RF is on the prowl for a .45 ACP pistol suppressor. Narrowing down the list, three cans came to mind: the Rugged Obsidian45, the Dead Air Ghost-M, and the Liberty Cosmic that I previously reviewed (and own). RF wants a modular can with a “K” or short configuration option, so the Liberty is out. As the Rugged clocks in at about $200 less via Silencer Shop than the Dead Air, we’re checking it out first . . .
Filled with interlocking, 17-4 PH Stainless Steel baffles, the Obsidian45’s hard coat anodized aluminum tube keeps weight to a minimum. While “k baffles” aren’t the most modern of suppressor baffle designs, they are known to be particularly quiet and low on first round pop.
In the case of the Obsidian, its K baffles seal together and make a tube within a tube. This keeps the inside of the outer tube — the suppressor’s body — clean of carbon and other deposits and allows the baffle stack to simply drop out for cleaning and service.
The booster assembly makes swapping pistons easy, allowing the user to mount the Obsidian on different host firearms with different muzzle threading. For fixed barrels, a simple aluminum sleeve replaces the booster spring, locking the mount solid. This is a much more cost-effective option for the owner than having to purchase a bunch of fixed mounts.
The Obsidian45 ships with a .45 front cap, but a cap bored for 9mm is also available. It may slightly cut down on sound volume when shooting the smaller diameter caliber.
I found the front cap to be easily removed by hand. However, that five-toothed gear pattern accepts the gear-shaped end of a booster piston, which can be used as a wrench if more leverage is needed.
The main reason to remove and re-install the front cap, though, isn’t for switching calibers but for switching the length of the Obsidian. Employing Rugged’s “ADAPT” technology, a section at the muzzle end of the Obsidian can be added or removed quickly and easily as desired. Then cap it off with the same front cap in either configuration.
In its full length the Obsidian45 is 8.6 inches long, and in K configuration it’s 6.7 inches long. On a scale that’s 12.8 ounces versus 10.7 ounces.
Obviously shorter and lighter is better. Well, in every way except sound suppression. So depending on the caliber, application, and use you’ll be choosing between maximum suppression and minimum weight and size. In any configuration you’re safely under the 140 dB impulse noise “hearing safe” threshold in .45 ACP or 9mm on a pistol.
Full length — according to Rugged’s numbers — the Obsidian45 meters in at approximately 129.3 dB with .45 ACP. This makes it one of the very quietest .45 cans available. It’s about 123.7 dB with 9mm, which is also a class-leading figure.
In K configuration, the numbers change to about 137.6 dB (.45 ACP) and 130.4 dB (9mm). The Obsidian can also be shot “wet” — with a splash of water or other ablative, such as ultrasound gel, inside — for a temporary further sound reduction of somewhere around 5 dB.
Thanks to those strong, sealed 17-4 baffles the Obsidian45 can also handle subsonic 300 Blackout. Unfortunately I didn’t have a 5/8×24 piston to try it out.
However, the GLOCK seen in the photos here is rocking a Lone Wolf slide (that camo pattern is laser engraved into the stainless steel slide, by the way) with a .460 Rowland conversion barrel, so I went ahead and shot a magazine of Underwood .460 Rowland through the Obsidian as well as a whole bunch of .45 ACP. Plus a few hundred rounds of 9mm through the CZ P-10 C Suppressor-Ready.
Despite over 1,000 ft-lbs of energy from the Rowland, the Obsidian (which isn’t rated for .460 so don’t do this at home) ran smooth and suppressed great. No warranty call needed — or even close — though Rugged actually does warranty stupid.
They were also smart to serialize the thickest, most durable, least likely to be damaged part of the suppressor. Should you fire this thing on your .338 Lapua SBR and pop the tube like a balloon, for instance, or run over it with your deuce and a half, Rugged can replace nearly every component on and it send it back to you with the same serial number. Repaired, not replaced.
Compared to my Liberty Cosmic (two photos up), the Obsidian45 (above) in full length configuration is within a fraction of an inch of the same length (slightly shorter) and a fraction of an ounce of the same weight (slightly heavier). There’s less weight at the muzzle end of the Cosmic, but the difference is minor when shooting.
And, of course, the Cosmic offers no shorter or lighter configuration option as does the Obsidian. For me, it made up for that in caliber compatibility: the Cosmic is explicitly rated for at least 66 calibers all the way up to and including .458 SOCOM.
But if this is a dedicated pistol caliber can — and in RF’s case it will live on his B&T APC45 in K config or maybe on his FNX-45 Tactical when it isn’t temporarily on review guns — the modularity of the Obsidian is a big advantage. Shoot it in full length on the range and when plinking with friends, and run it in K config for night stand use, PDW trunk gun use, etc.
Shooting the Obsidian45 back-to-back against my Cosmic, it was difficult to discern a sound level difference. Especially on .45 ACP. If I were pressed, I’d give a slight nod to the Obsidian, which I think was just ever so slightly quieter though maybe ever so slightly higher pitched. That’s just one man’s subjective opinion, though, and they’re so freaking close I’m more comfortable calling it a wash.
On 9mm, I feel the Cosmic was slightly quieter and deeper toned. Not by much in either case, mind you, but enough that I’m fairly confident calling it in the Cosmic’s favor. Then again, since day one with the Cosmic I’ve been surprised by just how shockingly quiet it is on 9mm.
Typically you expect more sound volume than with a dedicated 9mm can due to the .45 bore catching less gas, but the darn thing is at least as quiet as my Mystic X. I can’t explain it, but it’s just weirdly amazing on 9mm. Still, the Obsidian more than holds its own compared to your average .45 ACP suppressor shooting 9mm.
On the downside, the Obsidian45 in K configuration exhibits noticeable first round pop on both .45 and 9mm. In full length flavor it’s more muted but still clearly there. More FRP than I expected, given the design, but nothing to complain about. On the plus side, the modular design and drop-out-the-front baffle stack makes adding a dab of ultrasound gel really easy.
Next up we’ll get our hands on the Dead Air Ghost-M, but I’m skeptical that it’s capable of outperforming the Obsidian45. Let alone outperforming by enough to warrant the extra $200.
In fact, I’m comfortable calling the Obsidian45 the best .45 ACP pistol suppressor on the market today. If it isn’t the best, it’s tied for best. At least if your focus is pistol rounds. Good job, Rugged, I think RF has an Obsidian45 in his future.
Specifications: Rugged Suppressors Obsidian45
Caliber: Full-auto rated for pistol calibers up to .45 ACP. Also rated for 300 BLK subsonic.
Length Full Config: 8.6″
Length K Config: 6.7″
Weight Full Config: 12.8 oz
Weight K Config: 10.7 oz
Finish: hard coat anodized and cerakote
Materials: 17-4 PH Stainless Steel baffles, aluminum tube, 17-4 PH Stainless Steel mount
Includes: .578×28 piston, .45 front cap, owner’s manual, Obsidian logo sticker
MSRP: $850 (about $654 via Silencer Shop)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Suppression * * * * *
It’s about the quietest .45 ACP suppressor available, and certainly strikes a great balance between size, weight, and suppression level. Rugged ensured it meters as hearing safe even in K config on .45 ACP, which was the right choice.
Utility * * * * *
Two suppressors in one — long and short — with the ability to shoot most pistol rounds through it and disassemble it for easy cleaning. With a very simple and inexpensive system it can be converted to fixed mount for use on pistol caliber carbines and other firearms with fixed barrels.
Overall * * * * *
Unless you’re seeking ultimate caliber handling utility, which is the Liberty Cosmic’s ace in the hole, the Rugged Suppressors Obsidian45 is arguably the best .45 ACP pistol suppressor available today. And why buy a 9mm can when a well-designed .45 one like the Obsidian45 is so dang quiet on 9mm, too?