April 15th, 2018 by asjstaff

Perusing the photo-pandemic known as Instagram, my heart rate kicked up and my finger slid to an abrupt stop on an unlikely image. It wasn’t the latest innovation in arms – I was getting my first look at the Hold Ur Fire Kit – a slick system for organizing, storing, and transporting your smaller arms and accoutrements!

Maybe it’s just me and my possibly undiagnosed OCD, but keeping my firearms organized, dry, and easily accessible / deployable is a priority – especially for the EDC kits I use weekly. It is true, there are many pistol storage systems out there but the simplicity, apparent ease of use, variety of mounting options and availability of extra components drew me to try this USA-made system.

Hold Ur Fire’s Complete Kit includes:

• 1 Docking Station

• 5 Transport Panels

• 20 Cinch Straps

• 4 Rubber Feet for Docking Station

Also pictured above are the Magazine Cuff and Mini-magazine Cuff (available soon).

The Hold Ur Fire docking station is molded black ABS polymer featuring five vertical slots with stopping bumpers at the rear. It’s not some cheap, thin and flimsy base; it has some decent weight to it to help keep it in place and is quite sturdy with clean and smooth edges.

The four provided black rubber feet are of great quality with 3M® adhesive backing. The foot housings are well-recessed, which helps greatly extend the life of the feet.

Or, if so inclined, you could technically drive a screw through the holes in each corner of the docking station and secure it to a shelf, floor, drawer, or other surface.

The five black ABS polymer panels that come with the Hold Ur Fire kit are 1/4-inch thick and measure 9.5″ x 11.5″. They are very rigid, even with the eight strap and accessory slots, four corner holes, and generous 4/5″ x 1 1.8″ oval handle hole. The molded arrow above the handle indicates the proper orientation of the panel.

With all five panels inserted into the base, there are 1 7/8-inches of room between each panel. If needed for larger pistols and items, forgo a neighboring panel to double the leg room. Or move panels with larger items to the outside slot.

Without any items, the assembled system measures 11″ W x 12″ D x 10.5″ H.

To attach firearms, magazines, and other items, feed the provided hook and loop cinch straps strategically through the panel – or take advantage of one of Hold Ur Fire’s mounting accessories.

The Magazine Cuff features a rigid backer with padding and slips through a panel and secures on the back side with a hook and loop closure. The eight elastic loops are designed to hold four to eight short or long single and/or double-stack magazines, or any other smaller items that may find their way into your kit.

While the Magazine Cuff is well-made, functions just as intended, and is an extremely useful accessory, some of the materials used – in particular the layer of padding behind the elastic loops – give moisture more places to gather than I’d like.

Hold Ur Fire’s soon-to-be-released Mini-magazine Cuff is also a must-have accessory when using the system. But I’m baffled as to why they chose a cotton material for the strap – it will only absorb and retain moisture. Given they provided a pre-release version, I’m hoping their final version has nylon straps.

As someone who overtly enjoys organizing, the Hold Ur Fire system was one of the most fun products I’ve tested so far this year. I had an absolute (but not literal) blast creating specific panels for the items I routinely put to use. And I was pleasantly surprised by what I could easily fit onto just one side of a single panel!

Large frame EDC w/ light panel: SIG Sauer P226R EE, Streamlight TLR-1 HD, and two fifteen-round magazines.

Small frame EDC w/ holsters panel: SIG Sauer P238 in Ultimate Holsters Cloud Tuck Hybrid holster and two seven-round magazines, one in an Ultimate Holsters Single Clip Mag Carrier.

Suppressed conversion kit panel: SIG Sauer P226 .22 LR conversion kit, Dead Air Mask HD silencer, two ten-round SIG .22 LR magazines.

Backwoods carry panel: Glock 20C and two fifteen-round magazines, one in G-code magazine holster.

Suppressed Kalashnikov panel: Dead Air PBS-1 Wolverine silencer, two Kalashnikov variant thread pitch adapters, PBS-1 tool, one thirty-round 7.62×39 magazine.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. That’s a ton of stuff!…it can’t possibly card in and out of the docking station, right?

But it does. And does so extraordinarily well!

In the configuration above each board can easily be removed without snagging on its neighbors.

As previously mentioned, the system also works really well for related items, like the non-pew parts of an EDC kit.

Or for those pistols that simply don’t see range time anymore but aren’t worth parting with. Yup, that’s a bulb light on an xD sub-compact! Thank goodness LEDs are standard place nowadays.

And, as seen in the photo above (supplied by Hold Ur Fire), you can most certainly strap two pistols to a panel. In many cases you can even strap the pistol’s accompanying magazines to the other side of the panel.

However, I’m wholly unwilling to store any weapon with the muzzle pointed at me so that particular orientation isn’t on my list of options. Thankfully you can just flip the orientation of most pistols ninety degrees so they face up and down.

Of course, some pistols are just too large to fit within the confines of the board. One of the things I enjoy about Hold Ur Fire’s design is that it doesn’t box you in (literally). If you have the clearance around the system, there’s no reason why a pistol can’t protrude a little.

If you have a securing ring inside your safe, book case, or drawer, a simple 1/4″ cable lock can add an additional, albeit fairly useless if not rigged correctly, layer of security to your bundled items. Simply feed the cable through the holes located in the corners of the panels.

Those holes also double as hangars for anyone who wishes to mount the panels directly to a wall or other vertical surface.

Throughout the course of a month I put Hold Ur Fire’s system to the test, trying any configuration I could think of and often putting outfitted panels straight into my range bag. And while the docking station, panels, and magazine cuffs stood strong, I broke two of the hook and loop straps without much force.

In each case the heat seal simply didn’t hold and gave up the plastic buckle. Not a deal-breaker by any means, but it would be great to see higher-quality stitched straps available in the future.

Hold Ur Fire’s Complete Kit storage and transportation system, accompanied by the Magazine Cuff and Mini-Magazine Cuff, makes storing pistols, magazines, suppressor systems, EDC kits, and any other small-to-medium sized items a breeze. The system is sturdy and well-designed to allow for seemingly limitless configurations of firearms and accessories on a panel.

But there are some areas where the product could be improved. Without question, the moisture-absorbing materials used in the magazine cuffs are a concern that could be easily addressed. It would be great to see additional magazine cuffs with just two or four elastic bands. And redesigning the panels to be symmetrical would allow users to mount two bases facing each other on vertical surfaces, creating horizontal shelves that slide in and out.

Critiques aside, the Hold Ur Fire system is certainly one I won’t be giving up; in fact, I can’t wait to employ several more of these kits for weekly use and long-term storage. Shooting schools that provide pistols to their students will find the system very advantageous and even FFLs might get good use out of them. And for the average guy or gal who likes to be organized, clean, and ready to deploy their tools at a moment’s notice – even if just for some weekly range time – Hold Ur Fire is a simple and efficient choice!

Specifications: Hold Ur Fire Storage System – Complete Kit

Price as reviewed: $64.99 MSRP

Design: * * * * *
Simple, easy to use, and highly flexible, the Hold Ur Fire system is well-designed for everyday use. The system is “open”, allowing larger items to protrude from the top and sides of the panels and docking station. Configuring the panels is extremely intuitive and can be quite fun.

Ratings (out of five stars):

Durability: * * * *
Hold Ur Fire didn’t skimp on the thickness of the ABS polymer docking station and panels; they will hold-up to tough conditions, heavy pistols, and loaded magazines. However, the hook and loop straps that come with the kit are somewhat weak due to their heat-sealed manufacturing process.

Effectiveness: * * * * *
The system’s flexibility in regard to mounting orientations, as well as hook and loop closure and elastic strap types, and options for mounting the docking station come together to create a system that will secure your items very well for storage and transportation.

Overall: * * * * 1/2
The Hold Ur Fire system has a simple design, yet is built tough and offers nearly limitless flexibility in terms of items and their orientation. The system also does not box you into a completely confined space – it allows for items to stick above and out from its base. Unfortunately, I have to take a half-star off for the weak hook and loop straps.

Specifications: Hold Ur Fire Magazine Cuff

Price as reviewed: $19.99 MSRP

Overall: * * * *
The Magazine Cuff is a nice reprieve from the standard hook and loop straps. Storing full or empty pistol magazines of all sizes, or any slender small and medium-sized items, is quick and easy. However, it takes up an entire board, only orients in one direction, and there’s no good way to cut it down. The reinforced and padded backer is nice, but draws concerns of water retention.

Specifications: Hold Ur Fire Mini-Magazine Cuff


Overall: * * *
The Mini-Magazine Cuff is a nice accessory for the Hold Ur Fire system. It can easily be mounted to the storage board in a multitude of ways and retains the majority of pistol and rimfire magazines very well, as well as slender silencers and many other “pocket sized” items. A significant deduction was given for the use of moisture-absorbing materials used in its construction.

Posted in Handguns, Product Reviews Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

April 13th, 2018 by asjstaff

CMMG just announced its BANSHEE line of SBRs and pistols (300 BLK SBR review here) as well as its DefCan suppressors, and, thanks to Silencer Shop, we got our hands on much of the new equipment. With a DefCan 9, DefCan 3Ti, Q Half Nelson, Dead Air Sandman Ti, and two BANSHEEs, I hit the range . . .

CMMG’s DefCans are fairly straightforward suppressors with no frills or gimmicks. The DefCan 3Ti is an all-titanium can available in both direct thread and QD flavors, while the DefCan 9 is all-aluminum.

Worth noting: the 9 is not designed for typical, semi-auto handguns; there’s no booster (Nielson device) available. This is a “sub-gun” suppressor, designed for 9mm rifles of any barrel length or “large format pistols” like CMMG’s MkGs BANSHEE 9mm Pistol or a pistol-format SIG MPX, CZ Scorpion EVO, HK MP5, etc.

With no worries about cycling a tilt-barrel pistol and reduced concerns about balance, CMMG went pretty long on the DefCan 9. Specifically, it’s 10.25 inches in length. This makes it a uniquely long 9mm suppressor. In fact, other than some sub-gun cans from Bowers, it may just be the longest on the market.

Thankfully, its all-7075-aluminum build keeps it lightweight at 10 ounces.

And, in part because aluminum has very high thermal conductivity and in a larger part because of all of that internal volume (as in, cubic inches of air space), the DefCan 9 is a very quiet suppressor, indeed.

On the range with the BANSHEE 9mm SBR, I found it entirely comfortable to shoot sans hearing protection whether firing subsonic or supersonic ammunition. Certainly the DefCan is an extremely quiet suppressor, knocking down the muzzle-end sound to an absolute minimum.

CMMG’s radial delayed blowback operation in the BANSHEE also helped by reducing noise out of the port. This “AR-9” is noticeably quieter than others — all of them straight blowback — I have shot. That little bit of unlocking delay allows more of the gas and pressure to leave the muzzle and less to pop out of the ejection port. Good stuff.

Additionally, the Bi-Lock QD system is lightning fast and dead nuts simple. Just line up the flash hider’s two lugs with the two slots in the suppressor, press the suppressor towards the handguard to compress its locking collar, and twist approximately a quarter turn. Done, locked, ready to shoot. Removal is the reverse of install, with no release lever or button involved. This means the DefCan can be installed down underneath a handguard while retaining QD functionality.

Overall I really like the features and functionality of the CMMG DefCan 9, and its performance is excellent. But, dang, it’s really long. For use on a little PDW-style sub-gun like the BANSHEE SBR above, my personal preference would be a significantly shorter suppressor, with internal volume bought back via a larger tube diameter.

Specifications: CMMG DefCan 9 (Bi-Lock QD)

Caliber: 9mm
Sound Reduction: 32 dB
Materials: 7075 aluminum
Finish: Hard Coat Anodized
Rate of Fire Rating: Full-Auto
Length: 10.25 inches
Diameter: 1 3/8 inches
Weight: 10 ounces
MSRP: $699.95

Rating (out of five stars):

Overall * * *
The DefCan 9 is extremely good at suppressing sound and its QD system is great. But it’s really long and there are at least a dozen less-expensive options from other, major manufacturers. Most of which can be used on semi-auto pistols, too. Frankly, unless CMMG was doing some sort of DefCan plus BANSHEE package deal, I cannot envision this winning my dollars over the competition.

Over to the .30 caliber world and the BANSHEE 300 BLK SBR reviewed here, we hit the range with the DefCan 3Ti. Also in tow for comparison purposes: my Dead Air Sandman Ti and Q’s Half Nelson.

Frankly, my thoughts on the DefCan 3Ti don’t deviate a whole lot from those on the DefCan 9. At 9.2 inches it’s well above average .30 cal silencer length, but nowhere near the outlier that the DefCan 9 is. As you can see above, though, it somewhat dwarfs my full-size Sandman Ti and is 33.4 percent longer than the Half Nelson.

DefCan 3Ti.

Dead Air Sandman Ti.

Q Half Nelson (or halfNELSON™).

Now, don’t necessarily be scared off by the 3Ti’s length. Due to its all-titanium construction it’s fairly lightweight at 17.5 ounces. That’s lighter than the .30 cal silencer average, but in this particular titanium-focused roundup it ends up the heaviest. The Sandman Ti is 16.8 ounces and the Half Nelson just 12.2 ounces (one of the lightest available).

As with the DefCan 9, I have no negative feedback about my range time with the 3Ti. The Bi-Lock QD system is great on the 3Ti just as it is on the 9, and, as you’d expect, it’s a very quiet suppressor.

With it on the muzzle, this shorty little SBR felt more like a standard carbine. But I’d take that all day every day over the increased noise, blast, concussion, and recoil of shooting unsuppressed.

If there’s interest, I’ll revisit the DefCan 3Ti for a more thorough review. You see, 300 Blackout simply doesn’t require a lot of suppressor to knock it down to not only hearing safe, but legitimately comfortable volume levels. All three of these suppressors did that. Extremely well. In fact, I think I preferred the deeper tone of the Half Nelson (which likely comes from its larger, 1.75″ diameter).

From the shooter’s perspective, the Q can was either just as quiet or seemed just as quiet as the other two. While it’s somewhat foolish to rely on a video for this, it sounds in my video like it may actually be quieter due to the ability to hear the brass hitting the ground and the steel-on-steel of the bolt closing more than when I’m shooting with the other toucans. Errr, two cans. Why am I not bored with this stupid dad joke?

As the DefCan 3Ti is rated for use with 7.62 NATO (and hopefully .308 Win) on 16-inch or longer barrels, to properly test its sound suppression capability I’d have to run this larger, more powerful caliber through it. CMMG’s claim of a 32 dB reduction is two or three decibels more than as-tested results with the Dead Air Sandman Ti, which is quite quiet as .30 cal cans go.

On 300 Blackout, though, and especially paired up with a short-barreled gun like the BANSHEE, the DefCan 3Ti wouldn’t be my choice. For this particular use I still must give the nod to my current bae, the Q Trash Panda reviewed here.

Specifications: CMMG DefCan 3Ti (Bi-Lock QD)

Caliber: 7.62mm NATO
Sound Reduction: 32 dB
Materials: all titanium
Rate of Fire Rating: full-auto
Length: 9.2 inches
Diameter: 1.5 inches
Weight: 17.5 ounces
Finish: High Temperature Cerakote
MSRP: $899.95

Rating (out of five stars):

Overall * * *
Like with the DefCan 9, I don’t see that the 3Ti stands out from its competition in any significant way. It’s nearer the expensive end of the price spectrum, it’s at the longest end of the length spectrum, it’s a skosh lighter than average (but not enough to be noteworthy) on the weight spectrum, and it’s caliber-limited to 7.62 NATO while most of the competition is good for .300 WinMag or even .300 RUM. Again, unless there were some killer package deal with a CMMG rifle, I can’t see choosing this particular suppressor over its competition.

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Posted in Product Reviews, Suppressors Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

March 31st, 2018 by asjstaff

After reviewing Q’s Full Nelson and Half Nelson last August, I was sold on the smaller of their .30 cal suppressors. It would be my next NFA item. But, would it be their direct-thread Half Nelson or the QD Trash Panda? After shooting these two cans (Q cans, two Q cans, toucans?), the decision is made . . .

With Central Texas’ famous Blue Bonnets in full bloom, I headed to the range with my Precision Firearms 6.5 Grendel (the model for most of the photos seen here), a home-built 300 Blackout SBR, and a 16″ .308 bolt gun.

The .30 caliber silencer that I already own is the Dead Air Sandman Ti. I specifically chose a direct-thread can because I enjoy shooting suppressed — given the ability to do so, I’ll favor it every time over unsuppressed — but didn’t want to worry about installing a muzzle brake on every review rifle that came through, or properly installing and correctly timing a brake on every rifle I already owned.

Plus, direct-thread suppressors have traditionally had a much better reputation for maintaining or improving a rifle’s accuracy and exhibiting little-to-no point of impact shift after removing and re-installing the suppressor. This was not the case — especially the POI shift part — with QD suppressors. I was unwilling to sacrifice accuracy or re-zero a rifle every time the suppressor came off and went back on. So Sandman Ti I went.

Fast forward only a few years later and QD suppressor mounting systems have improved dramatically. The focus has shifted from rough and dirty, ratchet- or click-on speed to cutting install time way down while maintaining the repeatable precision of a direct-thread. And it’s that exact repeatability and firm, precise lockup that provides for a consistent point of impact.

In the case of Q’s Trash Panda (a nickname for raccoon) and Thunder Chicken (a nickname for turkey, this is the full-size QD option), the Cherry Bomb Compensator uses traditional threads — it takes five revolutions of the suppressor from off to tight — behind a taper mount. Instead of a square shoulder, the taper increases surface area and better aligns the suppressor. Far less torque is required to enable a complete seal and a suppressor that absolutely will not walk loose.

As seen in the photo above, that taper really does seal up completely. This Cherry Bomb was brand new when I installed it, and while carbon deposits from my first range session are obvious in front of the taper they’re entirely non-existent behind it. The metal is as clean as can be. Some companies put the taper behind the threads, but putting it in front is a much better design. Squeaky clean.

Each of Q’s QD cans comes with two Cherry Bombs, one threaded 5/8×24 and one 1/2×28. Either is installed on or removed from your rifle of choice via that gear-shaped pattern in the muzzle.

Insert 1/2″ socket, then righty-tighty or left-loosey. I found this handy dandy.

Just make absolutely certain that your Cherry Bomb is attached to your rifle more securely than it’s attached to your suppressor. Thanks to the taper mount, the can only needs to be gently hand tight. Don’t go all ‘roid rage on it! If you unscrew your Trash Panda and the Cherry Bomb comes off with it…oy. There’s almost no Cherry Bomb exposed when it’s installed in the suppressor, so good luck removing it.

Likewise, the nifty muzzle design on many of Q’s suppressors not only looks cool, it’s designed to accept a socket wrench or box wrench. A 3/4″, 12-point socket does the trick here. Though, if you properly torque your Trash Panda by hand, you should never need to touch the muzzle with a wrench.

Unless, of course, you’ve decided to run a long handguard way down over the suppressor, as in the photo above. This sort of thing makes the socket-on-the-muzzle access pretty awesome.

Side-by-side, it’s extremely hard to tell the difference between these two Q cans unless you’ve got ’em off the gun and can look in the barrel end. The direct-thread Half Nelson has a much smaller opening, designed to thread onto a 5/8×24-threaded barrel, whereas the Trash Panda has to swallow the whole Cherry Bomb.

If you manage to look closely enough, you’ll notice via the robotic welds that there are 10 baffles in the Half Nelson but only nine in the Trash Panda. This is both to provide room for the Cherry Bomb Compensator and also because the compensator itself acts as the first baffle — the blast baffle.

As a suppressor’s blast baffle suffers the brunt of wear and tear — being blasted by debris and super-heated, high-pressure gas — there’s a strong case to be made for that baffle being replaceable. As in, build it into the muzzle device.

Whether you’re shooting powerful calibers or high volumes of fire or both, that first baffle will eventually wear down. It’s nice when a $75 MSRP part returns it to brand new rather than…well…there ain’t much you can do if it’s the actual first baffle welded into your suppressor.

Installed on the rifle and read-to-shoot, as mentioned, the Trash Panda swallows most of the Cherry Bomb.

It doesn’t look all that different from the firmly-against-the-shoulder Half Nelson. And it doesn’t add very much at all to the installed overall length.

Trash Panda.

Half Nelson.

Trash Panda.

Half Nelson.

Nope, I can’t tell the difference either.

And that was the same story on the range, too. They don’t sound different, they don’t feel different, they don’t perform different(ly). From behind the gun, I have zero preference whatsoever between the two. Obviously. I can’t tell any difference between the two.

So, at this point I have developed a strong preference for the QD Trash Panda. I like the fast on/off, I like the doesn’t-have-to-be-timed Cherry Bomb muzzle device, and I like that said Cherry Bomb becomes the sacrificial blast baffle. But how about that point of impact shift?

Considering the swirling, unpredictable wind in the quarry where I was shooting, it was a mistake to shoot the above target at 200 yards. However, I wanted to emphasize any POI shift so it would be clearly visible. And I don’t see any.

Six rounds shy of two boxes of Hornady BLACK 123 grain from Freedom Munitions (use code TTAG for 5% off everything on the Freedom Munitions website) went downrange, hitting steel targets at 200 and 258 yards. I then shifted over to my target and sent three rounds at the top left bullseye, removed the Trash Panda with a Silencer Shop “Suppressor Removal Tool,” waved it around, reinstalled it, and shot my final three rounds at the top right bullseye.

Obviously the groups aren’t identical, but I’m calling this POI shift-free. If I’m hunting a hog at 200 yards — heck, a squirrel…or a trash panda…or a frog — I’m making precise hits before and after suppressor removals and installs.

If you want to be really, obsessively precise, the Trash Panda’s muzzle design would allow the use of a torque wrench to install your suppressor identically every. single. time.

In this contest, there is no contest. My next suppressor will be a Q Trash Panda.

Specifications: trash PANDA by Q

Caliber Rating: .30 caliber up to .300 WM
Weight: 11.8 ounces (Cherry Bomb weight: 2 ounces) (Half Nelson weight: 12.2 ounces)
Length: 6.91 inches
Diameter: 1.75 inches
Build: 100% titanium with PVD finish
In The Box: suppressor, 5/8×24 Cherry Bomb, 1/2×28 Cherry Bomb, Q decal, owner’s manual, suppressor pouch
MSRP: $899 (Half Nelson MSRP $868). Less via Silencer Shop.

Ratings (out of five stars):

Overall * * * * *
Like I said in the Half Nelson review, I’d prefer if the barrel side of the Trash Panda were simply a flush base with no protruding, hex-shaped deal. It just isn’t necessary with the wrench-capable muzzle design and I think it would look better. That said, this is the only thing I can think of to nitpick on the Trash Panda. As my favorite .30 cal can available right now — beautifully balancing weight, size, sound suppression, and that fantastic “Quickie™” QD system — the Trash Panda earns a well-deserved five stars.

Posted in Product Reviews Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

February 28th, 2018 by asjstaff

RF is on the prowl for a .45 ACP pistol suppressor. Narrowing down the list, three cans came to mind: the Rugged Obsidian45, the Dead Air Ghost-M, and the Liberty Cosmic that I previously reviewed (and own). RF wants a modular can with a “K” or short configuration option, so the Liberty is out. As the Rugged clocks in at about $200 less via Silencer Shop than the Dead Air, we’re checking it out first . . .

Filled with interlocking, 17-4 PH Stainless Steel baffles, the Obsidian45’s hard coat anodized aluminum tube keeps weight to a minimum. While “k baffles” aren’t the most modern of suppressor baffle designs, they are known to be particularly quiet and low on first round pop.

In the case of the Obsidian, its K baffles seal together and make a tube within a tube. This keeps the inside of the outer tube — the suppressor’s body — clean of carbon and other deposits and allows the baffle stack to simply drop out for cleaning and service.

The booster assembly makes swapping pistons easy, allowing the user to mount the Obsidian on different host firearms with different muzzle threading. For fixed barrels, a simple aluminum sleeve replaces the booster spring, locking the mount solid. This is a much more cost-effective option for the owner than having to purchase a bunch of fixed mounts.

The Obsidian45 ships with a .45 front cap, but a cap bored for 9mm is also available. It may slightly cut down on sound volume when shooting the smaller diameter caliber.

I found the front cap to be easily removed by hand. However, that five-toothed gear pattern accepts the gear-shaped end of a booster piston, which can be used as a wrench if more leverage is needed.

The main reason to remove and re-install the front cap, though, isn’t for switching calibers but for switching the length of the Obsidian. Employing Rugged’s “ADAPT” technology, a section at the muzzle end of the Obsidian can be added or removed quickly and easily as desired. Then cap it off with the same front cap in either configuration.

In its full length the Obsidian45 is 8.6 inches long, and in K configuration it’s 6.7 inches long. On a scale that’s 12.8 ounces versus 10.7 ounces.

Obviously shorter and lighter is better. Well, in every way except sound suppression. So depending on the caliber, application, and use you’ll be choosing between maximum suppression and minimum weight and size. In any configuration you’re safely under the 140 dB impulse noise “hearing safe” threshold in .45 ACP or 9mm on a pistol.

Full length — according to Rugged’s numbers — the Obsidian45 meters in at approximately 129.3 dB with .45 ACP. This makes it one of the very quietest .45 cans available. It’s about 123.7 dB with 9mm, which is also a class-leading figure.

P-10 C Suppressor-Ready

In K configuration, the numbers change to about 137.6 dB (.45 ACP) and 130.4 dB (9mm). The Obsidian can also be shot “wet” — with a splash of water or other ablative, such as ultrasound gel, inside — for a temporary further sound reduction of somewhere around 5 dB.

Thanks to those strong, sealed 17-4 baffles the Obsidian45 can also handle subsonic 300 Blackout. Unfortunately I didn’t have a 5/8×24 piston to try it out.

However, the GLOCK seen in the photos here is rocking a Lone Wolf slide (that camo pattern is laser engraved into the stainless steel slide, by the way) with a .460 Rowland conversion barrel, so I went ahead and shot a magazine of Underwood .460 Rowland through the Obsidian as well as a whole bunch of .45 ACP. Plus a few hundred rounds of 9mm through the CZ P-10 C Suppressor-Ready.

Despite over 1,000 ft-lbs of energy from the Rowland, the Obsidian (which isn’t rated for .460 so don’t do this at home) ran smooth and suppressed great. No warranty call needed — or even close — though Rugged actually does warranty stupid.

They were also smart to serialize the thickest, most durable, least likely to be damaged part of the suppressor. Should you fire this thing on your .338 Lapua SBR and pop the tube like a balloon, for instance, or run over it with your deuce and a half, Rugged can replace nearly every component on and it send it back to you with the same serial number. Repaired, not replaced.

Compared to my Liberty Cosmic (two photos up), the Obsidian45 (above) in full length configuration is within a fraction of an inch of the same length (slightly shorter) and a fraction of an ounce of the same weight (slightly heavier). There’s less weight at the muzzle end of the Cosmic, but the difference is minor when shooting.

And, of course, the Cosmic offers no shorter or lighter configuration option as does the Obsidian. For me, it made up for that in caliber compatibility: the Cosmic is explicitly rated for at least 66 calibers all the way up to and including .458 SOCOM.

But if this is a dedicated pistol caliber can — and in RF’s case it will live on his B&T APC45 in K config or maybe on his FNX-45 Tactical when it isn’t temporarily on review guns — the modularity of the Obsidian is a big advantage. Shoot it in full length on the range and when plinking with friends, and run it in K config for night stand use, PDW trunk gun use, etc.

Shooting the Obsidian45 back-to-back against my Cosmic, it was difficult to discern a sound level difference. Especially on .45 ACP. If I were pressed, I’d give a slight nod to the Obsidian, which I think was just ever so slightly quieter though maybe ever so slightly higher pitched. That’s just one man’s subjective opinion, though, and they’re so freaking close I’m more comfortable calling it a wash.

On 9mm, I feel the Cosmic was slightly quieter and deeper toned. Not by much in either case, mind you, but enough that I’m fairly confident calling it in the Cosmic’s favor. Then again, since day one with the Cosmic I’ve been surprised by just how shockingly quiet it is on 9mm.

Typically you expect more sound volume than with a dedicated 9mm can due to the .45 bore catching less gas, but the darn thing is at least as quiet as my Mystic X. I can’t explain it, but it’s just weirdly amazing on 9mm. Still, the Obsidian more than holds its own compared to your average .45 ACP suppressor shooting 9mm.

On the downside, the Obsidian45 in K configuration exhibits noticeable first round pop on both .45 and 9mm. In full length flavor it’s more muted but still clearly there. More FRP than I expected, given the design, but nothing to complain about. On the plus side, the modular design and drop-out-the-front baffle stack makes adding a dab of ultrasound gel really easy.

Next up we’ll get our hands on the Dead Air Ghost-M, but I’m skeptical that it’s capable of outperforming the Obsidian45. Let alone outperforming by enough to warrant the extra $200.

In fact, I’m comfortable calling the Obsidian45 the best .45 ACP pistol suppressor on the market today. If it isn’t the best, it’s tied for best. At least if your focus is pistol rounds. Good job, Rugged, I think RF has an Obsidian45 in his future.

Specifications: Rugged Suppressors Obsidian45

Caliber: Full-auto rated for pistol calibers up to .45 ACP. Also rated for 300 BLK subsonic.
Diameter: 1.37″
Length Full Config: 8.6″
Length K Config: 6.7″
Weight Full Config: 12.8 oz
Weight K Config: 10.7 oz
Finish: hard coat anodized and cerakote
Materials: 17-4 PH Stainless Steel baffles, aluminum tube, 17-4 PH Stainless Steel mount
Includes: .578×28 piston, .45 front cap, owner’s manual, Obsidian logo sticker
MSRP: $850 (about $654 via Silencer Shop)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Suppression * * * * *
It’s about the quietest .45 ACP suppressor available, and certainly strikes a great balance between size, weight, and suppression level. Rugged ensured it meters as hearing safe even in K config on .45 ACP, which was the right choice.

Utility * * * * *
Two suppressors in one — long and short — with the ability to shoot most pistol rounds through it and disassemble it for easy cleaning. With a very simple and inexpensive system it can be converted to fixed mount for use on pistol caliber carbines and other firearms with fixed barrels.

Overall * * * * *
Unless you’re seeking ultimate caliber handling utility, which is the Liberty Cosmic’s ace in the hole, the Rugged Suppressors Obsidian45 is arguably the best .45 ACP pistol suppressor available today. And why buy a 9mm can when a well-designed .45 one like the Obsidian45 is so dang quiet on 9mm, too?

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