9mm Suppressors: A Sound Reduction Test Comparison

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You only have to shoot suppressed once to understand the demand for silencers in today’s market. The facts are simple: Quiet shooting is just better, and it’s better for your ears– But with a plethora of options available today, it can be difficult to determine which will give you the best (suppressed) bang for your buck.

When we created the Vanquish integrally suppressed barrel, we sought to not only eliminate the dreaded baffle strike, but to also create an exceptionally effective silencer. In order to do this well, we needed to know what we were up against. So, we grabbed several suppressors, packed up the Larson Davis SoundTrack LxT, and headed to the range with a plan to find out which 9mm suppressors really kept things quiet.

How Does a Suppressor Work?

A suppressor, also known as a silencer, is a device engineered to reduce the noise generated by the discharge of a firearm. When a round is fired, it produces high-speed gasses that rapidly expand and create a loud noise as they exit the barrel.

The suppressor works by slowing down and redirecting these gasses through a series of internal components, including baffles, expansion chambers, and ports. These components create an intricate pathway that allows the gasses to expand and cool in a controlled manner before they make contact with the ambient air.

As the gasses pass through the hollow chambers within the suppressor, they are decelerated and cooled, which significantly reduces the noise signature of the shot. The controlled release of the trapped gas over an extended period of time results in a quieter discharge, making the firearm less detectable. This mechanism not only diminishes the audible sound but also lessens the recoil and muzzle flash, enhancing the overall shooting experience.

Why Suppress 9MM?

Suppressing a firearm chambered in 9mm offers several key benefits that can be advantageous in various scenarios. One of the primary advantages is significant noise reduction, which not only helps in minimizing disturbance to the surroundings but is also crucial in protecting the shooter’s hearing, especially in confined spaces such as during home defense situations where wearing hearing protection might not be feasible.

Additionally, suppressors can reduce recoil and muzzle flash, which in turn reduces movement and improves the shooter’s accuracy—critical factors in both self-defense and training environments. For new shooters, the reduced noise and recoil can make their initial training less intimidating, reducing flinch and improving their learning experience.

In home defense scenarios, besides protecting the occupants’ hearing, suppressors can also facilitate better communication. Overall, the use of a suppressor on a 9mm firearm enhances the shooting experience by making it safer, more accurate, and less disruptive.

Who Are The Contenders?

We put together a group of capable 9mm suppressors from a variety of popular manufacturers (ourselves included), with the hopes of providing a well rounded collection of test subjects. While they are all rated for 9mm, they vary in their lengths, weights, diameters, modularity, and materials. The breakdown, and their stats, is below: 

HuxWrx Ca$h 9K

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The CA$H 9k suppressor, featuring OSS Flow-Baffle® technology, is both lightweight and compact. It comes with a 1/2 x 28 direct thread mount, suitable for use with submachine guns and pistol caliber carbines. Its design also makes it a good option for short-barreled rifles, particularly when using subsonic .300 AAC Blackout. The CA$H 9k provides excellent noise reduction and performance.

  • Length – 5.15”
  • Weight – 5.9 oz
  • Diameter – 1.375”
  • Build Materials – 17-4 Heat Treated Stainless Steel Grade 5 Titanium 7075-T6 Aluminum
  • Modular? – No
  • Caliber Rating – 9mm, 22 LR, 17 HMR, 5.7, 300 BO Subsonic, 350 Legend
  • Full-auto rated? – Full-auto rated for 300 BO Subsonic.

GemTech GM-9

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The Gemtech GM-9 suppressor is an efficient and straightforward solution for those seeking a lightweight silencing option. Made from aluminum and weighing only 5 ounces without the mount, it features a simple monocore baffle design. It is compatible with all multimount adapters, allowing for easy use across different firearms. The GM-9 can handle subsonic .300 Blackout rounds and is capable of being used with fully-automatic 9mm firearms, offering solid performance for a variety of applications.

  • Length – 6.5”
  • Weight – 8.42 oz
  • Diameter – 1.25”
  • Build Materials – 7075 Aluminum
  • Modular? – No
  • Caliber Rating – 9MM, Subsonic .300 BLK
  • Full-auto Rated? – Yes (9mm)

Rugged Obsidian9

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The Obsidian9 enhances your shooting experience by offering superior suppression specifically designed for 9mm firearms, while maintaining a lightweight and compact design. Thanks to its ADAPT™ Module, it provides the flexibility of two suppressor lengths, allowing you to choose between maximum suppression and a more balanced weight and length. Its slim diameter of 1.37″ ensures compatibility with pistol suppressor sights, making it an ideal choice for both pistols and submachine guns.

  • Length – Standard Configuration: 7.8″, Short Configuration: 4.85″
  • Weight – Standard Configuration: 12.7oz; Short Configuration: 8.7oz
  • Diameter – 1.37”
  • Build Materials – 17-4 SS baffles and mount, aluminum tube
  • Modular? – Yes
  • Caliber Rating – Rated for pistol calibers up to 9mm, 300BLK subsonic, and 350 Legend
  • Full-Auto Rated? – Belt Fed Rated for Pistol Calibers up to 9mm, 300BLK Subsonic (with an 8″ or longer barrel), 9×39 Subsonic (with an 8″ or longer barrel), 350 Legend (with a 16″ or longer barrel or longer)

Dead Air Wolfman 

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The Wolfman is a top-level silencer, improved from earlier models to work with multiple types of firearms including submachine guns, light rifles, and handguns. It’s particularly good at reducing noise. It can be adjusted in size to balance noise suppression with convenience. An additional feature is the option to add a rubber wipe by the user, which can cut down on noise even more. Made from 17-4 PH stainless steel, the Wolfman is both strong and not too heavy. Its design aims to reduce muzzle noise effectively, thanks to its large inner space and big blast chamber.

  • Length – Long 7.5”, Short 5.13”
  • Weight – Long 14.4 oz, Short 9.8 oz
  • Diameter – 1.618”
  • Build Materials – Fully welded 17-4 SS
  • Modular? – Yes
  • Caliber Rating – 9mm, 5.56, 300 BLK, 7.62×39, 350 Legend, 357 Magnum
  • Full-auto rated? – Yes

SilencerCo Omega 9K

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The Omega 9K stands out as an exceptionally compact and lightweight suppressor, offering remarkable noise suppression capabilities. Its straightforward, tubeless design appeals to an extensive array of shooters, making it a top choice for pistol enthusiasts. Fully automatic rated, this suppressor is perfectly suited for both pistols and submachine guns, delivering outstanding durability and performance within a sleek, compact form.

  • Length – 4.54”
  • Weight – 7.3 oz
  • Diameter – 1.48”
  • Build Materials – Fully welded Cobalt 6 and 17-4 SS
  • Modular – No
  • Caliber Rating – 9mm, 300 BLK
  • Full-Auto rated? – Yes

Dead Air Odessa 9

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The Dead Air Odessa 9 is a 9mm pistol suppressor known for its modularity, offering users the option to change its length through 9 removable baffles. At its heaviest, it weighs 7.4 ounces and measures 7.75 inches long (not including the piston and spring), but it can be shortened to just 2.75 inches. This suppressor works with both pistols and PCCs and doesn’t have a minimum barrel length requirement. Its 1.1-inch diameter means it won’t block your sight picture regardless of whether you’re suppressing a PCC or handgun. 

  • Length – Shortest Length: 2.75”, Full Configuration: 7.75”
  • Weight – 7.4 oz
  • Diameter – 1.1”
  • Build Materials – 17-4 Stainless steel
  • Modular? – Yes
  • Caliber Rating – 9mm, 22LR, 22MAG, 5.7×28, 32Auto
  • Full-Auto Rated? – No

SilencerCo Osprey

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The Osprey stands out with its distinct polygonal design, which not only increases the internal volume for superior sound suppression but also ensures it remains out of the shooter’s line of sight, allowing the use of standard pistol sights without obstruction. The latest model enhances usability with a push-button locking mechanism, ensuring fast and reliable positioning. These innovative features solidify the Osprey’s status as one of the most distinguished and sought-after pistol suppressors available.

  • Length – 7.06”
  • Weight – 8.8 oz
  • Diameter – 1.30 X 1.75″
  • Build Materials – Aluminum & 17 – 4 SS
  • Modular? – No
  • Caliber Rating – 9MM & 300 BLK Subsonic
  • Full-Auto Rated?- Yes

Angstadt Arms Vanquish

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“The Vanquish is the easiest suppressor you’ll ever own.” James Reeves, The Firearm Blog.

The patented zero baffle design of the Vanquish frees you from the limitations of conventional suppressors. No more worrying about a baffle strike or tedious maintenance requirements. Just pick up your rifle and shoot, it’s that easy.

There’s not even a need to shoot expensive subsonics because the Vanquish ported barrel effectively erases the sonic boom of standard 115-grain ammunition, delivering the stealth of subsonic rounds without the added cost and weight. And for those already using subsonic ammo, you can close up to 8 ports on the barrel, ensuring optimal velocity and sound suppression.

Suppressed shooting has never been simpler; the elimination of internal baffles means less worry, maintenance and more time enjoying your range sessions.

  • Length – 10.5” Barrel or 16” Barrel
  • Diameter – 1.5”
  • Build Materials – 4140R chrome-moly steel, 316 stainless steel
  • Modular? – No
  • Caliber Rating – 9MM
  • Full-Auto Rated? – yes

Testing Methodology

Sound testing was conducted with a Larson Davis SoundTrack LxT Firearm Noise Sound Level Meter, Model #LxT1-QPR in compliance with proper Mil-Std-1474D suppressor testing methodologies. Measurements were recorded at the shooters ear.

Testing Conditions (all suppressors tested on the same day under these conditions):

Ave db reduction at shooters ear

Angstadt Arms

Vanquish SBR (dry)

33.94 dB

Vanquish Rifle (dry)

37.72 dB

Vanquish Rifle (wet)

43.54 dB

Vanquish SBR (wet)

47.26 dB

Others

HuxWrx Ca$h 9K

20.85 dB

Gemtech GM9

34.10 dB

Rugged Obsidian9

34.40 dB

Dead Air Wolfman

38.10 dB

SilencerCo Omega 9K

39.20 dB

Dead Air Odessa

39.85 dB

Silencerco Osprey 9

39.90 dB

Conclusion

By the end of testing, we felt we had reached our goal of evaluating the true dB reduction across several suppressors in order to see where the Vanquish stood. While all suppressors performed very well, we felt confident in the sound reduction abilities of the Vanquish.

At first glance, the results may seem to indicate a clear ranking of ‘winners’ and ‘losers’, but each suppressor tested should be considered with their purpose in mind. For example, the HuxWrx Ca$h 9K has the lowest dB reduction listed— but it is also the shortest, lightest weight suppressor on the list.

What is sacrificed in sound reduction, is gained in maneuverability due to its shorter length and lightweight design. Alternatively, a suppressor like the SilencerCo Osprey 9 has greater dB reduction, but is larger and heavier.

Typically, humans can only detect a noticeable difference in sound at every 3 dB. As you go above this level, differences in sound are clearly noticeable. The decibel scale is logarithmic rather than linear, which means for every 3 dB you move up or down the scale, you are adding or dropping 50% of your remaining sound pressure levels.

At a 3 dB drop, 50% of noise has survived. At a 6 dB drop only 25% of noise remains, at a 9 dB drop only 12.5% of noise remains, and so on and so forth. For reference, a 9mm handgun firing once is at around 160 dB. 

With any suppressor there will be pros and cons, but the most important thing to keep in mind is your purpose in having a suppressor and which features best suit your needs.  

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