by Dave Bahde
copyright 2004 Sniper's Paradise
As was the case with my recent review of a U.S. Optics product I felt this review required a bit of explanation. As I currently provide representatio for Jet Suppressors I felt a need to clarify my position, and how I came to use these fine suppressors. Again, I want to make certain there is no misunderstanding as to my opinions, and how I came about them. I help sell these suppressors at shows, to paid members of Snipers Paradise, and to those that attend my training. I am not a dealer, and have no Class III license, so mostly I facilitate the sale through Jet Suppressors. Do I make a buck or two when that happens, yes I do. Does that affect my opinion, nope, but I guess you will just have to trust me there.
Suppressors and their use:
I have been a strong advocate of the rifle suppressor for many years. I used my first 308 suppressor in 1995, and have had occasion to use one, or owned one ever since. I was charged with putting together our department's first true sniper rifle in 1995. At the time I was the only person with that kind of experience. We were at that time dedicating six officers to work with another local team, one of those was a sniper. A friend of mine by the name of Dave Anderson was working for a company called Pro Arms, and that is where I went to put this system together. That company no longer exists, but Dave is still in the business, and still assists at times with Class III issues. We picked up a custom rifle, and he sold me on the idea of a suppressor for the rifle. I was able to swing both, and we became the only agency in the Salt Lake Valley to deploy a
suppressed sniper rifle. I am not certain, but I think that is still true today. After talking to the officer (now Sgt. Ruth and my partner on the team) he convinced me it was an incredible asset. So, when the time came to equip our own fully staffed team, I stayed with the AWC Thundertrap we had been using. When I did so, I purchased my own, so I could use it on my personal deployment rifle. I have been using that suppressor ever since, and had used it on a number of different 30 caliber rifles. I have also had the opportunity over the years to shoot a KMC 308 on an SR25, Gemtech, and three or four other brands. I am one who believes that if at all possible, a police sniper rifle should be equipped with a suppressor. That subject itself can be one for argument, but I can find no valid reason other than cost to not have a suppressor on a police rifle. That however is another article, this is about the Jet Suppressors.
About six months ago I decided that I wanted to try a Titanium Suppressor. I had read and heard it was the way to go, and the wave of the future. I had heard many talk about the advantages when built correctly, and they seemed to be pretty substantial. There were only a couple of drawbacks. The first and the largest hurdle was cost. At the time the AWC could be built in Titanium, but the cost was around $1500.00. Even their stainless can is about a grand now. I just did not have that much money. The other issue was there were few out there that had been tried and seemed to be effective and would hold up. The other suppressor that was receiving good reviews was the OPS Inc. Suppressor. I decided I would buy one of those. After over four months of calls, messages, and several E-mails I finally gave up. In every instance it was made clear it was a department purchase, and I was the sergeant in charge of the unit. To this day I have never received a reply to my request. The last request I made was “I want to buy a suppressor for my PD, how do I do that?”. Still have yet to hear from them six months later. I am not sure why, but I guess my department did not rate a call. As that was the case there seemed to be no reason to continue the request. Is this a bit of a rant, you betcha, but that is what I get to do when I write these. Others claim they have been taken care of promptly, I guess I just do not know the right guy. In any case I had to start looking around, and frankly I am happy I did. What I found works great, and the service was exactly the opposite.
I was checking on the various sniper websites and was hearing good things about these suppressors, and they were all Titanium. The best part being they were priced reasonably. Retail price on a Titanium suppressor from Jet was less than department price on a stainless AWC Thundertrap. For me at least, it was in a price range where I could give it a try. So, I sent them an E-mail. This was my first indication of how things were different. I received a reply with a quote for LE cost, within about two hours. After an E-mail conversation or two I talked to Debra and set up the details. Again, I was contacted promptly, and she was incredibly helpful. I was able to sell the AWC I had and cover the cost of the new Jet, and that was what I needed. It only got better from there. The paperwork for my suppressor was completed and shipped off to the BATF in less than a week! That is about unheard of in the Class III business, and I have been in that business for a bunch of years.
I asked if they would thread my rifle. No problem there, and again, they accomplished this task in less than a week. The cost to do this was pretty low, and since I never actually use thread protectors on my deployment rifles, the protector was a bit of a bonus. They threaded the barrel, and built the protector for $50.00. That is pretty cheap. If you want it to look like it had never been threaded, well make that clear at the time of the order. You can also have HD rifles do the work as they work together closely. HD will charge you more, but it is typically a work of art. In any case, that process took another entire two weeks. While I was waiting to have the paperwork go through the BATF process I sent my rifle off to HD for the very cool and very useful camouflage job. Jet was kind enough to ship the suppressor to HD while I was waiting. All were completed about the same time (rifle, suppressor and paperwork) and another week later I had my rifle and the suppressor ready to put them to work. So, start to finish, I had the rifle and suppressor ready to use in less than 60 days. Granted, this was a PD transfer, so it went faster than if you were doing so on a Form 4 (civilian) transfer, but that was extremely fast. A friend of mine had just waited four months for another company to build his suppressor, let alone get it transferred. In short, the service was excellent, and the product was as well. What follows is my experience with this suppressor, and the 338LM suppressor I just received.
Jets Titanium Suppressor's:
I was very anxious to try this suppressor as I wanted to put to the test all the things I had heard about Titanium. I was not disappointed at all, and in fact will likely not ever own a suppressor made of anything else. That is how impressed I am with this material, at least made by Mike Brown and Jet suppressors.
Fit and Finish:
When I received the 308 suppressor it had already been re-finished by HD rifles, so as one might expect it was fabulous. That is the way to tell the difference in the pictures. The black one is the 338LM suppressor, the 308 is in a digital camouflage. The suppressor itself was also extremely well done. I have used a number of suppressors over the years, some costing almost twice as much. This was as well or better finished than any others I have ever seen and handled. When I received the 338 LM suppressor I was equally as impressed. This one had not been coated by HD, but again it was cosmetically smooth, pleasing to the eye, and was clearly put together incredibly well. The threads were precise, and the suppressor mounted securely. The crown on the barrel was fine. The thread protector was fine, but you could clearly see where it started. Again, that is not much of a concern to me, because the can never comes off of the rifle accept to clean it, and it was about a hundred bucks less than you pay for the pretty ones.
This is the first thing that everyone who held this suppressor noticed. It weighs next to nothing! The weight of the Jet 308 suppressor is 13 ounces. That is about half the weight of comparable stainless suppressors. I was hard pressed to see that the 338LM suppressor weighed anymore. There are a number of benefits to this lack of weight. For one, it puts less stress on the threads. It tends to cause less of a change in the way the rifle shoots at range (less affect on muzzle jump). The best part is it has almost no affect on the balance of the rifle. My AI's are anything but light, but even with the suppressors attached it is hard to tell you even have the things on there. With the stainless suppressors it makes the rifle incredibly barrel heavy. It is a pain to shoot unsupported, and a pain to carry around. With these suppressors you simply are barely aware they are there.
How do they shoot?
This was the best part of the equation. Most all of the things I had heard about Titanium as a suppressor material proved true for me at least. The first thing I noticed was that the POI was only about .75” from my zero with the rifle not suppressed. There was no deviation either left or right. This makes it easy if for some reason I would decide to deploy without it. It is pretty easy to compensate for such a small deviation. With the 338LM can, there was less than .5” of deviation from my original zero, and again it was low, no change in windage. As a side note, Mike did not have my rifle when he made the 338LM suppressor. He threaded it to fit the AWM threading. It fit perfectly out of the box, and the first round was about dead on at 100 yards. You may ask why that is important, but on one occasion at least I had exactly the opposite experience with an AWC suppressor. It cost me about $500.00 to repair it after I installed it on a custom rifle I had that was supposedly (threaded for the Thundertrap).
When it comes to how quiet they are, these were as quiet as any others I have used. I was able to shoot the 308 suppressor side by side with the stainless steel suppressors we have on the unit. I could not tell any difference at all, and neither could the other four snipers. This is incredibly subjective since I have no scientific equipment to measure it with. But frankly, who cares! All I cared was that it did not seem louder, I don't seem to remember bringing a decibel meter to the last deployment, so I was not concerned about the numbers. That is for scientists, or someone with more time than me. Once again I just pull the trigger. I was very pleased with how quiet they were. When it comes to shooting the 338LM, well it is louder for sure, but it was plenty quiet enough to shoot without ears. In both instances they could be used without hearing protection, although I don't typically advocate practicing that way. In a deployment world however, they allow snipers to deploy with no concern for either hearing loss, or having their position compromised. This is with fully loaded ammunition, not sub-sonic. As is the case with all good suppressors, with subsonic ammunition they are extremely quiet. I fired a couple of rounds of TTI subsonic through the 308 and it sounds like a 22LR. What I did find was that the difference in the POA / POI was less than with the stainless can I was using before. So, they are quiet with real ammunition, and very quiet with the sub-sonic light bulb killing stuff.
The felt recoil reduction was as I expected. With the AWP I can watch the hole appear on the target after I press the trigger. This is one of the most important aspects of a suppressor for duty snipers to me, and the Jet certainly delivered. It is about like shooting an AR in .223 as it pertains to felt recoil. Second shot target acquisition is increased, and the potential for the shooter to be more accurate with it. On the 338LM I also noticed a bit of recoil reduction as compared to the brake that is on it. AI makes a great brake, but the suppressor was a bit better, and again less noise. I had all of the students in one of my schools shoot both, and they said the 338LM was like shooting a regular 308, and they barely noticed the 308 went off. This is again with full power ammunition, not subsonic stuff .
To test how it returns to zero I fired a ten shot group removing and re-installing the suppressor for each shot. As I would expect with this system, it put all ten in a group about the size of a nickel. The best part being, there was absolutely no change in POI when removing the suppressor. I performed this drill cold (first ten rounds out of the rifle). I then fired our stress course to get it hot, and performed the same drill (don't try this at home without some serious NOMEX!) I experienced the same result, no change in impact. Mike told me there was an absolute return to zero, and there sure was for me. I tried the same thing with the 338LM, same result.
One of the things I noticed with the Titanium was that although the suppressor was very hot, it did not transfer as much of that heat to the barrel. In direct comparison with the stainless cans on the unit rifles the difference was very apparent. The stainless suppressors simply keep the barrels hot. Unless you have a larger contoured barrel, it will affect your shots. We see that every time we perform round intensive drills with the stainless suppressors on our basically stock LTR's. That was not the case with the Jet Suppressor. I tried as hard as I could to get this thing to shift, and it just would not do it. It is as absolute and repeatable as any suppressor I have ever used. Make no mistake, it gets hot, and you need to be very careful, but it does not seem to affect the way the rifle shoots.
The last two observations I will make is that the design of the suppressor, or the crown, or both, seems to lend itself to keeping the crown clean. With the stainless cans we have cleaning the crown is a chore. After each session it seems almost to cake itself on there. I had the same issues with my Robar SR90 that had the same suppressor on it. It is part of the regimen you must be aware of if you deploy these. With this system that just does not seem to happen. It certainly has had no affect on accuracy, because this rifle with this can puts them in the same hole! All I need to do is wipe the crown with some shooters choice, and it is good to go. This was another added benefit I did not expect.
The last is shooting this rifle at distance. With the heavier suppressors I have always seen a bit of a change in the elevation needed to hit targets at longer ranges. This is a product of the two pounds or so at the end of the barrel and nothing else. You get less muzzle jump, so at 500 and beyond you generally need to throw some more elevation in the scope. Not so with this system. The AWP has a S&B with the BDC on it. Prior to adding the suppressor it was just flat dead on. I could hit steal out to 900 yards, with the correct wind reading with boring regularity. I put it on the number, do my job, and there is a satisfying “ding” after a second or two. To my great delight, there was no change. Same gun, same ammo, same results, only this time with the suppressor. I was having a pretty good day, but I fired on steal from 400-900 yards and with the exception of a round or two for wind at 800 and 900 yards, the BDC was dead on as before. All of the impacts were about centered on the 14” x 18” steal targets. This was another pleasant benefit I did not expect.
I guess the first conclusion here is that for me at least Titanium is the way to go. These suppressors are a mix of Titanium and Inconel, and seem to be just about right. Many have had problems with other mixtures cracking, or the like, and for whatever reason these do not do that. I have yet to find anything about these suppressors that is not a benefit over those made of stainless or aluminum. They have less adverse affect on your rifle, and they have all kinds of other positive benefits. They offer the same advantages the other suppressors offer, but without some of the drawbacks.
The second conclusion is that Mike and Debra Brown of Jet Suppressors have been tremendous to work with. My initial contact was just as “Sergeant Dave Bahde”, and I was treated extremely well, and experienced about the best service I have ever had with a suppressor company. All of my questions were answered, the paperwork was completed promptly, and the delivery time was about as good as it can get. Since then things have only been better for me, and I look forward to a future relationship with Jet Suppressors.
The last thing is the cost of the suppressors. Having been in this business as long as I have I know what it costs to build these. Most companies pretty well stick it to you, especially if you are a civilian. To this point at least that is not the case with Jet. Currently their list price is about what dealer is on many of the other suppressors. I am certain there is some money in there, but hey, that is what this country is all about. They are in this business to make a profit. They just happen to do be content to do so without removing a pound of anyone's flesh. The 308 suppressor lists for $850.00 and the 338LM for $950.00. That is reasonable for any suppressor let alone one made of Titanium, and to the standard these are built to. The Jet Suppressors are a great item for the cost, and are as good, or better than about anything else out there currently as far as I am concerned. If you are in the market for a suppressor give these some very serious thought. If you have never used a suppressed rifle, I would suggest trying one. Once you do, you will likely be in the market for one.