The El Camino is the first silencer to come out of Q, Kevin Brittingham’s new venture. I believe for the first year it will be a Silencer Shop exclusive, and they loaned this one to me for a little quality time.

As the Q guys were originally the AAC guys, and the AAC Element 2, which I own, is hands down one of the best rimfire silencers ever, the word on the street is that it was the benchmark the El Camino was designed to beat. After putting a bunch of rounds through a few guns while swapping back and forth between these two cans, Q may have just pulled it off.

The El Camino arrives in a sexy leopard-print pouch. Its PVD-coated titanium tube has a purple hue to it and a slightly larger, 0.99″ diameter at either end than its diameter through the middle.

That “gear” shape around the bore does more than make the muzzle cap look cool; it actually has flat sides and allows the use of a standard 1/2″ socket or wrench for disassembly/assembly.

Once the cap is off, the stainless steel baffles drop right out. There are seven of them and they can be stacked in any order and in any rotational orientation.

The side with the little notched traffic cone in the middle points towards the gun. Just stack ’em up!

As you may know, .22 LR is a pretty dirty round. In no time it’ll gunk up the inside of a suppressor something awful. Q lent owners a big hand when it comes to cleaning time via its unique baffle design. Basically, Q turned them into their own suppressor tube within a tube, sealing the external housing off from carbon, lead, wax, and other crud.

For instance, compare the El Camino baffles to the baffles of the Element 2 above. It’s your standard K-Baffle design that blows much of that combustion junk into the spaces between the baffles, effectively cementing the baffles into the tube. This is why my Element 2 came with a hand crank auger to press the baffles from the tube. Not a huge deal, but now that the El Camino has shown me a better way, it seems like more of a drag.

In fact, to me this is one of the coolest features of the El Camino. After all of the shooting I did, caking up the baffles pretty well despite the use of comparatively clean ammo, the inside of the tube was still shiny and spotless. The photo above was taken after dropping the baffles out — I didn’t blow it out, didn’t wipe it, nothing.

Over on the mount side, the 1/2-28 threads are shorter than the norm and there’s no specific blast baffle or chamber. Whichever baffle you plunk into the tube first becomes the blast baffle. Should the threads on your firearm exceed 0.625″ from crown to shoulder, the El Camino ships with a spacer so your muzzle doesn’t touch that first baffle. None of my .22s required it.

Setting the El Camino next to my Element 2, it’s clearly a bit longer at 5.9″ to the Element’s 5.25″. Despite manufacturer stats claiming the Element 2 weighs in at 4.1 oz and the El Camino 4.3 oz, the Element felt heavier to me so I put ’em on the kitchen scale. I got 4.83 oz for the AAC, and 4.37 for the Q. Of course, lord knows how much all the carbon buildup in my Element weighs. Probably cleaning time, but at any rate they’re both very lightweight suppressors.

Roll marks on the Element are fairly subtle, while the El Camino sports more prominent laser engraving. I realize the Q logo is literally just a letter “Q,” but I like it.

On the range I was immediately surprised by the El Camino. After the first shot I thought it might be quieter than the Element 2, and after the second shot I was fairly sure. Granted, this is subjective since I don’t have a dB meter, but I’m fairly confident. Heck, it may even sound slightly quieter in the video.

The El Camino’s small diameter allows you to use standard-height sights. Its light weight makes it hardly noticeable…adds just a bit of buffer that can make a gun like this Walther PPQ 22 handle more like a centerfire.

Shooting subsonic ammo from a 16″ barrel, the loudest noise from the shooter’s perspective was the click of the firing pin. This thing is crazy quiet. Q is floating around a figure of 114 dB, which is pretty aggressive and would make it about 2 dB quieter than the Element 2. I gotta say, I believe it.

On both the rifle and the pistol, with both subsonic ammo and supersonic ammo, the El Camino sometimes seemed slightly quieter. It never seemed louder. On balance I want to call it a wash as the two are just so darn close, but if I’m honest, the Q edged out the AAC overall.

Q believes that accuracy has been overlooked in the .22 LR suppressor market, so a big goal in the El Camino’s development was to maintain or improve on the host firearm’s accuracy rather than damaging it. I’ve always found my Element 2 to be extremely accurate, so despite falling snow and cold temps decided to put a couple groups on paper with each can.

Above is a 5-shot group with the Element 2 shooting American Eagle Suppressor 22. It’s 0.713″ from center-to-center across the farthest holes.

The El Camino put up a 0.825″ group. In these conditions, though, the difference could easily be all me or a bullet hitting too many snow flakes on the way to the target.

With Winchester 555 bulk box ammo, the Element 2 nailed a 1.7″ group thanks to a big flyer.

While the El Camino shot a 1.18″ group.

With these ammo brands, the groups are what I expect from this rifle suppressed or not. Although this is obviously nowhere close to enough testing to conclude whether one of these cans happens to be more accurate on my rifle than the other, I know neither of them are detrimental to accuracy. Q has done a great job here, too.

Overall, upon the close inspection you’d expect, I can find only one minor flaw with any aspect of the El Camino whatsoever: some visible tool marks on the end cap.

Bottom line on the Q El Camino is highly positive. It’s extremely lightweight, insanely quiet, ingeniously designed (1/2″ drive end cap and tube-in-a-tube baffles), and priced competitively ($399) for a non-aluminum rimfire can. Rated for not only .22 LR but 5.7×28, .22 WMR, .17 HMR, and more, it’s a versatile choice.

Were I entering the rimfire silencer market today, the El Camino would be a top contender for my dollars. It passes the ultrasonic cleaning test (no aluminum), maintains accuracy, and disassembles for cleaning as easily as it gets. It’s a great silencer.

Specifications: Q El Camino

Length: 5.9″
Weight: 4.3 oz
Diameter: 0.99″
Tube Material: Titanium
Baffle Material: Stainless steel
Caliber Rating: .22 LR, .17 HMR, .22 WMR, 5.7×28 FN — it’s full-auto rated
Finish: PVD
dB Rating: 114 dB
MSRP: $429 ($399 at Silencer Shop, which is the exclusive El Camino retailer)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Quality * * * * 1/2
It’s absolutely top notch from materials to finish to design. It isn’t completely perfect, though, as seen in those tool marks on the muzzle.

Form Factor * * * *
Very lightweight and small in diameter, but I’d call it slightly on the long side. It does have a cool aesthetic.

Performance * * * * *
Possibly the quietest .22 LR silencer on the market. Extremely low on first round pop. Maintains accuracy. Light weight. Full-auto rated. What more could you want?

Utility * * * * *
Rated for more powerful calibers than many and is full-auto rated. Disassembles very easily and all parts can be cleaned in an ultrasonic tank. Five stars for sure.

Value * * * * 
Better than average value among full-auto-rated .22 LR suppressors. Especially among the lightweight ones using titanium and stainless steel. For longevity and ease of cleaning purposes (ultrasonic tank cleaning plus scraping with a wire brush and other tools) I’m not a fan of .22 suppressors with aluminum baffles.

Overall * * * * 1/2
The Q El Camino is one of the best rimfire suppressors on the market, hands down. It’s quite possible nothing beats it on dB reduction, and it’s light and accurate, too. If it were slightly shorter and black instead of fairly lilac in color — as silly as I feel for dinging it based on color — I’d give it a full five stars without hesitation. A great initial product offering from Q.

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31 Responses to Gear Review: Q El Camino .22 LR Suppressor

  1. I’m all about “exclusives”, but from even basic google skills, silencershop is $250-300 more expensive on most things compared to other smaller shops selling cans. I think that’s a little jacked up. Seems like they’re pricing for the inevitable gouging that is coming in the silencer market.

    • Really? I thought they had a pretty solid reputation for being about the lowest price out there. I know a lot of brick-and-mortar dealers complain about constantly being asked to price match Silencer Shop. Do you have any examples? I just googled a three random pistol silencers and every one came up less on Silencer Shop’s site than other retailers I was able to find online.

      Also, why do you think gouging is coming? I feel like the opposite is likely. With the Hearing Protection Act a real possibility, a lot of consumers are waiting to see what happens before making a purchase. I’ve heard that suppressor sales have tanked in the last couple months because of this. Usually that would mean sale prices. Then, of course, if the HPA does pass it’ll drive down prices on suppressors across the board as regulation drops off and sales volume and competition goes through the roof (except, maybe, in the short term where there’s a run on purchasing and volume hasn’t yet picked up to meet the new, higher demand. But it will, and prices will come down similarly to how silencer prices are way lower in the rest of the world where they aren’t regulated like in the US). …also: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2016/12/tyler-kee/why-you-shouldnt-wait-for-the-hearing-protection-act-to-buy-a-silencer/

    • Silencershop’s dealers set their own prices. For example, the Q is listed at $375 when I first visit SS and then jumps to $399 when I search for a dealer in my zip code. Also, their “Powered By” dealers don’t charge transfer fees. One could make a reasonable assumption that the price increase might be in lieu of a transfer fee.

  2. Most of the muzzles I thread for 1/2-28 rimfire cans aren’t any longer than 0.600″, so their limitation appears to be consistent with other cans in the market.

  3. “I believe for the first year it will be a Silencer Shop exclusive, and they loaned this one to me for a little quality time.”

    How were they able to loan it to you, were you added to Q’s or Silencer Shop’s NFA trust?

    I could see silencer manufacturers setting up an NFA trust specifically for allowing product reviews…

    • Yes that’s exactly it. I’m on Silencer Shop’s SOT that they created specifically for allowing product reviews. I intend to borrow a couple suppressors a month, and once we move to the Austin area in February I should even gain access to professional dB metering equipment to make the reviews that much more meaningful/objective.

      • When you get the metering equipment will you do the standard 3ft to the side of the muzzle PLUS 6″ away from the shooters eat? The ear measurements are more what I’m interested in. I think it’s also a better measurement.

  4. Suppressors should be $50-300, sold OTC in every gun store, and the government should have no say in who buys them, and apply no restrictive taxes to them.

    Until they reach that level of affordability and availability, I’ll throw it in the face of every moron that complains about shooting range noise.

  5. Jeremy, thank you for the great review! We agree with all points. We’re so glad you enjoyed the bag. The tool marks on the end cap are a good call out and that shouldn’t have gone out! The accuracy difference is more likely on a pistol when the pressures are higher. Lilac? We think that’s more eggplant 🙂

    -Sincerely,
    The Team @ Q

    • Ugh, you’re right! Eggplant is descriptive. It’s dark gray in some light, eggplant in some. I’m not exactly “anti” but, you know, black is beautiful and all. Or “black is the new chrome.” Depending on who you ask. But obviously once you go black you can’t go back, so I understand why you’ve avoided it thus far.

  6. So, yet another ‘designed by guesswork’ and random ’empirical data’ POS. Seriously, why should anyone give a good flyin’? 114 dB? God what a joke.

    Can we wait to review any more shitty silencers until they’re designed using CFD tech that has been state-of-the-shelf for the last ten years? Puh-effen-lease? Another ass-clown who can’t show you a sound-wave on a scope, wouldn’t know the proper piezo sensors to plug in a test-rig to even see it, let alone how to actually attenuate the wave. But hey, he’s cultivated a ‘bad azz’ image, I guess that’s all people really need to do these days. (Or ever, to be fair.)

    I want to see articles about over-priced primitive tech like I want to see a review of an engine with a points and condenser ignition.

    • What the heck makes you so sure they didn’t model out a zillion baffle designs in a CFD program? Companies are doing that for $60 muzzle brakes, but you assume it isn’t happening for silencers?

      BTW sound cancellation via wave interference is complicated by the fact that a suppressor will be used on lots of different guns with different barrel lengths with different ammo. Unless I’m missing something, designing a can to cancel out internal pressure waves would require designing it around a specific ammo load and barrel. Right? Or no? Otherwise the best you can do is attenuate the pressure over time, which is exactly what this can does.

      • Because I actually know what sound waves model like, that’s why I know it wasn’t CFD modelled, or anything but ‘thrown against the wall and see what sticks’. I go to SHOT, I’m fully aware of what little science the hucksters are selling actually out there. One can place the individual baffles anywhere in the stack? If that alone doesn’t tell you that it’s a flaming joke scientifically speaking, I really feel sorry that your HS science education was so lacking. Let alone college. I get it, you’re not familiar with basic fluid dynamics, so you readily fall for marketing nonsense. Believing that the Hyperloop as somehow executable, or that Tesla can ever be profitable…. (Protip: Neither can ever happen.)

        As to you second para, that’s why I’ve been saying for years (please, look it up) that an actual proper silencer is specific to a gun, barrel length, round, and projectile. That’s the only way to cancel the noise. It’s just like designing intakes or exhausts for cars, except even easier as there are only one (or two for a select-fire) possible RPMs. Milanos have different systems from TransAms for a reason. 5 or 10 years from now, you might understand what I’m talking about, much like the cryo and coatings that I’ve been using since the ’80s.

        This bargain basement POS is the equivalent of throwing one universal Thrush muffler on a FIAT 128 and a Ferrari 308 and expecting it to deliver decent results in either case.

        • Do it! Be the change you want to see! …and all that shit…

          FWIW I’ve taught classes on thermal coatings and have been cryo treating race car parts since I was old enough to have involvement in race cars. I understand the theories being discussed here although, no, I don’t have a background in fluid dynamics. But your 5 to 10 year timeframe may be excessive (notwithstanding the fact that you’re literally confirming what I said then telling me I won’t understand what I said for 5 years haha). Anyway I DO like the idea, but it’ll take convincing a company that there’s a market for it. Telling a customer they’re buying a specific gun, ammo load, and silencer and committing to never deviating from that might be a tough sell (military application in particular, though, could work). On top of higher R&D expense. A $400 muffler that makes any .22 gun and ammo combo way hearing safe and subsonic ammo basically no louder than the action cycling is an easy sell. There’s a lot of mental masturbation all over the interwebs about designing a wave canceling silencer, but I’m not sure a company has felt motivated to take up the task. It all just seems to be exercises in theory and writing school papers and arguing on forums.

          In the meantime, the market exists as it does and available products will be reviewed against other available products and unfortunately you’ll have to find a way to cope with this 😛

        • Man, you need a better hobby than rambling complaints about silencer reviews. I’ve seen this same general post from you over and over again. I don’t know if you are right or wrong, but I do know you are starting to sound a bit obsessed.

        • “Do it! Be the change you want to see! …and all that shit…”

          I understand they no longer teach logic or ‘rational discussion skills’ anymore, but if you want to actually win any arguments even at cocktail parties, you might want to garner some idea of what logical fallacies are. (Once again, I am truly sorry some of my generation failed to provide you with even a basic science education. We’re now 32nd or something in the world in science ed, and articles like this just reinforce it.) So, do put your money where your mouth is? It’s about a $750K investment to produce a can worth a flying fck, wanna pony? We’ll eventually make millions, but are you willing to front the money to actually, you know, do it? I no longer have it in play money, do you?

          Your “background in fluid dynamics” should have been learned in HS as part of basic science, and if you have anything to do with race cars, seriously, even Helmholtz has been rote since oh, about 150 years ago. This should be self-motivated learning….

          So, by your own allegations, you actually believe in science, yet you call precisely none of these PT Barnums out on selling sub-tech crap that anyone could build in a garage with an “image”, because you get some free shit. Got it. Your “journalism” is about on par with an ’80s US car mag, which is to say, non-extant. We all used to laugh as C&D, R&T and MotorTrash used to suck the guys who kept them in luxury suites, cars they never had to fix, hookers, and mountains of blow in exchange for favorable reviews of their complete POS’s.

          I see nothing has changed.

          @Z, Yes, I’ll keep calling the ‘Emperor ha no clothes” as long as he is naked, and no one else is pointing this out.

    • How about you get your genius ass off the couch and design and build your wave canceling silencer. Then see how much you will have to sell it for to make any money. If it is truly cheaper and better across the board then come back and you can spout off as much as you want.

      • Sure mike, you gonna fund it? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

        I currently don’t have the extra $750Kish cash it would take to fund making a decent can.

        Regardless, I’ll “spout off” just like I did when I told folks that Enron was a scam, GM was inevitably broke, and Tesla can never make money. Let alone that the BS “hyperloop” is even possible, for so many basic scientific reasons you should have learned by 11th grade it isn’t even sad.

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