Silencer Review: AAC Pilot 2 (.22lr)

When you absolutely positively need to shoot something quietly, a silenced .22lr is as close as you’re going to get. It’s the perfect quiet caliber – it’s fun to shoot, is easy to silence, and cheap! AAC makes three different silencers for rimfire calibers, the Pilot 2, the Element, and the Prodigy. I recently had a chance to fire all three from the same gun using the same box of ammunition and got it on video. Right now let’s focus on the “entry level” silencer, the Pilot 2.

As a preface, I just wanted to emphasize that this is not a “full” review of this product. Here at TTAG we usually reserve judgment until we’ve put a couple hundred rounds through something and tried it out in different conditions. Unfortunately the BATFE here in the U.S. prevents us from getting our hands on silencers for protracted testing unless we go through months of waiting, spend $200 per transfer, and live in certain states. It’s impractical. Luckily I recently had a chance to visit the Advanced Armament Corp. factory and test all of their cans under their supervision. While the tests may not have been as complete as I want, they were good enough for a brief review.

The Pilot 2 is AAC’s cheapest can. At $350 it costs almost as much as the tax stamp that goes on its paperwork ($200). Despite its small price and size it still does an excellent job of taking the “thwack!” out of the .22lr’s report.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpcJf5pwKQk

Don’t believe it? Good for you! Neither did we. That’s why we asked for a live fire demonstration and filmed it. The microphone doesn’t really do the silencer justice in the video. Firing that gun sounded no louder than snapping my fingers, or perhaps a refined “golf clap” – definitely nowhere near as bad for your hearing as firing the pistol without a silencer. The pistol required no modifications to fire using the silencer beyond having a threaded barrel, and fired equally well with and without the silencer.

Cleaning is one of the issues I see with this model. With the larger calibers, the powder is much more efficient and completely burns when the gun is fired. With .22lr, the ammunition tends to be a little dirtier and not fully combust, leaving some residue in the silencer. The bullet itself also has a tendency to break up as its fired leaving behind lead particles. The build up of residue inside the silencer, if not cleaned regularly, would eventually render the can inoperable due to blockage of the bullet’s path. In order to extend the lifetime of the can AAC designed it to be taken apart by the user and cleaned, making elimination of that residue possible. The baffles come out as individual units (as pictured above), so reassembly may be somewhat difficult. AAC agrees, and recommends simply submerging the entire thing in a solvent of some sort instead of actually disassembling it.

Another issue I see with this can is the ammunition restrictions. AAC only indicates .22lr as being safe to fire through the can, while the other offerings list a larger variety of calibers as being safe to use. Personally if I’m going to pay $200 on top of the price of the can and wait 4 months I’d like to be able to use it on more than just .22lr, but if you don’t own a .17 HMR or .22 Magnum firearm then this can will suit you just fine.

The can works as advertised. It’s cheap, reliable, and able to be cleaned. And while it may not be as quiet as its more expensive brothers, it still gets the job done. If you’re looking for a can to silence .22lr only and don’t want to pay more than $600, this is your can.

Pilot 2 – .22lr Silencer
Length: 5.22″
Weight: 3.75oz
Diameter: 0.99″
Sound Reduction: 36 dB
MSRP: $350

Ratings (out of 5): 

Sound Suppression: * * *
While the can does make your .22lr firearm “hearing safe,” its big brothers get more sound reduction and only cost $150 more. Then again, that’s 1.5x the price of this silencer. The moral of the story is you get what you pay for.

Build Quality: * * * *
AAC makes great stuff, this no one can deny. The Pilot 2 lives up to the same quality standards as the rest of their line, but the relatively thin skin on the can doesn’t give me the same “warm and fuzzy” feeling that the solid monocore of the larger designs do.

Ease of Use: * * *
Using is easy, cleaning not so much.

Overall Rating: * * *
For $350 it’s a great buy. If you’re on the fence, GO FOR IT.

(Pictures courtesy Advanced Armament Co.)

Click here for the user’s manual.