Review: Gemtech GM-22 .22LR Suppressor

The exceptionally light GM-22 on a Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Compact

The exceptionally light GM-22 on a Smith & Wesson M&P 22 Compact

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 GM-22 uses a one-piece baffle stack.

The GM-22 uses a one-piece baffle stack.

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 GM-22 was a great fit for the Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 Performance Center. The loudest noise when shooting this CCI Suppressor ammo was the bolt closing.

The GM-22 was a great fit for the Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 Performance Center. The loudest noise when shooting this CCI Suppressor ammo was the bolt closing.

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.

The SilencerCo Sparrow (top) and Gemtech GM-22 (bottom) are about the same size, although the GM-22 weighs just over 1/3 as much as the Sparrow.

The SilencerCo Sparrow (top) and Gemtech GM-22 (bottom) are about the same size, although the GM-22 weighs just over 1/3 as much as the Sparrow.

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.

Maintenance Tips

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.

Be sure to take the GM-22 apart and clean frequently so the baffle tube doesn't get stuck inside the body.

Be sure to take the GM-22 apart and clean frequently so the baffle tube doesn’t get stuck inside the body.

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.

The muzzle cap is even integrated with the monolithic baffle stack.

The muzzle cap is even integrated with the monolithic baffle stack.

Closing thoughts

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.

About the author: Tom McHale Literary assault dude writing guns & shooting books and articles. Personal accountability rocks!

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  • Boondockdad December 11, 2018, 4:41 pm

    Probably one of the louder .22LR cans out there, but it does have good tone.
    The real problem is dis-assembly. Was aware of the problems people had getting it apart, so out of the box I put aluminum anti-seize on the threads, then exactly only 100 rounds thru it.

    Can not get it open. Kid you not. Read one review that said the “special” coating on the monocore should let you put up to 1000 rounds thru it before cleaning. I’m gonna lay the BS card on that right now.

    I’ve tried everything. CLP down it, let it sit. Heated with torch. Pipe wrench. 1/4″ driver on the top cap. Will. Not. Budge.
    I’m out of ideas. Sent an email to Gemtech support asking for help. Nothing back from them.

    Anybody got any ideas, I’d love to hear em.

  • michael r February 24, 2016, 10:09 am

    the lucas product isn’t a solvent more like a very slick oil .ive tested it on a piece of aluminum no etching or anything like that .the aluminum tube just wipes off like the baffles .nothing in my silencer looks degraded just shiny and slick .ive done the clp thing was a lot of work. i don’t work for lucas and am not telling anyone to do what I’m doing but from over 2 yrs and thousands of rounds thru the can I’ve found something that doesn’t let the fowling stick to the parts.i think thats what this stuff does to car injectors and upper cylinders it just allows it to slide off through exhaust system.

  • Michael richardson February 22, 2016, 3:21 pm

    I found this tip totally by accident . I put Lucas fuel injector cleaner in my car.when I washed the car and touched the chrome tailpipe cover with a rag , the carbon came right off. So I took my silencer apart 22 lr and dipped the baffles in the injector cleaner . When it s time to clean it I just wipe carbon away , redip baffles put back together . Still messy but can clean up and reassemble in 15 min. Or so.

    • Jay February 23, 2016, 8:52 am

      If your baffles are stainless steel, no problem. However, if the core or tube is aluminum and the solvent removes lead deposits (not carbon deposits or powder residue) then the product you are using is potentially degrading the aluminum. Gemtech in its video recommends CLP for cleaning the powder residue but nowhere states it will remove the lead. That’s because CLP is not a lead solvent. The lead will continue to build up. The truth is the aluminum core is easy to remove but not so easy to maintain.

  • Dan miller February 22, 2016, 2:23 pm

    Well now! You just hinted on cleaning! But, it would be wise to mention what should be used on an aluminum suppressor ! It would be most helpful to those whom have one but have not tried to clean one!

  • Larry February 22, 2016, 12:43 pm

    What is the decibel level on one of these with std .22lR?

  • Jay February 22, 2016, 8:54 am

    Please explain to me how to remove lead build up from aluminum anodized or not. You can’ t use the “dip “, tumble, bead blast, or solvents. Products safe for aluminum won’t cut lead.

  • michael soares February 22, 2016, 7:19 am

    I’ve shot plenty of rounds of in air guns and suppressed .22’s and I ‘d have to go with suppressed .22’s for overall quietness . day and especially nighttime. hands down. by a wide margin. no question about it …….

  • Mark Wynn February 21, 2016, 11:39 am

    The concept of silencer plus subsonic round seems very useful to me expanding opportunities for practice, etc. However, considering the cost of .22 specialty rounds, or even plain ol’ .22s these days … 850 fps is in the range of quality pellet guns, and .22 pellets are cheap and don’t go bang . In other words, why? Thinking silencers would be more useful for practice with larger caliber rounds/weapons.

    • Tom McHale February 21, 2016, 7:28 pm

      One thing to consider is that almost all .22LR ammo will be subsonic when fired from a pistol due to the shorter barrel length. Specialty suppressor ammo offers other benefits like cleaner burning powder, but you don’t necessarily need specialty subsonic ammo if using a pistol.

      Also, depending on the air gun in question, it might be that a suppressed .22 is as quiet, or even quieter, than an air gun. Lots of variables of course, but .22s sure are quiet when suppressed.

    • Jeremy February 22, 2016, 6:51 am

      I agree with .22 ammo STILL being difficult to find, let alone specialty ammo. But to get the full benefit of a suppressed air rifle, you need heavier pellets. And though maybe not as expensive as .22lr, some match pellets are very expensive indeed. But oh so accurate in a good rifle, seriously, TRY a package of them. My experience has also shown that even high quality suppressed air rifles are still noticeably louder than a bolt action .22 rifle when shooting standard or subsonic velocity ammo. This is the experience, load rifle, aim, squeeze trigger, “click”, then “slap or clank or thunk” or whatever sound the projectile makes when hitting a target. HOLLYWOOD quiet is an understatement!!!

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