Gear Review: Bowers Group Griptastic Suppressor Covers

IMG_4570

I have a love-hate relationship with suppressors. The bureaucratic nonsense required to buy one in the USA is a hurdle in it of itself, and in my experience they are seldom worth what they cost here. With a caliber like .223 Remington, the report of a suppressed rifle is still not hearing safe, they make your guns run dirtier and sometimes malfunction due to over gassing the system, they add weight, and they get incredibly hot very fast. I have had my G5 for over a year, and it has melted the following: my skin, the synthetic wood of a shooting table, carpet they use at ranges in booths, “fire resistant” suppressor sheaths, and even the frame of a friend’s Glock pistol when it rolled over toward it. Bowers Group has set out to eliminate the problem of suppressors melting and or burning shooters and equipment with their new Griptastic suppressor covers.

The Griptastic covers are made out of hi-temp silicone and are available in all sizes. Even if you have a unique diameter or length can, I bet that Bowers group would make you a Griptastic cover if you emailed them the specs. For this test, I just went with one that fit my Gemtech G5. Bowers sent me two colors, one black, and one tan. Installation takes about five seconds and removing the cover is just as easy.

IMG_4572

IMG_4574

The tan paired nicely with my FN SCAR 16s:

IMG_4576

And the black paired nicely with my MR556 SBR:

IMG_4580

Since shorter barrels generate more heat in a suppressor, I decided to really put the Griptastic cover to the test and use my SBR.

I got the range and got right to it:

IMG_4634

IMG_4621

I expelled thirty rounds of ammunition quickly, and then I asked the range staff member (who doubled as my camera man) to give it a go:

IMG_4646

After three 30 round magazines of shooting the gun suppressed, it was time for the moment of truth:

IMG_4657

I tapped the cover a few times with my hand to see if it was hot to the touch. It was not and I was able to disconnect it from the rifle:

IMG_4665

I waited a while until the suppressor was cool enough to allow me to remove the cover. I was curious to see if any material from the cover had melted onto my Gemtech. I was quite surprised as there was no caked on silicon residue!

IMG_4671

A close up of the can revealed no traces of the Griptastic cover:

IMG_4673

 

My friend Chris also received a few of these covers, which he used to test on his homemade Sten gun (his skills as a professional welder pair nicely with his SOT!). He said he and some friends fired at least 250 rounds of 9mm through the gun, with the can and cover on with no ill effects:

s2

 

s1

Needless to say I am impressed with the Bowers Griptastic covers, and they are also priced very well. Prices range from $35.00 to $55.00 with almost all of them priced at either $35.00 or $45.00.




Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog who was born and raised in Texas with years of experience in hunting, shooting competitions, and general collecting. A degree in History from Baylor University has contributed to his love of both early and modern firearms technology, but Alex is most fond of machine guns and other NFA toys. Alex also owns a firearm manufacturing business licensed to produce title I and II weapons.
You can reach Alex at [email protected].


Advertisement

  • hkryan

    Those sure looks better than the ribbed ones!

    I want to know more about that homemade Sten!

    • http://www.campbelldefense.com Campbell Defense

      It’s a post sample MK2 I made from a parts kit acquired from Apex and an 80%. If you’re wanting to build a semi Sten then there are a few companies such as semiautosten.com and Prexis which sell conversion kits. The main thing needed is a reduced diameter receiver and building it so that it does not fire from an open bolt which these kits do. If you’re a hands on type person and have access to a mill, or with just drill press, grinder, and dremel if you’re really handy, then you can forgo purchasing one of those kits and do you';re own conversion.

      For what it was, a quick cheap subgun for the Brits when they had nothing in a time of war, I think it’s an awesome firearm. They’re incredibly simple with sloppy tolerances and a blast to shoot. One of my favorites.

  • iksnilol

    Doesn’t that keep the heat in? Can’t be good for the suppressor.

    Besides, if it is melting your pistol maybe you should reconsider your pistol choices?

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

      Wasn’t my pistol, which made it worse :(

    • aerodawg

      I was wondering the same. Even with high temp materials you’ll eventually reach a point where they degrade…

  • 101nomad

    I use old school suppressors. Ear plugs.

    • iksnilol

      Can’t trust them always. Ear-plugs or muffs can fail, better have insurance. I like using both.

      Besides, they are useful when hunting and can’t or don’t want to wear electronic ear-muffs (who uses ear-plugs when hunting?). They also make the gun more accurate + reduce muzzle jump (kinda like a muzzle brake without making nearby people deaf).

    • wetcorps

      The main use I see for suppressors is plinking with 22 in the backyard without disturbing the neighbours.
      They could be cool for hunting but it seems it is illegal in most places.

      • http://www.campbelldefense.com Campbell Defense

        Not sure where you’re located but here in Texas and most other states they are legal to hunt with:

        http://oi42.tinypic.com/1zbqvc0.jpg

    • BryanS

      Supressors are better for teaching new shooters, because they can hear you and have less uncomfort while shooting that first time.

  • Cymond

    I would also be concerned with it acting as an insulator, causing the suppressor to degrade more quickly.

  • Julio

    Alex, I know it all looks very cool, but what exactly are you gaining by fitting a suppressor for the kind of shooting shown here? And if a suppressor isn’t necessary, then a shield for it isn’t either.Cool’s fine, by the way. But if that’s the real reason you like it, then don’t be shy: shout it loud!

    • RocketScientist

      I’m guessing the benefit of the suppressor is that it…. Suppresses the sound of the firing gun? He appears to be shooting indoors, where any reduction in sound pressure levels would be much appreciated by any frequent shooter who would like to extend the age at which the inevitable degradation of hearing acuity starts to affect his/her daily life. Even if this test was conducted in an environment where sound suppression itself was not an issue (a bunch of permanently deaf shooters firing the guns in a vacuum?) you do realize that the point of this post was to evaluate the thermal properties of the suppressor shield? The necessity of using a suppressor in whatever environment he chose to perform the testing is moot. Or another way to look at it, to answer your question (“what exactly are you gaining by fitting a suppressor for the kind of shooting shown here?”): he is gaining the ability to install the griptastic suppressor cover and evaluate its effectiveness. It would be a pretty worthless review of the product if the review consisted of “When evaluating the griptastic suppressor cover, I did not use a suppressor, so was unable to evaluate the griptastic suppressor cover”

    • BryanS

      Nice of you to determine what is not necessary for others.

    • Cymond

      Why would you think there was no benefit to using a suppressor “for the kind of shooting shown here”? When is a suppressor ever NOT beneficial? I can only think of competitions that are won or lost by hundredths of seconds during target transitions (suppressors add weight, and therefore slow transitions somewhat).
      .
      If nothing else, suppressors reduce recoil like a muzzle brake but with none of the blast & concussion.

  • bbmg

    Instead of insulating the suppressor, why not cover it with an aluminum extrusion to make it lose heat more quickly?

    These would look awesome:

    http://www.aluminum-solar-frame.com/upload/day_110501/20110501194105810.jpg

    http://img1.tradeget.com/lumei/P1D74EUU1heatsink1.jpg

    http://img.diytrade.com/cdimg/1369645/22136242/0/1309247945/Heat_Sink_Extrusion_alu.jpg

    • http://www.campbelldefense.com Campbell Defense

      They would be hard to clean, added weight, bulky and fins would easily get bent. Heat dissipation is of little concern in regards to a suppressor. I’ve done many back to back mag dumps on mine until they were smoldering and internally they all look fine. The purpose of the product is to keep the owner from burning themselves or surrounding items. You’d be amazed at how often you accidentally brush against a suppressor after it’s been set down or unwittingly reach down to pick it up…

      • bbmg

        I don’t think that an aluminum alloy heat sink would be unduly bulky or heavy. The fins could be contained in a tube to protect them from damage, and I don’t see why it wouldn’t be easy to clean with soap and running water.

        It seems to make more sense to dissipate the heat as quickly as possible.

        “I’ve done many back to back mag dumps on mine until they were smoldering and internally they all look fine.”

        Are they fine though? Why are some suppressors rated for full auto while others aren’t? You can’t say that too much head doesn’t increase wear on the internals of a suppressor, as well as potentially causing distortion that would affect accuracy.

        • http://www.campbelldefense.com Campbell Defense

          Bulky- measuring off the pic you supplied, the center of of those sinks is roughly equivalent to the thickness of the fins on each side. So then we take a Bowers Vers 9 which is app 1.75″ wide and add that to each side. You now how an 11″ long cylinder that is 5.25″ wide, you’re now holding an item that is probably around a pound of aluminum alone and nearly half a foot wide. Nope, not bulky at all…

          Fins- you want to put them in a tube…. and massively negate the whole premise of a heat sink by transporting the heat from one cylinder and then trapping it in another..

          Cleaning- You know the hardest parts of your gun to clean? That part you dread and save for last, sometimes even skipping because you have to get out a box of q-tps and pipe cleaners and no matter how many times you clean it, there’s still that little bit of carbon left. Ya, it would be that 40 times, for the 40+ fins you now get to clean. Ok… so it wouldn’t be that bad :D but no soap and water is simply going to clean out the bottom of those fins. And if you don’t clean it, it will loose it’s ability to transfer heat as efficiently.

          As stated, I’ve dumped hundred of rounds through my cans on full auto. That being said, I only do so on those rated for such. Not a lick of POI shift (distortion). The manf’s spend tons of money on r&d to make sure they can handle what they say they can. Different cans are made of different materials, manf process’s, and thickness’s to meet the needs of what they’re made for. So ya, if Bower’s sells sleeves and say they’re good to go along with one of my many subgun cans then hell ya I’ll shoot that bad boy all day long and not lose a wink of sleep about the integrity of the can or sleeve and do so while not burning the skin off my hands.

          Sure, you can buy an oven mit or this or that. But ultimately, I’ll gladly pay a few bucks more for a product that looks good, fits the can perfectly and is always on there to protect me.

  • 101nomad

    Having choices is wonderful, having a venue to let us know what the choices are is even better.

  • Dave_FM

    Seems to me if you’re going to make a suppressor sock to keep a can ‘hand safe’ it should be easily removable when the can is hot to allow the heat to dissipate. I have a suppressor sock myself, which I find particularly useful for drills (especially transitions) so I don’t burn the shit out of myself or set my pants on fire (true story). However, at first opportunity I take it off so normal cooling can take place.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    Good review — thank you, Alex and Chris.

    I seem to recall that Lasermax / Mantarail came out with a similar suppressor sleeve awhile back. Does anyone have any experience with how the two items compare against each other?