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Bowers Group Wardog Suppressor

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The Bowers Group Wardog Suppressor is The Bully Breed of Subgun Cans

Shorter, lighter, louder. That’s how Tom Bowers describes his latest silencer, the Bowers Group Wardog. Coming in at 1.7 inches in diameter by 4.3 inches in length, it tips the scales at a mere 7.8 ounces. Bowers claims it’s rated for heavy use in full-auto fire with both 9mm and 300 Blackout, subsonic and supersonic. One of the ways they were able to keep it so svelte was by using aluminum for most of the construction with steel inserts, which will absolutely be a turn-off for some. But read on and remember: Short silencers are the definition of compromise.

The Wardog K9 has its roots in the Bowers Group’s Vers 9, which is a full-sized, high-volume 9mm subgun silencer rated for full-auto fire. Because it’s in 9mm, it can perform double duty as a host for subsonic 300 Blackout.


There was one problem with the Vers 9 — its size. It has an overall length of 11.25 inches and weighs a good 18 ounces. Not too bad for a sub-gun can with five baffles, but kind of ridiculous to hang on the end of a lever gun or bolt gun with a 16-inch barrel.

So, Tom went to the drawing board and determined that he could remove 2.6 inches, a baffle, and 3 ounces of weight. The end result was the Vers 9S. Now it’s arguably one of the best submachine gun silencers ever made, but Tom hit a snag with this design a few years ago: He bought a Ford Raptor and found that his Uzi SMG would fit in the door pouch, but not with a Vers 9S attached.

Once again, Tom changed his design. In order to get to the required length, he removed two baffles from the Vers 9S and took it down 2.2 inches to 6.4 inches in length. With the right 147-grain subsonic ammunition, the can meters at 138 dB. It fit perfectly in his ride, but he was still reluctant to release the design to the general public, because it was only barely hearing safe.

Uzi Does It
There are two ways to approach suppressing an Uzi submachine gun. You can go the threaded barrel route or use a mount, which replaces the barrel nut. We find the barrel nut to be superior, as it doesn’t tend to loosen up from the torque and heat generated by full-auto fire. If you’re running a semi-auto Uzi, you can probably get away with a threaded barrel. But for full-auto fire? Give us the nut.

Even with mouse fart subsonic ammo, the Wardog was barely hearing safe. It wasn’t uncomfortable but wasn’t close to “Hollywood Quiet.” With 115- and 124-grain ammunition, you’ll want to wear ear-pro, but that’s the price you pay with virtually any Kurz can (see RECOIL Issue 36 for more on Kurz cans).

The Bowers Wardog is the shortest 9mm subgun can on the market — so short it can be mounted to the gun and carried in a DeSantis Secret Service shoulder holster.

Our first range outing with the Wardog K9 and the Uzi resulted in numerous failures to fire. Light primer strikes were the culprit. We ripped off the top cover and examined the bolt and firing pin. They were all within spec, as was the ammo.

It turned out that it had to do with the Uzi adapter. The fit on these isn’t always perfect, and sometimes there’s a gap, which allows the barrel to move back and forth. This is solved by using wave washers to prevent barrel movement. Our washers completely flattened, and we solved the problem by adding two wave washers to decrease the gap. It goes to show: Always check first. Otherwise, you could risk an out-of-battery malfunction that could result in injury or permanent damage to your Uzi.

Lever Time
We then turned to the one platform we were hoping the Bowers Wardog K9 would excel: crowning a Marlin Model 94 CST chambered in 357 Magnum. Elsewhere in this issue, we have an article about another Bowers silencer mounted on a different lever-action rifle. This isn’t the latest rifle from Marlin to sport barrel threads. Ours is about 10 years old and chambered in 357 Magnum. It boasts no rails or scope mounts but wears a Skinner rear peep sight and Bear Buster front sight. Swapping out the Uzi insert for a Versadapt insert in ½x28, we were ready to go.

On the Uzi, the sights sit high enough above the barrel that the suppressor isn’t an issue; on a skinny lever gun like the Marlin 1894, the target is going to get covered. You can get around this by using an optic or by “shooting through the can.”

Although designed for a 9mm sub gun, we found it more effective on a Marlin 1894 lever action chambered in 357 Magnum and 38 Special.

In 38 Special, the rifle sounded extremely nice with 158-grain lead round-nose bullets that were probably cruising at 1,000 feet per second from the 16-inch barrel. A jacketed hollow-point load of the same weight in 357 Magnum wasn’t as pleasant. That projectile had to be approaching 1,750 to 1,800 feet per second, and it was quite loud.

In our estimation, the light weight of the Wardog K9 and its short size make it fine for a lever-action rifle. The closed and completely sealed action with a longer barrel makes for a superior host compared to an open-bolt short-barreled SMG.

Kalashnikov USA KP-9
Even though it’s also blowback, the AK-9 was noticeably quieter than the likes of the full-auto Uzi with its open bolt. Generally, blowback is louder than other actions suppressed because too much gas escapes the ejection port during cycling, but an open-bolt is even worse.

For fun and science, we also ran it with a Franklin Armory BFS III binary trigger. While a gas-operated PCC would sound better, the AK-9 and Wardog combination is a good, compact, and decently effective setup. Again, it’s not the quietest, but it’s short, keeps the overall weight down, and is right at the threshold for being hearing safe (but our ears aren’t OSHA rated).

Loose Rounds
Given our druthers, we’d select a silencer made of a more robust material than aluminum for select-fire, but every aspect of any Kurz can is a search to find middle ground. The Bowers Wardog is a versatile suppressor if you have hosts in 300 Blackout, 9mm, 357 Magnum, and 38 Special. With the right host, it can make a quiet, lightweight hunting can that’s not going to add an extra 9 or 12 inches to your rifle’s overall length.

Other hosts, like the Uzi and AK-9 will barely make it quiet without the correct type of ammunition. If you’re running a 16-inch PCC in 9mm, you’ll achieve better results simply due to the longer barrel — and it doesn’t stick out too far either.

This is definitely not a “first can” for most shooters. Rather, the Bowers Group Wardog is a niche can for shooters who don’t necessarily want the quietest but do want something shorter and lighter and don’t mind it a bit louder. Or if you’re looking to stash your suppressed subgun in your truck’s door pouch.

Bowers Wardog
Caliber: 9mm
Construction: Aluminum with steel threaded inserts
Length: 4.3 inches
Diameter: 1.7 inches
Weight: 7.8 ounces
MSRP: $635

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