I recently had a chance to get a bit of hands-on time with a rare new piece of equipment. The 45 Osprey is a fairly new offering from Silencerco and not too many people have ‘em yet. Lucky for me, I’ve got friends in the business
Before we go any further, let’s go over just a few details. Many people (even in states like Nevada and Arizona) think that silencers are illegal. They think that unless you’re military or law enforcement that these devices are forbidden under federal law. Nothing could be further from the truth. If silencers are illegal in the United States, it’s state law that makes them so. Many more states allow for private ownership than don’t. AL, AR, AK, AZ, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, and WY have no problem with civilian ownership.
Yep, I was back down at Infinite Arms / New Frontier Armory They just got their first Osprey in and I had the opportunity to get some time with it hands-on. Unfortunately, this one is already sold so we couldn’t do any live fire with it. If I know the group of gun guys I hang out with, someone will buy an Osprey and I’ll have a chance to see how quiet it is in person. The 45 Osprey is the first .45 ACP suppressor which is hearing safe without using some sort of ablative media like water or grease. Shooting a suppressor “wet” means using water, grease, or another substance in the can and brings the noise level down quite a bit by cooling the gases which causes them to contract. Silencers act like mufflers and slow their escape so lower volume means slower escape and less noise out the front.
Because the Osprey attaches to the muzzle of a weapon instead of being an integral part of the barrel or firearm, it can be used on anything with a threaded barrel. The Glock above doesn’t have a threaded barrel so we had to pose the pieces together on the counter top. I would love to own this system – you can’t ask for a better pistol than a Glock, the magazine holds 28 rounds, .45 caliber is a hard-hitting round, and the 45 Osprey makes for a very pleasant and quiet way to enjoy it all
I don’t know about you, but that Silencerco logo is one of the best I’ve seen
As you might have noticed, the Osprey is a bit different than your average suppressor. It’s rectangular and “eccentric” which means the path of the bullet through it isn’t down the center. This gives the Osprey more internal volume which contributes to its quiet nature. There are other eccentric silencers out there, but Silencerco chose to go with a slab-sided appearance rather than a conventional round shape for a couple of reasons. Aside from making the Osprey look like an extension of most of the likely host weapons, it also adds to the ability of the host and suppressor to be holstered. Silencers are cool, but sometimes you need your hands free and that’s where a holster shines
One of the problems you run into with eccentric suppressors is that of “indexing” the suppressor to the firearm. You can’t know exactly which way the suppressor will be oriented in relation to a firearm when you first thread it onto a gun. The Osprey uses a lever and brake on the lower rear of the unit to deal with this issue, but more about that later
When using a suppressor with a locked breach pistol, you often need to use a “recoil booster” or “Nielsen device” to ensure proper cycling. When a locked breach handgun is fired, the barrel moves back with the slide for a short distance before the slide disengages from it and continues on its way back. The motion of the slide is controlled by the rearward force generated by the firing of the cartridge and the forward force of the spring which returns the slide to battery at the end of the cycle. Adding a silencer, even one as light as an Osprey, can throw the balance of forces off and cause the gun to fail to run correctly. The added weight of the suppressor keeps the barrel from moving back with as much momentum as it would normally have.
A Nielsen device uses a couple of concentric sliding cylinders and a spring to get around this. When the round is fired, the barrel and slide begin to move back and the dead weight of the suppressor is isolated by the sliding of the cylinders inside one another before the spring returns them to their resting positions. The Silencerco version of the Nielsen device is modular so you can take it apart to clean it or to replace the part that threads onto the gun’s muzzle with one for a smaller caliber. Buy a 45 Osprey and you can use it with a .40 S&W or 9mm with the correct adapter. It’s best to use a dedicated suppressor for each caliber, but they’re not cheap and there’s that federal transfer tax to deal with. A 45 Osprey is still pretty darn quiet with those other rounds.
Here’s the back end of the Osprey with the Nielsen device removed. You can see the threads where the Nielsen device attaches to the suppressor as well as the cam lever indexing system. The indexing brake has teeth cut into it like a gear (see the area circled in red above) which engage teeth on the Nielsen device to ensure that once the suppressor has been indexed to the firearm it doesn’t move.
For those people out there who haven’t read my previous post about the Silencerco Sparrow, one of the most important concerns for a civilian owner of a suppressor is preventing damage to the serial numbered part. As I said earlier, there’s nothing in Federal law preventing a civilian from owning a silencer but that doesn’t mean the Feds don’t have anything to do with it.
As part of the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA – not to be confused with New Frontier Armory ), silencers are regulated by the Federal government along with short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, machine guns, and “Any Other Weapons” (AOWs) like disguised guns and smooth bore pistols. It takes a bit of paperwork, a federal background check, and payment of a $200 transfer tax upon the transfer of ownership. The only other consideration of owning and using NFA items is that you have to get permission from the Feds before you cross state lines with them. Other than that, they’re just like any other gun.
The upshot of this is that the only part that has paperwork and a $200 transfer tax associated with it is the serial numbered part. By law, this is considered to be the firearm or in this case the suppressor. Damage to any other part merely means replacing that part. Damaging the serial numbered part usually means replacing that part and even if it’s covered under warranty, the owner is on the hook for another $200 transfer tax. Designing a silencer with an eye towards preventing this is rather important as you can imagine.
Joshua Waldron is the CEO of Silencerco. After corresponding with him for a while now, I have to say that he’s one of the most responsive, approachable, and friendly executives I’ve had the chance to deal with It’s only because of his generosity that I have the picture above and for that I’m very thankful Because this is not a user serviceable unit, I couldn’t disassemble the unit at Infinite Arms for pictures. Joshua was kind enough to take the time and make the effort to take this picture and provide it to me for this post and for my readers. That’s what I call service
The Sparrow is designed to be fully user serviceable for a reason. As I noted before, you not only get buildup from burned gunpowder in a rimfire suppressor, you also get lead buildup because rimfire ammo is not jacketed. With non-jacketed ammunition, you get a mist of molten lead from the muzzle when you fire the gun. That lead solidifies on the internal components of the suppressor causing a loss of internal volume and sound reduction. If you can’t take a rimfire suppressor apart to clean it yourself, you have to send it back to the manufacturer every few thousand rounds to have them do it for you. You’ll pay for it every time and you’ll also have to do some paperwork with the BATFE.
Centerfire suppressors don’t have that problem for the most part because they fire jacketed ammunition. Because the copper jacket on the bullet isn’t molten when it leaves the barrel, all you get is some residue from the burned gunpowder. That means you don’t have to make them user serviceable which means that they’re not as complicated You should never have to send your Osprey back to Silencerco for work under their lifetime warranty as long as you use it as it was intended.
Going from left to right in the picture we have the parts are the Nielsen device, the rear end cap, the outer tube, and the monolithic baffle stack with its Nielsen device interface and front end cap. Click here for a picture I’ve edited to label each of the parts
The design of the Osprey incorporates several key design features. We’ll start with the Nielsen device. Three component parts make up the Nielsen device – the piston, the spring, and the spring retainer / indexing ring. The piston is caliber and thread specific – it’s the only part of the Osprey system that needs to be changed out when changing to a smaller caliber firearm or a different thread pattern. The spring retainer / indexing ring attaches to the piston to retain the spring and it’s the part that the indexing brake engages to properly index the Osprey to the host. It’s also the part that threads into the Nielsen device interface at the rear of the baffle stack and physically attaches the Nielsen device (and therefore the piston which is threaded to the barrel) to the host firearm.
The rear end cap houses the indexing cam and brake and is only connected to one other part of the unit – the outer tube. There are no threads on it, so it can’t be galled or cross-threaded. There are no baffles connected to it so it can’t be damaged by a baffle strike. It’s one piece of metal so there are no joints to crack or break. That’s good engineering in my book!
The Nielsen device interface is the round part at the end of the baffle stack. The primary blast baffle is in the front of this part and it’s made of 17-4 heat treated steel. The primary blast baffle is steel instead of aluminum for strength and durability – Silencerco doesn’t skimp on anything and everything is done for a reason.
Moving on to the monolithic (one piece) baffle stack, the design of the modified slant baffles was meant to increase the stability of the bullet as it passes through the suppressor. An increase in bullet stability reduces the possibility of a baffle strike (a bullet hitting a baffle which is highly undesirable) while minimizing the shift in the point of impact in relation to the point of aim that comes with using most silencers. Not all of the baffles are modified slant baffles – the first baffle in the stack is a secondary blast baffle with a similar shape to the baffles in the Sparrow (Silencerco’s rimfire suppressor) to further maximize bullet stability.
If anything isn’t clear in how I’ve described everything, please either email me or contact Silencerco and we’ll be glad to help you
We’ve already talked about the advantages of the overall shape of the suppressor, but we haven’t talked about the materials. The majority of the Osprey is aluminum which is why it’s so light. At 11.1 ounces, it’s very light and I didn’t find it uncomfortable in the least while gripping the FNP-45 with it attached.
Folks, I’m not an expert and I know that there are other great designs out there. I like Silencerco because they’re a small business with good, innovative ideas and who are making the best product they know how. They focus on dry suppression so you don’t have to worry about whether or not you have water, oil or another ablative medium. They’re affordable as silencers go and they come with a lifetime warranty. It also helps that they’re so approachable, supportive, and responsive 8) I can’t thank Joshua enough for the support he’s given me. Of course, I also have to thank Infinite Arms for opportunities like this one It also doesn’t hurt to have a $100 bill to use as a size reference in the pics
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