Thunder Beast Arms Corporation, TBAC, has made a name for itself in the precision rifle world by making lightweight, extremely quiet suppressors that maintain utmost accuracy. Generally speaking, they’re expensive and appeal to the PRS shooter, long range shooter, and hunter, but not the heavy use crowd. Soon, though, TBAC will be releasing a $495 hard-use AR-15 can with the option of having it pinned and welded to a 10.5″, custom-tuned upper . . .
Should you go the pinned and welded route, the suppressor is long enough to bring the effective/legal barrel length up to 16″, making it a “one stamp” upper. Fairly unique to the 5.56 suppressor world, however, this TBAC can can be disassembled for cleaning. Internal baffles can also be inserted in any order, meaning the user can rotate which baffle is subjected to the most abuse and extend the overall life of the suppressor’s guts.
When the time comes — if it comes (they’re dumping full-auto fire through these things and finding durability vastly exceeds the round count most people will ever shoot through an AR-15) — TBAC will replace all of the baffles for about $225. On the setup seen in these photos, TBAC got the suppressor so screaming hot that it cooked off the anodizing on the handguard.
The gas system on the upcoming TBAC complete upper is tuned specifically to be run suppressed with full-power ammunition. It will not cycle without the suppressor on the end. For the shooter, this means minimal gas blowback through the action and smooth cycling. Unlike slapping a can to the end of a standard upper, it isn’t overgassed.
TBAC’s upper will be available on its own, with the detachable suppressor, or with the suppressor already pinned and welded on. In all cases, the barrel length is 10.5 inches.
While plenty of shooters like to suggest that anything under the M4’s 14.5″ barrel length is too short for the 5.56, that isn’t always the case. Around 2,700 fps can be expected out of this setup, as compared to around 2,900 from that 14.5″ barrel and 2,985-ish from an 18″ barrel. And that’s just standard 55 grain fodder. Using rounds designed for self-defense from shorter barrels, like Hornady’s 75 grain BLACK offering, the velocity loss is even smaller.
Accuracy? Don’t worry about accuracy. I plopped down prone, resting the rifle on the magazine, and started making hits on a 1/4-sized IPSC silhouette at 300 yards. Finding that too easy, I thought I’d screw around and waste some ammo shooting at a torso silhouette at 500 yards. In a 10-15 mph half value headwind. With the zero magnification Aimpoint Micro H-2 2 MOA red dot seen in these photos.
After two shots to figure out the hold, it was on. Shooting with both eyes open due to cold wind-induced teary eyes, I was hitting with about 70% reliability and scaring the heck out of the target with the other 30%. Good times.
On sound, TBAC has tuned the suppressor around volume level at the shooter’s ear. It’s a little louder at the muzzle than it could be in order to reduce pop out of the ejection port. Ultimately, they’ve designed this setup to be as light and small as possible while remaining just this side of the generally accepted 140 dB “hearing safe” limit at the shooter’s ear. The tone is extremely low-pitched and solid, making it as comfortable as it can possibly be at this volume level.
Release date hasn’t yet been announced, but I’m certain this $495 suppressor that can bring a 10.5″ barrel AR-15 down to hearing safe and up to 16″ legal length will prove popular.