The Torrent Sound Suppressor Series
Jeff W. Zimba – Author, The Evolution of the Black Rifle
noun: a sudden, violent, and copious outpouring of something.
When you shoot a suppressed firearm for the first time, something magic happens. It is usually at one end of two extreme thoughts, and depends what your preconceived notions were prior to squeezing that first shot. If you have watched a lot of Hollywood productions and expected to be able to bust a 44 Magnum round through a 3-inch revolver, with a 2-inch suppressor and it would be so quiet that no one within sight would notice, you may have been a little disappointed. If you had done some research and were an avid shooter already, having had your bell rung on more than one occasion where hearing protection wasn’t an immediate option, you may have smiled like the Cheshire Cat. Either way, the same thing is happening in that magic tube, and it’s usually backed with a lot of science. You see, there is an absolute Torrent of hot gas and other byproducts, tearing through this device, and what comes out, isn’t even close to what went in. Let’s look at the Torrent F2 and F3 suppressors.
Why is a suppressor so important?
If you’re new to suppressors, and have ever wondered what kind of “magic” is happing in such a small space, let me offer this short explanation; There is a LOT of hot gas (a Torrent, maybe?) entering, and being processed before being released. Contrary to popular belief, there is no real “explosion” happening inside the chamber, since smokeless powder is a propellant, and not an explosive. It is burning VERY fast and exiting VERY fast, with a LOT of pressure. Think about a balloon; there is no “explosion” when the pressure is released in a rapid way, but we still hear a very loud BANG. When it is released slower, instead of all at once, the same amount of gas is escaping without the noise created by the residual energy of the rapid expulsion.
A suppressor (or silencer, or gun muffler, all OK and accurate) works much like the exhaust system on your automobile. If you run it on “open headers” it is much louder than through an exhaust system. If you have spent time at a garage or race track, this will be obvious. With both devices, the direction of the gas, as well as speed it can escape, is controlled, and provides the user with something far quieter than in the absence of the muffler, or suppressor.
With a gun, this noise can be downright dangerous. That is why hearing protection is viewed by many people as mandatory safety gear. The numbers we want to be aware of are the threshold of damage, and the threshold of pain. Since we all interpret sounds different, here are a few comparisons that may be more useful than just numbers on a chart. An unsuppressed gunshot can be 140-190 decibels, or higher for some larger guns. This is in the threshold of damage range. While continued sound at lower levels can indeed cause permanent damage, at this level the damage can be immediate. The threshold of pain is different for all of us, but at levels of 100 decibels, and even less for some people, continued exposure may be tolerable, but can indeed cause damage after as little as 15 minutes of exposure. For comparison, a typical conversation may be around 60 decibels. Heavy equipment, like a tractor or shop tools may be in the 85 decibel area. A rock concert or good set of headphones could be in the 100 decibel range. If you look at a set of sound reducing ear plugs or head gear the decibel reduction will be clearly printed on them, and this is the same level, or better, that suppressors are manufactured to meet or beat.
Bring on the Torrent!
I like to start every test with an initial impression, but we’re talking about a few pieces of pips, right? What is there to say that you haven’t imagined or already heard? Then when they arrived for testing, I opened the box and immediately thought there must have been a mistake. There were two “.223 Size” suppressors in there and one was supposed to be a 30 caliber. I looked at the threads and was pleasantly surprised. One was indeed a 30 caliber can, as denoted by the familiar, and much larger, 5/8×24 threads. Out of sheer curiosity, I immediately had to drop them right on a digital scale and I was further impressed that the stainless steel, 30 caliber F3 suppressor came in even lighter than the compact, stainless steel, F2 (which was 20.6 ounces) at only 20.3 ounces. With both suppressors coming in at just over 7.5 inches in overall length, and an outside diameter a little shy of 1.5 inches, they had my attention. Add a rugged manufacturing process and materials, like 17-4 Fusion Welded Stainless Steel, with a full auto rating, and it just gets better.
When I started looking at the design, and the unique styling, something completely absent from most gun mufflers, I knew why they had been so highly recommended. The unique end cap is an immediate identifier of the Torrent, and the “fins” at the barrel end are reminiscent of the Lewis Machine Gun. Definite bonus points in the “Style” category, which we are supposed to say don’t really count for anything in a game of performance, but the market always seems to favor things that look nice when other factors are similar.
The initial range day consisted of strait up test firing on a few of the authors favorite platforms. A BCI Defense “Dagger” Series Rifle, chambered in 300AAC Blackout with a 16-inch barrel, another BCI Defense “Pistol” in 5.56mm with a 10-inch barrel and SB Tactical Collapsible Brace, and a Ruger Precision Rifle, bone stock, in .308. All guns are used regularly and considered “essential equipment” so the familiarity level is extremely high. All platforms also exist as suppressed guns, around the clock, so a little back-pressure and carbon isn’t anything alien to any of them. One by one, they were test fired, as is, the original suppressors were removed and replaced with either the Torrent F2 or F3, depending on the caliber. Since it was to be a short day and time was minimal it would provide a comparison in decibel reduction without the aid of a meter, against a few known baselines.
The Ruger Precision Rifle was the first subject. Its “normal” suppressor is an Elite Iron D30, that is a time proven, workhorse with several years of use. While the decibel reduction seemed very close, it’s worth noting that the size of the Torrent F30 is much smaller, which initially speaks highly of the R&D having gone into the design. The same process was completed with all guns and the performance followed suit.
The standard can on the BCI “pistol” is a Gemtech Trek-T (Titanium construction) which produced a softer tone than the F2, but since an F2 is also available in Titanium, and the different “tone” doesn’t seem to meter any different in our experience, that’s a wash at this point.
With the 300AAC Blackout, BCI Dagger, we finally had the opportunity to run it to it’s potential. The diverse ammunition selection for this caliber, and its ability to function in whatever firing mode the user desires, makes it an excellent platform for the 30 caliber F3. Semiautomatic fire with supersonic 123-grain ammo was extremely comfortable and produced an excellent combination. When we switched to some 220-grain, subsonic ammo, there was no sound except steel plates that sounded like someone was knocking them with a sledgehammer, 100 yards away.
We are anxious to get some metering time on all of these when we have a bit more time, but it was very clear, very fast, that the Torrent F2 and F3 suppressors were both coming in well under the threshold of pain, creating a safe shooting environment in a small package, without the hassle of outside hearing protection, like muting the sounds that are desirable, like safety commands and engaging in normal conversations without screaming and yelling.
Our testing of these suppressors will be very in-depth, in accuracy and sound reduction, but we couldn’t wait to release “something” on them, in the form of an initial impression, since we’re so excited about them. It is this writers opinion that he name “Torrent” is sure to become a familiar name in the shooting circles as their product launch proceeds and the normal “Trade Show Season” starts. They will be displaying at SHOT Show, and have updated their social media information with all kinds of information on their products and schedule. We’ll be running these though their paces in our pages and channels at www.YouTube.com/Bigshooterist www.FaceBook.com/GunTestVids and www.full30.com/channels/bigshooterist in the very near future, and hope you will join us and engage in the conversation.