Silencer Review: Alpha Dog Silencer

Usually the chassis of a silencer is wasted space. No sights, no lasers, nothing but a chamber designed to contain and cool expanding gasses before they’re released from the muzzle. The folks at Alpha Dog Silencers surveyed that unused real estate and saw an opportunity. Using their machining experience they designed a new take on the pistol silencer, one that features a full length Picatinny rail along one side of the can.

The guys behind Alpha Dog aren’t new to the manufacturing world, but they are new to guns. Just like the Wright Brothers they got their start in bicycle manufacturing. Their first entry into the world of silencers has been on the market for about a year now.

On the inside, the silencer is a 7075-T6 aluminum based monocore design that makes it incredibly easy to disassemble and clean. The muzzle side of the baffle stack is screwed into place on the end cap. The main tube slides over the stack, and the the pistol facing end is held in place with the Neilsen device assembly. It’s a pretty simple design to disassemble for servicing.

Alpha Dog does couple things differently than other manufacturers. Normally each end of the silencer tube is threaded and screws together to contain the expanding gasses. In this case the ends of the tube simply slide on and are held in place by the baffle stack, the reverse of the typical solution. That allows some gasses to escape through the sides of the can if the machining isn’t correct.

Most take-apart silencers need a tool to disassemble the baffle stack for cleaning. Often that tool is proprietary, only available from their online store and God help you if you lose yours. Alpha Dog’s can also requires a tool, but theirs is available at any bike shop: it’s a standard derailleur tool. That’s further evidence of their long history in the bicycle industry, and a smart choice to ensure that buyers can always find a tool to service their silencer.

What really turns heads, though, is what’s on the outside of the can.

With very few exceptions silencers are round. Not only does this provide a good amount of surface area for heat dissipation, it also makes it easier to install the silencer on your gun because there’s no need to “index” the can and properly align it for your specific firearm. SilencerCo’s Osprey is one of those exceptions, an eccentric design that gives more internal volume without needing silencer sights on your handgun.

Using that same concept Alpha Dog’s added a Picatinny rail to one side of their silencer, giving pistols an easier option for mounting lights and lasers and optics.

One of the biggest issues you’ll run into with this kind of mounting option is heat. Silencers get extremely hot — the whole point of the device is to contain and slow down the hot expanding gasses that follow a projectile down the muzzle of a gun. As a result silencers absorb and transfer all that energy and heat to the surrounding environment.

According to Alpha Dog, adding the Picatinny rail you’ll see better heat dissipation performance because the rail adds more surface area and improves heat transfer, but the real reason for that design feature is the addition of optics and other accessories.

Normally heat isn’t an issue for Picatinny rails. On guns like the AR-15 the rail is far enough away from the chamber or barrel that it doesn’t heat up enough to impact the optic you’ve mounted. With the Alpha Dog can you’re directly mounting your optic to a very hot surface, one that gets hot enough to fry bacon should the need arise.

As such this rail section will eat through cheap optics like no one’s business, but quality stuff like an Aimpoint or a Trijicon should be fine for the most part. As for lights and lasers I’d never be comfortable putting those on this rail due to how much plastic is involved with those designs.

Or you could just shoot slower. Alpha Dog provides a handy chart to illustrate how hot the can gets based on how fast you fire.

No optic? No problem! The latest version of this silencer includes a three-dot sighting system integrated into the top of the can. Just in case that’s useful to you.

If the rail section doesn’t line up with your specific firearm and barrel, don’t worry! Just like the Osprey you can adjust the silencer to properly index it and align the rail to align with the top or bottom of your gun.

That rounds out the features, but the real question is whether the thing actually works.

NOTE: the Nick Leghorn in the video may be larger than the current version.

Shooting it on the range I can confirm that it does actually work. Noise is reduced to a comfortable level and there didn’t seem to be any more blowback than you’d expect from a normal suppressed handgun. In short, it’s fine.

Putting a red dot on the rail is in fact a thing that works. The silencer locks up tight enough that the red dot is mostly reliable, but there’s a new issue at work. The optic is so far away from your eye out on the can that you get a reduced sight picture through the window of the optic.

Lights are an interesting situation. Normally if you have a light mounted on the under-barrel rail of a handgun the top 45 degrees of the light arc is pretty much unusable due to the shadow the silencer casts. Mounting a light on the silencer itself makes the beam of light more useful. Then again, it’s hard to say how useful that is if the light is prone to melting.

I love innovation. I love new ideas and new design concepts. To that end, I really like what they’ve done here. It’s a nifty way to upgrade your handgun in one shot: noise suppression, rail space, and recoil reduction from one single device. While the design is cool I’m not sold on the utility. If I’m going to put a red dot on my gun then the better and cheaper solution is machining a mount onto the slide rather than buying something that requires a tax stamp. And I’m not entirely sure I’m comfortable mounting my expensive optics directly on an incredible heat source.

Specifications: Alpha Dog Silencer

Rating: Pistol caliber, up to 9mm Luger
Length: 7.5″
Weight: 10.2 oz (advertised)
Diameter: 1.25″
Finish: Hard coat annodizing
Thread: 1/2×28
MSRP: $775 ($690 MAP)

Ratings (out of fiver stars):

Fit, Finish, Build Quality * * * *
Fit and finish is pretty good, even on the pre-production versions.

Sound Suppression * * * *
It works well. I didn’t have a sound meter capable of accurately measuring the suppression but it was definitely a comfortable shooting experience.

Overall * * *
What the Alpha Dog silencer has going for it is that it’s among the cheapest on the market. Available for under $500 retail, it’ll do the job and offer some unique features should those interest you, but it’s not full-auto rated and might not be able to handle .300 AAC Blackout loads. Definitely not if they’re fired with any speed.

comments

  1. avatar Locke_n_Load says:

    Please do show someone doing mag dumps with supersonic ammo with an optic mounted. Wouldn’t buy one till they do a true to life trial of this design.

  2. avatar Vanbulance says:

    Suppressor. Suppressor. Terminology matters, folks.

    1. avatar Defens says:

      Huh?
      From the BATF website:

      Firearms Verification
      Gun Control Act Definitions
      Silencer
      18 U.S.C., § 921(A)(24)
      The term “Firearm Silencer” or “Firearm Muffler” means any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a portable firearm, including any combination of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for the use in assembling or fabricating a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, any part intended only for use in such assembly or fabrication.

    2. avatar Vanbulance says:

      Defens, you are absolutely right in the provided quote.

      I’m talking winning the culture war, which takes large scale buy-in on our side at minimum.

      California says my AR is an assault rifle if I go visit my father, but that doesn’t mean it will participate in a war, murder people, cause me to go crazy, or shoot full auto strings of fire.
      But I don’t call it an assault rifle. It isn’t. What do you know, government got something wrong.

      Suppressor is a more accurate description and doesn’t have the movie agent super killer connotation that “silencer” does.

    3. avatar SilencerScott says:

      Hiram Percy Maxim submitted the patent for the “Silent Firearm” in 1908 and it was granted in 1909 (US 916885). The words suppressor or silencer aren’t used anywhere in the patent although the Silent Firearm is described as a “silencing device” at least 9 times. Maxim advertised the patented device as the “Maxim Silencer”. If the inventor called it a silencer it is probably still a valid name for this type of device. The term suppressor came about much later, likely in an attempt by the industry to dispel movie myths and the “evil” persona portrayed. Silencer, suppressor, can, and muffler are all fine to use! I also lovingly refer to my Ospreys as “bricks”.

  3. avatar Defens says:

    From the title, I thought you were reviewing an Alpha, dog silencer. And I thought, “Cool! Just the thing for those noisy canines up the street from my house….”

    1. avatar Anon in CT says:

      I think those are called “hush puppies” ?

    2. avatar dph says:

      Well, to be fair you could actually use it to shut up noisy dogs, but there would probably be repercussions.

      1. avatar Warren says:

        Not if you’re a cop.

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          Repulsive, despicable, yet accurate, *truth*…

  4. avatar O2HeN2 says:

    I wonder what cooked Trijicon tastes like?

    O2

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      About $150 or so worth, shredded, sauteed, sliced or grilled is your choice.

      Just flushed straight down the toilet works as well… 🙂

  5. avatar Sammy says:

    Color me skeptical, as in, very. A red dot that far from your eye creates a small tunnel which needs to lined up in order to see the dot. I think mechanical sights have the edge there. I would hesitate even putting a high-quality optic on such a heat source.

  6. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    How does the significant added weight of a flashlight or reflex sight affect the ability of the pistol to cycle? My understanding is that semi-auto pistols (like the Smith and Wesson M&P in the photos) tilt their barrel while cycling the slide and there is supposed to be some doo-higgy in a suppressor that allows that to happen. Does that doo-higgy allow the pistol to cycle properly regardless of how heavy the suppressor is?

  7. avatar Sammy says:

    The doc higgy is actually a doc-hickey, more commonly known as piston.

  8. avatar Dikran Yacoubian says:

    If the lockup is consistent enough, it could be a nice solutions for putting an optic on a KelTec Sub2000 while retaining the ability to fold the rifle in half.

  9. avatar TheUnspoken says:

    I can’t say from personal experience, but it seems to me to be about the same as those cheap brakes/flash hiders that you can find, now with rails! Perhaps for fixed barrel gun it would work a little better, but seems like a optic capable pistol would be better, or if you really like rails, they have all those rail adapters that form a cage over the slide, and even those still seem silly to me as well. A pistol caliber carbine/SBR is a lot more elegant.

  10. avatar Charlie Dwyer says:

    Will continue to wait for the tax stamp requirement to be removed. Until then, my electronic ear protection is cheaper.

    I suppose I do not “get” the suppressor culture. I LIKE the loud created with full auto or fast fire shooting…

    1. avatar Locke_n_Load says:

      Up until the point you have to shoot in your house in a self defense situation, where your wife and kids are and everyone gets permanent hearing damage.

  11. avatar Jason Rose says:

    That makes no sense putting an optic on the can… it is threaded onto the barrel. It will slightly change the impact point everytime it’s on or of it move slightly after being shot 10-20 rounds… wth

  12. avatar Chris says:

    Is there anything that doesn’t come with a rail these days?

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