Recoil - - Contents - BY DAVE MER­RILL

What You Think Mat­ters About Si­lencers May Not Be True

Sure, one could just put what­ever 30-cal­iber si­lencer on the end of a long range rig, but that’s not what this ar­ti­cle is about.. At the base level, it seems that the main use of a suppressor is to well, sup­press sound. How­ever, when it comes to long range specif­i­cally, you may find sound sup­pres­sion to be fur­ther down on the list than you’d ex­pect.

Ryan Hey, pro­fes­sional Pre­ci­sion Ri­fle Se­ries (PRS) shooter and Mag­ne­toSpeed rep broke it down for us like this:

“The first thing I care about is ac­cu­racy. If a si­lencer de­creases ac­cu­racy, it’s gotta go. Next up is re­peata­bil­ity. Can I take it off, then put it back on with­out any ma­jor degra­da­tion? Re­duc­tion in re­coil is next on the list; I have to be able to spot my own hits at longer dis­tances. Last up is sound. If I don’t need to wear earpro, all the bet­ter.”

Yes, sound is the very last thing Hey cares about. He still cares about it—it just isn’t the first pri­or­ity. Some of your vanilla 30-cal­iber cans will do some of those things, but a qual­ity long-range si­lencer will do all of those things. Re­mem­ber that these are gen­er­al­i­ties, though we make some rec­om­men­da­tions at the end of the ar­ti­cle.


One rea­son we have seen some PRS and long range shoot­ers switch back to muz­zle brakes from si­lencers over the past cou­ple of years is due to the more ef­fec­tive re­coil con­trol some brakes of­fer. The abil­ity to see and spot your own im­pact is vi­tally im­por­tant to lon­grange suc­cess.

Not ev­ery si­lencer will re­duce your re­coil, but we found Le­viathan Sup­pres­sors par­tic­u­larly ex­celled in this role. Us­ing both 6 Creed­moor and 260 Rem­ing­ton we were able to spot our own hits from 400 to 900 yards with no is­sue. Let’s just say that we didn’t want to take the Le­viathan off our ri­fle at the end of the day.


We’ve come across many claims that XYZ brand si­lencer has, “zero point of im­pact shift.”. If there were ac­tual truth in ad­ver­tis­ing

the claim would be more along the lines of, ‘POI shift is small enough you prob­a­bly won’t no­tice. Prob­a­bly. Maybe.’

Many fac­tors come into play when we’re talk­ing about POI shift with a si­lencer on vs. si­lencer off. The weight of the si­lencer, the length and pro­file of the bar­rel, the change in har­mon­ics, and the shift in ve­loc­ity al­low add up to at least some amount of shift.

There’s go­ing to be some shift—what we re­ally care about is if the shift is re­peat­able. In an ideal world, you’d re-zero ev­ery time you took a si­lencer on or off, but we don’t live in a world of straw­berry rain­bows and marsh­mal­low clouds. Our best ad­vice is to never take a si­lencer off, but if you think you’ll be hot-swap­ping, take note of any shift.



The ar­gu­ment between di­rect-thread (DT) and quick-dis­con­nect (QD) for si­lencers in gen­eral has long been the sub­ject of de­bate; and it’s no dif­fer­ent re­gard­ing long range shoot­ing.

While a QD al­lows a user to rapidly re­move a si­lencer (usu­ally for trans­porta­tion), not all QD sys­tems are cre­ated equally. For ex­am­ple, the bi-lock mount used by Gemtech, GSL, CMMG, and NEMO re­cip­ro­cates on the mount when fired—per­fectly fine for most AR-15 shoot­ers, but it doesn’t aid those shoot­ing long range. Cur­rently the most re­peat­able lock­ing QD mounts are those that only mount one way and don’t rely on ratch­et­ing teeth or sim­i­lar mech­a­nisms on the muz­zle de­vice it­self to en­sure they lock in place. Stand­outs here in­clude Sure­Fire and Dead Air.

Di­rect-Thread mount­ing should be con­sid­ered a semi-per­ma­nent af­fair; while you can take it off, a di­rect­threaded can is re­ally meant to live on the muz­zle most of the time sans some clean­ing or main­te­nance. As such, this op­tion is more pop­u­lar for those with fold­ing stocks and chas­sis sys­tems, be­cause, gen­er­ally, they can be trans­ported with a suppressor mounted. DT also usu­ally comes with a lower price tag, and more in­ter­nal vol­ume be­cause there’s no muz­zle de­vice tak­ing up space in the blast baf­fle.

But, there is a third op­tion. We call it a hy­brid, though some oth­ers re­fer to it as a non-lock­ing QD. With a hy­brid sys­tem, the si­lencer is still threaded on, but on a spe­cial­ized muz­zle de­vice rather than the bar­rel it­self. The best ones have a ta­per mount, which ac­tu­ally align a suppressor bet­ter than their DT brethren. The ad­van­tage of these sys­tems is that you’re able to re­move a muz­zle de­vice (al­beit with more time than a QD) while re­tain­ing de­cent re­peata­bil­ity.


If you shoot a brake very close to the ground, you’re likely to get dust,

rocks, and dirt thrown ev­ery­where. The same can’t be said of a ri­fle equipped with a si­lencer. Since most of the blast is con­tained in­side the suppressor it­self, there isn’t much en­ergy left over to kick up de­bris around the muz­zle. This makes a shooter’s po­si­tion much harder to track from an ob­server’s or tar­get’s po­si­tion.

This is par­tic­u­larly use­ful for mil­i­tary and po­lice snipers, but re­ally no one wants all that sh*t thrown in their face re­gard­less of their role.


No mat­ter how you cut it, if you’re shoot­ing a pre­ci­sion ri­fle at any sort of range it’s gonna have a su­per­sonic crack. This isn’t to say that the ef­fec­tive deci­bels do not mat­ter, just that they gen­er­ally fall below every­thing else on this list of pri­or­i­ties for some long-range shoot­ers.

The hy­brid de­sign of the Crux brake of­fers ex­cel­lent re­peata­bilit y.

Le­viathan makes si­lencers in sev­eral sizes.

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