By Jeff W. Zimba
When first introduced to the Osprey silencer line manufactured by Silencerco, LLC, it was immediately obvious that it was not a typical suppressor. It wasn’t until shooting them that we experienced how “outside the box” they really were.
There are a number of very experienced and capable silencer manufacturers who have been in the sound suppression business for a long time. Their products vary in size, weight, mechanics and sound reduction and fit almost every firearm and purpose where a suppressor is desirable. While many of them vary greatly in design and utilize cutting edge technology in every new offering, most of these changes are hidden from the average shooter with one thing in common: they typically utilize a traditional round tube for a body. When we saw the Osprey for the first time the obvious trait that made it unique was the rectangular shape. While that is what we were first attracted to, we quickly found that the shape was just one of several things we would find different about the Osprey and there was much more to the Osprey than just the shape.
Osprey Design Basics
While testing the Osprey we found there were many advantages to the rectangular design above and beyond the aesthetics. One of the important features of the shape is the ability to allow a large interior volume while still keeping a slim profile. With traditional round tubes, the volume is spaced equally through the entire interior profile. In general terms, the larger the volume, the larger the suppresser tube must be with the greater size spread equally around the entire radial circumference. While the larger volume can be beneficial in sound reduction, the size must be taken into consideration when balancing it against the optimum exterior size of the tube.
Because the Osprey is rectangular with the barrel mounted at the top, it can retain a slim profile, which aids in several areas.
- Since the suppressor is similar in size and shape of the slide of the pistol it is mounted to, it can often be used with standard holsters.
- As the barrel is mounted towards the top of the Osprey, the sights are visible on most host handguns without the necessity of tall, aftermarket sights.
- Due to the shape, the alignment of the mounted suppressor on every firearm is known during the manufacturing process, taking point of impact shift issues out of the equation.
For use with many popular pistols that utilize the time-tested Browning design where the barrel tilts upon unlocking, the Osprey has a built-in Neilson Device to overcome the additional forces created with extra weight at the end of the barrel. Their device has the ability to be used with interchangeable pistons allowing mounting on multiple pistols.
The Osprey is 1.75 inches tall, 1.3 inches wide and just over 7 inches long. The “tube” is manufactured from 6061 T6 aluminum with the core and end caps manufactured from 7075 T6 aluminum. The overall weight is 11.1 ounces and the finish is Type III Hard Coat Anodizing. The mounting system, including the Neilson device, is manufactured from 17-4 Stainless Steel and finished with a heat treated black oxide.
With several suppressors to choose from, we utilized the 9x19mm Osprey for purposes of testing for Small Arms Review at this time. The host pistol was a Glock 17 fitted with a drop-in stainless steel threaded barrel from Lone Wolf Distributors.
Anyone who has installed a threaded muzzle device of any kind will understand the properly tightened position of the can is unknown and is based on the threading of each individual barrel. This is one of the contributors to the point of impact shift encountered with some traditional round silencer designs. Since the Osprey has a predetermined position it must be mounted in, Silencerco, LLC has incorporated an innovative Cam Lock mounting system, which allows proper alignment on any handgun. To mount the Osprey, the suppressor is simply threaded on in a normal fashion with the cam lever in the locked position, tightened against the shoulder of the threads. With the suppressor completely secured on the threads, the cam lever is moved to its “open” position and the Osprey will freely rotate to the proper orientation on the host pistol. At this position the cam lever is placed back in the “lock” position. No further adjustment or use of the cam lever is necessary in the future on the same pistol, unless it has been used and aligned on a different pistol since the last use. The proper alignment is fast and very obvious when viewed against the slide of the host firearm, as it just looks like an extended slide in the correct orientation.
Since “out of the box” zero point of impact shift is a claim we have heard before but have not yet witnessed, we were anxious to test-fire the Osprey. The host pistol is extremely accurate with the Lone Wolf barrel and the sight alignment was tested by firing several groups before mounting the Osprey. The ammo used in all testing was Federal American Eagle 147gr FMJ-FP.
One of the few pistols where the factory sights are not visible when using the Osprey are Glock line. We have not yet tested it on other host pistols as we were still awaiting the delivery of more threaded barrels at the time this issue went to press, but Silencerco, LLC assures us the factory sights are clearly visible on numerous other pistols including H&K, SIG, and Colts. Since a Glock was our test platform, we used several shooters during live fire testing varying from very experienced silencer users to those never having fired a silenced pistol. All shooters found aiming the Osprey very easy, even without the sights protruding over the top, due to the smooth flat surface of the suppressor properly aligned with the host slide.
After all shooters fired numerous groups with the pistol without the suppressor, the Osprey was mounted, aligned and several groups of equal rounds were fired on an opposing point of aim on the same targets. Much to our surprise the claims were spot-on and we experienced absolutely no point-of-impact shift with the attachment of the Osprey even when shooting with the sights slightly obstructed.
As impressive as the accuracy was, it wasn’t the most surprising aspect of the live fire experience. To put it bluntly, this can is quiet. At press time we did not have the opportunity to do any scientific metering on it but all in attendance agreed it was much quieter than expected. The first round pop when fired dry (we fired it dry during all testing) seemed to have a similar sound signature to other suppressors fired at the same time, but all subsequent rounds were noticeably quieter than all others tested. To simplify, the Osprey’s first, and loudest round seemed on par with all other suppressors fired in their subsequent rounds. One oddity though was that when switching the ammo to 115gr FMJ Winchester (white box), which is much faster than the 147gr FMJ-FP, it was unanimous that the Osprey was noticeably louder than other suppressors with the same ammunition.
From the first impression to the firing line, the Osprey is unique in every way. In our experience thus far, the peculiar, rectangular shape quickly morphed from an oddity to almost a necessity. The workmanship of the Osprey design is very high quality in all aspects. The cam lock system ensures a tight, correct alignment and the ease of sighting couldn’t be simpler. An extremely impressive sound reduction level with the subsonic ammo we tested it with indicates that the design quality inside the Osprey is as well thought out as the outside. As to the question of if the Osprey was really a performer, or if the $849.95 MSRP was really a tall price to pay for a “high cool factor,” this author firmly believes that the aesthetics of the rectangular design may be the most noticeably apparent feature at first glance, but it is only the beginning of an entirely new suppressor experience.
Silencerco, LLC has a very nice website that includes their full product line and some interesting videos ranging from very slow-motion, thermal imaging firing sequences to CNC manufacturing procedures (www.silencerco.com). Watch the pages of Small Arms Review as we will be testing many more Silencerco, LLC suppressors in the future, including other Osprey models and their innovative new .22LR Sparrow.
Silencerco, LLC 5511 South 6055 North West Valley City, UT 84119 Ph: (801) 417-5384 Fax: (801) 417-5002 Email: Joshua@sliencerco.com Website: www.silencerco.com
Threaded Glock Barrels
Lone Wolf Distributors 57 Shepard, Road Oldtown, ID 83822 Ph: (208) 437-0612 Website: www.lonewolfdist.com
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V13N12 (September 2010)|