Hello and welcome back to another edition of The Rimfire Report! This ongoing series is all about the rimfire firearm world and its various guns, gear, accessories, ammunition, and well, suppressors! Suppressors are a great safety device for keeping your hearing in peak condition or at the very least, preventing further damage from occurring. Even though a lot of rimfire cartridges are fairly quiet even without suppressors, other rimfire cartridges like .17 HMR, .17 HM2, 5mm RFM, and .17 WSM can be insanely loud at the ear. While I don’t suspect most of you are firing those cartridges in high volume like you would .22LR, they can still pose a significant hearing damage risk even with just a handful of unprotected shots while out hunting small game. That’s why it always helps to have a rimfire suppressor ready to mount when you need it. I was fortunate enough to be able to receive a demo copy of the SilencerCo Switchback modular rimfire suppressor and I have been testing it on a variety of my rimfire guns to get a feel for how it works, what I like about it, and what I think its best suited for.
More Rimfire Report @ TFB:
- The Rimfire Report: Is the Jennings J-22 Really that Bad?
- The Rimfire Report: Five 22LR Firearms I’d Like to See for 2022
- The Rimfire Report: The High Standard Flite-King 22LR Pistol
The Rimfire Report: SilencerCo Switchback Modular Suppressor
The SilencerCo Switchback is rated for full-auto fire, can handle a variety of .22″ or smaller rimfire calibers, and even take on the much higher pressure 5.7x28mm round found in use by guns like the FN P90, FN FiveseveN, and Ruger 57. The can gets its remarkable durability from its stainless steel baffles and titanium tube which is a good combination of lightweight and more durable materials being used where they matter most.
The main draw with the Switchback, however, is the fact that it is billed as a modular suppressor. What this means for you is that you can swap the length and configuration of the suppressor to suit your needs whether you’re using a rifle or pistol to optimize the suppressor’s effectiveness for your specific application. The SilencerCo Switchback comes in a simple foam padded cardboard box with its operation manual, two wrenches for tightening and loosening the end caps and suppressor body, and of course the suppressor itself.
In its default or “long” configuration, the Switchback weighs in at just 6.5 ounces which is about 2 ounces heavier than my ATF Form 1 Titanium suppressor. Not the lightest thing out there but this might be offset when used in its “short” configuration where it measures at only 2.5 inches in length and weighs just 3.2 ounces making it nearly nonexistent on any rimfire rifle or pistol.
In total, there are 4 different configurations that you can put the Switchback into and each of them offers pros and cons for different firearms you may want to try the suppressor out on. While the assembly and disassembly of the Switchback can be intimidating to a new owner, once you’ve messed with the parts enough, it’s very easy to know what goes where. This video that SilencerCo put out on the different configurations of the Switchback was very helpful before my first range session to familiarize myself with the Switchback’s different configurations.
I brought out a smattering of .22LR firearms to the range and tested the SilencerCo Switchback with all of them and long story short, I was impressed with the performance. I don’t have any professional sound testing equipment to measure decibel readings or anything like that but if the numbers that SilencerCo have listed on their site are to believed then the Switchback can get you down as low as 114.0 dB with a 3.3-in barreled pistol, and 108.0 dB with a rifle with a 16″ barrel. Both sound averages were taken using standard velocity ammunition and ASA Standard testing methods. For reference, I would consider anything at or below 110 dB to be “Hollywood Quiet”. At sound levels like that, you’re probably going to be hearing the sound of your slide racking or the impact of the bullet more than the report.
All that being said, the SilencerCo Switchback definitely sounded much quieter than my Form 1 can did across the board with all ammunition types. The Switchback has several different configurations meant for use with different guns. For example, while you could theoretically use the short configuration on a pistol, it’s not optimized for that and you’ll end up with a much louder report somewhere in the neighborhood of 143 dB, not hearing safe. The short configuration is most useful for use with carbine or rifle length guns which can reduce sound levels down to about 125 dB without drastically extending the length of your rifle to make it unwieldy in the field.
There is a rifle-optimized configuration for the Switchback in its full-length configuration. All that is required to do this is to remove the front baffle stack and reverse them and replace the front cap and you’re good to go. This configuration further reduces the sound average by an additional 8dB which might not sound like much but you’ll have to remember that the dB scale is the logarithmic meaning and an 8dB reduction from 117 dB is still quite good for just a simple battle orientation swap.
When I tried out the different lengths of the Switchback on several pistols, I did notice that the full-length configuration produced significant blowback when compared to the medium and short configurations. The blowback wasn’t enough to gas me out but it would pose a significant safety risk if you weren’t wearing proper eye protection or were to hand the pistol/suppressor combo off to a newer shooter who wasn’t expecting that. Just something to keep in mind.
I really like the SilencerCo Switchback. For its MSRP of $499, it isn’t the least expensive rimfire suppressor option on the market but it also adds a lot of utility to the mix which may or may not be a good thing in your book. For me, I like the fact that it is not only full-auto rated but also can be chopped down to a scant 2.5 inches in the field and then reassembled in a minute or two to be used in its medium or full-length configuration. If you’re looking for a straight-up no-nonsense, inexpensive .22LR suppressor then the SilencerCo Switchback probably isn’t your best option – I’d pick the much cheaper much simpler SilencerCo Sparrow for that job. For those of you who like to hunt, shoot pistols and rifles frequently at the range, or have a binary trigger rimfire gun, then the Switchback will last you a lifetime and make your guns sound good doing it.
Thanks as always for stopping by to read The Rimfire Report. If you’ve had your hands on a SilencerCo Switchback let us know what you thought of it down in the comments. If not, then what are your favorite rimfire suppressors, or which ones do you hope to get in the future?