Had a chance this afternoon to try out a couple of my pal's new suppressors. Brand new so we wanted to try to get them on a couple of pistols for a trial run & get some zeros on the handguns. It was kind of cool but the wind wasn't bad. We set up to do some firing from sandbags at 23 yards into his target frame backed by a thick, angled steel backstop.
First up was a new Ruger 22/45 with the polymer frame and about a 4.5" barrel w/threaded end. The AAC suppressor easily threaded right onto the end of the barrel and the extra weight was hardly noticeable. The Ruger had a red dot (or green dot)TV screen looking optic sight (sorry, dont remember the brand name). Made aiming easy. I was disappointed in the heavy trigger pull of the Ruger. It really wasn't creepy, just heavy...probably over 6 pounds if I had to guess. The suppressor was approximately 5" long and small enough in diameter that it didnt interfere with the sight picture.
After firing our first group and making adjustments, I determined it took 4 clicks on the optic to move point of impact 1" @ 25 yards. Soon we had the group centered in the bullseye.
The suppressor did it's job pretty well, the loudest sound was the bullet striking the steel backstop. No need for hearing protection. I could hear the pistol's action working. We were using Armscorp standard velocity long rifle. I'm unsure of the velocity but it was likely sub-sonic. Now, just to clarify, this was not a "silencer"....there was some noise, about like a pellet gun in my estimation. I didnt get a chance to evaluate the sound except from behind the gun as I was doing all the shooting.
We tried a couple of other .22LR brands and even some .22 shorts. The shorts wouldn't cycle the Ruger (as expected). The shorts were just a tad quieter I thought. Best 5-shot group with the suppressed .22 was quarter-sized. The worst was about 3" if I remember correctly. We didn't shoot the .22 without the suppressor to see how it would do....now, I wish we had. We were soon to learn the suppressors DO have an effect on accuracy.
Next up was a H&K Mark 23 in .45ACP. This is a monster of a pistol...it's BIG. It gets even bigger with the suppressor attached. Almost felt like it needed a buttstock attached. The suppressor was just small enough in diameter to allow use of the iron sights. With suppressor attached, this pistol was definitely muzzle heavy. That muzzle weight did reduce the muzzle rise quite a bit. From behind the gun, the .45 was somewhat louder than the .22 in my estimation. We tried three different brands of 230gr factory hardball. Wolf, Silver Bear & Winchester. Groups were very disappointing with the best around 4" and the worst probably close to 8" @ 23 yards. I had never shot this H&K before so didn't really know what to expect.
We decided to try reshooting the different ammo types without the suppressor to evaluate how effective the suppressor was and to see if accuracy would improve. As expected the recoil and noise were much more without the suppressor attached. My hand and the high thumb hold I use did not mesh well with the H&K's grip. Just below the safety is a sharp area that really got painfull. Without the suppressor, muzzle flip was pretty pronounced and this increased felt recoil in my opinion.
The biggest discovery of the day was what an adverse effect the suppressor had on group size. Without the suppressor, groups shrunk to more of what I expected. All three brands of ammo did much better with the Silver Bear shooting the smallest group (5-shots in about 2") and the worst group (Wolf brand) was just under 3"...the Winchester was just over 2" for 5-shots. I wasn't aware or expecting the suppressor to make that much difference in groups. I wish I had tried the .22 but I'm not thinking the difference would have been as pronounced as it was w/the .45 pistol. Please know this was a very incomplete test with limited ammo expenditure but I absolutely know I was holding tight from sandbags and no way was I shooting 8" groups!
I'm sure the suppressor companies dont advertize a loss in accuracy & I certainly hadn't heard anything of the sort (although I had silently wondered if this might be an issue). Before I absolutely declare this is written in stone, I want to do a more comprehensive test on several weapons. The owner of these suppressors is considdering a threaded barrel for his Glock 21....I'm thinking I'd like that better than the H&K, other's may differ in opinion.
Of the two tried today, I think the .22 is more practical & has potential for big fun and usefulness! It was small enough and light enough to still be "handy"...cant really declare that with the giant .45 combo which ended up long and fairly heavy. Another plus for the .22 was accuracy seemed to be unaffected. I dont think I can hold much tighter than a quarter size group, even with the optic sight. With a better trigger that little Ruger 22/45 would be a dandy "critter gun" where it's suppressed report wouldn't disturb the neighborhood if one had to dispose of a varmit. Guess that's why the mafia hit men prefer suppressed .22's...or, so I've heard.
Up to today, my only experience with suppressors had been with them installed on M4 carbines firing supersonic .223 rounds. They work very well but I dont have any feedback as to their detriment on accuracy, I guess I'm nitpicking as most shooting is done up close and some loss of accuracy may not cause a total miss....I just cant help worrying about stuff like that though....
I'd love to hear from anyone else who has experiences good or bad with suppressors. They're here to stay and getting more & more popular. It would benefit us all to know all we can before we decide to make an investment in one of them.
Photographer from Tyler Texas. Images in collections and museums in the region. Still using film for exhibitions. Commercial work in digital.
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