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Ethan Lessard was the silencer guru at Advanced Armament, but he quit around the same time that Kevin Brittingham was fired. For the last two years he’s been working for SIG SAUER’s R&D department, developing awesome stuff like the MCX and their suppressors. And as Ethan says, “I’m done with inch-and-a-half silencers” . . .

With silencers, it’s all about the gas volume. The point is to capture and cool down the expanding gasses coming out of the barrel before they exit the can, and to be able to do that effectively you need a container with the appropriate volume. Slim silencers work, but they heat up quickly and become ineffecive. By making a larger diameter silencer, you can have a shorter overall length and still get superior performance.

Take for example this prototype silencer that SIG has designed for an M240B machine gun. While a standard 1.5″ diameter silencer would work for the first couple shots, after a while the can would get extremely hot and stop working as effectively. It might even start to deform and you’d get baffle strikes — something I’ve witnessed firsthand and isn’t very fun to be around. But thanks to the extra gas volume available in the silencer, it’s able to accommodate the rate of fire without missing a beat. We put belt after belt of ammo through the gun and never once did it get to an uncomfortable level of noise.

While this is all well and good for machine guns, SIG will be taking this same approach to their other silencers that they will be debuting. From pistol cans to rifle cans, expect 2 inch diameter tubes and bigger for the high performance stuff. That’s not to say that there isn’t a market for slim silencers, but when you want the best you’re gunna need that bulk.

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34 Responses to SIG SAUER’s Silencer Guys: Bigger Really Is Better

  1. The downside to large diameter silencers, especially on pistols, is that they will interfere with the sight. Silencerco has attempted to deal with this (the Osprey design) which actually hangs the bulk of the silencer below the bore and others such as H&K have gone with taller sights. Fatter is better, but there are tradeoffs. I’d expect to see wide body silencers more often on rifles which have high mounted optics anyway than on pistols.

    Plus, Sig has been talking Silencers since before Shot 2013. They can play R&D all they want, but until they put some real products into the channel where the average guy can get their hands on them and test them out, they remain vaporware merchants.

    • I think they should make ’em as long and as fat as possible, and just put the sights on the suppressor itself! Mount the sights on a rotating sleeve that can be locked into place via threaded ring that frictions it in place like how an X-Acto blade is held in the handle, if you can imagine what I’m imagining. This would enable positioning the sight as needed. Drawback with that idea is the suppressor would have to be a minimum length to have a decent sight radius.

  2. OK NICK, I didnt REALLY hate you before after watching you shoot some of these things, but the 240B crosses the line! DAMNIT I may have to go play some BF4 and run around with a digital one for a little bit.

  3. Let’s let some quantifiable results do the talking. I have every bit of respect for Brittingham, but let’s see some numbers. Some real numbers. Some independent numbers.

    • He isn’t talking about production cans simply basic physics around silencer design. It is not different than saying “A lighter car with more horsepower is faster.”

      Of course when they enter production, they will have to back up their claims, but that is clearly not a production can.

      • The point is to capture and cool down the expanding gasses coming out of the barrel before they exit the can,…

        If this is what he truly believes is important in attenuating high-velocity, rapid attack/decay sound pressure waves, then I’m going to have myself a side-splitting laugh. Then have an Iron Eyes Cody tear, not for the litter, but for the utter failure of our basic ed system regarding science.

        That’s such a crock of absolute utter nonsense, I can’t imagine a grown-up uttering it. For the love of not embarrassing our country, somebody set that guy down in a lab and teach him the basics of attenuation, reflection, expansion, resonance tuning and cancellation. The get him a CFD rig and a kid who knows how to use it.

        • Well it isn’t a direct quote, so I am thinking that it might not be exactly what Ethan or Kevin said.

          And considering the quality of AAC cans and flash hiders, I think that those two have an idea of what they are doing.

        • Direct quote or not, it’s like suggesting that the sun is powered by gasoline and unicorn farts – it’s just beyond imbecilic in scientific terms. Even repeating it sounds as unknowing as suggesting that there’s some validity to a flat-earth theory.

          Having seen those products in cutaway, I know they are incredibly primitive and designed by guesswork and some empirical study. Having spoken with many can makers over the years, few of them can even spell CFD, let alone understand what it means. (Unless they’re all sandbagging me, and something amazing will be out in the next year. I bet one of my cars it won’t.)

          Those drag racers must know what they’re doing despite the fact that everyone else put a fence on their rear spoiler a decade ago…
          Those engine builders must know what they’re doing despite the fact EFI works better than any carb ever…
          Those Rootes blowers sellers must know what they’re doing despite the efficiency of a Lysohlm being multiples better…
          Those who wait for lightning to strike must know what their doing, despite those who start a fire with friction….

  4. Hope you used ear-pro on that M240. 140 db limit is for instant sound. 85 is for continious sound (like a MG).

    Fat cans are old news here in Europe, next thing is they will be debuting reflex suppressors as something new. They have their advantages and are good on rifles. This is due to scopes or gas tubes. On pistols they can be a problematic. If yoy want a fat pistol can I would recommend an offset design (like the Osprey) and tall sights. Might even have a 2.5-3.0 inch diameter instead of 2 inches.

  5. The rapidly diminishing “returns” inherent in the inverse relationship of suppressor size vs. dB, make this a pretty easy friggin’ decision.

    Making noise is good. And easy. And most importantly, ‘free’.

  6. More volume makes for a quieter can… Thanks for the news flash Nick. Can’t wait to see Sig try to market a 2″ pistol can.

      • @nathanredbeard, no doubt he does look operator as f*ck. But you know, that short or long tab would seal (pun intended) the deal.

  7. If it’s a volume thing, why not make a sphere shaped can…wouldn’t that give you the optimal volume in the least amount of space?

  8. Someone suppressor-savvy answer this for me: Does the can HAVE to be mounted center-line? Can’t the can be mounted off-center (with the bulk of the can below the barrel center-line), allowing for standard (or only slightly elevated) sights, assuming the bore of the can is drilled in line with the barrel? Is this too difficult to manufacture? Or does it simply not function as well in suppressing the blast?

  9. The silencerco osprey blocks standard sights. Therefore, replacement taller sights are still required. So, what’s the point if it’s not eccentric enough to be below the sights?

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