Silencer-associated visible signatures

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September 20, 2022, 07:40 AM
Silencer-associated visible signatures
That is a very valuable contribution to the discussion, Sigfreund; thank you. I am going to alter the thread title, to broaden the paramaters of the conversation. A great example of how almost everything is a give-and-take, when it comes to "weapons theory".
September 20, 2022, 08:21 AM
Similiar effect of a vapor trail behind a high flying jet.
Heated exhaust meeting the cooler air at altitude creating vapor trail.
September 20, 2022, 08:27 AM
Indeed. The silencer exacerbating the phenomenon is due to the gasses moving slower, perhaps?
September 21, 2022, 05:43 AM
Tested the patience and insect tolerance threshold of my camera operator (wife) last night, and conducted a somewhat scientific test.

Two weapons; one serving as a "control", and the other as "optimized":
Colt 933
11.5" barrel
SF RC2 (no ablative)
ATPIAL laser (active)

"Recce carbine"
14.5" barrel
Hornady 75gr HD-SBR
Otter Creek OCM5 (ablative)
Eotech EXPS3-0 (passive)

I viewed three shots through each weapon with and without a Gen3 white phos PVS14, from a distance of about 50m, slightly forward of the muzzle.

Without night vision, the only visible signature was the flash on the first round fired from the Colt.

Through night vision, the shortcomings of the control setup were visible:
-a minor muzzle flash on all rounds fired
-a bright dot at the laser aperture
-the temporarily visible laser beam, in the post-shot muzzle vapor

And the performance of the optimized:
-tiny muzzle flash on first round only
-no laser effects
-vapor cloud larger, and visible. It did not compromise visibility of the target, but would be a signature concern, especially in the test conditions (open pasture). I think the cloud would be much less of a give-away in the woods or an urban setting, where there is more concealment.

Another note, on the control setup, is the favorable atmosphere, on the night of the test. The air was clear, with no lingering haze. In the past month or so, of the times I used an IR laser, the beam was more often than not a lightsaber, due to suspended moisture in the air. This is not representative of all laser usage cases, but certainly represents more circumstances than laser advocates would have you believe. That's a bad visible signature: one that shows where you are before you fire, shows what you're attempting to engage, and draws a line between the two.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: KSGM,
September 25, 2022, 03:00 PM
Turns out the ablative is not worth messing with unless maximum nighttime signature reduction is critical. I did a little shooting today, and it takes quite a while for the vapor effect to wear off. I fired between ten and fifteen rounds, confirming zero at a few different distances, and the leftover ablative from the other night's test gave me a not-insignificant cloud on every shot. So, to add ablative for a potential nighttime use of the rifle, only to have the event not occur, would have you left with a silencer that will give you a very bad signature enhancement during daylight hours. Using an ablative other than oil may mitigate the issue; something like water would burn off quicker, but then you're potentially introducing water to the interior of your silencer for an extended period, which isn't ideal.