Does “best seller” always equal “best”? In the case of the SilencerCo Osprey 45, that may very well be true. Although the advantages of suppressors have been known since they were first introduced more than a century ago, their sales have been increasing dramatically in just the past few years. They do, after all, make the sound level more bearable for the shooter (even with hearing protection) and cause less noise pollution for neighbors when practicing outdoors. Since they’re perfectly legal in almost every state, with payment for the $200 NFA stamp, many more people are now considering adding them to their lineup of gun gear. We’ll review the SilencerCo Osprey 45 model as an outstanding example of what a silencer can, and should, be.
SilencerCo was founded in 2008 and, from the beginning, their designs have shown the innovation that makes them more effective and convenient. Their Osprey line of suppressors, the first they produced, is still their best-selling. They are not only among the quietest on the market, but they offer multi-caliber use and can be mated to a variety of thread styles. Equally important, the polygonal shape can be adjusted so the suppressor’s silhouette does not obscure the sights of the host pistol.
The eccentric, monocore baffle system of the Osprey 45 traps the sound so efficiently that the entire piece is only 8.06″ long. An o-ring located at the base of the suppressor also helps to seal in gasses, further reducing sound levels. As a result, the average sound level at the muzzle is only 131.3dB for a .45 ACP (128.6 for .40 S&W and 125.2 for 9mm). Of course, it’s not Hollywood quiet, but for a suppressor of sane size and weight, it’s outstanding.
The design by SilencerCo also includes a patented cam locking system, which allows the shooter to position the suppressor’s orientation so that it doesn’t block the pistol’s sights. Here’s how it works: thread the silencer onto the pistol’s threaded barrel, first determining that the piston matches the thread, and that the pistol is unloaded and with the action locked open. Once the base of the suppressor has been rotated so that the base rests on the thread shoulder, hand snug, pull the cam lever to the open position. Since the diameter of the polygon shape varies from 1.3″ to 1.77″, the height of the suppressor above the bore line will depend upon which side is in the “up” position. Rotate the barrel of the suppressor to the desired position, so the sight picture is clear, and lock the cam lever closed. Even if you remove the suppressor, when you re-mount it to that same pistol, the suppressor will be correctly oriented; if you use it on another pistol, you may have to repeat this simple step.
The Nielsen Device (also known as a booster) will aid in semi-auto function, particularly for sub-sonic ammunition such as 300 Blackout. In addition, the booster piston can be swapped out to match the threat profile of the threaded barrel. Since the Osprey 45 can be used with three different calibers and different barrel thread types, this means that one suppressor — and one $200 NFA stamp fee — can be used with multiple handguns.
Maintenance is extraordinarily straightforward. With a large internal volume, the baffles do not have to be cleaned very often, but when they do the body of the suppressor only has to be soaked in a hydrocarbon-based solvent (such as WD-40), mineral spirits or a lacquer thinner. After soaking, blow out the bore with pressurized air let it air dry. The Nielson Device/booster will need more frequent attention, but it’s a simple disassembly task and some attention with a copper pad or brush and some solvent to remove carbon build-up. If the o-ring is damaged or shot out, it can be replaced and lubricated with white lithium grease to restore the suppressor to full function.
The aluminum and stainless steel construction of the Osprey 45 keeps the weight down to 11.1 ounces, which, combined with its 8-inch length and slim diameter, makes this one of the most easy-to-handle suppressors on the market. Instead of being a big can hanging off the end of a pistol, the size and weight make it seem to be more of an integral part.
If you’re in the market for a pistol suppressor — and there are many reasons why you may be considering buying one for the first time — the SilencerCo Osprey 45 model is a great place to start your search. The versatility, efficiency, low profile and weight plus ease of maintenance make for a combination that is difficult to beat.