SILENCER SATURDAY #49: Are Pistol Cans Worth It?

    Good evening everyone and thanks for joining us back here for another episode of TFB’s Silencer Saturday. As we charge full speed towards the holidays, we’ll spend some time discussing ways to spend your end of the year money on NFA gifts for friends, family or even yourself. But before I recommend silencers that you want to slip under the tree (ok your SOT’s tree), let’s discuss pistol cans and whether they are actually worth your time and money.

    SILENCER SATURDAY #49: Are Pistol Cans Worth It?

    Right about now you are looking at me like I’ve got two heads. “Are pistol cans worth it?” Of course they are, but hear me out. Many shooters, especially first time buyers, don’t consider weight and length when shopping for a new silencer. And while longer and heavier models are certainly felt on rifles and carbines, a suppressor hanging off the end of a pistol can more than double the original weapon’s overall length (OAL). So considering that pistols, as defensive weapons anyway, are meant to be portable sidearms, does adding an eight to ten inch silencer make sense?

    Lets take a look at some of the most popular models on the market alongside their specifications.

    Considering that one of the most popular pistols on the planet, the Glock 19, is 7.3” long, adding any one of the above suppressors with a threaded barrel makes the complete package the size of a large PDW or a small pistol caliber carbine.

    Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that pistol silencers are extremely fun, are high on the cool factor level and in most instances, fairly useful. However, full size cans on pistols make for unwieldy defensive weapons and many shooters don’t factor in OAL into their resource allocations (how many pennies you have and how many silencers you want).

    Enter K-size (Kurz in German means short) and modular pistol silencers. We frequently talk about managing expectations and diminishing returns when it comes to length and noise reduction. And for the most part, an individual’s use case will (should) determine the size of the silencer. As my personal knowledge and experience has advanced, I’ve leaned more towards shorter, more specialized silencers – especially when it comes to pistol hosts.

    Most real K-sized pistol silencers use wipes – a round piece of rubber or other material that seals and traps gases inside the tube, even after the bullet exits the endcap. Wipes allow for a shorter suppressor that performs almost as well as their full sized kin, especially when shot with an ablative media (wet). The down sides are that accuracy can suffer since the bullet squeezes through the wipe(s) and the also need to be replaced after around 20-40 rounds. In theory, wipes can only be replaced by an FFL/SOT/manufacturer. Some wipes silencers are also limited to FMJ ammunition only.

    Modular silencers have different concerns. Whether they have one or multiple sections, these “adjustable” suppressors add a level of complexity not seen in traditional pistol models. Tools can be required to tighten and loosen sections and unused baffle segments run the risk of getting lost or misplaced. In the end, many owners run their modular cans in one or two lengths that balance between length and suppression levels.

    Long story short, the only way to find out what pistol silencer is best for you is to buy one of each. That way you can select a silencer as the mood suits you. In all seriousness, it’s best to talk to your fellow silencer owners or get some hands on range time – many of us have made multiple good and bad purchasing decisions and can help you avoid buying a silencer that will be underwhelming.

    Have a great week everyone. Be safe and we’ll see you next Saturday.

    Pistol cans

    Above: The Dead Air Odessa in short configuration and the Thompson Machine Poseidon “K” silencer.

    TFB’s Silencer Saturday is brought to you by Sig Sauer

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