SILENCER SATURDAY #18: MIL-STD & Commercial Suppressors

by Pete

Hello everyone, thanks for dropping in to TFB’s Silencer Saturday. This weekend marks the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting (NRAAM) In Dallas, Texas where manufacturers display their latest releases to shooters from across the country. We’ll take a look at some of the newest suppressors on the market in a minute. But first, let’s venture into the world of MIL-STD (aka Milspec) silencers versus commercial silencers and if it should make any difference to you.

First, my standard caveats: I am not an engineer. I don’t even play one on TV. So if you are looking for hoop strength calculations or an expert in fluid dynamics, you are definitely in the wrong place. We’ll be talking in general terms about certain silencer evaluations – nothing more.

The use of MIL-STD testing/evaluation/certifications can be a commercial selling point for manufacturers – and for good reason. Tests that prove strength, durability and repeatability can be important for individual buyers. Because of restrictive U.S. laws, suppressors are considered “lifetime” purchases. Meaning shooters will poor over every bit of data they can get their hands on before making a final purchase decision. Passing a MIL-STD battery of tests is the probably the best, unbiased scientific data available.

US Military Standard – MIL-STD

Standardization is beneficial in achieving interoperability, ensuring products meet certain requirements, commonality, reliability, total cost of ownership, compatibility with logistics systems, and similar defense-related objectives [1].

Defense standards are also used by other non-defense government organizations, technical organizations, and industry. This article discusses definitions, history, and usage of defense standards. Related documents, such as defense handbooks and defense specifications, are also addressed.

But does Milspec mean you are buying the best silencer for your use case? Increased strength and durability can mean increased weight and cost. Besides, what is important to the operator overseas may not be important to the recreational shooter. In fact, a long and heavy suppressor meant to last until the end of the world can be a turnoff for someone looking for an unobtrusive suppressor solution.

And then comes actual noise attenuation. Depending on the DOD/GOV testing and requirements, silencers can sometimes be only required to maintain hearing-safe levels, which is 140 decibels and below. But since manufacturers aren’t given any extra points for falling below the 140 dB MIL-STD threshold, there is no incentive to make the quietest suppressor possible. While a few more months of R&D could lead to a 134 dB suppressor, that most likely wasn’t a MIL-STD requirement.

So, is buying a “Milspec” silencer important? It all depends on your use case. If you are looking for a solid defensive/duty setup that may not be the quietest or lightest, look for DOD test results or ratings. If you want the quietest, lightest suppressor for backyard plinking or rangetime, the MIL-STD seal of approval is proably not going to be important.

Earlier this week I posted a SureFire suppressor video that discussed some SWAT issues units that have exceeded 100K rounds. Is it good marketing? Yes. Do I believe the 100K claim? Absolutely. An average of 830 rounds a month over 10 years is an easily obtainable number.

A couple of things came up in the discussion after the article, one of which was the Sons Of Liberty Gun Works recent Instagram video depicting the destruction of a SureFire suppressor. Check it out here:

First, we really have no idea how many magazine dumps occurred before this failure and there are obviously other variables in play. But in the end, if you abuse anything hard and long enough, it will fail.

With zero first hand knowledge of this incident, my speculation rests with an issue independent of the suppressor itself – internal ballistics and bullet destabilization due to high heat. In short, the lead can liquify inside the copper jacket. A similar discussion occurred in an thread about material strength. Titanium Use In Suppressors

The issue is the .223/5.56 ammo. After the bore gets heated up by friction to 8-900 deg F, the bullets destabilize and yaw and pitch, which can cause baffle strikes and damage. The destabilization happens without the suppressor. Many think that this is the result of the bore temp being 800+ degrees, the projectile having a large surface area of copper (which conducts heat well), and the bullet having a relatively small mass of lead (which melts at 625 degrees). It is well documented that even without a suppressor, after around 100 rounds, a 5.56 shot full auto or rapid semi-auto will have the group open dramatically. This does not happen in .308/7.62.

Philip H. Dater, MD – 39 years in the industry, 21 with GEMTECH

The second comment came in the form of an email from our friends at Wedgetail Industries, referencing a Finnish suppressor manufacturer’s comments on cleaning and round counts:

With regards to endurance and fouling, what we have more often seen is that the effectiveness ( flash, sound and in some rarer cases accuracy ) is starting to be affected more, than what the actual erosion or wear is

ie. more dirty than worn to a point than a suppressor cannot be used.

One reference figure in increase in weight is 1 gram per 100 rounds from several tests done here across different calibres, so potentially the suppressor weight is c. 60-80 grams if fired for 6000-8000 rounds without any cleaning.

But this is just an average/example figure, it does appear from some of our recent .300 BLK specific use and testing that the cartridges burn quite clean.

Essentially they are saying that it is fouling that diminishes sound reduction more than wear and tear on the baffles. The author suggests the use of an ultrasonic cleaner to remove buildup, save weight and improve sound reduction levels.

Keep the emails and questions coming. I appreciate it. Have a safe and fun weekend.


Bowers Bitty:
  • No Wet * No Wipes * No Equal
  • Rated for 22LR, 22Mag, 22 Hornet, 17HMR, 17WSM, 5.7FN
  • Full Auto Rated
  • Only 2.6oz and 2.8″ Long
  • User Serviceable
  • Shortest Magnum and Full Auto Rated Silencer in its Class!
  • Special Introductory Price of $300

Nominally 1” in diameter and 2.8” in length, weighing in at a mere 2.6 ounces with a black cerakote finish. The Bowers BITTY is rated for .17 rimfires, .17WSM, .22, .22 Mag, .22 Hornet, FN 5.7×28 and rated for full auto in .22. The BITTY on a .22 rifle performs akin to many other manufacturer’s full sized .22 suppressors. On a pistol it is small, fun and comfortable to shoot coming in well under the threshold for hearing safe. It is also hearing safe on a .22 Mag rifle. Our testing was performed with CCI standard velocity .22 ammunition.

The BITTY is sold with a direct thread 1/2×28 mount, ATAS™ mount is available for an additional $50.00.

Energetic Armament: Vox Silencer

Energetic Armament is disrupting the status quo again. The Vox™ silencer represents the next level of precision engineered rifle silencers. The silencer core is CNC welded from C300 Maraging (MARtensitic AGING) nickel-cobalt superalloy. Energetic Armament is the first silencer manufacturer to apply this ultra-strong alloy to a silencer. This aerospace alloy was developed and used by NASA to meet the extreme high-temp stress requirements of rocket motor casings with an incredible strength to weight ratio. Tensile yield strength is a measure of how much force a material can withstand before it begins to fail. Other manufacturers are stuck with 17-4 Stainless which has a yield of 100ksi or 6Al-4V titanium which has a yield of 120ksi. The C300 maraging steel used in the VOX™ is heat treated to achieve a yield of over 285ksi. What’s more: It has more strength at 1,000°F than either stainless or titanium have at room temp! The unique material science of the VOX means you don’t have to compromise- you get the rugged full-auto rated capability of a heavy silencer with the light weight of a less rugged titanium can. No other silencer offers this spectrum of capabilities and features.

The ultra strength of this unique aerospace alloy allows the VOX™ to achieve very low weight at only 14.7oz without sacrificing durability. The high strength alloy allows thinner walls which not only optimize low weight but also increases internal volume while maintaining a small outer envelope. More internal volume= better sound attenuation.

The VOX™ is compatible with all industry standard quick-disconnect mounting systems including the Dead Air™ KEY-MO™ and the Silencer Co.™ ASR™. This allows the operator to use the muzzle devices they already have and makes swapping your VOX™ between guns very simple and convenient.

The nose cap of the VOX™ is removeable and features a wipe holder as standard equipment. A high temperature rated silicone wipe provides ultra-quiet sound performance when using sub-sonic rounds. The wipe forms a seal to the exiting bullet to control gas flow and bring the ultimate quiet to your shot. The wipe is easily removed for heavy supersonic, high power shooting is needed. The VOX™ is quiet… really quiet… with low, even tone that gives your rifle the voice you want.

Energetic Armament stands by our silencers with a lifetime, no bullshit, guarantee. If you need us, we will be there to take care of your silencer. Our patent pending banded core construction allows us to repair damaged silencers quickly and get you back on the firing line.

KGMADE Rogue 30

The Rogue 30 is KGmade’s premium Centerfire rifle suppressor for all .30 caliber rifles. Rated up to 300 win mag( 18″ barrel) the Rogue 30 can handle your suppressed rifle needs under a bullet diameter of .308. Due to its unique baffle design and volumetric efficiency, the Rogue 30 provides top tier suppression and a much lower tone than traditional centerfire rifle cores. Designed with accuracy in mind, the core construction yields itself to a minimal Point of Impact shift from suppressed to unsuppressed. We also maintain excellent repeatablilty due to our taper mounting system, by using a taper mount the suppressor mounts to the brake in the same location every time so your zero wont change when you pull the suppressor on and off your rifle. While designed for a bolt gun, the Rogue 30 is just as at home on a gas operated rifle as well.


The Rogue 30 is machined completly out of Solid 6AL4V (Grade 5) Titanium bar stock, from the blast chamber to the end cap.


  • All Titanium Construction
  • Taper Mount Muzzle Brake
  • Unique Baffle construction giving a low pleasant tone with Top Tier suppression
  • Rated to .300 Win mag( 18″ barrel)
  • Fully Circumfrential Welds using Robotic welding cell
  • Minimal Point of Impact shift( POI)

Whats Included:

  • Rogue 30
  • Rogue 30 Muzzle Brake (Choice of 5/8-24, or  1/2-28)
  • KGmade/Cole-TAC Suppressor heat cover
  • Instruction
  • Stickers

Titanium Properties and Note: This Suppressor is not Full -Auto rated. To Maintain a low total weight, yet amazing amount of strength the use of Titanium is required. While Titanium is a very stable material, its resilience in high heat applications is not one of its strong suits. That is why we limit the operating temperature of the unit to 800 deg. after 1000 deg. titanium starts to lose some of its strength and can cause a failure. If you happen to reach this temperature due to a high rate of fire, all you have to do is let it cool down and you can then resume shooting.

Minimum Barrel Length requirements:

10″ 300 BLK( Super and Subsonic)

10″ 5.56mm, 223

14″ .308

16″ 6.5 Creedmore, .260 Rem.

18″ .300 Win Mag, 7mm Rem. Mag

20″ .300 RUM( Remington Ultra Mag), 7mm RUM(Remington Ultra Mag)

silencerco Single Port ASR Muzzle Brake

Short and effective, our single port muzzle brake is compatible with any suppressor that uses our ASR mount:

  • Omega 300
  • Hybrid
  • Octane series
  • Omega K series
  • Harvester
  • Harvester Big Bore
  • Chimera
  • Saker series 

Select caliber and thread pitch from dropdown menu.

Additional calibers and thread pitches coming soon.


Two mount options:
Direct Thread: 5/8 X 24
Fast Attach Mount: 90T Taper

For optimum accuracy choose direct thread, but for quick set up and tear down choose fast attach mount. Excellent for hunting and fun on the range.

Tool-less take down and shielded baffles deliver unsurpassed performance and ease of maintenance.

PVD coatings are on the silencer tube and mounts.

The most versatile silencer you can own – Any bullet .308 caliber and less can be used with the new Ti-Raid 30 Silencer, making it a must have for multiple suppressor-ready firearms.

OSS Suppressors Helix-QD

Millcreek UT – OSS Suppressors LLC is proud to announce two new additions to their popular HELIX-QD suppressor line – the HX-QD 556 and HX-QD 762 Ti.

“Our new Helix-QD (Quick Disconnect) line was introduced only a couple months ago and the response from dealers and customers has been outstanding” said John Spurrier, CEO of OSS Suppressors. “One of the many advantages of our new one-piece Flow-Through™ design is that our engineers and designers are able to accelerate new product development, design and testing.” The newest additions to the line are:

  • HX-QD 556:  An extremely rugged suppressor, the HX-QD 556 delivers hearing safe mid 130s dB performance, has no barrel length restrictions, is full-auto rated, and easily passes the USSOCOM Reliability Stress Test – it’s the ideal suppressor for all 5.56 rifles.”   MSRP is $899.  Available 7/18.
  • HX-QD 762 Ti: A lightweight and durable multi-caliber suppressor, the HX-QD 762 Ti is built with a combination of Grade 5 Titanium and heat treated 17-4 stainless steel. It delivers superior accuracy and repeatability, hearing safe 136-139 dB performance, is full-auto rated on 5.56 and cross-platform compatible on 5.56 up to .300 WM– the one to have when every ounce counts.  MSRP is $1,299. Available 9/18.

“Our two new HX-QD suppressors deliver the unmatched benefits of OSS’s patented Flow-Through technology andmeet the needs of those customers who’ve been asking for more options and price points since the HELIX-QD line launched in January,” said Chris Estadt, VP of Marketing and Sales. “With our HX-QD Torque Lock System (TLS), hearing safe sound suppression, and full-auto ratings, the new 556 and 762 Ti models offer superior performance, modularity and value.”

See the complete line of HELIX-QD suppressors at NRA Show – Booth #12042


Silencers - Science

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9 of 11 comments
  • Disgruntled Disgruntled on May 05, 2018

    That silencerco mount might make a nice option for a qd 9mm roland special type gun.

    -Edit- Although I dont know if it would accomodate a Nielsen device. Furthur study may be required.

    • See 3 previous
    • TheChunkNorris TheChunkNorris on May 06, 2018

      @Cymond Spot on. Those are typically used in systems that don't require a booster to properly account for the mass attached to end of a barrel. So the short of it is, Nielson for pistols and fixed systems for rifles... in this case the ASR.

  • Rey Rey on May 06, 2018

    How do most of you clean your suppressors?
    Monocore vs baffle stack for cleaning?

    • See 2 previous
    • TheChunkNorris TheChunkNorris on May 06, 2018

      @Rey Gemtech recommends soaking them in ATF(Automatic Transmission Fluid... not our beloved Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms) and then blowing them out. For baffle stacks, I've had good experiences with Fireclean. I love shooting .22LR and literally wipe most of the carbon off with a paper towel, the heavier stuff can be flaked off. Be careful and know what your cans are made of before dropping them in an ultra sonic cleaner... I've personally seen people destroy finishes on some nice suppressors.