SILENCER SATURDAY #28: 300 BLK Is The Best Caliber On The Planet

by Pete

Go ahead, change my mind. But to be clear, I’m referring to the silencer/suppressor world, where slinging heavy lead quietly through a proven semiautomatic platform is a requirement. I resisted the changeover to 300 Blackout for years, believing that 9mm was a universal cartridge that can pull its weight (pun definitely intended) in short barrels at subsonic velocities, whether in pistol or carbine form. Nah, 300 BLK is the king and reigning champ of short to intermediate range silencer bliss and I’m a fool for not adopting it years ago.

Q's Honey Badger pistol and Trash Panda Silencer in 300 BLK

Hello everyone and thanks for joining us here at TFB’s Silencer Saturday, where we come to compare our outer diameters and internal volumes. We are taking a hiatus from the decibel metering testing you’ve seen in the past few months to focus on some practical experimentation. First we will talk broadly about 300 BLK and the two guns that opened my eyes to the caliber that most of you already adopted long ago. Then we will take a look at the Innovative Arms Apex Micro, a short .22LR silencer that is currently riding on a night vision-ready pistol host.

300 BLK Is The Best Caliber on the planet – Change My Mind

Honey Badger and Trash Panda by Q.

I had the opportunity to sit down with silencer legends Kevin Brittingham and Ethan Lessard of Q, LLC, formerly of Advanced Armament Corporation (AAC) and Sig Sauer. Together, Brittingham and Lessard are responsible for taking a fairly unknown wildcat cartridge called 300 Whisper, upending an entire ammunition and weapon development industry by way of SOCOM and finally gaining the acceptance by the The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI). Like most good stories, the journey from a reloader’s cartridge to a commercially available round is sprinkled with ups and downs, but in the end, the silencer community as a whole was the winner. Stay tuned for the full interview in the coming weeks.

My 300 BLK epiphany came about two months ago when I was setting up the decibel meter to test a couple of guns that would be used as recurring standards. Besides a 5.56mm MK18 upper was an MP5SD and a fresh from the factory Sig Rattler. The classic MP5SD is a beautiful and iconic weapon that was born with suppression in its DNA. Sure, it’s heavy, not setup for accessory attachment options and fires a pistol caliber round, but it’s super quiet, right?

Sig Sauer SRD762Ti QD – Silencer Shop

Yeah, that’s what I thought too – until I shot a suppressed 300 BLK PDW alongside my MP5SD and a proper decibel meter, I would have sworn up and down that the SD would handily beat the Rattler in terms of suppression. What I found was the opposite; the 300 Blackout PDW was quieter to my ear and to the meter by a noticeable margin. Admittedly, as we discussed in the comments section last week, my MP5SD may need some tuning by an expert, but the event was still a life changing experience that shook me to my core (drama added for flair and emphasis). Had I been wasting my time with suppressing 9mm all these years when I should have been focusing on 300 BLK?

Yes and no. A properly suppressed 9mm submachine gun, pistol caliber carbine or pistol is still a fun, inexpensive way to shoot quietly. And I still love my MP5SD and suppressed B&T APC9. But if you are looking for true versatility in a compact weapon that can go from suppressed subsonic to unsuppressed supersonic ammunition swaps with a mag change, a proper 300 BLK pistol or SBR is the current holy grail in platforms.

The one current downside: quality ammo is going to run you almost double that of a quality 9mm round (friends don’t let friends shoot sh*t ammo). Hopefully, as the adoption of 300 Blackout by law enforcement and the military continues to grow, consumer prices will drop.

We will have a full review of the Q Honey Badger pistol here in a few weeks, complete with a full build video, metering at MIL-STD and At-Ear locations and a comparison between the full size Thunder Chicken silencer and the shorter Trash Panda and a few different ammo varieties. Heck, we may even throw in a bullet gel test for good measure.

Q Thunder Chicken – Silencer Shop Q Trash Panda – Silencer Shop

Innovative Arms Apex Micro

Compact K-sized or even modular silencers are all the range at the moment. A short .22LR can makes for a great pistol setup, keeping the overall length to a minimum while still providing you with hearing safe suppression when using subsonic ammo.

With an MSRP of $280, the Apex micro is a lightweight and affordable option for shooters interested in an easy to maintain rimfire silencer. Being a short monocore suppressor, I tend to shoot the Apex Micro wet nearly 100% of the time to avoid first round pop and maximize suppression.

Thanks to MAC Tactical for the suggestion on this addition to my silencer family.

The APEX® is specifically designed for extraordinary sound suppression in a durable, light weight, compact package. The APEX® is for use on both rifles and pistols and provides simplistic maintenance. Each APEX® comes with its own take down tool that makes disassembly quick and easy. The advanced billet core design greatly minimizes the lead and powder build up that is common with .22lr ammunition and the core is completely removable for thorough cleaning. The APEX® is available in a Micro size of 4.25″.

APEX .22

  • MSRP: $299
  • Caliber: .22lr
  • Weight: 3.6oz
  • Length: 5.25”
  • O.D: 1.125″
  • Material: Aluminum /Stainless Steel Thread Insert
  • Finish: Type 3 Hard Coat Anodized / Laser Engraved
  • TPI: 1/2 x 28
  • DB Reduction: 38-41 Dry


  • MSRP: $280
  • Caliber: .22lr
  • Weight: 3 oz
  • Length: 4.25”
  • O.D: 1.125″
  • Material: Aluminum /Stainless Steel Thread Insert
  • Finish: Type 3 Hard Coat Anodized / Laser Engraved
  • TPI: 1/2 x 28
  • DB Reduction: 35 – 38 Dry

TFB’s Silencer Saturday is Sponsored By Sig Sauer

Tactical M1 Carbine? The Inland M30-P Pistol and Brace

In this episode of TFBTV, James Reeves looks at the Inland Manufacturing M30P – a “Tactical M1 Carbine”. While the M1 Carbine is roughly 90 years old, the M30P takes the proven M1 Carbine design and wraps it in the invincible Sage EBR chassis, which allows for easy optic and accessory mounting while free-floating the barrel. This version – the M30P – is legally a pistol as it uses a 12″ barrel (which is threaded in 1/2″x28″) and it is equipped with a Gearhead Works Tailhook. The folks at Silencer Shop and Bowers were kind enough to send along a Bowers VERS 9S for use as a suppressor in this video, and it performed perfectly in that role.

9mm shorty suppressor comparison

This installment of Tailgate Talk we’re putting the Deadair Odessa, CGS Kraken SK, Thompson Machine Poseidon, & Gemtech Aurora II side by side and letting you decide who comes out on top. We’ve been running these four 9mm suppressors for the last few weeks and are very impressed with all. Sound off in the comments which you prefer. Do you like straight baffles, straight wipes or a combination of both??

Silencers - Science

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4 of 132 comments
  • Maodeedee Maodeedee on Jul 17, 2018

    The Best Caliber On The Planet? For what purpose? For spending lots of money and dealing with government bureaucracy on a caliber with limited range and marginal terminal ballistics? Uh... yeah.

  • Sarky Sarky on Jul 17, 2018

    Another one I like is the .30 mini whisper, which is the 7.62x25 with the 125 gr or heavier bullet. I rechambered one of my .30 carbines in this and it is a sweet, quiet round that is cheap to shoot.