Issue 42 Griffin Armament Paladin 5 Silencer Dave Merrill Join the Conversation USER-SERVICEABLE 5.56 SILENCER THAT'S BETTER THAN YOU THOUGHT The more Evan Green of Griffin Armament described the Paladin 5 to us, the less sense it made. This was a rifle silencer, but not one with a fully (or even partially) welded core. Still, it was advertised as a “full-auto-rated” silencer. Usually, in this sort of statement lies a marketing cue: Making a silencer that is “rifle rated” or “full-auto” rated speaks to one key trait — how the manufacturer handles a warranty claim when you inevitably break it. With 5.56 silencers, lightweight ones in particular, one should mainly be concerned about when they break as opposed to how they break. But still, we knew the proof was in the pudding. And it also turned out our thoughts on the fully welded core were actually backward, at least as to why the Paladin 5 was designed the way it was. The first shots that rang off were unbelievable. Alexander Crown, formerly with more than a half-dozen years at Gemtech, who now works for a mid-level government agency, had the same reaction to the reduced sound and pleasant tone: “No way. Absolutely no way!” At first, I thought it just may have been too long since I shot a 16-inch barrel with a silencer … and this is when Crown reminded me we were shooting an 11.5-inch gun. Cue a sh*tload of surprise. There’s your bottom line up front: It sounds better than nearly any non-integral on the market. Needless to say, we were impressed. FEATURES & DETAILS With a weight right at 12.3 ounces and a mere 6.3 inches of overall length, the Paladin 5 isn’t quite short enough to qualify as a “K” can, but it’s damn close. And if you couldn’t tell from the introduction to this article, it sounds better than everything else in the category. But we still had questions. Namely, the lack of welding. The choice of making the Griffin Armament Paladin 5 a user-serviceable centerfire silencer was rather confusing at first. 5.56 silencers don’t usually build up lead or carbon, and, in general, a dirty can will shoot better than a pristine one. Hell, there was a whole silencer marketing cam – paign not so long ago about how partially welded silencers were garbage compared to fully welded core — so what’s the deal with one that isn’t welded at all? So, we reached out to Evan Green of Griffin Arma – ment to address the Paladin 5’s design: “The reality is the rifle can will become heavier and eventually be full of carbon and copper fouling after X amount of time and shooting. There are a lot of variables that you can’t put your finger on to deter – mine when your silencer will lose volume and increase in weight due to carbon and copper filling it over time. However, this is a real conversation, and many people have experienced ounces of increased weight over the years in their suppressors. These people are what I would call heavy volume shooters. They are not the 90 percent of consumers, they are the 10 percent. But nonetheless we received quite a few inquiries over the years as to whether or not we could make a product to address this. “Can you make a rifle silencer that I can run hard like a welded can that I can also take apart for cleaning? Regular threads won’t work as the endcap would heat up and walk off the tube, and the silencer would then puke its guts. So we needed to make something with active retention. We decided on a ratchet-locking endcap design, incorporated a CAR stock wrench geometry in the endcap, and used a 17-7 heat-resistant spring to keep the guts together and under compression. We of course tested it thoroughly and only made slight revisions to make the concept a reality in terms of costeffective manufacturing, and most importantly a solution that works.” All of that seems to say: It probably, mostly likely, doesn’t apply to you (though you probably wish it did), but you can still benefit from it. The ratchet-lock system itself is quite ingenious, and the endcap can be removed using a simple CAR-15 stock wrench in a pinch. Green tells us that with this ratchet mechanism, there’s no need for any welding. Of course, you can play mucky muck with your baffles — provided the 17-4 stainless steel blast baffle itself stays in place as numero uno with the titanium ones following it. For times when your baffles are totally stuck in the mud due to carbon and copper, Griffin Armament includes a baffle removal tool with every Paladin 5. No more banging on the workbench trying to knock it loose (something every monocore silencer owner knows intimately). LOOSE ROUNDS Quite frankly, we need a lot more time downrange with the Griffin Armament Paladin 5 before we can make any hard determinations. However, the pleasant tone and reduced report is definitely welcome to these (now aging) ears. But the cool part is, if something doesn’t keep up with our usages (there’s a belt-fed in the future), getting parts replaced should be a snap on both ends since everything comes apart. While we’re not fully convinced a user-serviceable silencer is actually needed in centerfire, this silencer sounds so good it’ll be kept in steady use. 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