Suppressors are hot items in the firearms market. Everyone seems to be on the bandwagon to go quiet. The same holds for the suppressor manufacturers. With all the models, styles, and calibers, how do you figure out which one is the best suppressor? Maybe we can help.
Choosing the best suppressor is not something to do on a whim. You immediately face several considerations:
- Deciding which firearms to suppress
- Finding the suppressor that best fits your firearm and your needs
- Getting your NFA Tax Stamp
Different calibers require different suppressors, for the most part. Rifle suppressors typically don’t work well on pistols and vice-versa. You also need to consider the mount. With all these variables and choices, it can be hard to decide which suppressor is right for you. To make things easier, we have assembled this list of what we consider the best choices in suppressors.
The Best Suppressors – Our Criteria
We break our list into four primary categories:
In each category, we will offer our top pick and to alternates. Let’s get started!
The Best Suppressors – Rimfire
Most people use their rimfire rifle or pistol for casual target shooting or plinking. The way most people use their rimfire gun figures heavily into what they look for in the best suppressor for a rimfire weapon. Typically, the things that are looked for most in terms of features are as follows:
- User Serviceability
- Ease of Cleaning
Surprisingly, the overall noise reduction is often not a factor. I am not sure if this reflects the quality of the suppressors on the market or a lack of understanding of shooters’ part about the suppressor operation differences.
Dead Air builds great suppressors across the board. The Dead Air line of suppressors consistently ranks high on every comparison list you find. It isn’t a wonder that the best suppressor for a rimfire weapon is from Dead Air.
The Dead Air Mask delivers top performance and top features from the titanium tube to the use of 17-4PH stainless steel for all threaded applications.
- Rated for 22LR, 22MAG, 22 Hornet, 17 HMR, 17 HSM, 5.7x28mm (FNH)
- Length – 5.1 inches
- Weight – 6.6 ounces
- Diameter – 1.07 inches
The multi-caliber rating opens the options for every shooter. The Dead Air Mask suppressor gives you the option to use your suppressor on various guns chambered in different rimfire calibers.
The Dead Air Mask is easy to disassemble and clean. Easy cleaning is important for many rimfire shooters who are weekend plinkers who don’t want to spend a lot of time and energy maintaining their suppressor.
Another perennial top spot holder in the rimfire silencer category is SilencerCo. The Sparrow model from SilencerCo is never far away from the top spot on the reviewer’s lists if it isn’t sitting on top. There is no doubt that the SilencerCo Sparrow rimfire suppressor should hold a place on any list of the best suppressors for firearms.
The features that SilencerCo offers on the Sparrow rimfire suppressors are impressive.
- Length – 5 inches
- Weight – 6.5 ounces
- Diameter – 1.062 inches
- Materials – Stainless steel
- Ratings – .17 HMR, .22 LR, .22 MAG, 5.7×28 FN, 22 Hornet
- Rated for full-auto fire
Overall, there isn’t much not to like about the SilencerCo Sparrow suppressor. It’s noticeably quiet, reasonably priced, and the multi-caliber rating is a huge plus. You’ll note, however, that we said this was a runner-up for best suppressor.
It’s the internals that cost the SilencerCo our choice for the top spot. The SilencerCo Sparrow uses a proprietary system of a monolithic core and two half tubes. While this system is highly effective in the noise reduction department, if the core is damaged, the cost to replace it is almost as much as the cost of a new suppressor.
Most people don’t equate Sig Sauer with suppressors. Mention Sig and most people think of very highly regarded semi-automatic pistols. This instant recognition happens for a good reason. Sig builds exceptional firearms. The attention to detail that they put into their firearms carries over to their best suppressors.
You won’t be surprised to find that the Sig Sauer SRD 22X meets the same exacting standards as Sig firearms.
- Length – 5.8 inches
- Weight – 5.2 ounces
- Diameter – 1.00 inches
- Materials – Stainless Steel and Titanium
- Rating – .17 HMR, 22 LR, 22 Magnum
- Attachment – Direct Thread
The Sig Sauer SRD 22X is certainly a contender for best suppressor. It is the lightest weight suppressor on our list. It is also the longest. The lighter weight is a good trade-off for the extra length. Adding a suppressor to the end of the barrel of any gun changes the weight and balance. The least weight possible is often a good choice.
The Best Suppressors – Pistols
Moving up into the centerfire pistol category changes the game. Bigger calibers, higher power, and different uses all contribute to the evaluation of pistol suppressors. When shopping for the best suppressor for centerfire pistols, there are some key issues to consider.
- The caliber
- Length and weight are significant factors
- Maintenance should be considered
- Cost is always a factor
Before you make any choice, you must know what caliber you will want to shoot. For the most part, the best suppressors are caliber specific. You should also consider whether the caliber you shoot is truly a pistol caliber or if you are shooting a pistol chambered for what would otherwise be considered a rifle caliber.
We have chosen to pick the best suppressor for the top 3 pistol calibers. In general, 9mm is the most used pistol caliber in the US today. The 40SW and the venerable .45 caliber closely follow the 9mm. Here are our picks for the best suppressor for each of these calibers.
I was skeptical when modular designs in suppressors began to show up in the marketplace, but the Gemtech Lunar 9 dispelled any doubts. The modular design concept adds such a level of versatility to the Gemtech Lunar 9 that it is hard to keep it anywhere but on top of the list.
One outstanding feature of this modular design suppressor is the choice to run the suppressor as either a 7-inch tube or a 4.7-inch short tube. There is no need to purchase both a short suppressor and a long suppressor to meet different requirements. The modular design alone makes the Gemtech Lunar 9 an exceptional “best suppressor” buy.
- Caliber – 9MM
- Weight – 10 ounces in long configuration/7 ounces in the short configuration
- Length – 7 inches/4.7 inches
- Diameter – 1.4 inches
- Materials – aluminum and stainless steel
For versatility and quality, the Gemtech Lunar 9 suppressor delivers. In addition to all the other features, the Gemtech Lunar 9 is compatible with several different mounting systems, including GM-9 mounts.
The .40 SW is a big, fast, and loud round to shoot. That can make suppressing the 40SW a challenge with adding bulk and weight to the front of your pistol. Added bulk can block your sightline and added weight can be tiring. Both can affect the accuracy of your shooting.
SilencerCo addresses these issues with their Osprey line of pistol suppressors. The Osprey suppressors feature an eccentric design that keeps the sights of your pistol clear. To maintain the suppressor alignment, the Osprey uses a proprietary indexing mount.
Feature-wise, SilencerCo doesn’t skimp on the Osprey line – these are some of the best suppressors in our book.
- Multi-Caliber design includes 9mm – 45ACP and .300 Blackout subsonic
- Overall length – 8.06 inches
- Weight – 11.1 ounces
- Diameter – 1.3 inches by 1.75 inches
- Materials – Aluminum and stainless steel
The eccentric design of the SilencerCo Osprey suppressor is unique. Keeping the suppressor out of the sight picture is a huge plus. This design allows some of the best sound suppression on the market. The one downside we see is the need for a proprietary mount that may preclude using any other suppressor on the pistol.
One often overlooked problem with running suppressors on pistols is the need to use subsonic ammunition for the best sound suppression. Subsonic ammunition may cause problems with some pistols. Subsonic ammunition used with a suppressor may not cycle the action properly.
The good news for .45 caliber shooters is that most factory ammunition loads for the .45 ACP are subsonic. Unless you are shooting your loads and pushing the gun to its limits, you should have no problem with the suppression and operation of your .45 ACP pistol.
The Rugged Suppressors Obsidian suppressor is a large caliber suppressor. Rugged Suppressors rate this suppressor across several calibers, making it a multi-functional suppressor. Multi-caliber ratings can be a big plus if you want to use your suppressor on several pistols.
- Length – Standard 8.6 inches / Short 6.7 inches
- Weight – Standard 12.8 ounces / Short 10.7 ounces
- Diameter – 1.37 inches
- Materials – aluminum and stainless steel
- Multi-Caliber design rated for pistol calibers up to 45 ACP, 300 Blackout subsonic, 350 Legend, and 450 Bushmaster
Did we mention the modular design? The Obsidian suppressor also features the capability to run a long or short suppressor configuration. You can customize your suppressor to fit the needs of your situation – longer for more sound reduction or shorter for quicker and easier deployment. For these reasons, we believe this is one of the best suppressors on the market.
The Best Suppressors – Long Guns
Suppressing a rifle can make shooting much more pleasant, especially some of the larger calibers or rifles with shorter barrels. The considerations when choosing a suppressor for a rifle usually focus on one thing, sound suppression.
With that in mind, we have made our choices of the best rifle suppressors based on the overall sound suppression capabilities. We looked at suppressors for .30 caliber rifles. Most of the .30 caliber rated rifles will also work on smaller calibers as well.
TBAC (Thunder Beast Arms) suppressors are undeniably at the top of both the quality and price ranges for suppressors. If the adage you get what you pay for is true, you should expect above-average performance and build quality from TBAC.
In the area of sound suppression, TBAC holds to the expectations. The TBAC Ultra 7 has the quietest ratings for sound suppression that we have found. The TBAC Ultra 7 stays with the program by offering superb quality and a list of impressive features.
- Ratings – 30 Caliber up to .300 RUM and 6.5 mm
- Materials – Titanium and stainless steel
- Length – 7 inches
- Diameter – 1.5 inches
- Weight 9.7 ounces with a CN mount or 11.5 ounces with direct thread mount
- Bolt or Semi-Automatic rifle rated
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
The TBAC Ultra 7 makes its way to the top of our best suppressors list based on its sound suppression capabilities. Unfortunately, it would also rank near the top of the list if we considered price – it is not cheap!
Surefire is well known for its illumination technologies. Surefire flashlights are the choice of many professional law enforcement and military operators. Their dependability and quality are unsurpassed. Many people don’t realize that Surefire brings that same reputation for quality and durability to the suppressor market.
The Surefire SOCOM762 RC2 suppressor makes it into the runner-up position on our list easily. In truth, the SOCOM suppressor’s sound suppression capability is slightly better than the TBAC, but a significant price difference drops the SOCOM762 RC2 into the second slot.
The features on the Surefire SOCOM762 RC2 suppressor are as impressive as any of its competitors.
- Overall length – 8.4 Inches
- Diameter – 1.5 inches
- Weight – 21 ounces
- Materials – Stainless Steel
- Caliber Rating – 7.62 mm
- Fast-Attach design
- Manufactured in the USA
Except for the price difference, the Surefire SOCOM762 RC 2 suppressor would be on the top of our list of large-caliber rifle best suppressors. If we were making a recommendation for anyone who may find themselves in combat or similar situations, we would flip our choice and put the Surefire on top.
If cost is a major factor in suppressing your AR-15 rifle, then Black Aces Tactical should be on your shopping list. In many cases, this suppressor’s cost for the AR-15 platform is less than the tax stamp you need to own this accessory legally.
Black Aces Tactical brings a fully feature loaded suppressor to the market with the Pro Series 56 Po’Boy suppressor.
- Up to a 134Db reduction on a standard AR platform shooting military loads
- 4130 Chrome moly steel construction
- Dual wall design
- Cerakote high-temperature finish
- Length – 8 inches
- Diameter – 1.5 inches
- Weight – 25 ounces
- Direct thread mount
- Easy maintenance and disassembly using a standard AR stock wrench
If you are an occasional shooter who wants a suppressed AR to take to the range or the field, the Black Aces Tactical Pro Series 56 Po’Boy suppressor is a good choice. Admittedly, this is not a suppressor I would recommend for anyone who shoots thousands of rounds a year or intends to take their rifle into combat or similar situations. But for the average weekend target shooter, this is a good alternative.
Making the Selections – Your Needs and Wants
Deciding on the best suppressor for your needs is a choice that must include your goals. Are you target shooting, competition shooting, or are you anticipating taking your firearm into a less than hospitable environment? These are all considerations you must take in this decision.
I hope that these recommendations and suggestions help you make the right decision in your quest to find the best suppressor for the end of your firearm. Shoot safely and have fun!