Sound suppression is a trade-off. For a given design, larger is quieter and smaller is louder. While being quieter has its advantages — after all, that’s why we pay a $200 tax and sometimes wait long enough to bring a new human into the world just to buy a silencer — so does being smaller. What to do…what to do…. How about a Dead Air Odessa-9? . . .
This new suppressor is completely modular, transforming from as short as 2.75 inches to as long as 8.6 inches. Unlike most other modular suppressors on the market, it isn’t just the best of two worlds — long or short — it’s the best of longest, shortest, and a full 10 steps in-between.
Baffled? Exactly! Attach anywhere from zero to 11 individual baffles onto the Odessa-9’s booster housing, followed by the end cap.
It should go without saying, but in case you’d choose .308 Win over 6.5 Creed I’ll write it out anyway: Fewer baffles is smaller, lighter, and handier, but louder, while more baffles is longer and heavier but quieter. In the video above, I experiment with the Odessa-9 features in a few of its possible configurations on my Hudson H9 handgun.
Assembling the Odessa-9 silencer is pretty easy.
In fact, no end-user assembly is technically required. Dead Air Armament ships the Odessa in its standard, “suggested” configuration with seven baffles attached to the booster housing. The next four are assembled together but in a separate cutout in the excellent case that’s included. Also included: the end cap, two baffle/booster wrenches, and three booster spring shims.
My loaner Odessa from Silencer Shop was from the first production run where Dead Air actually expected people to RTFM and torque the baffles to spec. Ha!
Thankfully (and click on that photo above to expand it, if you’d like), Dead Air Silencers came to their senses, realized that only Dan Zimmerman reads owners manuals (thanks for the relevant photos, Dan!), and simplified the process. Drastically.
Each baffle is laser engraved with a number, and the booster housing with a dot. Line ’em all up and you’re good to go. Easy!
Though not exactly fast or convenient. Lubing cleaning, cleaning lubing. Every range session? In threads? Oy. It was more fun before I read the manual.
Did I mention you can change the Odessa-9’s length? Seen above are the Odessa with four baffles, my CGS Group Kraken SK (review coming soon), the Odessa with seven baffles, the Odessa with 11 baffles, and my Liberty Suppressors Cosmic.
Not to be overlooked: the Odessa-9 with zero baffles. End cap on booster housing. How cool is this for the nightstand? Heck, you could carry it concealed! But…it’s a no-no without ear pro.
A minimum of four baffles are mandatory — at least when shot dry — to bring sound levels down below that magic 140 dB “hearing safe” level. And even then, it’s only hearing safe with Freedom Munitions 165 grain HUSH ammo. With standard subsonic ammunition you’ll likely need six baffles to dip under 140 dB.
Here’s some more granular data from Dead Air’s Instagram feed (follow TTAG’s Instagram, while you’re at it!). As you can see, the recommended seven-baffle configuration is hearing safe, with a safety margin, which means it’s probably safe with supersonic ammo, too. With 11 baffles it’s almost as quiet as my Cosmic or Mystic-X. With no baffles, it’s good for an approximately 8.5 dB sound level decrease.
Which is nothing to sneeze at. That’s almost enough to make the gunshot sound half as loud to the typical observer as it would have unsuppressed. It’s nearly a three-fold reduction in sound intensity. Not hearing safe per OSHA, but not nothin’.
Another trick up the Odessa-9’s baffle is its skinny diameter. A 1.1-inch OD is a smaller tube than the norm. Small enough, in fact, that standard-height pistol sights are able to “see over” the Odessa without issue. No replacing stock sights with extra-tall “suppressor sights” are needed here.
Though, personally, I think “needed” is a bit of a strong word for this problem, anyway. A typical pistol suppressor doesn’t actually obscure your view down typical pistol sights very much. Obviously it doesn’t obscure your view of the sights at all. Those you still line up as usual. It does block a little more of your downrange view, but while it may hurt bullseye shooting, it doesn’t much matter if your target is a zone instead of a point.
Then again, if you’ve just hit up Lone Wolf for an Alpha Wolf threaded barrel for your classic Browning Hi-Power 9mm pistol, maybe you don’t want to mess with the original sights. In this sort of case in particular, I get the appeal of the skinny can.
Or, how about on a PCC? The configurable Odessa-9 would look pretty awesome attached to a bull barrel. Plus, the longer the barrel the shorter the suppressor that’s needed to bring it down to sub-140 dB levels. I hope Dead Air does some testing here, because if, for instance, two baffles gets you hearing safe on a 16″ barrel length then that would be a sweet setup indeed.
Then again, Dead Air is highly focused on the Odessa’s place as a pistol can. It doesn’t ship with a fixed mount and, from what I’ve heard, there are no intentions of one coming from Dead Air. After all, they have the Wolf-9SD for PCC and subgun duty.
Plus the Odessa-9 gets hot, and hot fast. Aside from having to be a bit longer than normal to achieve a given level of suppression, a skinny suppressor tends to get hotter faster. Fine for nearly any pistol use, but a lot easier to overwhelm on a faster-shooting, higher-capacity rifle.
Out on the range, the tone of the Odessa-9 is fine. Maybe a little bit higher pitched than some of the fatter cans, but I found it acceptable and comfortable to the ears. With seven or more baffles it’s correctly described as a quiet or very quiet suppressor.
There was marginally more blowback than I’m used to, though. Whether the diameter or the baffle design or something else, I got more little flecks of debris to the face than with most other pistol cans. Experimenting with the shim-based booster spring adjustment seen above, it was effective at tuning slide speed to soften recoil impulse and smooth out the action, but this didn’t help with blowback on my particular setup.
I enjoyed shooting the Odessa with four baffles and HUSH subsonic ammo. That’s an extremely lightweight, compact setup that’s pretty close to ideal in my world.
But I don’t always want to shoot HUSH. For instance, when loaded up with self-defense ammo or plinking-grade gun food of higher availability and lower cost. In that case, baffles must be tacked on to maintain hearing-safe levels.
Many owners will likely find their personal sweet spot and cease tinkering with the Odessa’s modularity and length. While it isn’t complicated, it is somewhat tedious. Both the re-configuring process itself and the cleaning, lubing, and careful attention necessary to avoid cross-threading or over tightening.
For these reasons plus the fact that one can easily and accidentally configure the Odessa-9 into a non-hearing-safe format for a given ammo type, I don’t think it’s a great choice for the suppressor novice.
I also find questionable value in the narrow diameter. It fixes a “problem” that’s such a minor “problem” I feel the need to put it in air quotes, while introducing downsides of its own (longer length for a given suppression level, more rapid heating). For me, I’d be a bigger fan of the Odessa if it were a 1.5-inch OD can.
Ultimately, I like the Dead Air Odessa-9, but I’m not convinced. It’s a compromise that sacrifices perfect in any given category for pretty darn good in all categories. Possibly it’s the correct 9mm suppressor for the person who only wants to buy one and doesn’t want to or just can’t make that decision between smaller and louder or longer and quieter. Or the NFA owner who’s particularly concerned about sight picture with standard-height sights.
Despite the Odessa-9’s unique, transformer-like abilities, it really isn’t everything for everyone. If you can swing two silencers for your tax stamp money, you’ll find that there are more effective shorty suppressors (e.g. CGS Kraken SK or SilencerCo Omega 9k) and more effective full-size suppressors (e.g. Liberty Cosmic — crazy quiet on 9mm and rated for up to .458 SOCOM — or Dead Air Ghost-M or Rugged Obsidian).
Somehow in an attempt to make a universal silencer, I think Dead Air has actually created a new and limited niche.
Specifications: Dead Air Odessa-9
Length: 2.75″ to 8.6″
Material: 17-4 ph stainless steel
Finish: QPQ black nitride
Weight: from 5 ounces (end cap on booster housing) to 10.5 ounces (all 11 baffles)
Mounting Type: 1/2×28 piston included. Compatible with pistons from Rugged Suppressors, SilencerCo, and others.
MSRP: $899 (approximately $130 less via Silencer Shop)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Utility * * * * *
Fully modular construction provides 12 options for tweaking that size/length balance precisely to your personal sweet spot. Suppressor sights? Forget it. The narrow diameter means standard sights see right over the Odessa-9. Run this can with confidence on any host.
Suppression * * *
Due to the narrow diameter, the Odessa has to be configured longer than expected to achieve a given level of suppression. Many configurations are not hearing-safe under any circumstances, and two (four baffles and five baffles) are generally only sub-140 dB with Freedom Munitions’ HUSH ammo (use coupon code “TTAG” for 10% off anything from FM). In its full, 11-baffle configuration, however, the Odessa-9 is impressively quiet.
Overall * * *
I’m positive that this is a five-star suppressor for some buyers. For that little armory niche into which the Odessa-9 is the perfectly fitting holy grail, this is the can you’ve always been waiting for. For me, though, it compromises in ways I’d rather not in order to achieve benefits I don’t particularly value. It’s cool, but it isn’t my cup of tea.