Authors Note: “Silencer”, “Suppressor” and “Can” are used interchangeably in this story.
On the weekend of April 29th, many in the gun world showed up at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, in Phoenix AZ for CANCON. CANCON is a unique shooting range event. Like Sig Freedom Days it was a chance for potential customers to go hands-on with hundreds of guns for a reasonable fee. Unlike Freedom Days, every gun at CANCON was wearing a silencer.
CANCON was the chance to actually shoot hundreds of different suppressed guns. Rifles, Pistols, PCCs, Subguns, Machine Guns! Many of the top suppressor manufacturers were on hand including Dead Air, Thunder Beast, Silencer Central, Huxwrx, JKK, Maxim, and many more.
The CANCON Lowdown
For $50 per day, you could shoot as much as you wanted and as many guns as you wanted on Saturday or Sunday. The event was open on Friday as well for folks in the industry as well as 50 VIP ticket holders. The VIP tickets cost $700, but before you spit out your coffee consider that the VIPs received a very nice swag bag that among other things included a 22 silencer, a 30 caliber silencer, and a free NFA Tax Stamp! Those three items are easily worth $1200. On top of the swag, you could shoot all day generally without waiting in line due to the limited number of people.
I was eager to try out TBAC’s line of cans for PRS shooting. Designed to be effective but also super light they did not disappoint. I was a big fan of the Ultra 7. All Titanium, 7 inches long, and just 8 ounces. PRS rifles are already quite heavy and super long most of the time. The total rifle weight going from 22 up to 23 pounds is not a big deal. I like the lightweight Ultra because it is less weight messing with the barrel harmonic. The short length is also great when you trying to move a 5-foot-long rifle in and out of ports and props. The short light can would also be at home on hunting rifles.
They were also showing off a prototype of the future 50 BMG suppressor. This thing is huge! At close to 18 inches long and at least 2 inches in diameter it’s a monster. I was very impressed with how much the 50 can reduced both sound and recoil. I think they have a hit on their hands.
POF had their full line of rifles on the line, most with Dead Air cans. I was excited as I was able to shoot their new 9mm Levergun the Tombstone and the Phoenix PCC. Both use the same mags and while not cheap the Tombstone is a ton of fun to shoot, especially with a can! I was also impressed with the Rogue and Revolution ARs in 308 Win. They are super light and weigh in at 5.9 lbs and 6.8 lbs. They both had a fair amount of recoil but way less than I expected from 308 guns that light.
Wyoming Arms makes a full line of tiny lightweight cans. Most have the length and diameter of a 22 rimfire can but they are rated for centerfire rifles. They all use a monocore design and come in Aluminum, Stainless, and Titanium in a variety of lengths. The 4 Squared Titanium can weighs only 4 ounces and is rated up to 30 cal. The size and weight of their cans make them ideal for hunting or where weight is a premium.
JK had a very popular booth. They sell modular cans that thread together to give you many of options for length. Many of the cans are also multi-cal. One star of the JK booth was the Lauga Arms Alien pistol. Not a lot of people in the US have had a chance to shoot one and they have the most unique recoil impulse you will ever feel on a 9mm pistol. (Read my full review of the Alien.)
The big star at JK was the Genesis Arms Gen 12 shotgun. The model they had featured a short 7-inch barrel and was also full auto. A friend and fellow 3 gunner Ron Fuchs brought the magazine couplers he makes for the Gen12 mags that bring the capacity up to 20 rounds. A full auto short barreled and suppressed shotgun blowing through 20 rounds is a sight to behold.
Available on GunsAmerica Now
Maxim Defense makes both guns and cans and they have some unique combos. The PDX SD is one. Currently, in 5.56mm and coming in 300 blk, it is a tiny rifle or PDW. 7.6 lbs, less than 24 inches collapsed with a fat suppressor that looks like a beer can with a 2.25 inches in diameter. It is only sold as a complete unit as it uses a custom gas block to get it to run reliably with such a short suppressed barrel. It had more recoil than most AR-15s but was not excessive when considering its size and length. It seems perfect for use in a car or plane.
Maxim also had their AR-9 roller delayed buffer system. This is a game changer for people with straight blowback PCCs and ARs in 9mm. Inside the buffer is a sliding tube and bearings. They function just like the rollers in the MP5 which is known as one of the best shooting subguns ever. It costs less than $200 and should fit just about every AR PCC out there. I shot a Maxim PCC with the buffer and can attest it shoots much softer than a straight blowback PCC.
Dead Air makes a lot of great cans but I wanted to see their new modular Mojave 9. At the heart of the can is what Dear Air calls DMLS additive manufacturing. In plain English, that means 3D printing. All the baffles are Titanium which keeps the weight low. The short configuration is only 8.6 ounces and the long is 9.2 ounces with a piston and direct thread mount.
The key feature is the new patented baffle design that Dead Air calls Triskellion and it’s only possible with 3D printing. The new baffle gives you extremely low back pressure and less gas or bits of crap hitting the shooter in the face. The new baffle is also a big advantage for straight blowback sub guns, which includes most 9mm AR variants. It makes a big reduction in chamber pop and brings the sound level down very close to the roller-delayed sub guns like the MP5. It is rated for 9mm, 300 blk supers and subs as well as 350 legend, and is $1099 MSRP.
Dead Air had some great guns to shoot as well. The king of subguns, a full auto HK MP5, its inferior younger brother the HK UMP and HCAR modernized Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) from Ohio Ordinance Works.
The highlight of the show for me was the Ronin Arms / Hub booth. Ronin does really cool integrally suppressed conversions for MP5s, MPXs, and 9mm ARs. What makes it unique is that they do it the way HK did with the factory MP5 SDs. The outer tube extends almost to the chamber and the barrel has ports to let gas into the tube/expansion chamber. The result is all 9mm becomes subsonic, even 115gr. That makes the guns super quiet with any ammo. I shot all three variants and all were a lot of fun, especially the full-auto MPX SD!
I am lucky and have been able to shoot a lot of machine guns over the years. Ronin / Hub had two I had never shot and I was stoked. First was a suppressed M240B LMG in 308 Win. It is basically the bigger brother of the M249 SAW. Their 240 also had the Trijicon MGRS optic. The MGRS is an RMR on all the steroids; it is huge! The lens is 2×3 inches so you can see everything. It was surprisingly controllable and stupid fun to fire from the shoulder.
“Most Unique in Show”
The second gun was the most unique at the show. It started as a semi-auto M249S but was converted to full auto. It also featured a new prototype barrel from Rim Country MFG in 300 blk and they broke out some belted subsonic 300 blk for me to shoot. I have shot SAWs in 5.56mm before and they are fun, but nothing compared to the fun of a suppressed 249 shooting subs. I was surprised at how soft it shot; I was able to hold just about all of the rounds on a 3D torso target at 15 yards. More surprising was doing it with a 3.5 power ACOG.
All in all, CANCON was a fun day of shooting all kinds of cool guns and all of them were suppressed. If you live in a non-free state like California, it’s a great opportunity to shoot all the stuff not allowed in your state.
When the dust settled over 4000 people attended, shooting more than 100,000 rounds of ammo through more than 200 guns.
The next CANCON is Nov 10-11 in Richmond Hill, Georgia, and CANCON will be returning to Phoenix for round 2 in 2024. Keep an eye on the CANCON website as they are planning a third venue closer to the middle of the country in the future.