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Better, Smaller, Lighter: The New ThunderBeast Suppressors

ThunderBeast has been the most popular rifle suppressor among the top 50 shooters in the Precision Rifle Series for the past 3 years in a row (see the data). In fact, of the shooters who suppressed their rifles, 1 in 3 chose a ThunderBeast can this past year. Thunder Beast Arms Corporation (TBAC) was founded and is ran by practical/tactical rifle competitors obsessed with long-range accuracy. Many believe they make the best precision rifle suppressors money can buy.

A couple weeks ago at SHOW Show, Zak Smith showed me their new and improved line of products. They’ve completely redesigned their line of 30 caliber suppressors, and made significant improvements.

ThunderBeast Suppressor

First, ThunderBeast simplified their product line-up. Over the past couple years, TBAC has offered 8 different 30 caliber suppressor designs. Those have been merged into 3 different products.

Rifle Suppressors

ThunderBeast still offers suppressors for .22 and .338 calibers as well, but the recent updates were focused around their 30 caliber suppressors. So those are what I’ll focus on in this post.

A Primer in Sound

Before I dive into the sound data, let me explain some basics behind the science of sound:

“The decibel (dB) is the unit used to measure the intensity of a sound. The decibel scale is a little odd because the human ear is incredibly sensitive. Your ears can hear everything from your fingertip brushing lightly over your skin to a loud jet engine. In terms of power, the sound of the jet engine is about 1,000,000,000,000 times more powerful than the smallest audible sound. That’s a big difference!” – HowStuffWorks.com

When it comes to sound, there are two key concepts we need to understand: Sound Intensity and Perceived Loudness.

Sound Intensity (Measured Sound Level)

Because the range of possible sounds is so huge, the decibel scale is different from most. Its logarithmic, which most of us aren’t familiar with. A difference of 10 dB means the sound is 10 times more intense, in terms of acoustic energy. Every 10 dB is an order of magnitude. If there is a 20 dB difference, that means its 100 times more powerful (10×10), and a difference of 30 dB would be 1,000 times more intense (10×10×10)! To help you understand the decibel scale, here are some common sounds along with some visualizations of their relative magnitude.

Rifle Silencer Noise Examples

Notice on the chart our baseline is normal speech at 60 dB (1x), then a dishwasher at 63 dB is twice as much (2x), and a vacuum cleaner at 70 dB is ten times as powerful (10x) as normal speech. So a difference of 3 dB can be thought of as twice as intense in terms of acoustic energy, and a difference of 10 dB is ten times as intense.

Perceived Loudness

But, that doesn’t mean 10 dB is 10 times louder. When we switch from talking about sound intensity to perceived loudness, we end up in a strange mix of science and psychology, because loudness is a subjective feeling and can be perceived differently by individuals. For that reason, we actually can’t measure perceived loudness directly. But psychoacousticians have done enough studies to know in general when the sound level increases by 10 dB a sound is perceived as twice as loud (source). Similarly, a 20 dB increase in the sound level is perceived as four times as loud by the normal human ear (2×2).

Clear as mud?! Here is a table showing how changes in measured sound level would apply to both measurements:

Sound Level ChangePerceived LoudnessSound Intensity
+10 dB2x (double)10x
+6 dB1.52x4x
+3 dB1.23x2x (double)
0 db1x1x
-3 dB0.82x0.5x (half)
-6 dB0.66x0.25x
-10 dB0.5x (half)0.1x
-20 dB0.25x0.01x
-30 dB0.13x0.001x

A difference of 1 dB is the just-noticeable difference (JND) for the normal human ear (source), although that may be imperceptible by some people. A difference of 5 dB is clearly noticeable.

Both OSHA and MIL-STD-1474E require hearing protection if sound pressure levels are 140 dB or more (for “impulse” noises like gunfire). However, hearing loss can occur from sounds as low as 85 decibels with long or repeated exposure. Noise-induced hearing loss is cumulative and permanent. Ear protection typically reduces noise by 16-30 dB, which you can find by looking at their Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). For example, the popular Howard Leight ear muffs have an NRR of 22 dB. That likely will not get you below that 140 mark without “doubling-up” by wearing ear plugs in addition to the muffs. If you’re using a brake, please protect your ears, and pass that message on to your shooting buddies.

Improved Sound Performance

TBAC’s new line of suppressors has significantly improved sound suppression. I’ve heard how serious those guys are about testing their products, so I asked Zak for some of the data they’ve gathered to give us an idea about the improvement in sound suppression. The data below shows how each suppressor performed, and how that compares to previous models.

Rifle Suppressor

Note: All data was measured in accordance with MIL-STD-1474D using a Bruel & Kjaer 2209 Meter one meter offset from muzzle. The data was provided in ranges, which were +/- 1 dB from the values shown on the chart. For example, the Ultra-9 measured 132-134 dB, but is simply displayed as 133 dB on this chart. The “No Suppressor” reading was without a muzzle brake (plain barrel), and they estimate that a muzzle brake would be around 171-174 dB.

The big news here, is the new ThunderBeast Ultra-7 Suppressor. You can see the Ultra-7 is at 135 dB, which is 3 dB less than the previous 9” inch suppressor models (30P-1 and 30CB9 were both at 138 dB). The Ultra-7 provides a 33 dB decrease in noise from the unsuppressed measurement, which is over 8 times quieter (2x2x2)!

TBAC’s new 9” Ultra-9 suppressor was measured at 133 dB, which is 5 dB less than the older models. But that is only 2 dB quieter than the new 7” model.

Previously, ThunderBeast intentionally called their 5” cans moderators … not suppressors. That was because those super-short models were only able to get the sound levels down to around 152 dB. But the ThunderBeast Ultra-5 is their first 5” suppressor. At 144 dB you should obviously still wear hearing protection with it (which I’d still recommend with all suppressors firing supersonic ammo), but it’s designed for situations where more compact size is required, but you still need some amount of suppression.

Keep in mind the data shown on the chart was for a 308 Win, and this may not be what you experience with other calibers or cartridges. While these suppressors work well with 6mm and 6.5mm bullets, they may not provide the exact same level of suppression. The guys at Thunder Beast said in their experience the .260 Rem is a little quieter than the .308 Win. They didn’t have the exact measurement, but that is their experience shooting .308 and .260 rifles side by side with the same cans at matches over the past 5 years. Steve Adelmann explains, “The smaller the bullet and tighter the bore, the less noise escaping, all else being equal.” TBAC’s tests fully comply with MIL-STD-1474D, which is the gold standard of sound testing. But, I tend to side with Adelmann’s view on this kind of data: “I recommend viewing all published suppressor data with the same skepticism you would toward muzzle velocity numbers printed on an ammo box.” At the very least, it looks like those guys have made substantial improvements to the noise reduction on these new models.

Weight Reduction

So not only do the new ThunderBeast suppressors perform better, but they cut weight by up to 30%.

Suppressors

Most companies advertise the weight of their brake-attached suppressors, so that is what I’m displaying in the chart above. They do that because their direct-thread versions are always a little heavier (typically by 1-2 ounces). ThunderBeast’s legendary 30P-1 suppressor weighed 17.2 ounces. We know the Ultra-7 provides even better suppression than the 30P-1, so that is what I’m thinking of switching to. Not only is the Ultra-7 quieter than the 30P-1, but it’s also be 2” shorter and 33% lighter! Better, smaller, lighter … sign me up!

308 Suppressor

Direct-Thread vs. Brake-Attached

TBAC suppressors can attach 2 different ways:

  • Direct-Thread: The suppressor’s thread pattern matches the thread on the rifle barrel, and you just screw it straight on. The 5/8-24 thread pattern is the most common for 30 caliber cartridges, but there are many others.
  • Thread Over Muzzle Brake (TOMB): You first screw on a proprietary muzzle brake to your rifle barrel, and then the suppressor will screw onto the muzzle brake. This method is also called “brake-attached.”

Traditionally, precision shooters preferred direct-thread suppressors, because they’re thought to be more accurate. There are a lot of Quick-Detach (aka QD or Quick-Attach) suppressor designs out there, and while they make it quicker/easier to attach a suppressor, some make small compromises on accuracy in the name of convenience. That degrade in accuracy typically results from small amounts of play in the connection, or the suppressor orientation isn’t exactly the same each time it’s attached. While it may not result in a huge loss of accuracy, most long-range shooters refuse to accept any compromises on that front. We require suppressors to have an identical effect shot-to-shot, and be completely repeatable when removed and reattached.

ThunderBeast’s TOMB mounting system is different than a QD mount, because it doesn’t use a lock. As SilencerShop.com explains, “As a general rule, mounting systems that don’t use a lock will deliver the same accuracy as a direct-thread suppressor. … Remember that most modern quick-attach suppressors provide good accuracy for most shooters & hunters; but, if you’re looking to squeeze out every last bit – then a non-locking or compression mount is the way to go.”

Zak actually believes their compact Thead-Over-Muzzle-Brake (TOMB) system is a better solution than direct-thread. He explains, “With the CB mount, the suppressor mates to a conical shoulder on the brake and locks up rock solid and extremely tight.” This CB mount is very similar to their previous BA (Brake-Attached) models, which have been in service for several years with outstanding results.

Conical Shoulder on Brake Mount and direct-thread

On the other hand, the direct-thread connection simply bumps up against the small side-wall of the barrel. That can be a less solid connection, which can allow the direct-thread suppressor to work lose over time. Veteran shooters develop the habit of checking that their suppressor is still screwed on tight after each string of fire, because if the suppressor works loose even a little it causes a significant POI (point of impact) shift. “A tight suppressor is a happy suppressor,” says Steve Adelmann.

Zak also mentioned “The direct versions can be easily changed to the CB mount, or their threads can be changed. They will also have 17-4 stainless threads. This is a big departure from the status quo of cutting threads directly into the rear end of the can.”

The reception of this new Ultra series of suppressors has been so strong that Thunder Beast is putting a full 2nd shift together to scale up their production and try to keep up with demand.

These improvements all sound great on paper, but I hope to get my hands on one of these new suppressors at some point and try it out in the field. I personally own a ThunderBeast 30P-1 (bought out-of-pocket), and I’ve fired 1,000+ rounds with it and used it in several competitions. It is an outstanding suppressor for a precision rifle. Maybe these new designs will follow in its footsteps.

I’ll leave you with a video teaser the guys at Thunder Beast made for SHOT Show, which shows these new products:

About Cal

Cal Zant is the shooter/author behind PrecisionRifleBlog.com. Cal is a life-long learner, and loves to help others get into this sport he's so passionate about. His engineering background, unique data-driven approach, and ability to present technical and complex information in a unbiased and straight-forward fashion has quickly caught the attention of the industry. For more info on Cal, check out PrecisionRifleBlog.com/About.

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29 comments

  1. I’m sure you’re going to start getting sick of hearing this, but excellent work man. As a fellow engineer I love seeing the science behind guns. I really enjoy the way you dive into the science of acoustics before throwing around dB. It really helps keep people on a level playing field, and makes it so I can link this article to my STEM and non-STEM friends alike.

    couple things though,

    1. I think you have a typo in the sentence
    “For example, the popular Howard Leight ear muffs have an NRR of 22 dB, which may not get you below that 140 mark without also wearing eye plugs.”
    where I believe you mean EAR protection at the very end.

    2. Maybe I’m remembering incorrectly, but I thought for sound it was every 20 dB was one order of magnitude. I looked up on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decibel#Acoustics) and it seems right because it has a multiplier of 20 on the outside. So plugging in 10 for prms/p0 you get Lp=20, and plugging in 100 for prms/p0 you get Lp=40. Please double check me, I haven’t done acoustics in YEARS, so I’m not 100% sure.

    3. Not a complaint, but just something I wanted to add. Using the same equation (so 20 per order of magnitude) I plotted the db values converted to Pascals so people could see the numbers in an absolute scale. But if it turns out it is actually 10, this chart is useless haha. http://i.imgur.com/jvBXCjH.png

    • Thanks, man. I put a lot of effort into first understanding the info myself, but then communicating it in a way that is easy for even non-technical people to understand. I love the quote: “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” I try hard to not use jargon or acronyms without explaining it. I think our industry is bad about leaving behind new shooters, and making it hard for them to get into this sport … so I read and re-read through my posts before they go up and try to see it with fresh eyes (which is hard), and I put a lot of effort into visualizations and examples so it is as easy as possible for people to take in while they glance through the post. So it is really encouraging to hear when someone notices the effort I put into that front.

      1) Already got that fixed! A couple people noticed that. I don’t have an editor, so I appreciate you mentioning it … so I don’t look like an idiot in front of the next 1,000,000 people that read that post.

      2) Yeah, it’s confusing because it’s different if your talking about subjectively perceived loudness (volume), objectively measured sound pressure (voltage), or theoretically calculated sound intensity (acoustic power). You can find a lot of sources out there that say different things, which is why I got a guy to review this entire post who specializes in this kind of sound testing and is a suppressor expert in the industry. I actually told him I’d rather my website be shut down forever, rather than publish bad information. There are too many sources of bad information already out there! I (or we) could be wrong, here are a couple sources that seem to align with the way I explained it: Science.HowStuffWorks.com, Dr. Alan Frischer on Hearing, American Hearing Center’s Hearing Health Facts, Suppressor Science, and Sounds, Decibels, & Suppressors. Again, I could be wrong … but at least you can see I did a lot of due diligence before publishing what I did.

      3. That is fantastic … but I’m not sure it isn’t a power of 10. I actually tried to do a similar chart, but it didn’t turn out as clear as that one. That is a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

      I really appreciate your thoughtful feedback.

      Thanks,
      Cal

      • have you considered teaching? as a recent graduate I would have loved to have someone with your passion and knack for explanations in, well any of my classes haha. maybe as an adjunct professor?

        It looks like youre right, I cant seem to find anything else to use steps of 20. I guess that’s what I get for using Wikipedia and not double checking it haha. I hope it didn’t come across as me accusing you of not doing the leg work. I have followed this blog long enough to know how much time and effort you put into each post.

      • Hey, no problem. I do appreciate the questions, especially when framed in a respectful way like you did. I ask more questions than anyone I know! And that is a very confusing and technical topic, with a ton of bad info out there on it. So I could honestly be wrong.

        I actually did think about teaching … or becoming an author. I even wrote a computer science textbook for a large publisher that was used in some colleges, and I’ve wrote a couple other non-fiction books that were self-published. While my grammar and spelling are atrocious, I feel like I have a knack for presenting technical or complex topics in a way that is easy to take in. Lots of that simply has to do with the amount of effort and time I put into it, in both the words and graphics (photography, charts, illustrations, examples, etc).

        Unfortunately, there is no shortage of passionless teachers out there. You can’t fake passion … it’s obvious when someone has it and when they don’t. I do a lot of hiring, and passion is a requirement for all positions. I always ask myself, “Do their eyes light up when they talk about the position?” I can remember 3 different professors I had that were deeply passionate about their area of study … and even though those topics weren’t my favorite, they were my favorite professors and they made the topic interesting. One of those was technical writing, and I ended up taking several more technical writing classes from him as electives, because his passion was contagious. We’re all attracted to passionate people!

        I’m a big quote guy, and here is a great one I stumbled on this week:

        “The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.” – James Michener

        It’s sad for me to watch so many people squander their life grinding out a job for a paycheck, and never finding the thing that makes them come alive. May it not be so in us.

        Thanks,
        Cal

  2. I think you’re making an assumption that pressure equals human perceived volume. It does not. The db scale is pressure on a microphone, not specifically how a human would perceive that, so when you say “X times louder” that’s probably not the case. It exerts X times more pressure on the microphone, certainly.

    Anyhow… If they really did manage 11.5 and 9.5oz at 135 and 133db respectively, that’s pretty damn amazing and I’m certainly interested in a perm attached can. I’m still waiting to see how the Silencerco Omega does in A/B comparisons because initial testing wasn’t phenomenal.

    One other concern with Thunderbeast is their use of “titanium” no grades mentioned, which means it’s very likely they are using cheap Grade2 for their tubes. Grade2 is almost no better than aluminum. I get that these are precision cans and don’t need to be built like tanks, but Grade9 (the better tube option) is the same weight, which means it would eat into their margins, which are already seemingly high looking at their retail costs.

    But I’m interested.

    • Also, I see their weights are kinda BS. Yes, it’s 11.5 and 9.5oz for the can, but those are not the thread on cans. You need to add a brake to attach to which is unlisted in weight but likely to be about 3-4oz. Man I really hate when silencer mfgs do this!! I can’t use your product at 9.5oz, so please don’t list that’s what it weighs.

      Actual weights according to Thunderbeast are:
      Utlra 7 – 9.7 brake, 11.5 thread
      Ultra 9 – 11.9 brake, 13.7 thread

      …. Looking at it again, I can also see those db numbers are also BS. What gun? What barrel? What ammo? If you post “135db” without posting those three pieces of info, you’re pretty much wasting everyone’s time – please correct.

      • First, simmer down. Maybe you should read the post before throwing the BS flag. To address the weight comment, here is a quote from the post that is directly below the chart showing the weights:

        Most companies advertise the weight of their brake-attached suppressors, so that is what I’m displaying in the chart above. They do that because their direct-thread versions are always a little heavier (typically by 1-2 ounces). ThunderBeast’s legendary 30P-1 suppressor weighed 17.2 ounces.

        You can go look up all the other weights on their website. I’m not trying to give you every detail you might possibly want to know. I didn’t want to list 1 million different weights, because it gets confusing. They all dropped 20-30%, including the previous direct-thread models compared to the new direct-thread models.

        To address your 2nd comment about the “Actual weights according to Thunderbeast”. I had the published numbers in my chart, but when I got Zak to review the post last night to see if there were any errors, he specifically said that the current weights listed on their website were conservative estimates they made before they went into production. Now that they’ve actually made some of the suppressors, he gave me the updated numbers that are what people can actually expect if they order one.

        To address your 3rd comment about gun, barrel, and ammo … here is what I said in that section about the test data:

        Keep in mind the data shown on the chart was for a 308 Win, and this may be what you experience with other calibers or cartridges. While these suppressors work well with 6mm and 6.5mm bullets, they may not provide the exact same level of suppression. The guys at Thunder Beast said in their experience the .260 Rem is a little quieter than the .308 Win. They didn’t have the exact measurement, but that is their experience shooting a of .308 and .260 rifles side by side at matches with the same cans over the past 5 years. Steve Adelmann explains, “The smaller the bullet and tighter the bore, the less noise escaping, all else being equal.” TBAC’s tests fully comply with MIL-STD-1474D, which is the gold standard of sound testing. But, I tend to side with Adelmann’s view on this kind of data: “I recommend viewing all published suppressor data with the same skepticism you would toward muzzle velocity numbers printed on an ammo box.”

        You should take that information with a grain of salt, because even if you used the same cartridge, barrel length, and model of suppressor … I can almost guarantee that you won’t experience the same exact dB numbers. Those measurements are simply a snapshot of specific conditions (rifle configuration and many, many environmental conditions), and you shouldn’t treat them as gospel or directly applicable to what you will experience on your setup with your field conditions.

        Lastly, if you’re not happy with my style of writing and what I choose to include or not include … I’ll give you your money back and you can go somewhere else. I do this for FREE, and you need to tone down the attitude or you aren’t welcome here.

        Cal

      • JNZ,
        Look at the decibel chart per can- at the bottom you will see it’s .308
        My Compact Brake measures 2oz, much lighter than many competitors.
        Don’t be so excitable and negative, try asking questions. I pulled my brake off my rifle for you.
        I own two TBAC cans, their quality, help and customer service are second to none.

    • Dude, I don’t know how I could have said that more clearly. I actually put it in bold in the article, so it seems like you didn’t actually read it before firing off a comment to critique me. Here is a direct quote from the post (last paragraph of the “A Primer in Sound” section):

      Sound is a strange mix of science and psychology, because loudness (i.e. volume) is a subjective feeling and can be perceived differently by individuals. We actually can’t measure perceived loudness directly, but we can objectively measure Sound Pressure Level (SPL) and that is what is used to quantify the intensity of a sound. But SPL may not always correlate with the loudness perceived by our ears.

      As far as the grade of Titanium, maybe you should ask them … instead of jumping to the conclusion that they use cheap materials. I’m not sure what they use, but that is a strong accusation and doesn’t seem to align with the company’s overall commitment to excellence.

      I’ll ask Zak if he can share any more details on the grade of Titanium they use, and I’ll post an update here when I hear back from him.

      Thanks,
      Cal

      • Thanks Cal,

        But I have asked them. “They do not disclose that information” however, awhile back they recommended me as a Form1 builder to a site they buy from. That site only had Grade2 in anything larger than 1″ sizes.

        It’s a pretty common thing, if they don’t say Grade9 tube, it’s Grade2. In this application that’s probably just fine, but you need to know you basically have an aluminum tube as far as yeild strengths go.

        If TB comes out and says it’s a Grade9 tube with a Grade5 core or a Grade5 (6Al4V) tube that they gun drill out, great! I’ll buy one today! I’m still interested even at Grade2 with this specific application but it’s definitely an issue compared to other products like AAC’s 300TM or Silencerco’s Harvester where they are upfront about materials used.

      • Awesome. Zak just replied with the exact specs, and the tube is Grade9 with Grade5 baffles. No Grade2 anywhere. Sounds like you’re buying one today. Glad it’s cleared up.

        Thanks,
        Cal

      • Ok, so just checking here, you are telling me to check their website, but in the next line that their website may not be accurate. Roger!

        Do you have the actual weight of the TB mount? I’d be interested if they are under 2oz because the A2 weighs 2oz. Silencerco, AAC, and SF all weigh about 4oz.

      • Sorry, I don’t have the exact weight of the mount.

  3. Hi guys,

    The Ultras are made of grades 5 and 9. The baffles are grade 5.

    The weight thing with or without brakes is just how the industry does it.

    The sound testing was done with a 22″ .308 shooting PNW 175gr match.

    • Awesome. I’m definitely interested in an Ultra 7 now. I’ll just have to weigh this against the 300TM, and Omega. Weight/durability/performance/price, etc.

      The numbers look excellent, and Grade9 tube is good to know. I’d highly recommend adding that to your site.

      Fwiw, yea, it might be an “industry standard” – that no one likes. AAC has “length added to weapon” that is over flash hider as if that mattered. Silencerco has hit a new questionable mark that they are saying the Omega is whatever ounces, without the brake it’s always shown with and without the mounting system! I get it, if most mfgs were upfront that their 20oz can will also have a 4oz mount, it makes thread-on seem a lot better (it kinda is) and then the high margin mounts won’t sell as well. For you guys, I think this is an advantage, so play it up and be upfront about the minimal weight difference and materials.

      22″ 308 with 175gr, good to know. Thanks for that. Maybe Cal can add it to the above post so the numbers have an extra degree of relativity.

  4. I have a M18x1.5 CB brake in front of me. It weighs 808 grains on my ChargeMaster. The 5/8 will be a tiny bit heavier.

    Some other stuff was put out in this thread about tube strength, application of materials, availability of materials and what one can infer, etc. I think a lot of that was based on assumptions that don’t necessarily bear out in our experience or is not applicable to particular suppressor designs (eg ours). Most places that use a significant amount of titanium, tube or bar, have to order mill runs of specifically what they want. In many suppressor designs (and many popular designs), the tube strength is mostly a nonissue. I’d be happy to discuss with anyone that is really interested about it over the phone.

  5. Gotta love the ATF. I ordered a 30P-1 almost a year ago and I’m still waiting for approval. Now there’s a new, latest and greatest version and the model I don’t even have yet is already outdated. I know it will still be an outstanding product but it’s still incredibly frustrating.

  6. Cal, don’t let some folks rain on your parade. I’ve written in before as a fellow engineer who, like you, is not an academic who has no outside, real world experience and I now follow your writings closely. Your work is meticulous with great attention to detail and I feel confident accepting its accuracy. Keep up the great work please I am rely on it quite a bit. Thanks.

    Dave

  7. Hi Cal
    Since you seem to be in the know on these things, I’d like to ask you a question if I may. I have a LWRC .308 Reaper Sniper Rifle. If you were me, which suppressor would you look at going with? With so many to choose from, I’m finding it very difficult to pick one. At this time I’m leaning towards the TBAC 30P-1 from Thunder Beast Arms Corp. Now they have made available more to choose from. So you can see my dilemma. Any help in this area would be greatly appreciated, when you have the time of course. I realize your a busy man providing all this wonderful information. And believe me, I do appreciate it.

    Thanks
    Tony

    • I personally own a ThunderBeast 30P-1, and I’m probably going to buy an Ultra-7 and sell my 30P-1 when I get the new one in-hand. Knowing what I do at this point, I’d recommend the Ultra-7 to you as well. The Ultra-7 is twice as quiet as the 30P-1 (according to the test data), it’s 2 inches shorter, and the weight is cut by 1/3. The Ultra-9 is just 2 dB quieter than the Ultra-7, which doesn’t justify the added bulk to me. Scientists say the human ear can differentiate 1 dB, so you’ll absolutely be able to tell a difference … the Ultra-9 will be more quiet than the Ultra-7. But it’s not twice as quiet (that would be 3 dB, and there is only a 2 dB difference). They’re close enough in my mind that I’d prefer the smaller, lighter, more maneuverable version. On a lightweight AR-10, like the one you’re using, that is the direction I’d lean. The Ultra-5 doesn’t offer enough suppression for me to go for it. I prefer something that gets the sound under that 140 dB mark.

      Hope this helps,
      Cal

      • Hi Cal
        I was surprised to get such a quick response back from you. I’m so glad I asked and I will most definitely go with one of the newer models that you pointed out. Once again, thank you for the info.

        Tony

  8. I have a 30p1 awaiting BATFE approval. Now the Ultra comes out and now I am bummed out. Thunder Beast needs a trade up program for unused suppressors 🙂

  9. How about making a test, comparing different suppressors? Kinda like you did with the tactical scopes. With focus on actual suppressing performance. It would be real nice to see some unbiased data on the matter.

    • Shotty, I like the way you think. I’ve actually considered that and even did a little research into that exact project last year. I was thinking about testing a bunch of suppressors and muzzle brakes and measuring the sound difference (at the shooter’s position and spotter’s position), as well measuring the impact each muzzle device had on recoil.

      However, after a lot of research and conversations with industry pros, there were a few things that cause me to hesitate on this project:

      1) Testing sound is very technical. I glossed over a ton of critical details that you have to get right when testing for sound suppression. Not to mention you really need a $2k meter to do this correctly. Most “independent testers” use an OSHA sound meter, which is not good enough for quantifying sound like this. They just aren’t designed to be used in such a way, and the right devices must be well calibrated (read expensive) and there are a 1000 little gotchas that could render the results unreliable at best and misleading at worse. The last thing I want to do is put out bad info. There are other websites that have that market cornered! 😉

      2) I don’t have a Class 3 Firearms License, so the ATF here in the U.S. make acquiring a bunch of suppressors to test extremely difficult. While Great Britain encourages people to buy sound suppressors and allows them to be bought over the counter like a rifle scope or box of ammo … the U.S. makes you jump through hoops, wait 6 months, and pay $200 per device. It’s ridiculous, but it’s the world I find myself in. I’ve actually thought about getting a Class 3 license for this exact reason (plus it’d be cool to own fully-automatic weapons), but at this point I can’t justify the hassle and cost of that.

      At this point, I’ve tabled this project … but I’m open to it if anyone can help me find a way to overcome those barriers.

      But I really, really appreciate the way you’re thinking. Shotty, if you come up with any other ideas please contact me. I’m obviously all about those kinds of tests and would love to hear suggestions for other things to test, but this one just seems unusually complex and over-regulated.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  10. Well Cal- WE THE PEOPLE don’t have any reliable Information about silencers so any attempt at clearing some things up even the basics would be much better than no information at all. I know people like me will question everything you say and in my case I am not trusting of anyone. One of my favorite sayings is “Question everything, trust no one”. I know the money isn’t there to justify the research and I can understand that. I am sure you don’t want to put out thousands of dollars and jump through the ATFE’s hoops but I would like to read something about silencers even if it isn’t very scientific because after I buy a Schmidt and Bender next month (because of what you said about them being the best, I also bought a Bushnell scope because of your tests) I want a silencer. I know that I know nothing about silencers, I just read an article I think it was by the Horus guy in it he said that the only silencer a person can zero with a silencer and get an excellent zero then removing it with out losing the original zero is Surefire.
    Thanks for all the effort and energy and money you have invested in this/these projects.

    • Hey, Charlie. I’d love to test suppressors at some point. I just don’t have it on the calendar yet. But I have written a couple things about them that you might be interested in.

      Here is one post I wrote earlier this year about the new line of Thunder Beast suppressors. It also includes some general info on suppressors. I can vouch that the zero on these suppressors is 100% repeatable. I know Dennis (the guy who invented the Horus), and he’s a really sharp guy … but he must not have tried Thunder Beast suppressors. They’re the best I’ve personally seen.
      http://precisionrifleblog.com/2015/02/20/thunderbeast-suppressor/

      Then I have a list of what the top 50 shooters in the PRS use, and you’ll see Thunder Beast at the top of that list for the past 3 years. I don’t think those guys sponsor shooters, so that says those top shooters bought those cans out of pocket. Can’t give a bigger vote of confidence than that. I own one too.
      http://precisionrifleblog.com/2014/12/20/best-suppressors-and-muzzle-brakes/

      Maybe these will give you some direction.

      Thanks,
      Cal