I didn’t really believe it either. A claimed 108 decibels with CCI Standard ammo? More reasonable than JJFU’s claims, that’s for freakin’ sure, but still hard to believe when dry firing a Ruger 77/22 is ~106.5 dB and simply loading a round into a Ruger 10/22 is nearly 105 dB. But SilencerCo proved it to me, along with the voodoo magic of running half of the baffles “backwards,” and you can see it for yourself below . . .
Crazy, right? With CCI Quiet-22 we saw readings (off to the left of the muzzle per military specs) of about 106.5 dB average and gunshots of about 103.5 dB average. It’s literally and consistently quieter than dry firing!
The weirdest part is that this is achieved — but only on barrels over 10 inches long! — by flipping around the medium module so the baffles are “backwards.” See “Long Default,” which is how basically every silencer baffle on the market is oriented, compared to “Rifle Optimized” in the chart above.
Basically, baffles in the standard orientation are better at slowing down and capturing supersonic gases while baffles in the “backwards” orientation are better at slowing down and capturing subsonic gases. Even with subsonic ammo, those gases leave the muzzle at supersonic speeds. So the first few, standard-orientation baffles slow the gas down to subsonic and then the final, “backwards” baffles slow it down even further.
The result is industry-leading suppression levels on a .22 LR rifle with subsonic ammunition. And in all other cases — pistol, rifle, supersonic ammo, etc. — the sound reduction is about as good as it gets with an utmost minimum of first round pop. I believe the only other suppressor I recall sounding quite this quiet was the Q Erector in some of its longer configurations.
Of course, this applies to the Switchback in its longest configuration, too. In its shortest mode, seen above at top, it isn’t quite hearing safe (under the 140 dB threshold) on a pistol but it is, with a solid margin, on a rifle.
You see, the Switchback 22 is a modular suppressor capable of four different configurations:
• Short: shorter module only with end cap directly on it
• Medium: longer module only with end cap directly on it
• Long Default: both modules connected by coupler baffle, longer module baffles in standard orientation
• Rifle Optimized: both modules connected by coupler baffle, longer module baffles in “backwards” orientation
Choose the configuration that makes the most sense for your planned host firearm and intended use. Everything can be swapped around by hand, but the Switchback does ship with two wrenches in case things get sticky.
The end cap, coupler baffle, and serialized mount are made from 17-4 PH stainless steel, as are all of the click-together internal baffles. The two tube sections are Grade 9 titanium.
In SilencerCo’s concrete basement bunker testing range, the Switchback sounded great. Bullets impacting the rubber backstop were about as loud as the gunshot, and when a projectile occasionally hit steel it sounded much louder than the shot. Simply dropping the bolt on the 10/22 to chamber the first round was enough to trigger the dB meter into recording a noise almost as loud as the gunshots. Impressive.
At an MSRP of $499 (less via Silencer Shop), the Switchback 22 isn’t an inexpensive rimfire suppressor. But it’s possible it really is “the most versatile rimfire silencer ever developed,” as SilencerCo so boldly claims. Three length options and a durable construction that allows it to be rated for up to 5.7×28 use on a handgun and easily cleaned in an ultrasonic tank puts the Switchback in that one-and-done silencer category. It fits all of one’s rimfire suppression needs.
If there’s any category in which the Switchback 22 doesn’t lead, it’s weight. At 6.5 ounces in its full configuration it’s heavier than the average rimfire suppressor. But not by much. And, of course, there’s a 4.3 oz and a 3.2 oz config.
Overall I’m definitely a fan. And I wasn’t expecting to be impressed (“oh, another rimfire suppressor”). SilencerCo’s Switchback 22 exceeded my expectations and is absolutely at or near the top of my list for rimfire suppressor recommendations. Quiet, durable, and modular is an extremely hard combination to beat.
While I was at SiCo HQ outside of Salt Lake City, I also took a tour of their production facilities. Holy cow are they huge! I mean, I know they’re the largest silencer manufacturer in the country but good lord the scale of this operation surprised me.
That factory tour video will be ready in a week or two. In the meantime here are a couple of photos from when I remembered to put the video camera down and snap a cell phone pic:
And some Maxim 9s heading for QA.
Stay tuned for the full video tour.