In 2012, I was representing U.S Army Special Forces at NTOA. There I met Alan Handl. I helped him in developing products that became the Mk.17 Enhancement Program, which was submitted to USSOCOM as an Engineering Change Proposal. Handl Defense presented solutions to leaders in USASFC (Army SF Command) and USASOC (Army Special Operations Command). These concepts might be the pathway to a massive renewal of the program. Handl Defense also provided USSOCOM with caliber conversion kits leading into the recent intermediate caliber competition. Under my guidance, Handl Defense has conducted the most extensive research on the SCAR platform outside of NSWC Crane and FN.
One area of concern has been suppressors and the SCAR. For more on the leadup to this discussion see the post here. https://www.handldefense.com/2018/06/suppressors-and-the-scar-part1/
We left off on the subject of the contenders. Only suppressors known to be optimized to work with the SCAR 17. Ones which efficiently evacuates all the gas, reduces back pressure, and minimizes bolt speed increase. Ones designed with optimized use on the SCAR17 specifically. Ones with verified hundreds of thousands of rounds in testing on a SCAR. Ones that was built with assistance from SCAR experts directly involved in the design, testing, development, and feedback.
The only two I could verify meet all the criteria for the test are the OSS Gen V and the Surefire RC-2.
There maybe others. For example: AAC SDN-6 has some history with the SCAR. I was unable to validate enough information to meet the criteria listed above.
There are two ways to deal with gasses in suppressors; with baffles and without. The OSS reflects a new theory of a flow through suppressor. Pioneered by the founder, Russ Oliver, the OSS does not trap gas but rather redirects it. By redirecting the gas multiple times throughout its travel, it will cause the momentum and pressure to dissipate. Handl Defense provided technical input to the OSS Gen V during its development. This version was developed to specifically by OSS to meet the operational needs of the Mk.17.
In helping Russ Oliver develop the OSS Gen V for the SCAR he mentioned to me the Gen V was designed specifically for the HK 417/ M110A1 platform. Many of the design elements that Russ implemented to tame the HK suppressed recoil were brought to bear on the SCAR. Although Russ Oliver has moved on from OSS, his ideas are the foundation of the company’s products.
Russ also mentioned the need for a balanced approach. He said, “a suppressor that negatively effects accuracy of the projectile is worthless, no matter how quiet it is”. He added “Suppressors need to function in a way that noise and flash are reduced without effecting how the weapon works.” When you redirect the gas inside on confined space things get complicated. Besides colliding with the walls of the confinement vessel, the gas molecules collide with each other. Boyle’s, Charles’s, and Lussac’s Laws are fully reflected in this design.
In this system the constant redirection allows for much faster gas dissipation rates than in conventional designs. These radical pressure changes require specific materials and precise manufacturing. Moreover, they require proper tuning to cartridge, and weapon type. Russ Oliver was able to adjust components and layouts to insure flawless function, very similar to the carburetor gurus of my youth. Due to Russ Oliver’s hard work, the OSS Gen V was awarded the initial CSASS suppressor contract.
When it comes to the Surefire SOCOM RC2, it is the epitome of baffle suppressor design. Surefire uses the latest in material technology and construction techniques to provide the best possible solution. Each component of the suppressor is designed for durability. SureFire also considers expansion and contraction under heating and cooling cycles. This why metals like Inconel and multiple types of Stainless Steel are selected for the various components. The size, shape, and materials of each baffle section are scrutinized through all stages of development.
Of equal importance, Surefire has extensive history with developing suppression solutions for the military. M4’s,240’s, 249’s and other military weapons have all been DoD projects for Surefire. The SCAR is no exception. Some of the staff at Surefire have a deep understanding of the SCAR platform and its unique needs. The ability for Surefire to provide technical solutions to SCAR suppressors are unsurpassed in the industry.
When SureFire starts development of a suppressor they look to meet several core performance requirements. According to Barry Dueck, Director of the SureFire Suppressor Division “we seek to provide suppressors that minimize effects on the weapons function”. He continued “we place an emphasis on accuracy and durability without sacrificing any other aspect”. Surefire is in a unique position, in relation to the SCAR. They have multiple suppressor designs already safety certified by NSWC Crane. The SureFire FH762SV suppressor for the MK.20, already with years of service, is the predecessor of the current SOCOM 762 RC2.
What Suppressors need to do is the following: Minimize effects on the weapon, eliminate flash, reduce blast pressure, reduce noise profile, minimize effects on the projectile, maintain safety and durability. When looking at these two solutions this is the criteria that will be used to determine the best option for a SCAR suppressor.
Soon we will release the results of our findings and competition.