For a little baby bullet in a little baby cartridge, the .223 Remington / 5.56mm sure makes a lot of noise.
Unsuppressed, you can figure the noise level at about 165 decibels, varying, of course with rifle type, barrel length, etc. That’s louder than a 12 gauge shotgun, a jet taking off or a jackhammer. It’s way louder than the noise level you would experience sitting inside of a speaker box at a Def Leppard concert. Really, I checked.
When you mount a SilencerCo Saker 556 to an AR rifle, you can expect the noise level to decrease to somewhere around 132 decibels. That doesn’t sound like a lot of progress from 165 decibels, so you have to remember that decibels operate on a logarithmic scale. Without getting too geeky here, you can think of that 33 decibel increase (unsuppressed vs. suppressed) in terms of being over eight times as loud as the human ear perceives volume. Bottom line? Using a silencer on an AR rifle is a big deal. Safety for the ears is a primary concern as a single shot at 140 dB, or more, will permanently damage your hearing. Repeated exposure to lower decibel noises will also cause hearing damage, so wear protection always – even when using a suppressor like this one.
Don’t get frustrated, get MAAD
On paper, the whole MAAD mount concept can be confusing. In reality, it’s a piece of cake. I’ll take a crack at making sense of how it works here.
The Saker body is the main part with the checker pattern that you see in these photos. The ring at the back is the mount section. To change the type of mount, you simply unscrew the mount section from the main body. SilencerCo includes two wrench tools to facilitate this process. Use some oil or anti-seize when attaching the mount to the body to prevent galling. You may want to change mounts down the road, and the hot and dirty conditions inside may make separation hard later.
The standard configuration of the Saker includes a Trifecta Flash Hider and Trifecta MAAD mount. Just replace the muzzle brake or flash hider on your rifle with the Trifecta, and now you have a platform for quick attach and detach. To attach your Saker, set the body and mount over the Trifecta Flash Hider. You’ll see that the bottom of the Trifecta Flash Hider has a ridge or shelf that is roughly rectangular in shape. This serves to orient the suppressor mount to the flash hider in one direction only – the shelf fits into a mirror image indentation in the bottom of the MAAD mount. There’s a good reason for this. Detaching and reattaching the suppressor has no effect on change in point of impact. To be clear, point of impact changes when you shoot without the Saker. However, when you put it back on, it will shoot to the same spot as before when previously mounted.
To complete attachment, twist the body to move interior locking levers into position, and you’re good to go. You can do this with one hand. Likewise, you can remove the Saker with one hand by reversing the steps. Careful, this guy gets hot after some rounds.
You’ll also notice that the three prongs on the Trifecta Flash Hider are all different lengths. This is by design and is intended to prevent the flash hider prongs from singing like a tuning fork. I didn’t hear Free Bird when shooting, so I suppose the design works as intended. If you prefer a muzzle brake, SilencerCo offers a MAAD compatible version of that too.
The neat thing about the MAAD system is that you can install different mounting bases on the Saker body. You can order a direct thread mount base that allows you to simply screw the silencer onto any .223 / 5.56mm rifle that has a 1/2″x28 threaded barrel. Other optional MAAD mounts include a 51T version for AAC gear, a Y-Mount for Yankee Hill compatibility and an ASR mount for SilencerCo / SWR Specwar muzzle brakes and flash hiders.
You’ll notice that the front cap on the Saker has indents. As you might guess, this means the front cap is removable using the supplied wrench.
The first benefit of this approach is to protect your investment from baffle strikes. The baffle strike is when something goes wrong in the projectile hits the inside of the suppressor instead of exiting cleanly through the fiery hole in the front. With many designs, a baffle strike will pretty much wreck your silencer. Since the silencer itself is ridiculously regulated that means you have to send the whole thing back to the manufacturer to get it repaired or replaced with a new unit with a new serial number. With the Saker design, odds are that a baffle strike will simply knock the cap off the front. A non-regulated spare part fixes that problem.
The second benefit is that you can use different designs of and caps on the Saker. SilencerCo offers both flash hider and standoff breaching / rebar cutting attachments.
To identify point of impact and/or accuracy shifts, I chose three different hand loads of .223 Remington that have been proven consistent performers out of my Smith & Wesson M&P15 VTAC test rifle. Two were 77 grain loads and the third a 55 grain load, all using Sierra Matchking projectiles.
For each load, I fired groups with the rifle’s “before” configuration of only a Surefire muzzle brake. I then fired the exact same loads with the SilencerCo Saker 556 suppressor installed. I put the target 50 yards down range to increase optical precision and minimize issues related to my aging eyes. Using a 1-6.5x Bushnell Tactical Elite scope, I was confident in my ability to hold each shot at the exact same point of aim and minimize aiming error.
With all three loads, I detected a point of impact shift downwards about ⅔ of an inch when the silencer was installed. I couldn’t detect any lateral change in point of impact.
I couldn’t detect any change in accuracy as measured by group size whether the silencer was on or off, so the Saker appeared to have no impact, positive or negative, on accuracy.
I also checked velocity, suppressed and unsuppressed, with all three loads using a Shooting Chrony Beta Master chronograph placed 15 feet downrange. With all loads, average velocity of multiple shots was about 15 feet per second higher when using the Saker 556.
Since I had a Rock River Arms LAR-15 rifle handy that was also a proven shooter, I mounted a second Trifecta Flash Hider on that one and moved the Saker back and forth between rifles. With numerous outings over a couple of months, I observed no changes in zero or point of impact even though I attached and detached the Saker from each rifle a dozen times or so.
Just the specs
Weight: 18.0 ounces
Average Sound Level: 5.56 NATO – 132.2 dB
Finish: Black Oxide
Mount: Trifecta RS Flash Hider Mount
Optional mounts: 51 Tooth Mount, Direct Thread Mount, Y-Mount, Specwar Mount
Full Auto Rated
MSRP: $1200 (with Trifecta flash hider mount)
Summing it up
I’m now officially spoiled. I’m not only keeping this silencer, I’m also adding Trifecta Flash Hiders to every 5.56mm rifle I have so I can just pop the Saker on whatever rifle I’m using. Plinking, competition or home defense – no matter, all scenarios are better with the massive reduction in sound and muzzle blast. Your rifle will get dirty faster, but for the pleasurable experience of shooting with a silencer, I’ll take that tradeoff.
Once you shoot an AR suppressed, you’ll never go back.