When we hear “3D printed” we usually think of flimsy plastic, but Daniel Defense‘s new DD WAVE suppressor is made via a process called direct metal laser sintering. A thin layer of powdered metal is deposited — in this case, primarily Inconel — then a powerful laser sinters (melts/welds) specific parts of it to the previous layer. Thousands of layers later and the end result is a single, homogeneous piece of metal similar to what you’d end up with via investment casting. Except internal structures impossible to create in a cast or machined piece can be made via DMLS.
Unfortunately, I’m not exactly convinced the DD WAVE has taken full advantage of the freedom afforded by additive manufacturing to do crazy things inside the suppressor that you couldn’t otherwise manufacture. To spoil the review up front, its performance left me wanting.
It does have that unique, 3D printed look, with subtle visible cues that it was built layer-by-layer and that pebbled, sand-like texture on cross-layer angled areas. I actually dig the texture. It provides a matte look and a bit more grip than smooth tubing.
The DD WAVE QD ships with either a 5/8×24 or 1/2×28 brake, with additional brakes sold separately. These act as the quick detach mating surface for the suppressor. A spring-loaded collar with a tapered locking ring rotates separately from the suppressor body and clamps it down onto the brake’s taper mount section so it doesn’t work free from the coarse (and therefore, quick) threads.
Unfortunately, I obviously need more practice as the first thing I did was lock the suppressor onto the 5/8×24 brake so dang hard that I couldn’t get it apart again. Hopefully the guys at Silencer Shop, who loaned me this can to review, have a couple strap wrenches or other grip- and leverage-providing tools there (or are willing to red loctite the brake to a barrel), because I cranked on this mother with enough force to make a chiropractor smile and I’m thinking they may be one piece now.
Anyway, after effectively turning it into a direct thread can, I put it on my 300 Blackout SBR (8.3″ Ballistic Advantage BA Hanson barrel) and fired 10 rounds of Freedom Munitions HUSH subsonic ammo through it.
It was comfortable, quiet, and sounded decent overall if maybe a bit on the high-pitched side. When I went to take it off to swap it for my Dead Air Sandman Ti, looking to run them back-to-back a bunch of times to get a feel for how they compare, I was shocked by how hot it was. Too hot to hang onto, I had to touch it quick and hot potato the thing to get it off, dropping it onto the table as fast as possible.
Maybe my memory was tricking me? But after 10 rounds through the Sandman it turned out my past experiences were correct in the ol’ noggin. I could grip the Sandman firmly and leave my hand on there for a full Hail Mary before it became uncomfortable.
Of course, the heat thing isn’t necessarily meaningful. The DD WAVE is a stout can that’s rated for whatever you can throw at it, including full-auto fire. I just found it interesting how very quickly and thoroughly the WAVE got smokin’ hot.
What mattered more was sound, and the Sandman Ti was ever so slightly quieter and very slightly deeper-toned on subsonic ammo. For all practical purposes I’d be willing to call it a wash here, as the difference was barely detectable. Some of that, of course, is due to how loud the action is on an AR-15. If I were shooting 300 BLK through a bolt gun I believe the fact that the Sandman was quieter would have been clearer. But still minor.
Switching to supersonic ammo the sound level difference became more apparent. Still, we’re talking about a minor difference, but a difference nonetheless. One that was obvious enough without metering equipment to both me and Ron.
What was more obvious was the backpressure and resulting blowback. While the Sandman Ti is by no stretch of the imagination a low-backpressure suppressor, it causes less than the DD WAVE. I could definitely click my ODIN Works adjustable gas block down a couple clicks with the WAVE. Again, with the ability to “print” interesting internal structures inside the WAVE, I was disappointed to get so much gas to the eyes.
Anyway, onto a bolt action .308. My CZ 557 Urban Counter Sniper, to be precise, with its 16″ barrel.
I shot it first with the Sandman Ti, using both Freedom Munitions Boar Buster 168 grain soft points and IMI 175 grain BTHP match. Cool. No issues. It’s four or so dBs this side of “hearing safe” on this short of a barrel, but it was comfortable to the ears and has a nice tone.
I’d happily hunt or “urban counter snipe” without ear protection with this setup without hesitation.
Not the case with the DD WAVE. I don’t know what it actually meters, but I do know you shouldn’t shoot it on a 16″ .308 without ear pro. It was just loud enough to ring my ears. Trusting the brand name and the size of the suppressor plus its recent and cutting edge manufacture, etc., was a mistake.
Donning ear pro and kicking myself for my stupidity, I sent more rounds downrange and we’re back to the heating up thing. The DD WAVE got really hot really fast and caused enough mirage to start messing with my sight picture. And I had a SHIELD RMS on the gun! Yeah, any suppressor is going to get hot and cause heat waves in the air that distort your view of the target, but this one gets there particularly fast.
While the Daniel Defense DD WAVE is cool, new, and unique, and I like how it looks, I don’t have much else positive to say about it. It isn’t a particularly quiet suppressor and, at 20.6 ounces with the 5/8×24 brake (my Sandman Ti is a quarter pound lighter at 16.8 ounces), it isn’t a lightweight one, either. And with an MSRP of $1,157, it’s also uniquely expensive.
If you ask me, and I suppose by reading this you sort of are, if a “full size” QD .30 cal can is on your list get a Thunder Chicken, an Ultra 7CB (or Ultra 9CB), a Sandman-L, or any number of other suppressors carried by Silencer Shop (and they’re happy to talk you through all of the options on the phone) instead.
Specifications: Daniel Defense DD WAVE QD
Weight: 17.2 oz (without brake)
Caliber Rating: Up to .300 Win Mag
Full-Auto Rated: Yes
MSRP: $1,157 (about $1,099 via Silencer Shop)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Overall * *
Three stars is average, and I don’t think the DD WAVE makes the cut. Even if it’s manufactured via the most cutting edge method possible, in this age of great silencers it isn’t quiet enough, isn’t light enough, has too much backpressure, and gets too hot too fast to keep up with its less expensive, better competition.