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Because F**k Your Flame: Dead Air Flash Hider Endcaps

Dead Air is about to launch a set of new endcaps for their Sandman-series of silencers–and we’ve already had hands on with them. While every Sandman comes standard with a 7.62N front cap, they have options to purchase 6.5 and 5.56 endcaps through their website. Many don’t even bother to make the purchase, believing the juice isn’t worth the squeeze for a tad (1-3dB) better performance. After all, people regularly rock 30-caliber cans on 5.56 rifles without too much issue.

We didn’t give them terribly too much thought, that is until we began putting the shorty Sandman-K through its paces. Being just a little guy, we anticipated that there would be some more flash than with our longer Sandman-S and Sandman-L silencers. And indeed there was, but more than we expected. After contacting Dead Air to inquire exactly how much flash would be reduced if we installed the appropriate plate, they let us in on something new they’ve been working on: Endcaps with integral flash hiders.
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If you’re unsure how three very small prongs can have any effect on flash at all, we will say that the looks are a little deceiving. The inside of the cap also features the prongs. No, they’re still not substantial, but they’re about twice as long as they initially appear.
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FLASH AND TESTING

In order to test the efficacy of these new flash hider attachments, we want to set up one of the most challenging scenarios for the Sandman-K: A short barreled 5.56MM rifle, with extremely flashy ammunition.

A goodly portion of the visible flash you see when shooting comes from unburned powder igniting and blooming once it leaves the muzzle. Faster powders and longer barrels both will give you better performance in that regard. As an example, let’s compare the very flashy Federal American Eagle .223 with IMI M193 ammunition, with both standard and short barrels with bare muzzles. Please note that all of the photos you will see in this article were taken with the same camera, exposure settings, lighting, and environment.
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The combination of IMI M193 ammunition and a 16-inch barrel produces very little flash, even without a muzzle device of any kind installed. It still performs admirably with the 11.5 inch barrel–especially when compared to either rifle shooting the Federal American Eagle.

So American Eagle for test it is. Armed with the stubby Sandman-K, every 5.56 and 7.62 front cap that Dead Air produces, along with the two new flash hider endcaps coming out next week, we setup the experiment.
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RESULTS

Because flash from follow-up shots is usually reduced due to the internal environment of the silencer being devoid of oxygen, we performed three shots with each muzzle device. We only utilized the 11.5-inch AR with Federal American Eagle; the performance differences with 16-inch barrels and IMI were nowhere near as dramatic.

We reiterate that the camera, ammunition, and environment remained consistent throughout the test. These tests were also performed with the brake mount and not the flash hider mount. While some have informed us they had better results with the flash hider mount inside, that’s something we plan on testing for ourselves in the future. Without further ado:
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Shot #3, with the 5.56 Flash hider endcap produced almost no flash at all.
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LOOSE ROUNDS AND A QUICK TIP

Absolutely worth it, and frankly mandatory if you’re going to be using a short 5.56 rifle with a Sandman-K. If you don’t want to have to worry about which endcap you have installed, go with the 7.62N flash hiding one. It still had better performance with the short barreled 5.56 than the standard, and undoubtedly will hide flash better than the regular 7.62N front cap when used with 30-caliber rifles.

And the quick tip part? Dead Air sells a Sandman endcap tool on their webpage for $24, but we got four of them for $5 from Harbor Freight. This set of snap ring pliers comes with interchangeable heads, each one that can be utilized to remove end caps quickly and easily. We’re sure they’re probably terrible at their intended job, but they work wonders here.
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MSRP for the Flash Hider End Caps will be $99, and worth every penny. In the meantime, you can visit Dead Air online here.

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