Gun Review: Spike’s Tactical Integrally Suppressed Brown Recluse 9mm AR

brown recluse shoulder

Spike’s Brown Recluse is an impressive 9mm pistol caliber carbine. While the majority of the gun is similar to many other 9mm ARs, the integrally suppressed barrel is where it truly shines. Sure companies can chop a barrel and add long barrel extension to make it a rifle length barrel. Then add their baffle stack making it a single stamp gun. However that is only what you see from the outside of the Brown Recluse. The barrel is vented. Why would you vent the barrel? So that the gas from super sonic rounds can be vented away and lower the speed to sub sonic levels. Thus making regular off the shelf ammo much quieter. In fact there is no need to buy sub sonic ammo for the Recluse since it makes ammo sub sonic.

This design is nothing new though. The H&K MP5SD is renown for performing this exact same feat. The problem with the H&K MP5SD is H&K. It is very difficult to buy a real MP5SD. There are some replicas out there expertly crafted and created to the same H&K design, but they are clones. One of the major issues with those MP5SD clones is the price tag. They are easily over $2,000 just for a decent MP5 clone. Then add the vented barrel and suppressor. Another issue with the MP5SD is that it is a two stamp gun. The suppressor is removable which makes the MP5SD an SBR. Not an issue with the Recluse.

Other than the barrel and suppressor the Recluse is still a 9mm AR at its heart. The lower receiver has an ambi safety and the mag well is made for Colt SMG magazines. The magazine that comes with the Recluse has a tab on the follower to activate the last round bolt hold. You can modify UZI mags to work with the Recluse mag catch but the bolt will not lock back on the last round.

The upper receiver has the smaller dust cover and large gas deflector which helps keep gas from coming back into the shooter’s face. Due to the large outer diameter of the barrel and suppressor, the free float rail is rather large and has full length rails at 12, 3, 6, and 9 O’Clock positions. I wonder if it would be possible to have a MLOK or Keymod handguard to sleeve over the large suppressed barrel?

The Recluse came with Magpul MBUS but I prefer using red dots so I mounted my Trijicon MRO on the top rail. With a quick 10 yard zero it was easy to hit targets at a USPSA match. I primarily use pistol caliber carbines in USPSA matches so I do not need to hit targets out to 100 yards. However my friend Brian showed that it could be done.

The Recluse using 115gr factory ammo was just as quiet as other suppressed pistol caliber carbines shooting sub sonic ammo. Now there are some setups with the right can, right gun and right ammo that will be much quieter than the Recluse. That does take a bit of research as well as trial and error to find the right combination. With the Recluse I do not think you are compromising much. The report of the gun and noise of the bolt traveling is noticeable but this is not made to be truly silent. It is a hearing protection device and it does a very good job. I shot the Recluse a number of times under a roof and not the slightest bit of discomfort. Compared to shooting my Sub2000 with 115gr through a SilencerCo Osprey that was slightly uncomfortable.

When I tested the Recluse at a USPSA match I came across two issues. The first issue was that the gun was too quiet for the shot timer to pick it up. This can be alleviated if I shoot 9mm major loads where bullet would still have a super sonic crack. The other issue was more alarming. The hammer pin walked.

Trigger pin

You can see the hammer pin sticking out of the side of the receiver.

This caused an inadvertent two round burst followed by a dead trigger. I have heard of this happening on ARs. I did not catch it the first time but on the second stage I noticed the burst. When I finished the stage I took the gun to the safe table and noticed the hammer pin had walked. I stopped shooting it and fixed it when I got home. If this had been my gun I would have ordered KNS anti walk pins that same day.

Other than those two issues, the gun performed great. I did have a couple of fail to feeds but that could be due to the gun being dirty and the cheap ammo I was using. It was steel cased Winchester USA Forged. Below is a picture of what it did to an aluminum cased Federal 9mm round. It only did this once though, it was not a common problem with the aluminum cased ammo.

Aluminum case

The Brown Recluse was provided by Silencer Shop. It is currently out of stock  but sells for $1,805.00



Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • Steve Milliron

    If that’s a Spike’s BAR rail, the barrel nut should be compatible with the keymod/m-lok handguards from Aero Precision and Seekins (amongst others).

    • Sianmink

      The question is on the inner diameter of the handguard vs the outer diameter of the barrel. If the barrel is 1.6″ or larger, your choices are limited.

      • Steve Milliron

        They all use the same barrel nut, so the inside diameter is the same (1.8″). All you’d have to do is remove eight screws, slide the old handguard off and the new one on, then put the screws back in.

  • John

    I guess you could combine this with that Maxim MP5A3 stock that’s a couple of entries down, and have yourself a nice, widely available and more affordable MP5 substitute.

  • A bearded being from beyond ti

    Exactly what is “tactical” about this?

    • Giolli Joker

      The company name.

      • A bearded being from beyond ti

        Operator status confirmed

    • Anonymoose

      9mm ARs are like “80s tactical.”

      • A bearded being from beyond ti

        I rather go with some of that sweet Bren Ten action, that gun felt super 80s tactical.

        • iksnilol

          80’s tactical for me will always be an MP5 with a big nightvision scope (like the one Eazy E had).

          Or a Colt Trooper MK3 with a laser sight (remember Beverly Hills Cop 2?)

  • JASON B

    I totally believe the hammer pin walked. People don’t realize a 9mm AR recoils noticeably harder than a 223 AR. That will definitely rattle those pins loose pretty quickly. That’s why I built my 9mm AR with KNS anti-walk pins right from the start.

    • claymore

      9 mm recoils noticeably HARDER than a .223 ???
      Your own statement refutes that guess “Maybe low velocity combined with a 7.5″ barrel doesn’t create too much blowback?” Less blow back less recoil, because of the decreased amount of propellant burning in a 9mm vs a .223

      • iksnilol

        Yeah, but 5.56 has a lighter bolt than a blowback 9mm. Doesn’t it? I think the reciprocating mass being higher could result in higher felt recoil.

        *shrug*

        • SGT Fish

          lower velocity doesn’t mean lower recoil. 12ga recoils a lot and is a lot slower than 556

          • iksnilol

            Yeah, but 12 gauge usually has way more kinetic energy than 5.56, doesn’t it?

          • depends upon slug or buckshot. buckshot often little to no recoil. slug often bruising recoil.

          • claymore

            One must take the projectile weight into consideration also.

        • claymore

          Exactly correct

      • Straight blowback is more violent than a locked system. There’s a *reason* 9mm buffers are so bloody heavy, compared to 5.56mm ones.

        When comparing the 9mm and 5.56, the 5.56mm Stoner DI is such a pussycat in recoil the 9mm slightly edges it out in felt recoil.

        It shocked me, back when I was researching building a low recoil AR for my daughter. I *was* going to build her a 9mm, then I dug into it.

  • Joe

    Fun for cheapie ammo, but ballistics are around .380 ACP from what I’ve read. If 147 grain 9mm wasn’t available I’d accept the energy drop with a smile, but as things stand I’d rather have a 5″ barrel and 11″ tube/baffle stack.

    Also, TFB, how about comparing dB between different 9mm carbines with the same suppressor? I can’t nail down how the different platforms compare for noise behind the muzzle.

    • Nicholas C

      I dont have a way to accurately measure dB levels.

  • With modern 147gr loads I don’t see the purpose. When the MP5SD was developed subsonic ammo was extremely uncommon. Now you can buy subsonic ammo for not much more than quality 115gr ammo. And you can load it for only a couple of cents more per a round.

    • not everyone buys online, makes their own subsonic ammo or goes to a gun shop. instead they pick up stuff at Walmart.

      • iksnilol

        You can pick up subsonic 9mm at walmart.

        • what brand? never seen specialty ammo at Walmart in subsonic for handguns or rifles.

          • iksnilol

            Federal, Winchester and several others.

            9×19 subsonic isn’t exactly “specialty” ammo.

          • ah a little clue just because it is below 1000 fps doesn’t mean it is meant to be used in a silencer. once again you want real quiet ammo you stick to subsonic ammo you have to get online from speciality retailers or gun shops. there is a huge difference in federal 147 grain 9mm and ammo marked subsonic 9mm in a silencer. the federal is way louder then say hush subsonic ammo.

          • iksnilol

            Waat? Can I have what you’re drinking?

            If it goes below the speed of sound it is subsonic. No more magic to it than that. Believe it or not, but physics can sometimes really be that simple.

          • you seem to be under the impression that is just the fps that matters in subsonic ammo. its how the powder is burnt. subsonic ammo meant for silencers and hence marked as such has different powder then ammo meant for non silenced guns that happens to be under 1000 fps. so the amount of noise that is released through the breech and silencer is different on each ammo.
            Hence non silencer subsonic you get a lot of gas blowback and its louder.

          • iksnilol

            Well, velocity is what makes it subsonic or not.

            Sorry for following the physics here.

          • velocity is just one factor and once again the real subsonic stuff you would need to fire out of a silencer isn’t to be had at Walmart.

          • iksnilol

            I think you’re wrong.

            Sure, faster powders will be quieter but so will a longer barrel. Yet people don’t complain about noise reduction on SBRs.

          • someone who wants a silencer does want the most amount of noise reduction and if you want as close to Hollywood quiet on a 9mm you get the quietest subsonic ammo which ain’t going to be stocked at wally world. either its custom or from a product line not stocked in stores.
            subsonic may be more common now but its still often pretty rare compared to standard ammo.

          • iksnilol

            I am starting to be become pretty sure you don’t know how physics work. If it goes less than 320-340 meters per second when it exits the muzzle, it is subsonic and is going to work extra well with a suppressor. No ifs or buts there.

            The quietest ammo has to be handmade, because if you truly want to be quiet you want the projectile to be barely moving. Like, barely exiting the muzzle without getting stuck. I am talking heaviest bullet you can find with only the primer to push it out.

          • You are aware that the bullet speed is one factor as to the noise. the other is the burning of the gunpowder and how much excess gas is generated. different powder amounts and different composition means dint amounts of noise when run through the silencer.

          • iksnilol

            Yes, but I am also aware of the fact that similar loads (IE loads that use the same bullet weight and bullet design/type) are most likely to use the same powder as well. So the differences you speak of aren’t as large as you hope them to be.

            Now I might have tinnitus (AKA that damned sound that never stops) but that doesn’t mean I can’t hear well.

          • different brands can have different powder compositions hence why some brands leave a lot less residue in the gun and silencer. sometimes the noise difference is neglible other times the tone is quite pronounced. one should test different brands but the ones marked as being for silencers either tend to be cleaner to fire or quieter. for the longest time and still today the best ammo to use in silencer is stuff you gotta custom order or get from speciality stores not off the shelf ammo. hence why a lot of people got disappointed in silencers because they used the off the shelf stuff because they didn’t do any research into the ammo to be used.

          • iksnilol

            Again, that is a non-issue for all practical purposes. That’s like saying to get your gun to run reliably you need to use Y loading of X brand because that is the combo that fouls least.

            Also, you really think that 115 grain ammo brought down to subsonic velocity via a ported barrel is going to be quieter than regular 147+ grain ammo fired through a regular barrel? I mean, all that unburnt powder (being vented) can’t really be that quiet.

          • no using subsonic meant for a silencer would be better in that ported barrel but sometimes one must use the ammo they have and if a rifle can use multi types in a silenced config then all the better for practical purposes. some people cannot afford all the ammo they want so if they can use the regular bullets in several guns and that ammo as well in their silenced guns they will like that option. obviously it is better to use the ammo meant to be run in a silencer but like I said sometimes you run out or don’t have it on hand.

          • iksnilol

            But subsonic 9mm isn’t rarer or that more expensive than regular 9mm (it is maybe 5-10% more expensive than regular ammo, a marginal difference).

          • marginal difference does add up. yes it is slightly rarer and in times when you have an ammo buying hoarding epidemic subsonic becomes extremely rare and expensive,

          • iksnilol

            No, it doesn’t add up. Sure, the Fiochi 158 grain is a tinge quieter but not noticeably.

            I’ve never experienced a gun buying pandemic. But if you’re in such a situation any ammo becomes rare and that is when you learn to take apart ammo to make it suit your purposes (IE melting birdshot into buckshot or slugs).

          • we have had several pandemics of gun and ammo buying these past couple of years. 22 mag right now is hard to find in stores because the border patrol bought a lot of kel tecs and 22 mag ammo to the tune of several million bullets.

          • iksnilol

            Border patrol buying PMR-30s?

            Haven’t had pandemics in Europe. But still, if it is a pandemic even Winchester white box 115 grain 9mm is hard to get. Is kinda irrelevant what load it is then in a situation like that.

          • claymore

            There is no such thing as ammo made to be used with a suppressor unless you like spending your money on snake oil.

          • claymore

            Powder residue has nothing to do with if it is subsonic or not stop trying to confuse the issue.

          • claymore

            No speed it the only determining factor

          • claymore

            Incorrect I has bought IMI 147 subsonic ammo at walmart. Abnd once again the ONLY determining factor is the speed of the projectile. Stop relying on the internet and use science laws of physics can’t be broken

          • claymore

            Incorrect as iksnilol has stated speed is the ONLY determining factor

          • claymore

            If it is below that speed under normal conditions it is subsonic and just a quiet as any other subsonic ammunition

    • Heck, with suppressed .300 BLK and loads that are subsonic and about the same weight as .45ACP, I have trouble seeing the logic in suppressed 9mm carbines, unless you absolutely must have ammo (and sometimes, magazine) commonality with your pistol.

      OTOH, if your reasoning is, “I think it’s cool, and I want it,” I cannot dispute your position. That’s certainly as good a reason for you to soend your money as any cold logic!. 😀

      • How about ammo that costs as low as 10 cents a shot subsonic?

        • Sorry, the performance differences are too great to make it practical, and if you are judging solely on price, might as well get a suppressed .22.

          Besides, where are you getting subsonic 9x19mm at 10¢ a round?

  • Anonymoose

    I want one that takes Glock mags. Do they sell it as just an upper?

    • Corwin Bos

      Quarter Circle 10 probably makes the best lowers for a Glock mag based AR9. Youd have to roll your own on that though. I prefer the Colt SMG mags, but to each their own.

  • Henrik Bergdahl

    Just a friendly reminder that the integrally suppressed sterling was the original. The MP5SD came after.

    • Sten MkIIS and Sten Mk6 (a MkV with an integral can) predate the Sterling…

  • Reliability once you pass “normal pistol sized” magazines. Extended capacity Glock mags aren’t as reliable as standard Glock mags, or purpose designed SMG mags (the Colt mag is, after all, a variant of the Uzi mag).