Issue 46 Silencers for Less Than the Stamp Dave Merrill Budget Options From Black Aces Tactical Black Aces Tactical is best known for their unconventional so-called “firearms,” such as shotguns that for various reasons aren’t legally classified as such and don’t fit into any other categories. But instead of reviewing something that accepts 12-gauge shells, this article is about a pair of silencers that both cost less than the tax stamp required to legally own them. Since 1934, in order to legally acquire a silencer as a regular ol’ civilian, you have to pay a $200 King’s Ransom and wait for a lengthy background check to be completed. The times for acceptance vary — at the time of this writing, transfer forms are kicking the door down at over a year. You shouldn’t forget that extra $200 fee as an additional requisite cost whenever you’re considering a suppressor purchase. With this in mind, when Black Aces released silencers with MSRPs of a mere $199, it got our attention. True to form, Black Aces calls them “Po’ Boy” silencers, so we weren’t expecting anything magical from the outset. You shouldn’t expect any sort of amazeballs performance with silencers that cost under $200, nor does Black Aces make any such promises. The silencers are fairly heavy by modern standards, with a 5.56mm silencer weighing in at 25 ounces and 7.62×39 tipping the scales at a whopping 29 ounces — that’s a lot to be dangling at the end of your muzzle. Materials aren’t particularly advanced either; the exterior is comprised of 4130 steel with internals made of suboptimal 316R steel. The 7.62×39 Po’ Boy has a similar aesthetic to a Soviet PBS-1. The Black Aces silencers are also all advertised as user-serviceable with nothing more than a standard carbine wrench. There are numerous suppressors and other accessories on the market that require bespoke tools, so we liked to see that disassembling the Black Aces Po’ Boy didn’t require anything special. You probably have a carbine wrench in your basement or garage right now. OUT OF THE BOX We knew that these silencers would be on the Lena Dunham side, but the package they shipped in was still a surprise knowing only two cans were inside. 3.275 pounds minus packing materials ain’t exactly a modern titanium silencer. The heavy steel used was one of our first issues right out of the box. Despite being user-serviceable, the endcaps weren’t coming off without a fight. With the application of a vice, tools from Energetic Armament, and some heat, we finally managed to take them apart. The endcaps were rusted in place, and the interior of the silencer bodies as well as the threads themselves were visibly oxidized. Before any testing could even begin, we had to soak the silencers in a vinegar and salt solution for a few hours to loosen everything up for a full scrubbing. We were somewhat surprised that the AK-based 7.62×39 silencer featured a much thicker blast baffle than the much higher-pressured 5.56mm, but it also lent an aesthetic similar to the Soviet-manufactured PBS-1, which we deemed a good enough reason. INTERNALS Once the rust was busted, we were able to take everything apart for an inspection. We were somewhat astonished by what we discovered inside — not formed baffles, but nothing more than simple machine bushings and spacers. That’s it. However, had we read the descriptions of the Black Aces Po’ Boy silencers more carefully in the first place we wouldn’t have been surprised. Right there in plain English on their site, the description read, “reinforced straight stacked baffle.” Washers. The baffles are washers. On the other hand, we appreciated that the blast chambers of these silencers were manufactured completely separately from the suppressor baffles themselves. The blast chambers are so independent, they actually have threaded portions to attach to the rest of the silencer. We were able to detach the blast chamber from the 5.56mm silencer, but the 7.62×39 was attached via some permanent method we weren’t able to jailbreak. AT THE RANGE Insofar as reduced sound signature, these silencers ranked middlin’-to-low. This was hardly startling, given the rudimentary baffle system employed in the Po’ Boy silencers. We saw this as an opportunity for improvement, albeit at a higher cost. However, unless you’re a Special Occupational Taxpayer (SOT), changing the design itself or even simple repairs are illegal to perform, even something as straightforward as swapping in fresh new washers. A few hours in vinegar and salt cleans up steel nicely. LOOSE ROUNDS While the Black Aces suppressors are budget-priced, they’re also budget-built. We’re sure the OSS wouldn’t even be surprised at either the construction or the performance of the Black Aces Po’ Boy silencers. If you’re an SOT, they could indeed become decent re-coring projects due to the reinforced blast chambers. But for regular use, unfortunately they’re a hard pass. Whether you like it or not, silencers are basically a lifetime purchase. The used market is abysmal, and if you want to sell them out-of-state, two separate tax stamps must be paid for the transfer. Waiting a little longer to save more money or to wait for a stamp is probably worth your time. Unless the laws actually change — fat chance. 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