Direct Thread vs. Quick Detach
On the phone and across the counter at Capitol Armory, we strive to ensure that our customers are well informed about the variety of options before them. Between the paperwork, the wait, and the financial investment, a silencer is a very "big" purchase. Because of that, we try to make you, our customer, feel like you have the knowledge to make an informed decision. One of the most common questions we get from customers evaluating a silencer for their rifle is, "What sort of mount is best?"
Fundamentally, there are only two ways to effectively attach a silencer to the end of your rifle. The first is by means of a direct thread interface. Simply thread the silencer on until it is tight, and you are good to go.
The second method is by way of some sort of muzzle device attachment. Usually, this mount is attached semi permanently to the muzzle of the host rifle and gives a consistent style of mount for the silencer.
We sell silencers that use both types, and have found that each type has positives and negatives that are dependent on the customer's use case.
Direct thread silencers offer several advantages, namely less weight, more simplicity, and lower cost. All things being equal, a direct thread silencer will be a touch lighter as it doesn't rely on a complex mounting system and it will usually allow for a slightly shorter overall length. Naturally, there are exceptions to every rule, but it is generally understood that direct thread silencers are lighter and shorter.
Direct thread silencers are also much easier for the end user to operate and maintain. There are no latches, pins, or muzzle devices that need to be timed. Simply screw the silencer to the end of the barrel, make sure it is tight, and you now have a suppressed rifle.
Most important to a good portion of our customers - direct thread silencers cost less. Again, there are always exceptions to the rule, but given the simplicity of the mounting system, direct thread silencers are usually less expensive for manufacturers to produce, and those savings get passed along to customers. More importantly, they cost less in the long run as our customers don't have to purchase additional mounts along the way to fit all of their rifles.
From a performance standpoint, we find that well built direct thread silencers usually do as well as brake attach silencers on the sound meter. Similarly, since they orient the same way each time they are screwed to the muzzle, point of impact shift is usually fairly repeatable.
One of the biggest problems with a direct thread silencer is that it can only be threaded to one thread pitch. The majority of the silencers in our store today are threaded 5/8"-24. That's just fine for the standard .30 caliber rifles on the market, but putting one of those silencers on an AR-15 that is threaded 1/2"-28 will be difficult without an adapter. Using a quick detached or fast attached silencer allows you to use the same silencer on multiple hosts, especially those with oddball metric sizes.
As it relates to strong and durable lockup, quick detach silencers start to really shine against a comparable direct thread model. With the exception of the tapered shoulder that Sig Sauer cuts on their factory rifles, most rifles are threaded with a squared shoulder. With the exception of bull or M24 contoured barrels, this squared shoulder provides very little surface area for frictional lockup. Because of this, direct thread silencers will eventually come loose at some point. Short of gluing or welding the silencer in place, there isn't much a customer can do other than be diligent about checking that their silencer is tight before and during shooting sessions. From this perspective, direct thread silencers do require a bit more management.
A well engineered quick detach system will use a tapered shoulder like the one seen on ThunderBeast's CB Muzzle Device. This tapered shoulder effectively increases the surface area available for frictional lockup, making it much stronger. This ensures that friction alone is enough to keep the silencer in place. Further security can be added by incorporating a locking system like the one seen on Dead Air's KeyMount.
If a customer is planning on using the same silencer on multiple hosts, we usually guide them towards a quick detach model for another reason - muzzle protection. Beyond the durability issues cited above, a quick detach model leaves a device in place that serves to protect the crown of the muzzle from damage for those times when a silencer isn't screwed to the end.
ideal customer for a direct thread rifle silencer is the guy or gal who
has one or two rifles, usually threaded 5/8"-24, but doesn't want to
break the bank and doesn't do a lot of high volume shooting that would
jar a direct thread silencer loose. For your typical Texas hunter or
casual recreational shooter, something like the Sandman Ti or Harvester is usually a perfect fit.
For the customer who has a variety of muzzle thread sizes (especially oddballs) in the safe, does a lot of high volume shooting, and/or wants to move the same silencer between multiple rifles quickly and easily, we usually suggest a silencer that attaches via some sort of muzzle device.
Ultimately, we'd love it if you gave
us a call or stopped by the shop, told us what you wanted to accomplish,
and let us share our years of experience to help you find the perfect
silencer for your needs.