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Fishing Underwater with Suppressed 9mm Glock!

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After a single shot from a Gen 3 Glock 17 pistol Courtland Hunt realized that shooting firearms up to 100 feet underwater is very loud. Sound propagates extremely quickly through water, especially ocean water. The gunshot is so powerful even other divers nearby were blasted by the sound.

For most people, this is a non-issue. It’s safe to say that deep water marksmanship is a niche sport. But Hunt saw it as an opportunity to dispatch a troublesome invasive species in his waters: the lionfish. This fish is pushing its way into the West Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea and other waters around the world. Covered in venomous spines, the lionfish has few natural predators.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, has said that the best likely solution to the growing lionfish problem is human hunting. Until now only spearfishers have been able to get the job done. That brings us back around to building a firearm that’s safe to use underwater.

With the help of the Glock specialists at Lone Wolf Distributors, Hunt was able to develop a specialized muzzle device that acts as a gas trap deep underwater. There it neatly contains the gas and muzzle blast of a gunshot. On land the device won’t work — it’s just a big flash hider.

A conventional suppressor won’t work under water. The baffles would fill with water and all the gas will be forced out the muzzle like an extended barrel. The gas would be under slightly less pressure, but it would still be dangerous to users.

See Also: Building a Custom Glock Pistol

The team tried several designs before coming up with a device that worked well. The first designs were no more effective at making the gun safer to fire underwater than a standard barrel.

The final design uses an outer sleeve that fills with water and an inner sleeve that works like a gas trap. The inner sleeve channels the gas into the outer sleeve, displacing water until the bullet leaves the device. Then the system depressurizes — slowly and safely.

The whole system requires that the device is full of water in the first place. On dry land, as mentioned, it won’t work. Even if you filled it with water the vents would freely drain the device.

It took Hunt and Lone Wolf about six months of development and testing before they figured out a safe working design. The pistol was also modified with an extended, threaded barrel and an extra-power Lone Wolf recoil assembly. With the device and heavy recoil assembly, the gun will only cycle manually. This ensures that the shooter can safely collect the brass to preserve the marine environment they’re working to protect.

They also used lead-free ammo and made sure to never shoot lionfish with any coral behind or beneath them. You can see the whole system explained in Hunt’s follow-up video.

The only question remains, when can we go fishing with them?

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • swright October 10, 2016, 9:06 pm

    I lost interest as soon as I saw the whole cartridge coming through the suppressor instead of just the bullet. Who was the fucking moron who did the illustrations ?

  • Rotorpilot October 7, 2016, 9:38 pm

    I recall reading something about Lionfish being very dangerous to divers. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I thought they were poisonous, and are real threat to divers. Is that right or wrong?

  • Graham S October 7, 2016, 4:08 pm

    I’m an ex pro diver and if a diver got on my boat with a spear gun I got off.
    So if a moron got on a boat with one of these I would hope everyone got off.

  • Rip October 7, 2016, 1:13 pm

    Put a 32 round mag in that puppy, that would be fun!

  • Edgar October 7, 2016, 12:24 pm

    Great article ! Lion fish need to be eradicated and ANY methode used to eradicate them is good. The fact that we can eradicate them while enjoying safe responsible shooting is a plus for any one who enjoys shooting sports. It’s fun, it’s legal, and it’s great for our environment ! What’s not to like ? If someone is anti-gun, it’s okay; use a speargun and have at it; help the environment.

    On the technical side: wow ! Great research ! Since the Marines Special Ops have dumped the 1911 in favor of the Glock, I am just here imagining our spec ops guys legally and responsibly eradicating invasive bad animals underwater. Congrats for R & D on this device. Let’s hope you get a big order for lots of them for our warriors. 😀

  • D.Casey October 7, 2016, 11:45 am

    How would a 22 caliber work?
    Must it be a semi auto?
    Would a gun powered by compressed air work as well as an explosive charge in projecting a pellet/ bullet, powerfully enough to kill a small fish like those.
    What of fishing regulations? Does Fish and Game recognize this method as ok for game fish?

  • UncleNat October 7, 2016, 11:00 am

    So WHY is this better than a spear?? Lionfish are relatively easy to spear, even with a sling, and are sort of tasty. Plus you can reuse your spear. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

    • Nick October 7, 2016, 1:29 pm

      I have to agree with you. This is a lot of time, effort, and expense to do something the hard way. Those lionfish seem totally docile… they have to roust them out of their holes just to shoot them. Just spear them, gig them, whatever… hell, a sharp stick would work.
      Although I applaud their ingenuity and R&D, it seems like a bunch of guys with time and money to burn decided to do just that… burn time and money. If suppressing the lionfish population (no pun intended) was the goal, they would have been better off getting another boat and more guys to go out there and spear the fish, then sell them to local eateries. Sheese.

      • Graham S October 7, 2016, 4:09 pm

        Well said sir

        • T.C. October 9, 2016, 1:19 am

          It is certainly your choice (and right), if I assume correctly, for you to be a looker not a looker/hunter, or perhaps you consider the devastating invasion of lion fish an unfortunate product of Mother Nature’s bad attitude/ disposition for the present, and as such should go forth unhindered by these psycho fish slayers. Or,…. perhaps you have never learned about dangerous weapons and their particular set of basic safety precautions that if you noticed, these folks seem to be following, and even adding to.”No”weapon ( or chainsaw, or 5 ton vehicle, etc.) is dangerous until handled, thus, should not be handled by those who aren’t inclined to follow the rules of safe use – including environmental considerations. It’s the the “owner /user” of a weapon, such as a speargun, sling spear, or modified Glock (or a bang stick for that matter) that you suspect of being “not qualified” ( is careless/ not safe) one should be worried about; there is your “moron” and in fact should be checked out, rather than exiting his vicinity on general purposes. Politely done, no harm done. If the person is not safe, then you might save injury to some ignorant party that intended to be around him.
          I say “well done” to those who are innovative and keep safety in mind. It’s not like they are producing The Jackass Show, where you might see the fools blow out their eardrums and worse, as they shred a handheld S&W .500 cal underwater for thrills; also, these guys are, in the big picture, still in the development stage; I suspect many potentially useful apps may follow the success of their initial purpose.
          Now, ….if you techs can next make a mini gun that will auto- track and take out incoming gnats using, what, grains of sand?, that would be a dinger on my “Gotta have one!” scale. .

      • Mark Timblin October 10, 2016, 11:23 pm

        I live in south Florida, not near the keys, about 2.5 hours north of Miami Beach, but even where we are and from the reports I’ve seen on TV the Lionfish is a true danger, it is an invasive species, it does as some have post needs to be eradicated from the planet, put it on the endangered species list, THEN and maybe only then will we be safe from this nasty, poisonous fish, a step or hand on a spine, you’re gonna spending the day in the ER prayin your’re gonna make out in one piece. I shit you not this is a supremely dangerous fish stay away if you dive where they are, or kill them if you can.

  • DJ Ziegler October 7, 2016, 8:27 am

    Innovation, research and development, Outstanding! thank you for sharing the details on the development in resolving the issues in discharging a firearm underwater. The application of the product should not be limited to the invasive lion fish, as with many inventions the product may have unforeseen uses. Tagging fish? Planting coral spores? Of course the most deadly threat to our oceans is the lion fish. The United States is built on individuals like you that have creativity and innovation. Good job!

  • Stephen October 7, 2016, 8:13 am

    This isn’t fishing for sport. The Lionfish is not natural to the Caribbean and Atlantic. Lionfish should not be there and have no natural predators. They are propagating at a horrendous rate and are killing the reefs. Caribbean island governments are starting to pay divers to kill them. This guy and this gun are helping to protect the reef and the natural fish of the Caribbean. Congrats to this guy and to all the technical developers for developing this gun and taking it to the Lionfish!!!

  • Richard Harmon October 7, 2016, 7:29 am

    Why does the animation show the entire round brass & all exiting the firearm? Even idiots should know only the bullet comes out the end of the barrel.

  • Frederick Bronson October 7, 2016, 6:21 am

    And you wonder why people talk about us gun owners when some ass hole does something like this. He should have his license pulled

    • Graham S October 7, 2016, 4:10 pm

      In total agreement

  • Frederick Bronson October 7, 2016, 6:20 am

    That’s not sport the mans inches away that’s a disceace

  • Chief October 3, 2016, 10:46 pm

    Why does the guy have his keys attached to the glock ?Looks like an accident waiting to happen .

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