mu­ni­tion are a no-go. To quote Gemtech, “guar­an­teed end­cap strike.”

Slightly fur­ther com­pli­cat­ing mat­ters is that only one side of the si­lencer threads off — if both sides came off, an end­cap strike could be a quick fix.

While our ser­vice men and women the world over largely carry ball am­mu­ni­tion in their pis­tols, we won’t pre­tend this is the best pos­si­ble choice for de­fen­sive ap­pli­ca­tion.

The in­ter­nals are de­cep­tively sim­ple — and this is the clean­est they’ll ever be.

We don’t care what con­sent­ing adults do, but this kind of dock­ing is ab­so­lutely not rec­om­mended.

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