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Direct Thread Rimfire Suppressors: A Life-Changing Gun Accessory

There’s got to be a gene for it someplace. Though it’s tough to quantify, you know it when you see it. Some of us are just born gun nerds.

Like dweeby little Jedi Padawans, you can identify us early. We are the kids on the grade school playground who keep throwing dirt clods at the wall to see them explode, pretend that Magnolia seed pods are hand grenades, and scurry about shooting imaginary Bad Guys with crooked sticks. When we finally come of age we scrape and save to finance the next gun conquest and incorporate ammunition as a line item in the family budget. We tend to have exceptionally long-suffering spouses.

Direct Thread Rimfire Suppressors

In my case, I bought my first BB gun at seven and built my first handgun, an Italian 1851 Colt Navy replica, from a kit at 13. I saved up an entire year working as a janitor in a drug store to fund my first AR-15 in tenth grade. It was with similar stuff that my addiction languished until I finally took the plunge and bought my first sound suppressor, a compact, reasonably-priced direct-thread rimfire can for my Walther P22 pistol. My little world would never be the same again.

Most such rimfire cans cost about what a mid-range polymer handgun might. Tack on the $200 transfer tax and the cost starts to sting a bit. Additionally, the 9-month wait for the paperwork to clear is adequate to drive the Biblical Stoic Job to road rage. However, once you get your greasy mitts on that bad boy it changes everything. A decent sound suppressor lets you leave your hearing protection at home.

Ours is the most refined consumer society in human history. Products stand or fall based upon features, materials, marketing, and design. The good stuff percolates to the fore, while the substandard fare fades into obscurity. Here are a few examples of the truly good stuff.

The SilencerCo Sparrow

The Sparrow was SilencerCo’s first sound suppressor some fifteen years ago. Weighing a paltry 6.5 ounces and stretching only five inches long, the Sparrow is rated for .22 LR, .22 Mag, .17 HMR, .17 WSM and 5.7 × 28mm. It is safe to run on full auto with .22 LR. While the Sparrow has traditionally been constructed out of stainless steel, SilencerCo is making a limited run from titanium. 

The Sparrow is designed around a monolithic core for ease of maintenance. That means the heart of the can is comprised of a single removable unit rather than individual baffles. There is a two-piece pressed steel sleeve that encompasses the core that makes for easy toolless disassembly, even when it is grungy after extended range sessions. The standard Sparrow also has an MSRP of only $349, making it the most affordable entry-level suppressor on our list. The SilencerCo Sparrow is the perfect starter can. (silencerco.com)

The Gemtech GM-22

A direct-thread .22 suppressor like this Gemtech GM-22 will mount on any rimfire rifle or pistol with a 1/2x28 threaded muzzle.

The Gemtech GM-22 is an aluminum rimfire suppressor that adds very little weight to your host pistol. Featuring exceptionally lightweight construction and Gemtech’s esteemed G-Core monolithic design, the GM-22 is easy to service and rugged enough to last about forever. Amazingly, the GM-22 is only 2.7 ounces all up.

Gemtech pioneered sound suppressors in America. My first rimfire can back when dinosaurs roamed the plains was a Gemtech, and that thing was unkillable. Offering superb hearing safe sound suppression in a package that does not detract from the efficiency of the host gun, the GM-22 makes you a more neighborly shooter without being a burden. The GM-22 has an MSRP of $399. (gemtech.com)

The Dead Air Mask

The Dead Air Mask strikes a balance between exotic materials and reasonable cost. It is a versatile and effective design.

The Mask from Dead Air Suppressors represents the sweet spot among weight, performance, and cost. Engineered from the outset to be uniquely easy to disassemble and clean even when nasty, the Mask combines class-leading suppression with a novel baffle design. The Mask’s baffles are machined with longitudinal ridges along the outside that serve as stand-offs to keep them from seizing to the inside of the tube. This feature makes the can more readily stripped than its competition.

The Mask features a titanium tube along with stainless steel baffles for long life and light weight. A combination nitride and cerakote finish helps protect the can and make it look cool to boot. The mask is 5.1 inches long and 6.6 ounces. The MSRP is $449. (deadairsilencers.com)

The Silencer Central Banish

The Silencer Central Banish 22 is a lightweight titanium design that incorporates keyed baffles for foolproof reassembly.

The Banish 22 from Silencer Central is a titanium can designed from the outset for maximum performance. It incorporates an architecture that can be readily disassembled along with indexing lines on each baffle for ease of realignment and reassembly. The Banish 22 claims to be the only rimfire suppressor on the market that is easily user-serviceable from both ends.

Rimfire cartridges are filthy, particularly with raw lead bullets. Over time, a high-use rimfire suppressor can become a mess. The Banish 22 is designed for superlative suppression, ease of maintenance, and long life. At 4.1 ounces, the Banish 22 also doesn’t add much weight to your firearm. The Banish 22 has an MSRP of $499. (silencercentral.com)

The Rugged Suppressors Oculus 22

The Rugged Suppressors Oculus 22 is a robust stainless steel can designed for hard use. The two-piece split tube design allows the operator to optimize the suppressor for either stealth or performance.

The Oculus 22 offers unparalleled versatility in a hard use sound suppressor. The Oculus 22 features 100% stainless steel construction for peerless durability. Keyed baffles make it impossible to reassemble the can wrong, and the Oculus 22 is meticulously engineered to do away with first round pop. Additionally, the Oculus 22 can be configured in either long or short versions via the ADAPT Modular Technology.

By removing the front cap and splitting the two-part tube to your liking, the Oculus 22 can be either 5.25 inches long or 3.25 inches depending upon the tactical scenario. The long version offers maximum performance. The stubbier variant is optimized for stealth. The base is the registered serialized bit, so the can is easily repaired or upgraded. The Oculus 22 has an MSRP of $515 and is rated for protracted full auto .22 LR belt-fed operation. (ruggedsuppressors.com)

Trigger Time on the Titanium SilencerCo Sparrow

The titanium Sparrow is a limited edition offering from SilencerCo celebrating their fifteen years in the suppressor business. The design is identical to that of the traditional Sparrow. However, the titanium construction means the suppressor weighs a paltry 3.8 ounces. No kidding, you can forget it is there. 

I have tried a variety of rimfire hosts in my quest to obtain the ideal plinking handgun. The S&W M&P .22 has the benefit of aping the full-sized handgun for positive habit transfer. The S&W 2206 has the classic cool factor. The Walther PPK/S .22 will let you channel your inner secret agent. However, my personal favorite is the adorable little Walther P22. 

I bought that inexpensive little gun at a gun show a couple decades ago. Without the can it is compact and fun to shoot, but inordinately loud. .22 rimfire out of a short barrel is ear splitting. However, thread the Sparrow onto the snout, and everything changes.

Ammo Ruminations & Considerations

Ammunition selection is a big deal with suppressed .22 rifles. With handguns, not so much. The speed of sound is 1,125 feet per second in dry air. Bullets traveling faster than that make an annoying sonic crack. Those flying slower do not. In the case of long-barreled rifles, it takes heavy 45-grain subsonic ammo to ensure your rounds remain reliably beneath that magic threshold. In the case of the Walther P22 pistol, most all conventional loads remain subsonic.

I shot that P22 a lot–I mean an insane amount. I used it to refine my own technique, introduce new shooters to the sport, and just while away many a lazy afternoon at the range. Ultimately, I burned countless thousands of rounds through that gun. So much so that one day the back half of the slide broke off.

The holy melding of the Walther P22 and the SilencerCo Sparrow will easily shoot minute-of-squirrel at reasonable handgun ranges.

Now don’t make any snap judgments. It took a truly epic number of rounds to get there. Walther had the gun back to me with a new slide and a spare magazine for my trouble in nine days flat. I then proceeded to try my dead level best to wear that one out as well.

The reason this gun gets so much mileage is that it really is comfortably quiet outdoors without hearing protection. The Sparrow is compact and efficient. It adds very little size burden to the gun yet makes it possible to shoot in your backyard without alarming the nosy little old lady who lives next door. That opens up all kinds of neat opportunities.

A Mighty-Mite Package

The holy melding of the compact P22 and the SilencerCo Sparrow makes for the ideal utility gun. The rig will tuck into some of the most discrete spaces and is painless to tote. I have used mine against water moccasins as well as a variety of malevolent forest critters. It would also render fine service against two-legged predators in a pinch. 

Folks denigrate the humble .22 rimfire. I have seen quite a few folks shot with that tiny little round. Not one of them seemed happy.

For all its real world utility, the primary mission of the Sparrow is simple recreational plinking. Mine helps me keep the disused aluminum beverage can population in check. In so doing I get to practice my trigger control and sight usage while inculcating proper muscle memory for pennies a shot. 

Be forewarned, however. Like illicit drugs, once you get that taste, you won’t want to go back. The combination of the P22 and the Sparrow makes for safer instruction, cheaper shooting, and an enhanced experience across the board. It will absolutely ruin you to noisy guns.

Direct Thread Rimfire Suppressor Specs

Sparrow GM-22 Mask Banish 22 Oculus 22
Manufacturer SilencerCo Gemtech Dead Air Silencer Central Rugged
Overall Length 5.08″ 5″ 5.1″ 5.4″ 5.25/3.25″
Overall Weight 6.5 oz. 2.7 oz. 6.6 oz. 4.4 oz. 6.9/4.3 oz.
Material Stainless Aluminum Titanium/Stainless Titanium Stainless
Mount 1/2×28 1/2×28 1/2×28 1/2×28 1/2×28
MSRP $349 $399 $449 $499 $515

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