Modern Firearm Silencers

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Muzzle Baffle Suppressor

This unusual two-stage suppressor was designed for the U.S. Navy, reportedly for either the Ml6 or the CAR weapons carried by SEALs. It was tapered and closed with the chambers and a single internal baffle. No test data were available at the time of filing in 1969.

Homemade Firearm Suppressors
The longer Martini with homebuilt suppressor (top); an AR10 with another homemade suppressor (bottom). Both units tested excellently.

traps. All the In grams, all the suppressor parts, all the machines that produced them, the ancillary equipment, the building, the parking lot-every-thing was sold. R. P. B. is no more, a victim of the economy, ATF harassment, and internal squabbling. The tooling and equipment was scattered all over the country as individuals bought various lots at the auction. It's certain that no one company will ever produce the weapons on an exclusive basis again.

According to some sources in suppressordom. at least one of the R. F. P. principals later surfaced as S.W.D., Inc., a survival-oriented gun supply shop in Atlanta. First advertising in 1983, they used both the Ingram and Cobray trademarks/logos in their ads, exclaiming that they believe in "survival of a quality product in great demand; the Ingram/ Sionics type sound suppressor" parts sets.

Their introductory offer for internal suppressor parts was seventy-five dollars which did not include the outer tube. In addition, they advertised all parts for various Ingram weapons, plus registered conversions of many popular semiautomatics to

Sionics Suppressor Parts

Closeup of the suppressor on Callahan's CAR. Note ATF serial.

Weapon Silencers
Martin Callahan with a suppressor-equipped CAR.

Closeup of the suppressor on Callahan's CAR. Note ATF serial.

fully auto versions.

While terminal problems slowly strangled R. P. B.. a successor was doing his incorporation homework. Shortly into 1982, Robert Miller began to publicize his Frankford Arsenal in Ft. Lauderdale, obviously trading on the name of the defunct federal facility in Philadelphia. In addition to his regular automatic weapons products, Miller had an interesting suppressor design for both submachine gun and rifle. According to Miller, his suppressor would be of the sealed type favored by Maxim.

"This design would be nonrebuildable, as the various styles of baffles would be welded together in a jig and then permanently sealed in the completed suppressor. No cleaning would be necessary, and there would be no need for a replaceable end wipe assembly," Miller notes.

In addition, he is manufacturing the standard Sionic-type suppressor, but claims a better performance than the original. He adds, "We have been able to achieve a lower decibel drop. I attribute this to holding closer tolerances on all machined and bearing surfaces, then simply taking time to see the work is done properly."

Miller's personal background also explains his philosophy. He says, "I come from a tool and die background, where far superior skills are required. We take great pride in our work here, and don't worry so much about making a million bucks. Our satisfaction comes from our finished product."

There were others. In 1980, Ground Defence International carried an announcement of a new Swedish suppressor system known as Inter-dynamic. The system consisted of a silencer and subsonic cartridge in 5.56mm. According to Inter-dynamic product literature, the system is designed for low-cost use in clandestine military and police operations.

The company modified the interior ballistics of the standard 5.56mm round, then altered its aerodynamic properties. The suppressor is what the product literature calls "a refinement of the well-proven Maxim multiple baffle type." With this combination of Interdynamic suppressor and subsonic ammunition, semiautomatic weapons must be manually operated, which is really not a disadvantage in most operations where quiet is vital. Interdynamic markets the system in the U.S. through an office in Florida.

Various companies have loaded and sold sub sonic and other specially manufactured ammunition for silenced weapons. Probably the most proficient and top-quality work was done by Lee Juras with his late Super Vel Company. Occasionally, one sees ads for this type of ammunition in Shotgun News, plus the military orders small runs from its contractors. However, late in 1982, Pacific International Merchandising Corporation of Sacramento, California began marketing subsonic 9mm ammunition specifically for suppressed weapons. They advertised "positive functioning in silenced semiauto and full auto weapons. New, West German manufacture." The price was S265 per 1,000 rounds.

Australia has always been a busy silencer country and thanks to the help of R. K. Thomas, a Canadian who recently visited that country, I can offer some new information. Despite many of the other freedoms in Australia, silencers are not freely allowed. According to Thomas, ownership of silencers in most Australian states is illegal, while in others, possession is legal as long as the unit is not attached to a firearm.

However, he also related that experimentation and use of silencers there is ongoing. In one letter, Thomas notes, "They were experimenting with silenced Mauser in .30/06 and a Martini in .357. The Mauser silencer is physically unwieldy but it does reduce the sound to that of a high velocity .22 rimfire. The Martini is much better at .38 and not too much louder in .357. Both would be excellent with subsonic ammunition."

The design of the Martini silencer is quite simple, according to Thomas. It consists of a very large expansion chamber utilizing baffle discs spacers which then form smaller chambers. The end cap is metallurgically designed to reflect the gases backward. Thomas notes that the designers told him that the splendid efficiency is due to the initial gas expansion chamber being matched to the barrel in terms of volume release.

Another unit Thomas saw was a Colt Woodsman in .22. It took an original, sealed suppressor, as well as a commercial Goldspot unit. Thomas also passes along the information that in 1982, the Australian version of their Special Forces/SAS/Com-mandoes adopted the HK MP5 and the silenced MP5SD submachine guns as standard weapons.

Another Australian inventor, Guy Fawkes, designed his own .223 design, then redesigned a Sionics tube for his Ml6. He also has done an

Photos Mitch Werbell
Master suppressor king Mitch WerBell in the field, Southeast Asia, 1968 (two views).

excellent job with an original suppressor for the .45 Ml911 At, using a newly developed integral barrel bushing and muzzle adapter worked up from an Ingram M10 unit.

All units work very well. R. K. Thomas, who tested Fawkes' .223, reports, "The (.223) design uses convergent-divergent flow passages with expansion chambers and a separate barrel sleeve system." v—v

One of the more tantalizing stories generated by my earlier volumes came from Adam Dinter-fass, who is researching various elite military units. He told me about a California company known as the "Subsonic Research Lab," which took ChiCom SKS rifles recovered in Vietnam and converted them for clandestine missions by CIA and Special Forces personnel in the 1960s and 1970s. The conversions included new barrels which were ported and designed for integrated silencer units.

By the way, Americans were not the initial users of suppressor-equipped weapons against the

Communists in Vietnam. Discussing the tactical use of silencers during the 1950s Indochina wars, Robert Elford's narrator commented in Devil's Guard about the use of snipers with silenced weapons providing route security during missions into indigenous territory, as follows:

We selected our few but trusted guides. They had been truly loyal to us and we respected them highly. If we passed by some rice paddies, for instance, where a few dozen peasants were at work, Eisner would give the word: "Abwehnnannschaft abtreten!" and six of our sharpshooters would quietly drop into the roadside underbrush, carrying telescopic rifles with silencers attached—a formidable weapon against guerrillas. The column would march on as though nothing had happened. Sometimes, and as soon as the army was out of sight, some peasants would turn into armed

Super Vel Subsonic 9mm
In the old MAC plant. Marietta, Georgia, in 1972, a final assembly line photo of the Ingram SMG.
Old Firearms Silencers
View of ported and threaded Woodsman barrel with suppressor removed.
Colt Woodsman Trapping

In the field with Mitch WerBell in 1968, demonstrating Sionac suppressors with the M16A1 in Southeast Asia.

U.S. Troopers on patrol, one of whom has an M14 with a Starlight scope and Sionics suppressor, prepare to move out east of the Cambodian/Vietnamese border. These men are with the 25th Infantry Division.

70s British Sas With M16 M203 Mitch Werbell Ingram Mac

The Canadian R. K. Thomas tested this silenced Martini rifle in .357 and found it an excellent unit. The suppressor is an integral model.

terrorists, taking off after the column head over heels. Our sharpshooters would drop them before they reached the jungle.

It was also one of our tricks to pass a Viet Minh-controlled village without bothering a soul. The column would vanish into the hills, except for the sharpshooters, who would drop back to cover every exit. In ninety percent of all cases, Viet Minh messengers or even groups of guerrillas would emerge from the village and depart in a hurry. The silencer-equipped guns were excellent for dropping them quickly and quietly. Indeed, our marksmen were capable of hitting a dozen terrorists within a few seconds, starting invariably with the last man in a line or group. Erich Schulze had once eliminated five running guerrillas, repeating aloud, "Mitte-mitte-mitte-mitte-mitte"-"Center-center . .pulling the trigger at each word which corresponded with one shot per second. We had used the same ruse in occupied Russia and invariably it worked.

Even though the American forces are in very low profile in Asia these days, our weapons are not. The Nationalist Chinese Marines, part of the elite Amphibious Reconnaissance Patrol (ARP) Regiment, use silenced weapons on some of their special missions. Their standard weapon is the Ingram M10 with suppressor. You know, with as many units, countries and organizations as there seem to be credited with using the silenced In-grams, one wonders why someone hasn't managed at least a modest fortune from that weapon. In law enforcement sales alone, both domestic and import. I'd figure financial success for the Ingram, despite lack of quality during some of the manufacturing eras.

While the basic requirements for military suppressors are both obvious and documented in great detail, the law enforcement field is another arena where the reduction of firearms noise has many benefits.

For years, police viewed silencers as the tools of spies, assassins or those likely to shoot their own mothers in the back. Today's law enforcement thinking, though, seems to be strongly prosup-

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