Ethan Lessard was the silencer guru at Advanced Armament, but he quit around the same time that Kevin Brittingham was fired. For the last two years he’s been working for SIG SAUER’s R&D department, developing awesome stuff like the MCX and their suppressors. And as Ethan says, “I’m done with inch-and-a-half silencers” . . .
With silencers, it’s all about the gas volume. The point is to capture and cool down the expanding gasses coming out of the barrel before they exit the can, and to be able to do that effectively you need a container with the appropriate volume. Slim silencers work, but they heat up quickly and become ineffecive. By making a larger diameter silencer, you can have a shorter overall length and still get superior performance.
Take for example this prototype silencer that SIG has designed for an M240B machine gun. While a standard 1.5″ diameter silencer would work for the first couple shots, after a while the can would get extremely hot and stop working as effectively. It might even start to deform and you’d get baffle strikes — something I’ve witnessed firsthand and isn’t very fun to be around. But thanks to the extra gas volume available in the silencer, it’s able to accommodate the rate of fire without missing a beat. We put belt after belt of ammo through the gun and never once did it get to an uncomfortable level of noise.
While this is all well and good for machine guns, SIG will be taking this same approach to their other silencers that they will be debuting. From pistol cans to rifle cans, expect 2 inch diameter tubes and bigger for the high performance stuff. That’s not to say that there isn’t a market for slim silencers, but when you want the best you’re gunna need that bulk.