The first thing you notice about the Gemtech GM-22 is its amazingly light weight. While the GM-22 is approximately the same size as other .22 rimfire suppressors on the market, the all aluminum construction shaves a lot of weight from the package.
I recently got my hands on one to check out thanks to our friends at Silencer Shop. Let’s take a closer look.
The GM-22 is a two-piece suppressor – the exterior tube housing and the monolithic baffle stack. As a result, disassembly and reassembly couldn’t be simpler – just unscrew the baffle stack from the tube and slide it out. The direct thread mount is part of the baffle stack and uses standard (for most rimfire applications) 1/2×28 tpi threading.
The overall length is five-inches, and diameter of the tube is one-inch. The overall weight is just 2.5 ounces, which makes the GM-22 an especially good solution for .22 pistols. The light weight has minimal impact on the overall feel and balance of a handgun. The entire unit is made from 7075 aluminum. The exterior tube is finished with matte black Cerakote, which apparently helps to reduce the infrared heat signature in case you’re trying to be all ninja-like.
The GM-22 is rated for .22 LR, .22 WMR, and .17 HMR. It’s not certified for the higher pressure .17 WSM cartridge, so be aware of that. For .22 LR, it is good to go for fully automatic operation. According to Gemtech, this suppressor will lower noise at the muzzle by 36-39 decibels.
Shooting the Gemtech GM-22
I used the Gemtech GM-22 on two different Smith & Wesson guns, an M&P 22 Compact pistol, and an M&P 15-22 Performance Center AR-type rifle.
The M&P 22 Compact comes with a threaded barrel, but since the barrel is completely contained within the side, you need an adapter that attaches to the internal threads and offers a 1/2×28 tpi mounting segment that extends past the slide. The GM-22 was a perfect addition to this light and compact pistol. The combination was not any larger overall than many target pistols without a suppressor. Function with about a dozen types of .22 LR ammo was perfect. Most of what I shot was the new CCI Suppressor ammo. Of course, it’s subsonic, rated at 970 feet per second on the box, but that’s for a rifle. From this pistol, with the GM-22 installed, I recorded an average velocity of 835.7 feet per second using a Shooting Chrony Beta Master Chronograph placed 15 feet down range. Probably needless to say, this combination was quiet. One more thing to note about CCI’s suppressor line. It’s all subsonic by design, but CCI also uses lower flash and cleaner burning powders to help minimize filth buildup in the suppressor.
The other guns I tested was a Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 Performance Center Model. This rifle is a souped up AR-type rifle chambered in .22LR. It comes with a threaded bull barrel, so it was ready to go with the Gemtech GM-22 out of the box. On this rifle, there is a rubber gasket between the thread protector and the barrel, so be sure to remove that before mounting a silencer. I shot a variety of ammo with this rifle as well, but again, mostly CCI’s Suppressor 40-grain. I didn’t have my chronograph the day I took this to the range, so I was not able to record average velocity from the rifle. The bullets clearly stayed subsonic, and the loudest noise was the bolt slamming back home after chambering the next round. That was pretty cool.
A quick comparison to the SilencerCo Sparrow
On one of my range outings with the GM-22, I brought along a SilencerCo Sparrow .22 LR suppressor just to understand the differences. The Sparrow is ever so slightly longer and wider by about .08 inches in each dimension, but from a practical point of view, they’re identical is size. The Sparrow is also noticeably heavier, weighing in at 6.5 ounces compared to the 2.5 ounces of the GM-22. That’s because the Sparrow is made from stainless steel instead of aluminum. Shooting them side by side, the Sparrow sounded quieter to me from both rifle and pistol hosts.
You’ll also notice a different approach to design of the guts. Both suppressors use a monolithic (one piece) baffle stack. The big difference is that the Sparrow uses two clamshell inner baffle stack covers. You snap those into place over the baffle stack, then slide the now fully enclosed baffle stack into the outer tube body. The GM-22 baffle stack slides directly into the suppressor body as is. The two approaches are apples and oranges really as they offer different pros and cons. The GM-22 is much lighter as a result of its simpler design. The Sparrow is heavier, but less likely to have disassembly and cleaning challenges. Let’s talk about that next.
The GM-22 is is a one piece baffle stack and mount that slides into the outer shell. It’s nice and simple, and easy to clean, provided you pay attention to frequent maintenance. If you leave this type of suppressor on your .22 LR for an extended period, hundreds and hundreds of shots perhaps, lots of gunk will build up inside. Since the gas, lead residue, and carbon goo will coat both the baffle stack and the interior of the body tube, it’s possible that the two will become bonded together via the filth that hardens. Combine this with a small surface area to grab onto for disassembly, and you can get yourself into some trouble when trying to pull the baffle stack out for maintenance.
Fortunately, this is no big deal. Just keep on top of cleaning and maintenance. At minimum, I would unscrew the baffle stack from the body tube after every range outing just to make sure parts aren’t stuck and will still move easily. Every few hundred rounds, take it fully apart and clean the interior. Last, keep it lubed with a quality lube that’s optimized for high temperature. I like FireClean for suppressor interiors, but there are plenty of good options out there.
Is this a bad thing? Not at all. You get a much, much lighter suppressor in return for paying a little more attention to cleaning and maintenance. That’s the price of the weight savings. As long as you know that going in, you’ll have no trouble.
I liked the GM-22, especially when I mounted it on the Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Compact. That’s a small and light pistol that paired well with the ultra-light GM-22. This suppressor didn’t turn the M&P 22 Compact into a big heavy gun – it remained compact and easy to handle.
You also have to appreciate the price. With an MSRP of just $395, it’s one of the most affordable rimfire cans on the market. They’re on sale now at Silencer Shop for $300.