SilencerCo’s Maxim 50 suppressed muzzleloader caused a hoot on the internet. A gun with a silencer that doesn’t require ANY paperwork? One that can be MAILED to a buyer’s house, WITHOUT A BACKGROUND CHECK? Yup, pretty much. CNN reports that the Maxim 50 has the ATF’s blessing . .
Quoted: Silencers are subject to federal gun control laws that are more restrictive than for most guns. They are treated like machine guns, requiring a more intensive background check that takes months to process, with a $200 tax.
But muzzleloaders are not subject to federal gun control laws because they use antiquated firing mechanisms without modern ammunition, said Max Kingery, chief of the Firearms and Ammunition Technology Criminal Branch of the ATF. “Thus, there would be no federal restriction on the sale or distribution of this item,” he said.
SilencerCo provided CNNMoney with a letter from the ATF that greenlights the Maxim 50, saying that their silencer is not considered a silencer because it’s permanently attached to the muzzleloader, which is not considered a gun. End of Quote..
Nope. A muzzleloader is a ham sandwich. Wait. Then that means the FDA would get involved.
Anyway, California, Massachusetts and New Jersey balked at “allowing” sales of the Maxim 50, forcing the company to suspend sales in those states.
That’s what was stated from SilencerCo. Before trotting out the obligatory Brady Campaign kvetch, CNN cast some doubt on CA, MA and NJ’s anti-ballistic blowback:
“A company spokesperson was unable to specify who the claims were from. CNN reached out to the attorneys general for the three states. Massachusetts said it didn’t file any claims and New Jersey and California did not respond to CNN’s inquiry.”
Well, if they didn’t take action against Americans exercising their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear a silencer-equipped muzzleloader, that would be news. Be on the look out in the future.
If you’re into Glocks and suppressors, especially Silencerco Osprey you can’t miss this one. This Glock lover is sporting dual handguns, in the left hand is a Glock17 (9mm) and a Gen4 FDE Glock21 45ACP in the right hand. Watch as he unloads both with high capacity magazines in dual quiet gangster fashion. Its amazing to see and hear the majority of gun noise are coming from others blasting away.
[su_heading size=”30″]Did you hear that?[/su_heading]
For those that have not the privilege to shoot a suppressed firearm. Some of our readers wanted to know if there is much differences in the actual sound of suppressed versus what you hear in the movies.
Mythbusters steps up to the plate to test this out. The following is from one of their series Episode: “Blow Your Own Sail”. In this video they lightly touch on-the-how a silencer work to decrease the sound. Eventually, getting into the nitty gritty of testing the sound of unsuppressed vs suppressed. The results are.
For the suppressor owners, you already know its a huge differences. When suppressed its safe to say the sound was from “dangerous to your hearing to safe”. As for the suppressed silencer that you hear in the movies, well with a little bit of sound effects, it just makes it sound cooler.
There are other benefits to the silencer gun, such as:
The extra weight reduces both muzzle lift and the recoil
Reduce the sound and the concussion– the blast of the bullet
Reduces the muzzle flash to zero
All of these benefits makes the silencer a safer gun to play with.
Narrator: The next classic Hollywood sound effect to get the Mythbusters treatment is the gun silencer. And down at the South San Francisco Police Department shooting range, the boys mean business. Cue Myers Sound Senior Audio Scientist, Doctor Roger Schwenke. With several previous appearances on the show, he gets the much sought-after title of Honorary Mythbuster. And today, he’s brought along his labratory-grade recording and analysis equipment.
Jaime: We wanna see whether these things actually make the same sounds in real life that they do in the movies. Or do they make any sound at all? How do these silencers work? Well, they’re kinda like mufflers on cars. They’ve got a series of baffles in them that sort of slow down and re-direct the gasses that’re passing through, and absorb a lot of the energy in the sound.
Narrator: That’s how silencers silence, but outside a movie theater, what exactly are they used for?
Adam: Look, we would be remiss if we didn’t explain that this is not an assassin’s tool. Actually, military and law enforcement love suppressors for four main reasons. The extra weight out at the front of the gun actually reduces both muzzle lift and the recoil of the gun, making it easier to aim and stay on target. It does actually reduce the sound and the concussion– the blast of the bullet, and it also reduces the muzzle flash to zero; all of which makes this a safer and easier weapon to use.
Narrator: Right. Let’s get down to testing. First up, Adam and Jaime take aim at a baseline.
Adam: First, we are going to fire an unmodified pistol at the target.
Adam: Aaand three, two, one!
Adam: Then we’re going to put a silencer on that gun and shoot again at the target, and compare the silenced round sound to the original gun sound and to the movie sound effect of the silencer.
Adam: I’m holding a silenced pistol! It’s just as cool as you think it is.
Narrator: Now for the suppressor. Is the movie version anything like reality? Do silencers work as well in real life as they do on film?
Jaime: That’s nice!
Adam: That was pretty cool! That seemed a lot quieter than I thought it would!
Narrator: And Jaime’s nine-milimeter pistol is equally surprising.
Narrator: It’s an impressive improvement, but for analysis, let’s hear from our expert acoustician. First, decibels. A measure of the intensity of the sound pressure.
Roger: So, we go from a hundred-sixty-one and then suppressed we go down to 128.
Roger: That’s a big change. That goes from dangerous to your hearing to safe.
Narrator: But it’s not just the power, the texture and time signature of the sound is also altered.
Adam: Can we hear ’em?
Assistant: Here’s unsuppressed. [Sound]
Adam: Ok, now let’s hear suppressed. [Sound]
Jaime: Yeah, that tells the story.
Narrator: And it’s a story worth hearing again. A story with a surprise ending!
Adam: I swear I went into this one thinking it would be completely busted, I’m kinda blown away.
Narrator: But what about the all-important movie version? How does that stack up?
Adam: Can we hear the Hollywood sound?
[Pew!] [Adam laughs]
Adam: Dude, that is far out.
Narrator: Far out indeed, but although it’s not quite identical, the real-life suppressor does reduce the volume of the gunshot to Hollywood levels. And that’s enough to impress Adam. A lot.
Adam: One of the most common questions we get is ‘Are we surprised by the results that we come up with on the show’. Today? Monstrously surprised. I arrived at work this morning expecting that we would completely bust the myth that you could possibly suppress the sound of a bullet anywhere close to what the movies would lead you to believe, and I leave today being a convert to the idea. This thing’s totally plausible! The only reason I’m not calling it a ‘confirmed’, is instead of a ‘Pew, pew!’ sound like they do in the movies (I’m shooting my cameraman’s knees out, here) it’s more of a ‘PShEW, PShEW’ sound. But that is picking nits as far as I’m concerned! This is astonishing!
The AR platform is reliable, versatile, accurate and can be accessorized. Gotta love the AR, there are infinite amount of manufactures that caters to this market. You can trick out almost every section of your AR.
Here are 10 must-have AR accessories.
If you never shot with a suppressor, give it a shot (no pun intended).
If your state allows for suppressor use and ownership, this is one accessory worth a serious look. Suppressor to look at are: Silencerco, Yankee Hill Machine
Having a grip that feels comfortable can help improve your shooting and confidence. There is no shortage of great grips available and you can choose from an almost infinite array of styles.
You can find grips from Bravo Company, MagPul, Ergo Grips and many others.
Nowadays, its amazing you can buy custom triggers for the AR’s which is better than shooting the stock M4’s or M-16A1. Check out Timney and Rock River Arms.
It’s amazing that you can install your own ambidextrous charging handle, back in the old military days, that was unheard of. Or, if you’re into competition, you can custom for those as well.
Now with optics, there are tons to check out, but don’t be getting something for a sniper rifle. Because AR’s are not long range rifle used in hunting. One of the selling points of the AR platform is its ability to be highly accurate. To do that you need a great barrel, excellent trigger and an aiming system that can take advantage of those parts.
The Trijicon ACOG has proven to be one of the most durable and preferred optics in the AR game.
Ambidextrous Safety Selector
If you’re a southpaw, you know this is a must have.
Reaching around for the safety is more than a hassle, it’s a safety issue. Some ARs come with ambi safety setups. If yours doesn’t, adding one is simple.
You can’t own an AR without owning a custom stock. Well, you can. But why would you?
The stock is what makes your rifle “yours.” It fits you, suits you and custom options abound.
Blackhawk! offers a ton of options for custom stocks and installation is easy.
Part of having a reliable and accurate AR is to have a good barrel, not the one that comes with when you first bought your AR, those are junk.
Some of the benefits are: barrel can shave weight, improve performance and increase resale value.
Daniel Defense has a full line of barrels that have proven popular with serious AR shooters.
If your AR rigged for personal defense (and an AR does make for a great personal defense weapon), a tactical light is a great accessory.
Advance design of the rail system on the AR platform makes mounting lights a breeze and there’s no shortage of companies offering top-notch tactical lights that are rugged and made to survive the recoil of a firearm.
Owning an AR without changing uppers and lowers is sort of like owning a Ferrari and never driving it on the highway. Changing out the upper or lower receiver on an AR is a breeze due to it’s simple component replacement. Most receivers will work on any AR but buying an upper/lower pair from the same company will typically eliminate any issues in fit and finish.
Tell us about your favorite accessories on your AR below.
Source: Tony Hansen, Daniel Defense, Blackhawk, Troy Industries, Trijicon ACOG, Timney, Bravo Company, MagPul, Ergo Grips, SilencerCo
[su_heading size=”35″ align=”Center”]SilencerCo – The Doom Of Boom[/su_heading]
Story by Troy Taysom
[su_dropcap style=”light”]G[/su_dropcap]uns have been around in one form or another for 800 years. Much has changed, but the firearms industry cannot be accused of being on the leading edge of technology. The 1911 handgun is still widely used and adored, as is the AR-15. The 1911 by its name alone tells you that it has passed the century mark, and the AR-15 is more than 50 years old. These are just two examples of the antiquated technology employed by most firearms industry manufacturers; but not all of them.
What happens when a newcomer to the industry combines tradition with cutting-edge technology and 21st-century company culture? Magic. Welcome to the universe that Josh Waldron and Jonathon Shults have created in the Salt Lake Valley of Utah. Two less likely candidates to start a firearms company have never come together before.
(Right) Jonathon Shults, a sound engineer, and (left) Josh Waldron, a professional photographer, founded SilencerCo.
Waldron was a professional photographer by trade. He spent years on assignments for publications like Newsweek, Outdoor Life and Forbes. Feeling maxed out as a photographer, Waldron wanted to do something challenging, but fun. “If you’re going to work, do something that you love; otherwise, what’s the point of being on this earth?” Waldron said during our interview. He grew up in northern Utah County, Utah, where shooting sports are popular and places to shoot and hunt are abundant.
Shults, Waldron’s partner and lifelong friend, was a music producer and sound engineer before they joined forces to revolutionize the suppressor industry. He too, grew up in northern Utah County.
MANY EUROPEANS COUNTRIES ENCOURAGE THE USE OF SILENCERS SIMPLY TO FIGHT NOISE POLLUTION.
What brings two artists into the world of manufacturing and firearms? Customer service, or more accurately the lack thereof. Waldron told me, “Shults and I have always loved shooting and we started buying suppressors in our early twenties. We were often disappointed in the quality, as well as the customer service. It was horrible.” Not only did these two dislike poor customer service, they also felt that the suppressor industry was archaic and inept. The market was ripe for a revolution, and Waldron and Shults were poised to lead it.
BUILDING THE TEAM
Describing the diversity of SilencerCo’s team is much like describing the taste of sugar; one must experience it first hand in order to truly grasp the concept.
The team is an eclectic group: beards, tattoos, bright red hair and piercings are just a few of the things one will see when walking the floor. What is immediately apparent from the moment one steps into the workspace is excitement, fun and creativity. These are exactly the things that are generally lacking in a firearms manufacturing facility.
A mural inside the SilencerCo factory created by graffiti artist Gerry Swanson depicts the company’s Fight The Noise campaign. (TROY TAYSOM)
The team members come from across the country and all walks of life. While I visited their 72,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Salt Lake City, I met this group. Many are prior military representing all branches of service, but there are also ferriers, blacksmiths, graffiti artists, gun armorers, painters, photographers, graphic artists, videographers, editors and engineers. They do not fit any kind of traditional mold other than they love what they do and are creative thinkers. The SilencerCo atmosphere is more like a software firm than a firearms company. If you are looking for crusty old men talking about the good ol’ days, you’ve come to the wrong place.
Product director Willie Booras plays with Ellie the golden retriever. (SILENCERCO)
The director of product, Willie Booras, is a twenty-something with the most vibrant, almost iridescent, red hair I’ve ever seen. She (yes, she) is from a small town in Wyoming and studied industrial design at Georgia Tech before coming to Utah. She is a fun, smart, no-nonsense lady who gets things done. Not only does she oversee all of SilencerCo’s products from start to finish, she is also in charge of large-scale events, as well as branding and public relations. A testament to her abilities can be found in SilencerCo’s award for best booth at the 2015 SHOT Show.
SilencerCo’s CFO, Josh Mercer, has an unusual background. Before becoming a financial wizard Mercer earned his Bachelor of Science in biochemistry, followed by a Masters of Business Administration with an emphasis in finance.
I also met Ellie, a beautiful, fair-haired golden retriever that comes to work with Booras, and another dog named Izzie, a blue healer, that kept a close eye on me during my tour of the facility, making sure that I, too, was well behaved. All employees are encouraged to bring their dogs to work.
The customer service team is the number one department at the company. SilencerCo came to be because of poor customer service, so they make sure this area is the best of the best. They warranty all of their products for life and will, according to them, “even fix stupid, once.” They told me about a customer who had used the incorrect thread adapter to install his suppressor on a handgun. This ruined the baffles as well as the threads on his barrel. They fixed not only the suppressor, but the threads on his barrel at no cost – once.
THE FACES OF SILENCERCO
Firearms companies tend to use known gun celebrities in their ads and on their websites. SilencerCo headed in another direction. Waldron uses personalities outside of the traditional gun channels. On his website you’ll find videos of Aoki, a music phenom who double majored at U.C. Santa Barbara in Women’s Studies and Sociology; Travis Browne, an MMA fighter in the UFC’s heavyweight division; and Cam Zink, an insane, professional mountain-bike rider who apparently fears nothing. These three have nothing in common except that they all love shooting firearms, sporting suppressors from SilencerCo, and value their hearing.
What makes Waldron and the SilencerCo team think that this kind of marketing will work? Waldron stated it very simply: “If you want to control a market, you use known industry insiders in your marketing, but if you want to create a new market, you use other industry insiders.” Waldron and his team of fanatics have created an entirely new market, which is where shooters from all areas of the industry come to buy the highest quality and most reliable suppressors made by the most innovative company in the firearms industry, where excellent customer service is the minimum and exceeding customer expectation is mandatory.
ALWAYS ON THE MOVE
SilencerCo handles all aspects of production, manufacturing, quality control, advertising, PR, photography, video, editing, to name a few, in-house. (SILENCERCO)
Times haven’t always been this good, though. In the beginning there were many weeks when Waldron had no idea how he was going to even make payroll, and it was two and half years before he actually took a paycheck home. Waldron and Shults had trouble finding people to loan them money to grow the business, and when they did find a lender, they were forced to endure loan-shark-level interest rates.
While Waldron no longer worries about making payroll, he isn’t sitting in his office admiring his successes either. Everyday Waldron worries about his company and strives towards perpetual innovation. When a company stands still they are actually moving backwards. Complacency breeds laziness, which can ruin companies. There is no laziness or complacency at this company, and this applies to the CEO, president, machinists, office staff and everyone else in the SilencerCo family.
For a company to be highly successful and creative they must espouse a company philosophy. SilencerCo takes this seriously; so seriously, in fact, they have a vice president of culture.
The VP of culture focuses on recruiting and retaining the best and brightest talent available. This atmosphere is vital when creativity is essential. Creators and innovators must think outside of the proverbial box in order to be successful. Once inside a box, creativity is stifled and innovation suffocated.
While the worries of being a new company have, for the most part, passed, new worries have taken their place. The biggest is production. Waldron and his crew are so good at what they do and are providing such a superior product that they are operating at full capacity — all the time. While this may sound like a highlight, operating this way leaves a company vulnerable to disaster if a machine or an employee goes down.
Inside the SilencerCo test-fire range. (TROY TAYSOM)
Wait times are another issue that must be addressed when a manufacturer is operating at full capacity. Most consumers will happily wait for quality, but not forever.
SilencerCo is vertically integrated, meaning that you only rely on outside companies for raw material. In the manufacturing world this is the holy grail. Quality and precision are in the hands of their talented machinists, allowing the company to avoid issues of correcting outside quality-control mistakes.
Not only do they control manufacturing from start to finish, all of the advertising, PR, photographs, videos, editing and anything else they need is handled in house.
CHANGING THE LANDSCAPE
It’s not just innovation, creativity and operating at full capacity that have Waldron and the SilencerCo crew occupied; they have also started a campaign aimed at getting the archaic and invasive National Firearms Act changed to reflect the 21st century. Many may think that the 1934 NFA was passed in an attempt to thwart gangland mobsters like Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and Bugsy Moran from getting silencers and concealable and automatic weapons, but in truth it was designed to thwart poaching and to keep hunters from quieting their firearms to shoot under the radar.
Inside the SilencerCo’s 2015 SHOT Show booth which won “Best Booth” this year. (SILENCERCO)
Flash forward to the 21st century and the law still stands, as does the tax stamp required to own silencers. The misconception is, of course, that a silencer (or suppressor, depending on who you ask) only reduces the noise level to a tolerable and safe decibel. It does not render a firearm completely silent. The ammunition someone is shooting (supersonic, or subsonic) will determine how quiet a gun’s report will be. A supersonic round will still crack and a subsonic round will be much quieter.
With these issues in mind Waldron started the Fight The Noise campaign. This effort focuses on hearing loss in the shooting-sports world. The number one medical claim for veterans today is tinnitus, a constant ringing or buzzing in the ears. This problem alone costs close to $2 billion in medical bills annually.
Guns by their very nature are loud, but that doesn’t mean the shooter should be subjected to punishing noise during target practice, hunting, serving in the military or working as a cop. The United States is falling behind the rest of the industrialized world in our treatment of suppressors. In Denmark, Finland, and Germany only a firearms license is required to own a suppressor. In Poland, Ukraine and Norway, suppressors aren’t regulated at all. Many European countries, including France, encourage the use of silencers simply to fight noise pollution.
Josh Waldron (SILENCERCO)
Fight The Noise is pushing back and not accepting status quo as an answer.
The webpage is clear on their goals: “Fight the Noise is a movement to regain our voice. To exercise our right to protect our hearing and silence the sound. To be responsible gun owners and be treated as such. We want law-abiding citizens to have the ability to purchase and own silencers without being subjected to excessive wait times, paperwork, and taxes. We are the silent majority, and it is our time to be heard. We are your friends. We are your coworkers. We are the suppressed.”
With this campaign, Waldron and crew hope to educate the general public, making them aware that: 1) silencers are legal; 2) you shouldn’t have to pay an extra tax and wait months for the ATF to act just to own a silencer; 3) and guns don’t have to be loud.
The campaign is clever in its simplicity. Supporters are asked to take a picture of themselves with a piece of tape over their mouths. The tape says Fight The Noise. There are pictures of kids, mothers, grandmothers, businessmen, cops and soldiers. There are also a fair number of celebrities who have joined the fight, including Jep Robertson of Duck Dynasty. All races and walks of life are represented in the campaign lending an aura of unity amongst a diverse following.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Steve Jobs spoke of people like Waldron and his SilencerCo mates when he said:
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently, and not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things, they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
If you think that SilencerCo will stay in their lane, you have a big surprise coming. I’ve been sworn to secrecy about what’s next for them, but I can tell you that they are poised to make waves in other parts of the industry in the very near future. Love ’em or hate ’em, you can’t ignore ’em. They are here to stay and are ready to change the way business is done in a good ol’ boy industry. ASJ
SilencerCo, known for their sound suppressors, started a campaign called Fight The Noise to change federal laws governing the sale of the sound suppressors. (SILENCERCO)
[su_dropcap style=”light” size=”3″]H[/su_dropcap]unting is a deeply rooted instinct for many people, and can be categorized as sustenance, survival, tradition and conservation, to name a few. Real hunters appreciate all of these treasured aspects and work hard to maintain them. Unfortunately, we share our prized hunting grounds with people who do not respect the rules, such as poachers, and I feel strongly about having them strung up, drawn and quartered in public. Something about the punishment fitting the crime appeals to me, but I digress.
We have pulled together some great preseason hunting tips this issue, including how to lighten your day pack and adjusting to warmer-than-expected weather during the current Western drought. We also focus on great optics (get it, focus … optics?) and how to choose, maintain and use the best glass for your style of hunting, and for added motivation, Scott Haugen shares his epic seven-deer year.
No matter what critter you plan to hunt this year, most of all, be safe and respectful. Not just of other hunters, private lands and laws, but of the animals themselves. A wounded and lost animal doesn’t do anyone any good. Be sure that when you take that shot, your mind is clear, your gun is zeroed and your aim is true. The American Shooting Journal will be with you (true … you … get it … anyone?).
Among our featured stories – and one of my favorites – we put a microscope on the master craftsmen who make the tiniest of firearms. How small can a real-life, bullet-firing gun be? You may be surprised to learn that you can fit them between your thumb and index finger. These creations and the jeweler’s patience needed to manufacture these amazing miniatures is truly awe inspiring.
We also detail the people behind SilencerCo and their vision for the future. If you know of someone in the shooting industry who you feel is exceptional, email me at Dani@AmericanShootingJournal.com and tell me all about them.
Story by Danielle Breteau • Photographs by John Johnston
When I first heard about something called Ballistic Radio, which doesn’t sound like two words that go together, I did what anyone would do: I Googled it! One of the first websites I landed on was for the Ballistic Radio Youtube Channel. The description? “A channel that is dedicated to making the Internet cry by destroying popular gun and shooting myths.” I immediately needed to know more.
“I don’t want there to be any stupid gun owners.”
John M. Johnston is the owner and host of Ballistic Radio. Johnston may not be what you would think when you visualize a guy in a radio station, sitting behind a DJ’s microphone. Johnston is a 6-foot, 2-inch, 250-pound man, with lots of tattoos and a shaggy beard that conjure up images of a cave man crossed with an ornate Aztec warrior. Maybe that is what he is going for, but my interview with him proved to be something more than a discussion with only grunts and sign language. Johnston is actually quite brilliant and has a diverse background in psychology, real estate office management and fashion photography, to name a few. Ballistic Radio seems to allow Johnston to express his deep-seated passion for bringing gun-industry news, tactics and concepts to the world in a very intelligent and sometimes humorous manner.
Ballistic Radio is a syndicated weekly radio show that covers topics about self-defense, firearms and training without politicizing it. “Stereotypes of gun owners have nothing to do with politics, and how you feel about guns is not a point to be made when someone is kicking down your door,” Johnston threw out during our conversation, making a very poignant point. After listening to multiple podcasts of the show to get a feel of the conversations, subject matter and demeanor, I found that they refreshingly incorporate industry experts with intelligent conversation and a good dose of humor to top off the content. I think this is great, since the average age of his audience is younger than you might expect, around 32 years old. It seems to be doing well so far, and as of this issue’s press deadline, they are on their 101st episode, with plenty more content yet to cover.
While dodging occasional death threats, which Johnston honestly gets from time to time, he tries to be a mediator between the folks who speak “gun” and those who may only attempt to understand the attraction.
I asked Johnston what he was trying to do with his radio show. He said, “I don’t want there to be any stupid gun owners. I would like to see people understand that there is more to self defense than just having the gun. It is not a magic talisman that wards off evil just by existing. You’ve got to have the knowledge of how, when and why to use it, as well as familiarity with local laws, which can make a huge difference in how a gun owner can react in a bad situation. I feel like there are lots of different sides to this vast topic, and I am able to help breach the language barrier between them. I love being able to talk to people from all walks of life, and have even received an email from a couple who fall into at least six minority/specialty groups combined and are professed liberals. They own guns and said they felt like I wasn’t alienating them by talking about things outside of the self-defense topic, and that is why they love the show.” Johnston went on to say that he felt that we as a community are fighting against the Dunning-Kruger effect, a psychological phenomenon where people without knowledge, experience or expertise pass along bad information as fact, while ignoring and arguing against accurate information. He feels he runs into this quite often, and almost seemed defeated when he said it.
“I do product torture tests, not dumb ones like shoving a ham sandwich into the action and seeing if it will fire, but realistic ones”
John Johnston welcomes conversations from all facets of the gun industry.
The start of this radio show was a combination of luck and good timing. After a rough divorce, Johnston found himself working in a gun store. Johnston said he often heard gun store clerks say things around him that he simply couldn’t believe. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a clerk at a store suggest something like a Smith and Wesson J-frame .357 magnum (subcompact revolver) as the perfect self-defense gun for a woman because it’s small. The problem, of course, being that they’re incredibly uncomfortable to shoot and almost impossible for a new shooter to shoot well. Can you imagine trying to train with that if you have never shot before?” Johnston went on to explain that there are everyday questions that inspire him to want to help the industry. “I’m probably strange for enjoying this, but I like having conversations with people who say things like, ‘I don’t need to have a flashlight handy because I have night sights on my gun.’ Having to explain the importance of knowing what you are shooting at before you shoot pushes me to try and help educate gun owners.”
The gun store where Johnston was working was given an opportunity to have a radio show on a local station. He ended up running it and tailored it with his personal ideas and topics. That show subsequently became very popular locally and online, according to Johnston. “After some time I offered to buy the show from my boss and he agreed to sell it,” Johnston said, and that is how Ballistic Radio started.
Wilson Combat 9mm 1911 put to the torture test.
Among Johnston’s hobbies, and much to the entertainment of many, he spends a great deal of time destroying guns through hard use, then documents his efforts. “I do product torture tests, not dumb ones like shoving a ham sandwich into the action and seeing if it will fire, but realistic ones,” he emphatically states. As an example of what he calls a test, he took a Salient Arms International MK25 Tier 1 Prototype and shot 25,000 rounds through it in 18 days in the middle of winter, a test which he himself barely survived physically.
Salient Arms International MK25 Tier 1 Prototype suffering from abuse.
Another of Johnston’s gun-torture tests involved practically submerging a Wilson Combat 9mm 1911 in the mud, and immediately after rescuing
it, demonstrating a successful firing sequence. You can see videos of some of his torture tests like this at ballisticradio.com. His next victim will be the LWRC Tricon MK6 with a SilencerCo suppressor. Johnston says this will be the first public high-roundcount test of a suppressor ever done.
You can find Ballistic Radio on multiple radio stations to include: 1100 KFNX in Phoenix, 55KRC in Cincinnati, 820 WWBA in Tampa, among several others, with 20 to 30 more on the way. If you are more of a podcast person or mobile-app type, there is a Ballistic Radio podcast and you can listen via iTunes, or you can catch the live stream Sundays at 7 p.m. EST on iHeart Radio (55KRC channel). You can also check out Ballistic Radio at ballisticradio.com to keep up with all the latest action in the gun industry, as well as gun and shooting experiments, AKA “torture tests,” that are quite entertaining. ASJ
Editor’s note: When I explained to Ballistic Radio show host John Johnston that I would need some photos to share with our readers, even though he is a former fashion photographer, he couldn’t imagine what I wanted. I flippantly suggested a photo of him geared up in camouflage, covered in mud, holding a gun and radio microphone would be a good start. Well, you get what you asked for, and this is just another glimpse into Johnston’s level of effort and humor, which we applaud.