Like Teddy, I can appreciate a big ol lever gun, complete with a suppressor. Plus, with up to 80 percent of American hunters not using ear pro in the field despite the fact that high-quality electric muffs and inserts can be had for under $100, suppressors are a legitimate safety tool.
In 1934, these simple gun mufflers went were unfairly criticized and then outrageously regulated by Congress under the National Firearms Act. At around the same time as the NFA was enacted, many states placed local bans on the legal possession and use of the devices, a punitive reaction based largely on misinformation. In short, people became irrationally afraid of something that was both inherently useful and misunderstood at the same time then got the government involved.
Meanwhile, in Europe, it is considered polite to be a gentleman hunter with a “sound moderator.”
Meanwhile, over on this side of the pond, in the past couple of decades, better education and advocacy have led to state after state repealing those old circa 1930s misguided restrictions. Today, the devices are legal for consumers to possess in at least 43 states and can be used by sportsmen in the field in most. Since 2011 alone, the American Suppressor Association points out that four states have legalized suppressor ownership and 18 have legalized hunting with the devices.
I guess a lesson is that the more things change, they can always change back.
In the late 1960s, Smith & Wesson started a project to provide Vietnam-deployed SEAL Teams with a modified S&W Model 39 9mm pistol that included a slide lock and threaded barrel for a suppressor as well as a 14+1 magazine capacity, a big jump from the Model 39’s standard 8+1 load.
The gun, intended for NSW use to silence sentries or their dogs, became dubbed the “Hush Puppy.”
Note the chest holster…Hush Puppy inside
Well, by 1971, Smith thought the basic model, sans suppressor-ready features, would make a good gun for LE and the consumer markets and introduced it as the more polished S&W Model 59, which soon saw some serious success in the hands of Disco-era police, including a regular appearance on cop shows of the era.
Kamas, Utah-based Dead Air has come in from the cold to bring a new user-configurable suppressor to the market that is thin enough to accommodate factory handgun sights. I give you, the Odessa 9:
That HK P7M13, though…
The 9mm suppressor uses a 1.1-inch tube to allow utilization of regular sights, rather than force the user to go without or install high-profile aftermarket sights or optics, and can be adjusted baffle-by-baffle from pill bottle size to a full-length can.
The number of National Firearm Act items saw a huge jump in the past year — including a 50 percent increase in suppressor registration and 39 percent bump in short-barreled rifles registered — according to new data released by federal regulators.
The report provides an overview of the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, which is the federal list of all items, such as suppressors, SBRs, short-barreled shotguns, destructive devices and any other weapons logged under the NFA as of April, and updates figures released in February 2016.
In the 14-month period between reports, the total number of NFA items of all kinds has climbed to 5,203,489 — an overall increase of more than 800,000 items.
While the numbers of AOW’s, machine guns and SBSs all saw negligible increases, the biggest jumps in the 14-month interlude came in the numbers of registered SBRs and suppressors.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has split its National Firearms Act branch into a separate division in hopes of providing more oversight and efficiency.
The new NFA Division will consist of an Industry Processing Branch, focusing on processing forms from the private sector, and a Government Support Branch centered on law enforcement.
The IPB will see the regulatory body dedicate an entire branch to handling the processing of consumer-directed documents including Form 1 and Form 4 applications for the making and transfer of NFA items such as suppressors, and short-barreled rifles and shotguns.
But what does this mean? I talked to the experts to find out…
Exotic Swiss arms maker Brügger & Thomet is probably best known for their MP9 series firearms, but have you “heard” of their VP9?
The manually-operated VP9 (veterinary pistol, 9mm) is meant for humane euthanasia by large animal vets in the field and has an integrated suppressor that they bill as the “most quiet pistol in this calibre on the market.”
With a five-shot magazine, it only has two moving parts and at 11.25-inches overall length with its largest can, is about the size of an M1911, though is much quieter. Like classic Welrod (a British WWII design it favors that also used internal wipes) quiet. It sucks that rubber wipes are considered by ATF to be “silencer parts” over here, which makes it rough for U.S. suppressor makers to come up with comparable designs as its impractical to repack these old-school cans on a regular basis.
In the above video by 5.11, they visit B&T AG and talk with Reto Flutsch (that name, tho) and go loud quiet with a VP9.
For more on it’s grandpa, check out the video from Ian with Forgotten Weapons, below.
When you cut a “stuck” suppressor in half, you shouldn’t be able to read the solid carbon build up layers like the rings on a tree. Yikes.
Carrollton, Texas’ TPM Outfitters took to social media with a cautionary tale of what not to do when it comes to firearm suppressor maintenance.
TPM specializes in Heckler and Koch products and they were recently sent some demo factory HK MP5SDs– you know, the neat little room broom that comes integrally suppressed– that were having some issues. The problem was two-fold: that the suppressors were “stuck” to the gun and couldn’t be removed and that they just weren’t working anymore.
Turns out there was a reason for that.
“They obviously did not try to take off the suppressors and were seized to the barrels, this is why it is so critical that the suppressors come off every 250-500 rounds to clean the barrel and ports of built up carbon,” notes TPM. “The suppressors were solid carbon all the way to the end cap inside.”
Whelp, back from the annual gathering of the gun tribes in Las Vegas. Saw some interesting things. Did some interesting things. I think the biggest stories, besides the new SIG M17, is was the Hudson H9 and the SilencerCo Maxim 9.
Prefaced by a quiet build up over the past few weeks via social media, the H9 melds a full-sized 9mm semi-auto to a striker-fired pistol with a crisp 1911 trigger that has a .115-inch travel. But the innovative handgun with its cyberpunk panache didn’t just hatch fully formed from an egg last month.
Then there is the Maxim. The pistol, a 9mm that accepts double-stack Glock 17 magazines, can be arranged in either a short or a long configuration– both of which are suppressed. The difference in length between the two options is about an inch, with the full-size configuration measuring 10.75-inches overall and the abbreviated one taping out at 9.54-inches, which is about an inch longer than a standard 1911. Weight varies between 37-39 ounces.
The term “gun buyback” is kind of a misnomer as it implies that the people purchasing said unwanted firearms “off the streets” owned them in the first place. Nonetheless, they sometimes turn up interesting items for which those involved pay a song. In recent years this has included a revolver stolen from Teddy Roosevelt and a vintage museum-quality StG44, both of which were saved from the torch.
Well, speaking of odd catches at buybacks, the Marin County District Attorney’s Office hosted one earlier this month which was covered by the local paper and I picked up at Guns.com. Why would I pick up such a normally pedestrian news story?
Because they garnered a cherry HK MP5 with a side-folding factory marked stock and four-positon ambi Navy fire control pack lower, as well as a host of mags and a couple of suppressors for $200. At the very least it is a SP89 conversion Sterling VA marked H&K with nice laser on the front.
As California frowns on suppressor ownership altogether for civilians and you have to get special permission from DOJ besides your regular NFA hoops for full-autos, the MP5 combo likely came in from out of state, was illegal (say it ain’t possible), a prop house gun, or is a Post-86 dealer sample or LE gun. In any of these cases, there are likely some questions.
Gemtech’s own Alexander Crown did a quiet little rundown (see what we did there) on their old school “Pill Bottle” .22 suppressor.
Back in the sweet old days of Mitch WerBell’s Sionics, the British Welrod of WWII and the Navy’s Mk 22 Hush Puppy of Vietnam, most suppressors worked by using internal wipes out of leather or some other material (except notably for the De Lisle Carbine which had 13 rigid baffles made of Duralumin). A few years ago many suppressor companies advertised their wares as “wipeless” but it’s gotten to the point to where almost everything is these days, so you don’t even see the term anymore.
The tiny Pill Bottle is such a device, using a ¼” rubber wipe with a lifespan of about 50 rounds or so.
For those of you not familiar with wipe technology, it is essentially some sort of pliable material that a bullet can pass through but gasses can’t. In the very early days of silencers, these could have been made of leather, cotton, or usually plastic/rubber. These wipes have a limited life span and have to be replaced periodically as they wear out, and this poses a problem in our modern day since the BATFE considers them silencer parts. Manufacturers cannot simply ship them to your door, although they can be made by the user. Just not in surplus.
So how big was the Pill Bottle? Try 1.25 inches long and weighing just one (1) ounce.
Do yourself a favor and read Crown’s write up, it’s a good look behind the curtain. Makes me want to get my Beretta M21 threaded.