.22lr Pistol Cans

Contents are Copyright 2005 by Robert Silvers and may not be reproduced without permission.



A selection of .22lr pistol cans.



Note about this site: When you see '(wave data)' you can download a large 32 bit-per-sample, 96,000 samples-per-second data file. While this file will play as audio, it is not meant to be listened to as the dynamic range is excessive. Almost no one will want to download this file. The file is made available for download for those 0.01 percent of people that have the desire and ability to verify the results. In each data file is a 126.0 dB SPL tone followed by the 10 gun shots. This can be used to analyze the sound levels as well as the spectrogram. I have provided spectrograms of the first shot of each silencer. You are seeing the 'first round pop' shot in this graph. The graph is of RMS power divided into 24 bands per octave. RMS power is the power integrated over time and is more like an average than a peak. Peak-hold, however, was on to show the peak RMS within each band. When you see '(shot data)' you can download an XLS spreadsheet which shows the dBu values I am basing my results on. Once again, this is something almost no one will want to download, but is there for those that want to check the results. Be warned about clicking on these links as some of them are over 50MB in size. Also remember I use linear dB SPL to mirror perception, not the mil-spec 'A' weighing designed to map to potential for hearing damage.


Spectrogram of unsuppressed P22, RMS power.


This is a test of ten different .22 pistol cans from five different manufacturers. What is interesting is how human perception differs from the numbers. During the evaluation I did not just record what the meter said, but also shot them side by side on two different Walther P22 (wav data) pistols using CCI standard ammo, and asked people to vote on which was quietest. Sometimes the panel of people would blurt out the same answer and other times they would disagree. Rating sound by ear is difficult to say the least, and that is why we have test equipment -- because it is very objective. Test equipment, however, cannot say which sound is more pleasing. Humans tend to prefer a low-frequency 'thump' while the sound-level meter does not care. This is why I am also doing spectrograms -- to give a feeling for how the sound distributed by audio band. While low frequencies might be pleasing to the shooter, they do carry better over distance, hence why whales can communicate across the ocean and fog-horns use low tones. Which 'signature' is best depends on what your goal is -- pleasant shooting or least detectability at distance.


Here is the chart with the results.

SRT Arms


Odessa on P22

Odessa   Cheyenne   Apache   Cheyenne XL

SRT has a full line of .22 silencers. The smallest is the Odessa (wav data, shot data), at just 3.93 inches long. The next step up in size is the Cheyenne (wav data, shot data), then the Apache (wav data, shot data), and finally the Cheyenne XL (wav data, shot data). My favorite of these was the Apache because of the beautiful stainless steel. Yes, it weighed more, but I did not feel that was of any consequence and rather liked the solid heft. My tests showed that all of the longer cans had similar performance -- perhaps closer than expected from their difference in length. There was a difference in first-round pop, but that reading should not be taken too seriously without further verification because there is no way to average the first shot except perhaps to fire a 'first' shot 10 times -- which can be done given enough time. The Odessa, the smallest of the bunch, was louder than the others but would be perfect for a tiny pocket pistol and was still under 126 dB SPL. Its efficiency -- something I compute from net dB per cubic-inch, was the highest of any can tested in this session.




Outback II

Outback II spectral data


Gemtech is a pioneer in the silencer world and has a rather complete silencer line. You can tell they have a fondness for .22 cans because The Outback II, built on a history of nice cans like the Outback and Vortex, is just right. The Outback II (wav data, shot data) was the lightest can tested in this session, and was one of the quietest with about 40db sound reduction. If there ever was an 'industry standard' .22 silencer that can be used as a benchmark for comparison, this would be it.




Pilot spectral data


AAC does a lot of things right -- more like a consumer product company than a gun accessory company. They have complete instruction manuals and nice packaging (tubular). Their product line is full of choices, and everything I have shot from them so far works very well and is very well made. The Pilot (wav data, shot data) is no exception.  It has a stainless-steel back which some believe is important because the threads might last longer, but you gain some weight in the process. Performance of this can was excellent -- over 40dB reduction.

Tactical Innovations



Tac67   Tac65   Tac52


Tactical Innovations cans have a terrific feature -- you can take them apart. While I hear that it is not important to clean cans, and in fact, this is said to lower their performance, I just love that I could if I wanted to. I also love looking at silencer parts, and consider it a plus that you can play with the innards like a puzzle. These cans are a good value -- they work well, they look great, and the price is low. I am actually charmed by the shrink-wrap packaging and dream of racks of silencers at the check-out line of a department store.

My ears, as well as the ears of witnesses, told me that these cans were every bit as quiet as the others -- even in side-by-side shooting. The meter shows a few dB less reduction, but that was not apparent to us during use. The Tac67 (wav data, shot data) is hefty and rated for full auto, making it a great .22 can to have if you will share it with many firearms. While the tests showed that the first-round pop was greatest for this can, that number is not an average and therefore is not as reliable as the other numbers, which are 10 shot averages. The Tac65 (wav data, shot data) was the best performing and the lowest price. Here is an image of the Tac65 baffles. With the Tac52 (wav data, shot data) you benefit from less length and weight and maintain most of the performance.




Warlock spectral data


The Warlock (wav data, shot data) tested best today. It had the highest dB reduction, and the lowest first-round pop. SWR gets this performance by adding an extra baffle to the already quiet Omega .22. This silencer has an aluminum body, aluminum baffles, and a stainless steel back cap.

Tac67 compared to Warlock

In life and in the silencer world there are winners and losers, but not in this test. Generally cans that had less sound reduction had some other asset -- lighter weight, shorter length, or lower price. The heaviest cans, for example, tended to be made from steel and rated for full auto fire so weight was a decision, not a downside. Pick them by carefully studying the tradeoffs in the results chart, as well as by dealer support, customer service, mounting method, etc. Please discuss amongst yourselves in the forum, and thank you to the manufacturers that participated in this premiere test of silencertests.com.

If anyone is ambitious, they can overlay the unsuppressed graph with the suppressed ones, and see what is 'removed.'


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