Bulletin Board

Firearm suppressor safety concerns.

I wanted to take a minute to talk about something that a lot of people seem to simply dismiss. That is safety surrounding the use of a silencer.

You see, people tend to think of the suppressor as a safety device and they are not wrong here. There are also some concerns that tend to surface in the warranty department from time to time as well. I figured it would be a good topic to inform people of the common and not so common items that tend to show up for warranty and that are true safety concerns.

silencer suppressor carbine AR15
  1. People seem to think that if a bullet will fit in the front of a silencer, that it can be used with this caliber. Sometimes this happens even when the maker clearly states otherwise. We speculate that it is because the end user feels the silencer company is simply wanting to sell more suppressors by not rating a particular model of silencer for a slightly larger caliber. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Silencers here at Liberty are typically bored .050″ over the marked caliber for clearance of the bullet in flight, possible base yaw from unstabilized rounds, and stacking tolerance issues between the host firearm and the silencer. If you add .050 to a 9mm bullet (.354), you get .404″ The Mystic X is bored slightly bigger at .413″ at the muzzle end. Note a 40 S&W is .400″ diameter. Technically it will fit, but with only the thickness of a couple of sheets of paper all the way around…at the muzzle. Here is the rub, the other end of the silencer is not this big as the bore is tapered… In fact is it significantly undersized and will not pass a 40 cal bullet at all. Rule to follow here: Do not use calibers bigger than the rated calibers from the maker of the silencer.
  2. Using the wrong silencer for the job at hand. Seems that a lot of people think all silencers are made the same, unfortunate this is not true. Suppressors are made for a host of different jobs to include hunting, long range shooting, recreational shooting, training, patrolling and combat. Some are severe duty cycle engineered so they will survive heavy firing schedules and some are designed to be the lightest silencer possible for deployment in the field for hunting to keep fatigue to a minimum. Using something like the Mystic X on a machine gun will end in terrible failure typically. This silencer isnt designed for this kind of severe duty. It is meant to be used in semi-auto applications, where the suppressor can dissipate the heat from use over time, machine-guns typically build up heat so fast that the suppressor can easily be heated cherry red in just minutes. This is not a safe condition to operate your silencer in and you should stop if you see it turning red and allow it to cool. There are silencers that are available and designed for this application though and using them will extend the cycle time of a machine-gun, but even those will fail under prolonged exposure to full auto fire.
  3. Assuming things do not change during use. This comes in the form of not checking to see if the silencer is loose after shooting it some, typically before it gets too hot to touch. We have seen this one all to often, a person gets a new silencer. Installs it on their rifle, shoots a couple of magazines of rounds through it. Suddenly and for what appears to be no reason at all, the accuracy goes down hill. The groups open up on target and some of the bullet holes are no longer round but shaped like the side profile of the bullet! What has happen here is the suppressor “shot” loose. The heating of the parts in the system, the barrel and suppressor end-cap, will cause them to work loose. they are made from two different metals that have different thermal expansion characteristics, not to mention they are two different sizes and shapes. This typically results in the rear cap expanding faster than the barrel and therefore the thread interface will loosen as the rear cap grows. This causes the suppressor to drop in the front since the thread fit is looser now and then you start getting baffle strikes at the exit end of the suppressor. Hence the sudden change in accuracy and the key holing in the target.

These are some of the concerns we have encountered over the years, so the point is, follow the manufactures recommendations and if you dont know for sure, ask before you try it and keep that suppressor tight!

Until next time, keep your powder dry!

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