The weeks leading up to the SHOT Show are always an insane flood of product leaks and announcements; not All Quiet from the western venue. After all, if a company launches a new model or line during the show, it gets lost in a sea of noise. But I was somewhat surprised to hear the news coming out of West Valley, Utah – SilencerCo had removed CEO Josh Waldron and President Jonathan Shultz from their leadership positions within the company. Surprised because two weeks before SHOT is a strange time to voluntarily dominate the news cycle with headlines portraying possible instability. However, even though the timing was awkward, many industry leaders had been expecting a leadership change at the embattled private company for some time.
Because SilencerCo is a privately held company and their public affairs department mostly unwilling to share details on internal operations, we are mainly left to conjecture when it comes to the current situation.
So let’s talk about SilencerCo. In my opinion, the Maxim Vice ad campaign was beginning of a slide for the giant silencer manufacturer. While the Maxim’s design is certainly revolutionary, the money spent on the over-the-top marketing blitz probably should have instead gone to research and design and bringing the pistol to market faster. After all, it took almost two years from the initial announcement to the actual public availability of the Maxim 9.
And then we have the “hopes and dreams” act – the HPA – where some industry and consumers rolled the big dice and bet heavily on full deregulation of silencers. Like everyone else, I held hope for the bill to become law, but I didn’t bet my finances or silencer ownership in the outcome. As it stands now, the HPA is dead. Deregulation is years away from becoming a reality – if ever.
On the managerial side of the house, something happened behind the curtain that forced out some brilliant designers and engineers who went on to start competing companies – a seemingly avoidable scenario. At least three rounds of layoffs, the possible sale of the SilencerCo manufacturing facility (unconfirmed), the loss of CEO Jason Schauble a few months ago, all added to the negative news.
Flagship lines like the Saker rifle silencer, the Octane pistol silencer and the Spectre rimfire silencer got frozen in time, with the only real advancements coming in the form of ‘K’ sized versions. However, the Omega 9K and 45K piston cans certainly are performers, especially for their size. And the Hybrid is both loved and lamented by shooters with it’s near universal caliber ratings as well as its weight and glued on outer tube. And the launch of the Maxim 50 muzzleloader – with apparently hasty research and California marketing that wasn’t California legal.
Anyway, where does SilencerCo go from here? I’d look for additional cost-cutting and discounting across the board to free up resources to bring new products to market, generating excitement and sales. Or, look for signs of a merger/acquisition/absorption of the SilencerCo name and products. Lastly, depending on their actual financial position, full liquidation might be in play.
Either way, the goal should be a healthy silencer industry, with honest competition that leads to superior products for consumers. With all sincerity, I hope everyone thrives in 2018.
Suppressor Talk With Mike Pappas And Gary Hughes Of Dead Air Armament
Mike Pappas and Gary Hughes spent a half hour talking about silencers with the YouTube channel Shooter Opinions. These two are not only knowledgeable but also entertaining when talking about any subject. It’s worth your time to watch.
Dead Air Wolf XXL
Speaking of Dead Air, this unnamed gentleman has created an extra long Wolf silencer by adding a modular section from a second Wolf. Why blur his face? Technically, the length of a silencer is set in the NFA registry and probably can’t be longer than what is actually reported. But if you own two (or more) modular cans) why shouldn’t you be able to configure them as you like?
In reality, no one really cares and if by some chance this is an actual NFA violation, it is truly a victimless crime. Truth is, everyone dreams about wild silencer designs and the ability to build at will.
The bigger question is, do you like the Wolf in black or grey?
My search for suppressor-ready holsters continues. Fox Valley Custom Kydex commented on last week’s Silencer Saturday Facebook post with one of their designs. I think I love it, although I don’t see the need for a cover on a pistol silencer.
.308 Win Subsonic Ammunition
If you own a .308 rifle and haven’t had the chance to run it suppressed with some subsonic ammo, you are missing out. Depending on your setup, Subsonic might not cycle a semiautomatic action, but it doesn’t take away from the fun. The Discreet Ballistics target ammunition in my PTR Industries K3P is giggle-worthy. Check out some options below.
Form1 Fuel Filter:
You can use almost anything to build a silencer. To stay on the right side of the law, however, I urge you to have a completed and approved ATF Form 1 in hand before you start your build. Personally, I love this fuel filter build as found on Instagram.
Silencer Saturday Reader’s Notes:
Daniel H. writes:
Now I realise that talking/writing about sound levels is much like painting a picture to describe a symphony orchestra- it just can’t get there! So may I humbly suggest that a bit of effort is made to create a detailed scale of sound levels that TFB always uses and that everyone can relate to, to describe the performance of any given silencer.
Daniel has some very good points: it’s difficult to accurately portray sound reduction levels in silencer reviews. I’m working on a ‘10 Point Test’ for assessing suppressor performance which will help with qualitative sound levels.
Chaos C. writes:
I have a Berretta 92 series 9mm with a threaded barrel and plan to add a Kel-Tec sub2000 in 9mm with the Berretta mag-well. So I will be extending the classic carbine and pistol shooting the same mags and ammo combo to add a suppressor to the mix. I will probably be loading my own 147 gr loads to slow them down, hopefully subsonic.
Any suggestions for which suppressors for Chaos to consider? My suggestion was for something modular.
Mike K. writes:
Are we making any forward steps with the ATF (NFA Division)? Specifically the time it take to receive an approval?
I think we are making progress, Mike. NFA Tracker is the best crowd-sourced data we have available, and wait times appear to be dropping across the board. Procedural changes within the NFA Division – barcoded forms, internal routing and manpower adjustments have all helped to drop wait times. The sheer volume of forms has also decreased in the last year, easing the crush of paperwork.
Three-month approvals are an easily obtainable goal, with one-month approvals possible in 2018. There are more advancements to come that we hope to be able to talk about soon.
The fact remains, in 2018 the NFA approval process should be instantaneous.
SHOT Show Preview – New From Thompson Machine
What’s going on here?
What do you want to see on next week’s Silencer Saturday? Send me an email – [email protected]