Good evening subsonic shooters and welcome back to TFB’s Silencer Saturday, where science beats feelings everyday and twice on Sundays. Hopefully you all had a great holiday and were able to spend some time with friends or family, preferably on the range. Last week we discussed the possibilities of owning a single shot repeating firearm that is either integrally suppressed or designed from the ground up to be suppressed – a modern Welrod. Whether that means waiting and investing in the B&T VP9 or building a different design all together is the real question. I received a lot of good input from readers and industry partners, some of whom have considered modern Welrod designs themselves. I’m interested in seeing where this goes. But this week I thought we could look ahead to the state of the suppressor industry in 2019 and then share some images and information I picked up from my latest trip to Q.
Silencer Saturday: A Look Ahead To 2019
We are two and a half years past the 41F NFA bubble of 2016, and much like the turn of the century Y2K fears and the housing crash of 2008, most consumers and silencer manufacturers have enjoyed a decent recovery. A healthy supply of suppressors has returned to distributors, new models spurred by R&D have brought buyers back to the table and a relative calm has fallen over the market. The only piece we are missing is a friendly, or at least neutral, legislative climate to pull in those fence-sitting buyers who have decided to wait on the sidelines. Some of these shooters can be won over by a trip to shoot suppressed rimfire guns, others will make endless excuses and never be NFA owners themselves.
For the rest of us, I’d like to think that a variety of tangible characteristics are what really get us to open up our wallets: size/weight, noise reduction, features/mounting and cost. All of which I expect to see manufacturers focus on in 2019.
While additive manufacturing is still fairly cost restrictive for making suppressors (I have a new Delta P Design review coming up next week), companies have noticed that there is a move away from heavy, end-of-the-world type silencers that can weigh up to 30 ounces, towards models that can handle almost the same abuse but weigh 1/3 less. The Dead Air Nomad is a good example of a new release from this year. And, as you’ll see below from Q, I think the trend will continue.
There’s a time and a place to chase decibels, and there are still shooters who want to squeeze every bit of performance out of their favorite subsonic rimfire and/or centerfire ammunition. I expect a few manufacturers to take aim at SilencerCo’s new Switchback. I’d also expect to see some very quiet pistol and subsonic rifle silencers from the big manufacturers.
Mounting systems will continue to enjoy a boost. Many companies are either standardizing thread specifications to match other company’s designs, or designing new mounting systems for existing silencers. While I think modular silencers will continue to be prevalent in the rimfire and the pistol markets, we may see a slowdown in modular centerfire rifle silencers. For the cost of some modular designs, a price savvy shopper could pick up two quality rifle suppressors of differing lengths.
Due to the regulated nature of the silencer industry, retail costs will always be tricky – low demand in comparison to non NFA firearms, artificial delays in personal transfers, etc. But as supplies rise, it is becoming more of a buyer’s market, so I’d expect to find decent deals and budget friendly models from some companies. I think we can also expect to see more 5.56mm silencers rather than the .308 do-it-all style for centerfire rifles. Weight and length again come in to play, but increased performance will also be a factor.
Forward venting technology will be more common for suppressors designed for semiautomatic gas guns. The idea is to redirect the blowback that would have ended up in the action (and your face) back and out vents on the muzzle or endcap. I also think that smaller manufacturers will give the big guys a run for their money, providing affordable options with solid feature sets.
These are all just guesses – I don’t have any inside information about new silencers headed to market in 2019. But with the SHOT Show only a few weeks away, we’ll hopefully have a better idea soon.
Silencer Saturday: ‘Happy Q Year’
A few weeks ago I had a chance to visit my friends at Q, who are always working on awesome projects. The Portsmouth, NH team has been busy, with multiple new releases planned for the first quarter of 2019.
First up is the Jumbo Shrimp, a sub 10 ounce 6.5mm silencer. It’s perfectly suited for Q’s ‘The Fix’ precision rifle.
Speaking of The Fix, short barreled pistol versions are due out soon with braces designed and produced in conjunction with SB Tactical.
The rifle with the tan silencer is chambered in 8.6CM, Q’s latest collaboration with Hornady, Discreet Ballistics and others. If I remember correctly, this barrel has a twist rate of 1 in 3, pushing 300+ grain bullets at both subsonic and supersonic velocities.
Q’s Honey Badger PDW continues to be a huge hit, with a backlog of orders reaching six months or more. Demand has kept the team busy certifying additional parts suppliers.
Every Friday is customer build day. Want to build your own Honey Badger or The Fix rifle? Email the Q team and make plans to travel to Seacoast New Hampshire for some hands on instruction from Brittingham and crew. On the day two guys had flown up from Florida for the day to assemble their guns. The two of them run SignatureCoins.com and have been making challenge coins and lapel pins for more than 19 years.
Another upcoming release is The Fix chassis for Remington 700 bolt action rifles. A price point has yet to be determined, but the chassis will accept any 700 style actions, giving shooters an unmatched combination of features, ergonomics and weight.
These guys really crank out innovative guns, silencers and gear. And yes, I’d say that even if they weren’t my friends.
Have great week. Happy New Year. And thanks for reading TFB.