As an industry, I think we’re in a golden era for silencers. Ten years ago, our options were somewhat limited if we wanted to suppress our rifle(s). Fast forward a decade to this year’s SHOT Show and you couldn’t throw a business card without hitting a silencer manufacturer. As a guy who likes options, this pleases me greatly. Speaking of great pleasures, thanks to the generosity of the team at Silencer Shop, I was able to spend a few hours at a private range putting rounds through several of Griffin Armament’s silencers. As Griffin offers quite a few options, I’ve elected to break the results of that trip into several posts, the first of which will focus on their muzzle device attached Recce series . . .
I started seriously looking at acquiring silencers of my own about a year and a half ago after a weekend spent shooting exclusively silencer-equipped rifles. Laid out prone under my favorite shade tree, I had my road to Damascus moment as I smacked steel a quarter mile away without the need for hearing protection.
Around that same time, I noticed that the guys at one of the local NFA dealers, Silencer Shop, were aggressively marketing Griffin Armament silencers. Several months later, I introduced myself to the brothers Green, owners of Griffin Armament. They were instrumental in brokering a relationship between Silencer Shop and TTAG that allows me the ability to head out to a range and do some testing. After shooting nearly everything in the Griffin catalog over the course of a few hours, I came away with several favorites, and the Recce series is at the top.
The Recce silencers are constructed of 17-4 PH stainless steel and feature a taper mount attachment system. As I’ve spent more time researching suppressors, it’s become apparent that any company claiming to minimize changes to point of impact shift uses some manifestation of a taper mount attachment system.
Giffin offers about half a dozen different taper mount compatible muzzle devices, some of which Jeremy has tested in his exhaustively researched and documented series. They’re fine muzzle devices on their own, and should you elect to purchase a Griffin Recce can at a later date, you’re already ahead. Simply thread the Recce over the brake or flash hider of your choice, and give it a firm twist to ensure that it locks up on the taper mount. No ratchets, no collars, no fuss.
Having only shot a few suppressors on 5.56 guns prior to my day at the range with Silencer Shop, I had a certain preconceived notion about the topic. Namely, I’d never shot a silencer-equipped AR-15 that didn’t make my ears ring. As the whole purpose (in my mind) of spending the money and time (not to mention navigating the bureaucracy) to acquire a silencer is to have the luxury of running without hearing protection, a dedicated 5.56 can never really made sense.
While I weighed and measured the Recce 5, Silencer Shop’s Media Manager Jeremy Mallette talked to me about the various pros and cons of a dedicated 5.56 can. Naturally, many buyers are hesitant to buy a dedicated 5.56 silencer as their options are limited quite a bit for any guns they own larger than 5.56. Many first-time buyers — myself and Nick included — buy a .30 cal silencer even though the majority of their shooting will have that silencer screwed to the end of a gun that shoots 5.56/.223.
As a result, their guns end up being louder, longer, and heavier than they realistically need to be. That’s why Silencer Shop sees a lot of their first-time customers come back later for a dedicated 5.56 can. This number goes up drastically once they get to shoot one as part of a demo.
As part of my measurements, I wanted to see how accurate Griffin was in their published specs. So I brought along my scale and a set of dial calipers to see how they measured up. Results below.
- Diameter: 1.47” (measured: 1.489 inches)
- Overall Length: 6.2” (measured: 6.3 inches)
- Weight: 14.5 Ounces (measured: 14.2 oz)
All told, I was pleased to see that Griffin’s advertised numbers were within a few percentage points of my real world results. Out of some sort of odd curiosity, I took the opportunity to measure the aperture of the Recce 5. Right at .278 inches for those also oddly curious. Thanks to its all steel construction, the Recce 5 is full-auto rated down down to 7.5″ barrel lengths while only adding four to five inches to the overall length, depending on the muzzle attachment method. This puts it in the territory of the SilencerCo Specwar K which is roughly the same price and length, but an advertised couple oz lighter.
Out on the range, the extra fourteen ounces were noticeable, but not so much as to be a bother on a sixteen-inch gun. And from my research, going to anything lighter would likely mean getting something that isn’t full-auto rated (read: not as durable). Shortening the barrel to twelve inches or so and filling out the necessary paperwork will give the end user a fairly well balanced suppressed rifle that feels very close to a sixteen-inch gun at the expense of some terminal ballistics.
We elected not do any metering for several reasons. First, Silencer Shop was happy to share their own data with me. Second, there’s a lot of metering data already out there published by people with equipment that we don’t have. And most importantly, this was the first time out for me testing silencers. We needed to keep it simple and save further technical testing for a later date after some lessons were learned by yours truly. That said, from Silencer Shop’s own testing, they metered the Recce 5 at 129.7 dB. Griffin’s video above has it at 133.42 and the super-thorough guys at Military Arms Channel clocked it at 133 dB.
To my ear, the Recce 5 was simply shocking. I removed my ear pro before shooting it because I owed it to myself (and you) to see what it was like. I cringed a little while pulling the trigger, having had my ears rung by other cans on 5.56 guns. But I was astounded at how quiet it was. No pain and no ringing in my ears. Only the sound of the bullet flying through the air and impacting the berm.
Gas blowback was definitely present with the Recce 5, a somewhat inescapable fact of running a silencer on a semi-automatic gun…and one that can be mitigated with a combination of silencer-specific charging handles and an adjustable gas block. The Recce 5 will run you less than $700 and includes a mount, pouch, and shim kit in that price.
The Recce 7 is the bigger brother of the Recce 5 and, as such, it’s a scaled up version in length, weight, and aperture size. It uses the exact same mounting system as the Recce 5, so a simple twist once the can locks up on the taper mount and you’re ready to rock. The Recce 7 is full-auto rated too and safe to use on the following barrel lengths:
- 5.56 – 7.5 inches
- 300 BLK – 8 inches
- 7.62 x 39 – 8 inches
- 6.8SPC – 8 inches
- 7.62×51 – 12.5 inches
- 300Win Mag – 22 inches
The Recce 7 is advertised as being the same diameter as the Recce 5 and roughly an inch-and-a-half longer. My hands-on testing indicated that their advertisements were within a few percentage points, just like the Recce 5 model. For those curious, the aperture of the Recce 7 is .371 inches.
I shot the Recce 7 on the same 5.56 host as the Recce 5 and a nine-inch 300 BLK. Shooting the two models back-to-back on the 5.56 gun, the extra weight (3 oz), length (1.5 inches), and noise further convinced me that I’m going to end up with a dedicated 5.56 can in my safe at some point. The tone was a bit sharper with a touch more crack than it was with the Recce 5 screwed to the end.
Switching over to the 300 BLK upper and shooting 125 gr supersonic loads, I found the Recce 7 to be on par with firing supersonic .30 caliber projectiles from semi automatics. In short, it’s tolerable, but if I had a long day of shooting planned, I’d still opt for a pair of muffs. I didn’t have a chance to run subonic 300 BLK or .308 WIN through the Recce 7 during our testing, so I’ll rely on Silencer Shop and Military Arms Channel for their data.
Silencer Shop indicates that the Recce 7 meters at 134.9 dB on a twenty-inch .308 firing 168 gr ammo. Military Arms channel metered it at 139 dB on an eighteen-inch bolt gun firing 147 gr. ammo. Moving to a 300 BLK firing 187 gr subsonics, Silencer Shop found the Recce 7 to meter at 127.3 dB. Griffin claims that 220 subsonics on their meter were at 123 dB which is astoundingly quiet. On a 5.56 host (the same from the aforementioned Recce 5 test), Military Arms Channel metered the Recce 7 at 135 dB, two dB louder than the Recce 5.
I could tell a difference in tone on the 5.56 gun, but only if I shot them back to back. There’s a bit more crack and noise on the Recce 7 which is to be expected. The Recce 7 is available from Silencer Shop for a touch over $700 and, like the younger brother, includes a taper mount as part of that price.
The most exciting piece of data I’ve seen on the Recce 7 — and one that we’re working on replicating — is the above photo from Griffin’s Instagram page. We can’t necessarily take that at face value, but if that’s something we can replicate, it indicates that the Recce 7 is capable of delivering repeatable point-of-impact shift in a relatively light and very durable package.
No final conclusions or star ratings here yet. We’ll update this review with Part 2 once we get back to the range with a couple of suitable hosts and a case of Federal Gold Medal to test point of impact shift. We might even be able to swing some metering of our own. Stay tuned.
.30 cal silencers:
Heavier than a dedicated 5.56. Yes. Shorter? Yes.
Griffin makes some nice stuff.
So, for about an extra $100, you’re looking at the Liberty Mystic X and their insane number of calibers it covers. What’s the benefit of buying a dedicated 30 cal can over the Mystic X? I’m genuinely interested to know, as I’m looking to purchase my first can, and I would like to cover as much ground as possible.
I love my Mystic X but it isn’t rated for “full-power” rifle calibers. You can’t use it on .308 or .30-30 or other similar calibers unless you’re running downloaded ammo (e.g. subsonics). It’s rated for durability on 5.56 but the large bore means it’s quite a bit louder than a dedicated 5.56 can (0.224″ bullet vs. 0.355″ means a significantly larger bore diameter). It’s pretty good on .300 BLK and can be used on 7.62×39 as well (ensure concentric threads and bore on the rifle, as a lot of AKs are crap in this regard).
Griffin’s new Optimus offers what the Mystic X does but adds support for full-power rifle cartridges. Of course, it’s $300 more than the Mystic.
Just comes down to what you’re going to use it for. I had my Mystic for a few years before deciding I could no longer live without a .30 caliber rifle can and for at least a year before I decided to get a dedicated rimfire can. It was used regularly on 9mm, .300 BLK, 5.56, .22 LR and WMR, etc. Now it’s basically just 9mm to me and some other pistol calibers.
Thanks for the info. Currently, the only caliber I run in my ARs is .300. Was looking at the mystic x for exactly the calibers you mentioned: .300, 9mm, 5.56 ans .22 lr. Funds only allow for one can at the moment, or I’d be looking at dedicated calibers.
Jeremy, i purchased a couple of Mystic-x’s based upon your and Leghorn’s reviews (the power of the pen – i told Tim at Liberty as much), and i have had fun with them on 22lr-5.56. I actually keep one dedicated to my bedroom Glock in the event of an uninvited visitor at night and not wanting to go more deaf than i already am – only real noise is sonic “crack”, but fine without ear pro. I did take your information to heart and purchased a Freedom model from Liberty at the same time for .30 cal. stuff. I would buy another 22lr dedicated can, if it were not for the insane ATF NFA process, which i just don’t feel like going through again just so i do not bother my neighbors or others in the area with loud “booms”. Although, once 12ga silencers are refined (i know Silencer co. sells one, but i want more selection) in a year or 2, i will probably have to buy one for waterfowl hunting.
You could go with subsonic ammo for HD purposes. There’s 147 grain Federal HST (standard pressure) in my HD gun, and it’s reliably subsonic. Most or all of the 147 self-defense loads are, really. Even the 147 +P is often subsonic from a pistol.
I tried to buy a Griffin Optimus. After 3 months of them telling my shop ‘we’re out and we don’t know when you’ll have more’ I ordered a Silencerco Omega 9K instead. I probably wasn’t going to ever take it off my BLK SBR anyway.
Silencer Shop had them in stock back at the end of December. I ordered one then and I’m just waiting for the approval to come back from the ATF.
Sweet! The are some suppressors out there going with swappable end caps to change the exit bore, and I hear conflicting things on how much of an effect it actually has on sound reduction. The example would be taking your .30 cal can and using it on a 5.56, but swapping the endcap so the exit bore is 5.56-sized, not 7.62-sized. Obviously the idea is to retain more gas and pressure inside of the can for longer and act more like a dedicated 5.56 can. Griffin employs some of this concept in a couple of their cans. The Optimus, for example, has swappable end caps and the extra blast chamber that puts the silencer into large configuration for use with rifle calibers is restricted in bore also.
I’d love to see this tested with some or all off the silencers that offer this feature (Dead Air is another that comes to mind, as all of the .30 cal Sandmans have swappable smaller bore end caps). If it can legitimately bring a .30 cal can down dang close to dedicated 5.56 can sound levels, that would be great news for the folks who don’t want to budget another $1k plus 9 months and would rather repurpose a single can yet not sacrifice sound reduction.
Personally i’ve found that endcap swaps (to smaller apertures) are more effective the faster a bullet’s velocity. There’s a noticeable difference going from a 762 to 556 endcap. But not so much going from a 45 to 9 endcap.
I dunno, I’ve shot 9mm through a .45 can and it’s noticeably louder than 9mm through a 9mm can. And the two suppressors were super similar (Liberty Mystic X vs. Liberty Cosmic). At SHOT Show, I shot 9mm through Dead Air’s Ghost M, which is a .45 can but uses a rubber swipe at the muzzle end to restrict the bore, and it was super quiet. I may experiment with my Cosmic once the Form 4 is approved and slip a rubber disk into the baffle stack right before the muzzle to see if it quiets down 9mm haha
I’m just waiting on my Optimus to get out of the ATF Twilight Zone.
I’ve heard good things about Griffin. For a while, it was down to an Optimus or the Silencerco Hybrid. It was a tough choice but I ended up ordering the Hybrid after watching videos of both (didn’t but that the Hybrid was in stock locally either). Now if I can just get the thing out of NFA purgatory…
My first, and so far only, foray into suppressors is a Liberty Leonidas. It a 300blk integrally suppressed sbr with an 8.5 inch barrel and an 8 inch suppressor that’s permanently welded and pinned to the weapon so you only need one tax stamp. The videos Ive seen of metering sessions put it in 119-121db range. By far the quietest anything I’ve ever fired.
“I didn’t have a chance to run subsonic 300 BLK…”
Good God man! That’s like having a near beer! Like leaving the strip club without a lap dance! Like running 25 miles! You need to remedy that POST HASTE.
“As the whole purpose (in my mind) of spending the money and time (not to mention navigating the bureaucracy) to acquire a silencer is to have the luxury of running without hearing protection…”
SHAME, SHAME: If your only purpose for owning a suppressor is to be able to run without hearing protection, at least have the decency not to advocate your flawed philosophy to others who may not know any better.
You know that sound of ringing in your ears that you wrote about? THAT IS CALLED HEARING LOSS! Sorry that I’m yelling, but I don’t think the author can hear me.
Most of you guys who run suppressed firearms without any hearing protection are permanently damaging your hearing with almost every shot. I’ll agree that a suppressed weapon is quieter than a non-suppressed one, but anyone who shoots a suppressed weapon without hearing protection without good reason either suffers from a severe macho complex or is an uninformed fool. Put the plugs back in and/or the muffs back on.
Hearing the sound of your grandkid’s voice in your elder years is the prize you’re gambling with.
As an industry, I think we’re in a golden era for silencers.
Nah. We’ve just got a bunch of guys taking money from suckers during a fad. At most generous, some guys do something other that throw it together and see what it does. Some have some instinctive knowledge (like car stylists and aero) but that’s it. That’s what constitutes “design”. They spend the rest of their time on aesthetics and cool sounding verbiage for the press release. And cultivating image. Image is really important.
The silencer industry is where the automotive performance industry was in the 1960s – building primitive things that were really unimpressive if you knew something. Carburetors and Roots blowers, oh boy. But whipping the uninformed into a frenzy of thinking mediocrity was amazing performance. Sadly, can manufacturers now have access to all the testing and design tools to build much better cans, but I have yet to meet one that even has any idea what I’m talking about, let alone actually uses them.
Maybe there’s one with a clue, but figures why do R&D when you can smoke and mirrors and still just pick the money up off the floor? Someday there will be a company that is started by, or at least hires an engineer. Someone who actually builds protos with pressure transducers, analyzes test data, uses FEA and CFD to optimize the actual, you know, silencing.
The current state of the shelf is like slapping an old Thrush universal muffler on your modern sports car. Sure it’s a bit quieter, but it’s a sea of compromise at most generous.
When someone starts building modern cans you’ll find the best ones are caliber specific, load specific, and projectile optimized.
Golden era for silencers will come when they are taken off the NFA. Or preferably, when the NFA is but a bad memory. I know, not likely to happen in my lifetime, but guy can dream right? Until then it’s ear pro for me as I refuse to pay extra 200 tax and register anything as a matter of principle.
Still refuse to buy anything Griffin because of their racist suppressor engravings years ago. Amazing how easily people forget.
They mad a mistake BFG. Their shit is baller. It was against Allah 99.9 percent of people that buy suppressors don’t give a shit about Allah.