Last month I conned the nice guys over at Silencer Shop to lend me three different 9mm suppressors at the same time. I’ve been Jonesing for one to buy and the opportunity to test three side by side was too good to pass up. Earlier, we took a look at the AAC Illusion 9mm. This time, let’s take a closer look at the Gemtech GM-9 silencer.
As the name implies, it’s a dedicated 9mm can but it’s perfectly happy taming smaller calibers too. It’s rated to handle 9mm in full auto operation and also 300 Blackout subsonic rounds. Since the GM-9 is completely user serviceable, I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot .22LR through it either. Even though .22LR is filthy dirty and leaves carbon and lead deposits everywhere, there’s no harm done as long as you clean the silencer guts every few hundred rounds. For jacketed 9mm ammo, you don’t need to be nearly so persnickety with the cleaning regimen.
The GM-9 is an evolution from the earlier Tundra and Multimount models so the mounts remain compatible with Multimount adapters. With the available Multimount gear, you can use the standard L.I.D. Inertial Decoupler (booster) for normal pistol operation, a fixed thread mount for barrel guns, the three-lug mounting system for SMGs, Uzi, and CZ Scorpion mounts. The unit ships with the booster and a 1/2×28 TPI piston, which is standard for most pistols.
The GM-9, like many Gemtech models, is made to be light. As the unit is made primarily of 7075 T6 aluminum, weight is about 25% less than the AAC Illusion and maybe 15% lighter than the Surefire Ryder 9 that we’re going to check out next week. Depending on the mount, weight will be about 8.5 ounces.
The GM-9 suppressor disassembles from the rear. The outermost ring unscrews to remove the piston and booster assembly. Just in front of the piston mount, you see a flat-sided section of the tube. That unscrews from the body and comes out with the one-piece G-Core baffle system. The front cap is integral with the baffle stack and pulls out the rear also as a result. It’s a really simple system to disassemble. It’s also apparently really strong compared to systems that use a stack of separate baffles. The only thing I would recommend is having a couple of strap wrenches. As you shoot, the interior gets all carbon welded (as does any pistol suppressor) and the G-Core baffle stack can be difficult to unscrew. You don’t want to be taking Vise Grips to the suppressor body to get things unstuck.
Shooting the GM-9
I shot the GM-9 on a Beretta 92FS with a barrel threaded by Tornado Technologies. Actually, I bought a second factory barrel that they had already threaded. On the Beretta 92FS, there’s enough barrel exposed in front of the slide to do a decent threading job without any adapters and such.
For ammo, I used mostly American Eagle’s new 9mm Suppressor 124-grain 9mm. Not only is it subsonic, but it’s also designed to generate less powder filth and muzzle blast. As a result, there was a noticeable lack of suppressor facial when shooting the Beretta silenced. This was a really pleasant surprise as normally the Beretta with its open-top slide give you a face full of grit each time you pull the trigger.
The GM-9 was slightly louder than either the AAC Illusion and the Surefire Ryder 9-Ti, at least according to my untrained ear. The factory specs call for a 27 – 30 dB sound reduction, which is a little less than some other vendors claim. Then again, the big plus of the GM-9 is light weight.
I also noticed a bit more first round pop – a louder noise from the first shot fired after the suppressor had been sitting for a while. That’s because of the ambient air temperature in the can. As the suppressor warms up with repeated shots, it gets a little quieter.
I also shot this suppressor “wet” by adding about a thimbleful of wire pulling gel. Available at most hardware and building supply stores, this stuff has the added benefit over water of sticking to the insides of the suppressor so you don’t have to shoot it immediately for fear of it draining out or evaporating. Oh, and the benefit over using oil? An oily powder blast to the face is much nastier than a relatively dry powder blast. 4 out of 5 shooters agree.
Anyway, shooting the GM-9 wet made a huge difference in quiet, especially with the first round pop. That basically disappeared. The gel sucks up a bunch of heat energy as it evaporates, allowing the first blast of gas out the fiery end to come out a little cooler, thereby reducing the noise level. I continued to shoot after adding the gel to see how long the uber quiet benefits would last. I noticed that around 16 rounds, the noise started to get back to “normal” dry operating levels.
When it comes to choosing a pistol suppressor, you’ve got to decide what you care about most. Some are heavy, some are light, and some are louder or quieter than others. Often times, it’s a direct tradeoff. A quieter suppressor will be heavier and vice versa. In my opinion, the standout feature of the Gemtech GM-9 is its super light weight. It’s not quite as quiet as others in its class, but on a pistol, the weight savings is a big deal.