Starting with the Sparrow in 2008, SilencerCo has been developing rimfire silencers for over a decade. Recently I had the opportunity to revisit the SilencerCo Batcave and was reminded of just how many rimfire hosts they had in their collection leaving me with the question: Which of these are your quietest rimfire hosts? With the help of their staff and some cutting-edge sound metering equipment, here’s what I found.
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Next-Gen Rimfire Suppression
For this testing, we opted to use the newest addition to the SilencerCo rimfire lineup: the Switchback 22. It’s currently the quietest, full-auto rated, multi-caliber silencer in their lineup. Here’s the product overview from SilencerCo.
The Switchback 22 is the most versatile rimfire silencer ever developed. Not only does its modular construction allow the end user to choose from three lengths, but its long configuration can be optimized for either a pistol or rifle host.
Inspired by technology used in rocket and jet propulsion, when oriented in one direction the front section exhibits the most competitive sound reduction on the market for pistols, but when the orientation is flipped the result is unprecedented sound reduction on rifles.
The Switchback 22 delivers the quality and versatility you have come to expect from SilencerCo’s premium rimfire silencers including compatibility with a variety of cartridges, durability, user serviceability, and our industry leading lifetime warranty and customer service.
With the silencer picked out, it was time to grab some ammo, set up the meter, and grab our first three firearms.
*CCI Standard Velocity 22lr
**Temperature 75 degrees
***Meter: G.R.A.S 1/4 Pressure Field Microphone & Preamplifier Type 46BD
For both the pistol and rifle lineup I wanted to add a sort of benchmark host for these tests. This would be something popular, reliable, and readily available. For pistols, I opted for the Smith and Wesson M&P 22 Compact. I’ve owned one for years and it’s proven to be incredibly reliable with bulk ammunition.
The Walther PPK/s and Ruger MKIV? Well, it turns out those two classics are more than just classics, but let’s move on to testing and see how these stack up.
#3. S&W M&P22 Compact
The M&P comes in at third quietest, and after shooting here were the results at both the muzzle and the ear.
S&W M&P22 Compact:
Muzzle: 115.2, 113.8, 114.1, 114.0, 113.4, 113.6, 115.8, 115.5, 119.7, 112.3,
Muzzle Average: 114.8db
Right Ear: 122.6, 121.3, 123.3, 123.4, 129.0, 124.2, 126.6, 125.6, 129.6, 123.2
Right Ear Average: 124.9db
#2. Ruger MKIV
In second place in the pistol category, we have the Ruger Mark IV 22/45. This gun is a classic among rimfire enthusiasts, and its side ejection port makes it very pleasant to shoot suppressed.
Muzzle: 114.7, 113.9, 111.3, 113.5, 111.3, 111.4, 112.3, 111.5, 112.2, 110.8
Muzzle Average: 112.3db
Right Ear: 122.9 122.6 123.5 121.2 119.0 118.3 120.3 120.8 123.9 123.0
Right Ear Average: 121.6db
#1. Walther PPK/S
In the number one spot, we have the iconic Walther PPK/s. It not only looks amazing but sounds just as good. This smaller version of the James Bond classic metered incredibly well.
Muzzle: 117.0, 111.6, 111.1, 110.5, 110.6, 109.2, 111.8, 111.0, 112.4, 110.6
Muzzle Average: 111.6db
Right Ear: 115.9, 122.4, 117.9, 119.0, 117.8, 124.6, 124.6, 121.6, 122.7, 115.4
Right Ear Average: 120.2db
Just like the pistol category, I wanted to add another benchmark to the rifle category as well. In this case, we have the Ruger 10/22 Takedown. The 10/22 is an American classic, with hundreds if not thousands of aftermarket parts made for it. Alongside it were a CZ 455 and a very interesting Chiappa Little Badger. Let’s see how they all stack up.
#3. Ruger 10-22 Takedown
While still very quiet at the muzzle, the Ruger would come in third. As its semi-automatic action needs to move, there’s just slightly more noise at the shooter’s ear. Not that you’d really ever notice.
Ruger 10-22 Takedown:
Muzzle: 112.1, 111.9, 111.0, 108.9, 110.3, 112.3, 112.3, 111.0, 111.0, 109.3
Muzzle Average: 111.0db
Right Ear: 114.6, 121.9, 120.7, 116.5, 119.9, 119.4, 117.3, 115.9, 119.9, 120.5
Right Ear Average: 118.6db
#2. CZ 455
Bolt action rifles always suppress well, and the CZ 455 is certainly no exception. I was told I’d need to work the bolt slowly in order for the microphone to not pick up the action noise when chambering a new round. Listen to how quiet this is.
Muzzle: 107.5, 111.6, 111.2, 110.7, 111.0, 109.9, 110.5, 110.3, 111.7, 110.6
Muzzle Average: 110.5db
Right Ear: 122.4, 124.1, 122.8, 120.0, 122.1, 124.3, 120.3, 123.6, 121.1, 122.6
Right Ear Average: 122.3db
#1. Chiappa Little Badger
At the number one spot, we have the Chiappa Little Bader. As you’ll see in the video, the microphone sensitivity is so high that we’re picking up action noise and brass falling. It’s staggeringly quiet.
Chiappa Little Badger:
Muzzle: 105.6, 105.8, 108.3, 105.6, 97.1, 106.6, 106.3, 108.3, 101.9, 106.6
Muzzle Average: 105.2db
Right Ear 110.1, 113.2, 114.5, 108.9, 105.7, 110.0, 108.1, 108.7, 105.0, 110.8
Right Ear Average: 109.5db
Note: The 97.1 and 101.9 DB readings were action noises that were picked up by the mic.
As the $200 tax stamp is always discouraging, I always recommend someone’s first silencer be a user-serviceable rimfire can. These areas close as you’ll get to true Hollywood levels of quiet. They are also the cheapest to shoot specialty subsonic ammunition. And speaking of subsonic ammunition, you won’t be needing that for your .22LR pistols. With the shorter barrels, they will render standard velocity ammunition subsonic.
So If you’re looking for the absolute quietest in rimfire suppression, I’d take a look at any of these hosts and of course the new SilencerCo Switchback. Their marketing team indicated they were ramping up production on the Switchback and you should see more of these at your local dealer soon. Thanks for reading, and thank you to the team at SilencerCo!
SilencerCo Switchback Product Specs
- CALIBER COMPATIBILITY: 22LR, 17 WSM, 17 HMR, 22 MAG, 22 WMR, 22 HORNET, 5.7 X 28 MM Rated for full-auto fire
- TOTAL LENGTH: 2.50 – 5.75″
- WEIGHT: 3.2 – 6.5 OZ
- DIAMETER: 1.07″
- MUZZLE AVERAGE: 108 dB and up
- MATERIALS: Baffles: Stainless Steel — Tube: Titanium
- FINISH: Titanium
- SKU: SU2660
- MSRP: $ 499
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