That’s right, the brain child of Mike Pappas and Gary Hughes, a functional silencer for any AK-47 — but, but, that’s impossible! — is about to hit dealer shelves. Thanks to a heck of a slick mounting system and carefully-designed baffles and bore, Dead Air Armament will have the first silencer truly capable of working on the AK you already own, no modifications needed.
The mount system has a two-piece locking collar. The front half acts as a lock nut to securely hold the rear half down.
That’s because the rear half is spring-loaded.
When in its fully down position, its serrated end locks onto the AK’s muzzle brake indexing pin. Pulling it up (forwards) allows the suppressor to be tightened without that pin getting in the way.
It can actually be locked in its forward position, too, by indexing it onto one of the hold points machined into the mount. This is a nice touch in case you haven’t grown that handy third hand yet. Wrench flats on the thread insert allow it to be very snugly installed, although with the collar locked onto the muzzle brake pin it’s highly unlikely to work its way loose anyway.
As you’d hope from an AK-47 suppressor, the thread insert is swappable. Dead Air is planning on offering inserts in a whole slew of thread sizes, including at least 14L, 14R, 24R, 26L, 15mm, 16mm, 1/2×28, 5/8×24, and 9/16L.
Now, AK-47s have two big things going against them when it comes to slapping a suppressor on. First, both the bore and the muzzle threads are notoriously not concentric. Bores can be off-center inside of the barrel, and muzzle threading can be — often is — at a slight angle to the bore rather than perfectly parallel to it. Second, the guns are heavily over-gassed already, and the added backpressure of a silencer can exacerbate that to the point where more noise literally comes out of the action than the muzzle.
The Wolverine alleviates these issues in a couple of ways, but primarily by running a particularly large bore through the baffles. It starts out larger than what you’d normally use for a .312 caliber projectile, and it gets even bigger from there — to over .40 caliber — as it approaches the muzzle. Like the Sandman line, end caps can be easily swapped out for ones with different exit bore diameters (Dead Air currently makes a .30 cal, 6.5mm, and 5.56mm end cap, plus the larger-bored Wolverine one seen above, and they’re all swappable), which may knock down the dB a bit if a Wolverine is being run on an AK-74 or a 5.56 rifle.
Due to the larger bore and the baffle design, the suppressor adds very little in the way of backpressure. While, with a traditional .30 caliber suppressor, many AK-47s will meter ~130 dB at the muzzle, they’ll often meter nearly ~150 dB at the action. As in, where your ear is. By cutting down on the backpressure, Dead Air is seeing ~139 dB readings at the shooter’s ear with the Wolverine.
A hearing-safe suppressor that works on basically any AK-47 is, without a doubt, a huge achievement.
These guys have a sense of humor, too. Not only does the Wolverine PBS-1 look just like the old school Russian military PBS-1 silencers, but the first half of the owner’s manual is in Cyrillic. At first I thought they meant it was in English but typed in that Cyrillic-looking font but, no, they meant what they said; it’s the actual instructions translated properly into Russian. And the Russian instructions come first. You’ll have to press 2 and flip to the back for English.
A modified Dead Air logo was made just for this commie can — maybe Pappas will paint one on his commie tank — and each Wolverine comes with a patch (seen in the lead photo) that won’t be available via any other means.
Overall, the Wolverine PBS-1 is an innovative and fun product. As they’re hitting dealer inventory in the next week or so, we’re probably a scant year to 18 months from seeing them out in the wild in the hands of ends users considering the ATF’s epic, historical NFA application backlog.