The El Camino is the first silencer to come out of Q, Kevin Brittingham’s new venture. I believe for the first year it will be a Silencer Shop exclusive, and they loaned this one to me for a little quality time.
As the Q guys were originally the AAC guys, and the AAC Element 2, which I own, is hands down one of the best rimfire silencers ever, the word on the street is that it was the benchmark the El Camino was designed to beat. After putting a bunch of rounds through a few guns while swapping back and forth between these two cans, Q may have just pulled it off.
The El Camino arrives in a sexy leopard-print pouch. Its PVD-coated titanium tube has a purple hue to it and a slightly larger, 0.99″ diameter at either end than its diameter through the middle.
That “gear” shape around the bore does more than make the muzzle cap look cool; it actually has flat sides and allows the use of a standard 1/2″ socket or wrench for disassembly/assembly.
Once the cap is off, the stainless steel baffles drop right out. There are seven of them and they can be stacked in any order and in any rotational orientation.
The side with the little notched traffic cone in the middle points towards the gun. Just stack ’em up!
As you may know, .22 LR is a pretty dirty round. In no time it’ll gunk up the inside of a suppressor something awful. Q lent owners a big hand when it comes to cleaning time via its unique baffle design. Basically, Q turned them into their own suppressor tube within a tube, sealing the external housing off from carbon, lead, wax, and other crud.
For instance, compare the El Camino baffles to the baffles of the Element 2 above. It’s your standard K-Baffle design that blows much of that combustion junk into the spaces between the baffles, effectively cementing the baffles into the tube. This is why my Element 2 came with a hand crank auger to press the baffles from the tube. Not a huge deal, but now that the El Camino has shown me a better way, it seems like more of a drag.
In fact, to me this is one of the coolest features of the El Camino. After all of the shooting I did, caking up the baffles pretty well despite the use of comparatively clean ammo, the inside of the tube was still shiny and spotless. The photo above was taken after dropping the baffles out — I didn’t blow it out, didn’t wipe it, nothing.
Over on the mount side, the 1/2-28 threads are shorter than the norm and there’s no specific blast baffle or chamber. Whichever baffle you plunk into the tube first becomes the blast baffle. Should the threads on your firearm exceed 0.625″ from crown to shoulder, the El Camino ships with a spacer so your muzzle doesn’t touch that first baffle. None of my .22s required it.
Setting the El Camino next to my Element 2, it’s clearly a bit longer at 5.9″ to the Element’s 5.25″. Despite manufacturer stats claiming the Element 2 weighs in at 4.1 oz and the El Camino 4.3 oz, the Element felt heavier to me so I put ’em on the kitchen scale. I got 4.83 oz for the AAC, and 4.37 for the Q. Of course, lord knows how much all the carbon buildup in my Element weighs. Probably cleaning time, but at any rate they’re both very lightweight suppressors.
Roll marks on the Element are fairly subtle, while the El Camino sports more prominent laser engraving. I realize the Q logo is literally just a letter “Q,” but I like it.
On the range I was immediately surprised by the El Camino. After the first shot I thought it might be quieter than the Element 2, and after the second shot I was fairly sure. Granted, this is subjective since I don’t have a dB meter, but I’m fairly confident. Heck, it may even sound slightly quieter in the video.
The El Camino’s small diameter allows you to use standard-height sights. Its light weight makes it hardly noticeable…adds just a bit of buffer that can make a gun like this Walther PPQ 22 handle more like a centerfire.
Shooting subsonic ammo from a 16″ barrel, the loudest noise from the shooter’s perspective was the click of the firing pin. This thing is crazy quiet. Q is floating around a figure of 114 dB, which is pretty aggressive and would make it about 2 dB quieter than the Element 2. I gotta say, I believe it.
On both the rifle and the pistol, with both subsonic ammo and supersonic ammo, the El Camino sometimes seemed slightly quieter. It never seemed louder. On balance I want to call it a wash as the two are just so darn close, but if I’m honest, the Q edged out the AAC overall.
Q believes that accuracy has been overlooked in the .22 LR suppressor market, so a big goal in the El Camino’s development was to maintain or improve on the host firearm’s accuracy rather than damaging it. I’ve always found my Element 2 to be extremely accurate, so despite falling snow and cold temps decided to put a couple groups on paper with each can.
Above is a 5-shot group with the Element 2 shooting American Eagle Suppressor 22. It’s 0.713″ from center-to-center across the farthest holes.
The El Camino put up a 0.825″ group. In these conditions, though, the difference could easily be all me or a bullet hitting too many snow flakes on the way to the target.
With Winchester 555 bulk box ammo, the Element 2 nailed a 1.7″ group thanks to a big flyer.
While the El Camino shot a 1.18″ group.
With these ammo brands, the groups are what I expect from this rifle suppressed or not. Although this is obviously nowhere close to enough testing to conclude whether one of these cans happens to be more accurate on my rifle than the other, I know neither of them are detrimental to accuracy. Q has done a great job here, too.
Overall, upon the close inspection you’d expect, I can find only one minor flaw with any aspect of the El Camino whatsoever: some visible tool marks on the end cap.
Bottom line on the Q El Camino is highly positive. It’s extremely lightweight, insanely quiet, ingeniously designed (1/2″ drive end cap and tube-in-a-tube baffles), and priced competitively ($399) for a non-aluminum rimfire can. Rated for not only .22 LR but 5.7×28, .22 WMR, .17 HMR, and more, it’s a versatile choice.
Were I entering the rimfire silencer market today, the El Camino would be a top contender for my dollars. It passes the ultrasonic cleaning test (no aluminum), maintains accuracy, and disassembles for cleaning as easily as it gets. It’s a great silencer.
Specifications: Q El Camino
Weight: 4.3 oz
Tube Material: Titanium
Baffle Material: Stainless steel
Caliber Rating: .22 LR, .17 HMR, .22 WMR, 5.7×28 FN — it’s full-auto rated
dB Rating: 114 dB
MSRP: $429 ($399 at Silencer Shop, which is the exclusive El Camino retailer)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Quality * * * * 1/2
It’s absolutely top notch from materials to finish to design. It isn’t completely perfect, though, as seen in those tool marks on the muzzle.
Form Factor * * * *
Very lightweight and small in diameter, but I’d call it slightly on the long side. It does have a cool aesthetic.
Performance * * * * *
Possibly the quietest .22 LR silencer on the market. Extremely low on first round pop. Maintains accuracy. Light weight. Full-auto rated. What more could you want?
Utility * * * * *
Rated for more powerful calibers than many and is full-auto rated. Disassembles very easily and all parts can be cleaned in an ultrasonic tank. Five stars for sure.
Value * * * *
Better than average value among full-auto-rated .22 LR suppressors. Especially among the lightweight ones using titanium and stainless steel. For longevity and ease of cleaning purposes (ultrasonic tank cleaning plus scraping with a wire brush and other tools) I’m not a fan of .22 suppressors with aluminum baffles.
Overall * * * * 1/2
The Q El Camino is one of the best rimfire suppressors on the market, hands down. It’s quite possible nothing beats it on dB reduction, and it’s light and accurate, too. If it were slightly shorter and black instead of fairly lilac in color — as silly as I feel for dinging it based on color — I’d give it a full five stars without hesitation. A great initial product offering from Q.