Hands-On With The SilencerCo Switchback 22, The Quietest Rimfire Suppressor Available

SilencerCo Switchback pistol

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:

Inside the Salvo 12.

Maxim 9 frames.

And some Maxim 9s heading for QA.

Stay tuned for the full video tour.

comments

  1. avatar Mike says:

    If you buy one now it maybe outdated by the time the Government allow you to us it.
    I would be tempted to buy a suppressor I could take it home now, or next week, but 9 months!!!! that is crazy. You can obtain a CCW permit in a fraction of the time.

    1. avatar Bearpaw says:

      Nice can. Little heavy for a .22 but in the right direction.

      Dang, I wish I had to use a snow shovel to clear the brass from my personal indoor range.

  2. avatar NCDC says:

    Any chance that this could be made to use the small and medium pieces separately? As in on two hosts at the same time.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Not without committing a serious felony.

      1. avatar Matt in FL says:

        An answer which leads us right back into a discussion of how ridiculous the existing laws are.

        In any rational world this would be sold as the “two-for-one convertible” suppressor.

        Edit: also, already ordered one, thanks to your video.

    2. avatar Bananas O'Toole says:

      Not without a second tax stamp.

    3. avatar NCDC says:

      I didn’t think so but was just curious. Thanks

  3. avatar Joel says:

    This is honestly the first silencer I have seen that makes me want to go through the hassle now.

    Most have fallen into the ‘maybe someday I’ll get around to it’ category.

    Time to take a serious look.

  4. avatar Shire-man says:

    Photos of suppressor components in a heap sort of put the whole $200 tax and 8 month wait into perspective. Tube. Baffles. Things anybody with a drill and a hammer can make at home from scavenged bits. I walk past enough garbage on the side of the road to put a crude device together. $20 worth of steel or if you’re fancy $100 worth of titanium. The NFA is the worst kind of Kafkaesque joke and the ATF is the worst kind of government waste.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Don’t bother. An oil filter from O’Reilly works just fine. Of course, you still have to register and pay the tax before making your own, or it’s that whole 10-year Federal prison thing.

  5. avatar Wood says:

    I thought it was a pile of flashlight parts.

    A T F has got to go
    Hey hey
    Ho ho

  6. avatar George from Alaska says:

    I’ve seen videos where people are using the mil spec meters and distance from the mike and pistol and bolt closure noises are usually running 112-116. Too many variables. Mic left or at shooters ear, temp, wind ammo deviation. Agreed that CCI Quiet 22 is ridiculously quiet but except for hit persons and the overall neatness of that ammo I really don’t want to hand cycle after every shot all the time. And yes I have some .22 bolt guns but suppressed .22 handguns are what I like..
    And I don’t care what the companies numbers say… the GemTech GM-45 is loud to our ears as is the Socom series of 7.62 and 5.56 suppressors…

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      That’s more typical of an AR15 bolt closing. A 10/22 bolt isn’t anywhere near as loud. The 108 numbers here are with CCI Standard, not Quiet. But you’re 100% right, atmospherics (temp, humidity, etc) make a big difference like the dude in the video said. To do a fully meaningful test you have to measure un-suppressed at the same time (SilencerCo sees like 142 to 143 dB with an un-suppressed .22 rifle, which is in-line with what I’ve seen elsewhere) and look at a percentage reduction in volume, or test a bunch of different suppressors back-to-back. We’re (TTAG) going to start doing some of that with the help of Silencer Shop soon.

    2. avatar DekNgo says:

      “And I don’t care what the companies numbers say… the GemTech GM-45 is loud to our ears”

      I’ve never actually seen any published numbers for the GM-45 – only specs that state “Sound Reduction: 23dB dry, 35dB wet.” Have you seen actual SPL measurements somewhere?

      1. avatar George from Alaska says:

        I don’t believe that I have seen any numbers but when we shoot the GM-45 dry on the same host gun that we are shooting a TiRant or Tirant M, a Rugged Obsidian, Silencerco Octane and others the GM-45 is painful to our ears. However, when the GM-45 is shot wet with wire pulling gel or lithium grease packing, or Seal 1 foam it sounds very nice.
        I don’t have a meter. dB’s are fun to know but two setups can have the same dB reading on an A or C scale and yet the tonal qualities of the tube and baffles or monocore can easily make one suppressor sound better to the shooters and bystanders ears.

  7. avatar Shawn Graber says:

    The backwards baffles seem like a fun idea, but do they foul up any faster? Would be interested to know if the .22 Switchback is higher maintenance/more difficult to disassemble and clean after a good ammo dump.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Doubt it makes a difference for fouling. The way the baffles all click together and seal up, effectively making a tube-within-a-tube, is super nice. It means the baffles slide right out of the tube even if they’re crazy dirty inside and the inside of the tube stays clean. Then you can just toss the baffles in an ultrasonic tank for cleaning. This sort of self-sealing baffle stack is the best design on the market for .22 LR suppressors, IMHO. (and, to be clear, the Switchback is NOT the only suppressor built like this)

      OR…just dump a few mags of 5.7×28 through it and it’ll be clean inside 🙂 . My AAC Element II was pretty dang gross inside and there were even little chunks of crap rattling around in it. After shooting it on that CMMG Banshee Mk57 it’s nice and clean internally haha.

  8. avatar joseph jones says:

    I would love to see accuracy results with the cone baffles flipped for the rifle configuration. Any time you force the gas back down around the bullet it upsets the projectile especially on 22 rimfire. To state that it is the quietest rimfire suppressor is a statement they should tread lightly with, our rimfire suppressors have been beating those advertised numbers for years now. On a Remington 510 we have got readings of 92db 3′ left of the muzzle using CCI quiet 22, on a S&W M&P 22 pistol using CCI standard average is 112db with a 2db first round pop. The modularity may be cool but it isn’t the quietest rimfire suppressor on the market.

  9. avatar Ron says:

    Impressive technology but you guys may want to wear eye protection when shooting so you can always see to sign your paychecks.

  10. Quietest for a .22 maybe, but not the quietest ever produced! The de Lisle .45acp Carbine only produced ~85.5dB…

  11. avatar GH Weaponry says:

    Sporting the Elcan on a 10/22 like a boss. Nice.

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