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GSL Technology SWAT-5 Silencer

By our count, there are somewhere around 40 individual silencer companies in the United States. That makes for an incredible amount of options for consumers when choosing a silencer. So, what factors should go into that decision? Price, length, weight, sound reduction, features, accessories, warranty? Absolutely, every single one of those should play a part in what can you buy. Another factor could be lineage. Silencers have been around over 100 years now and many notable inventors and companies have come and gone. One company that has hung around for over 30 years is GSL Technologies Inc.

The name may sound familiar as they were universally known for being associated with Gemtech up until a few years ago. Now they’re on their own, and the wizard behind the curtain is Greg Latka. Latka has a history of manufacturing, particularly silencers, and holds numerous patents for several designs. His old, but at the same time new, company is cranking out cans for all consumer interests from .458 SOCOM down to rimfire. We were sent a 5.56mm specific, direct thread model, adequately named the SWAT-5.

THE CAN

The SWAT-5 is a direct thread silencer, with the industry standard ½x28mm TPI pattern. The outside diameter is 1.5 inches, typical of most modern rifle silencers, and the length is 6.3 inches. Again, similar to most modern rifle silencers. The materials for the SWAT-5 is 6AL4V Titanium, for the tube and we’re guessing (based from intimate product knowledge of similar silencers) that all baffles with the exception of the blast baffle are also titanium. GSL lists the other material as Inconel, which is a super alloy that holds up well to erosion making it an excellent choice for a blast baffle for 5.56mm and short barrels. Our educated guess was that the SWAT-5 is a four M-Baffle design, with the entrance chamber making up about half of the internal volume. X-rays proved us right.

These two materials are found in numerous other silencer designs and help with keeping overall weight down while increasing total durability. The listed weight for the SWAT-5 is 13 ounces. Being a sealed silencer means maintenance comes at a minimum, however, GSL does advise to keep your retention device components clean.

Direct thread silencer designs are as simple as it gets. Screw them onto the end of your barrel and shoot. The main benefit is there’s no need to worry about extra mounts, muzzle devices, or washers and shims. Generally speaking, when you screw a silencer on a barrel you should check alignment, and when possible, torque it in place, possibly even apply a thread locker to the barrel threads. Many designs have wrench flats or other external support to aid in the installation but the SWAT-5 doesn’t. GSL engineered a built-in silencer retention system that uses a washer and a locking collar — the washer is concave and labeled to prevent screwing up the installation. While a properly mounted and torqued, direct thread silencer won’t come loose, the GSL device makes this attachment method idiot-proof with a simple, patented tension device. The manual (which we did read) states that the washer is designed to free float and movement isn’t a concern. When asked about the retention device, here’s what Latka had to say:

“I developed that system sometime in 2012 and filed a patent. It was in response to a solicitation that we lost because the suppressors would become unthreaded during long periods of sustained fire. That may have been from the testing folks not knowing what they were doing, but either way, I used this simple system to ensure that cans wouldn’t come loose when subjected to that type of shooting. As the name suggests, the SWAT-5 is meant for entry teams or other officers that may have a need for high round counts and do not want to worry about their can coming loose.”

AT THE RANGE

The SWAT-5 has a minimum barrel length of 10.25 inches, so naturally we put it on a 10.5-inch machine gun. Accounting still hasn’t approved our $30K request for the latest sound testing equipment and OSHA won’t return our calls, so we rely on our silencer experienced ears to determine sound reduction.

Suppressing the blast on a 10.5 inches may seem like an easy feat at this stage in silencer technology, but not everyone can do it well. GSL tamed the blast with ease and sound levels were comfortable. Advertised sound reduction is 30 dB and doesn’t state what barrel length that’s measured on or where the sound meter is located. We think 30dB is a stretch for a 10.5 inches, but completely obtainable on a 16-inch barrel.

Another subjective measurement with silencers is the amount of gas blowback experienced. The machine gun ran flawlessly with American Eagle .223 ammunition and gas was blindingly uncomfortable. This may be attributed to the larger entrance chamber on the SWAT-5 because we were not using any adjustable bolt carriers or gas blocks.

During twilight hours and into the darkness the SWAT-5 did a decent job at signature reduction. Flash from a 10.5-inch barrel is excessive at night even with a flash hider and this silencer took it down to very little. This helped keep natural night vision from getting wrecked every time we sent lead down range.

CONCLUSION

The SWAT-5 from GSL Technology is a robust direct thread silencer. The company’s reputation with manufacturing silencers translates to a quality product that’ll be at home for Law Enforcement or the average gun enthusiast. The simple attachment method and the patented silencer retention device mean this silencer is probably best served on a dedicated gun like a duty gun.


GSL Technology Inc. SWAT-5
Caliber: 5.56x45mm
Construction: Welded Titanium and Inconel
Length: 6.3 inches
Diameter: 1.5 inches
Weight: 13 ounces
Decibel Reductions: 30 dB
MSRP: $850
URL: gsltechnology.com


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