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AAC Illusion-9: An Eccentric Design

Advanced Armament Corporation (AAC) has a solution for an age-old problem. That problem? Shooting a suppressed 9mm pistol and not being able to use the pistol's sights…or at least shooting them in the manner for which they were designed. The AAC Illusion-9 is what the company calls an “Eccentric Suppressor.” It should eliminate this challenge for most shooters.

The most common complaint with new shooters and pistol silencers is, “How do I use my sights with this thing?”  The basic recourse is to learn how to “shoot through the can” by superimposing the silencer over the target and using a contrasting set of sights. Taller suppressor sights work well for many people, or alternately a mounted RMR.

When AAC heard the complaint for the 5 millionth time, they went back to the drawing board.

The design they came up with hearkened back to the grand master of all things quiet: Hiram Percy Maxim.

Maxim’s silencer design of 1909 was designed as an eccentric (as in “off-center”, not the crazy aunt you keep locked in the basement) attachment to a fixed rifle barrel. Maxim's design used mini vortex designs within the silencer to trap the gas, spin it and reduce pressure.

AAC skipped that outmoded part of the design by using baffles which are quieter, less expensive to manufacture and do not build up as much heat as Maxim's did. They added their patented ASAP system (also known as a booster, Nielsen Device, etc) to allow it to run on a pistol. Maxim's design was intended for use only on 22 rimfire rifles. Best of all, the Illusion-9 is completely user serviceable and easy to clean.
The end result is a relatively light, but still a fairly complex silencer. heard of our dilemma after we told them of the challenges of trying to get a couple of students to grasp the concept.

While I said, “Some of these guys are dumb as ditch water,”  the voice of reason prevailed.

It said, “No, they just can't get past the sight alignment/sight picture mantra that you probably drilled into their heads. Let me send you something out that will help you and your students out.”


Whenever we have a problem with anything silencer related, they always seem to have the answer.

The Illusion-9 shipped with a thread adapter for 1/2 X 28″. Unfortunately, we neglected to tell them that most of our 9mm hosts are 13.5 X1 LH metric. Then we remembered our one 9mm host that had the 1/2 X 28″ threads: a beater Beretta 92FS we have been playing with off and on for about a year. Unfortunately the Illusion-9's pistons are not compatible with the older EVO and TiRant designs.

steyr 007

“Oh, man, you don't really want to use that with the Illusion,” said our good friend at SilencerShop.

“Is it a barrel or guide rod issue?”

“No, those sights are so low it defeats the purpose. We will get a metric piston out to you when we get one in.”berettaaac

Actually, the Beretta helped the students grasp the idea a little better. Turns out it made for a great sight picture to move them onto the theory of shooting through the can. Within a few minutes they were able to do so with a concentric silencer.

When the metric piston came in and allowed us to run the Illusion-9 on our Glock 19, Steyr M9 and Sig Sauer P229; we were very impressed. Now we could actually see the beauty of the design for ourselves.
lms 047
The AAC Illusion-9 (on the right) uses an eccentric mount and baffle system as opposed to the concentric version on the left.

One of our hosts is the Steyr M9-A1, a relatively complex design that uses a very unique set of trapezoidal sights. We thought it would be perfect for the Illusion-9, but we ran into a few problems concerning the recoil spring. We have run this pistol before with a number of AAC's concentric designs with no issues (Ti-Rant 45 and 45M). Part of it is a weight issue and part of it may be the higher volume of the Ti-Rant 45. At any rate we experienced about an 80% failure rate with the Steyr/Illusion combo.


Most pistols are designed to work with a variety of ammunition types and have a predetermined weight for the spring. We're no stranger to using stiffer recoil springs in Glock pistols in order to get them to cycle reliably and quieter, but we had to hunt around to find something that would work in the Steyr. Believe it or not, not too many companies cater to this line of pistols on the aftermarket.

After contacting BT Guide Rods, we had a solution. A captured 22 pound recoil spring that took a little time in going back and forth through a few different models. Thankfully they were very patient with us and helped us fine tune the Steyr M9A1 into a first class hush puppy!

On the G19 and the Sig P229 we had no issues at all. You get a good 30Db reduction with the can metering at 126-128 Db.


Personally, we still favor the Ti-Rant series by AAC. We have no problems shooting through the can and find the sound of a subsonic 9mm travelling through a 45 can to be more pleasant sounding than a dedicated 9mm silencer. However, the eccentric Illusion-9 may be the one you want if you need to line your sights up over the suppressor.


AAC Illusion-9 Specs

Caliber Rating     9mm
Color     Black
Length     7.88″
Diameter     Diameter 1.25″
Weight     10.4 oz
Finish     T3 Hardcoat Anodize, Nitride
Build Material     17-4 Stainless Steel, 6061 T6 Aluminum, 7075 T6 Aluminum
Manufacturer's link:

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