When it comes to suppressor design, there are two main types of design. The internal structure is either a monolithic core or a series of stacked baffles. See images below for examples of each.
As you can see from the photos, the monolithic core is one solid piece of metal which has had sections machined out of it or sometimes created through casting. The stacked baffles are a series of individually created baffles which are stacked together to create the core. From a manufacturing standpoint, the monolithic core is much easier to create from time and materials. It is simply a matter of programming the design into a CNC machine then setting the machine to begin cutting the pieces of metal into the core. The stacked baffles take a little more precision, supplies, and labor. The baffles must be perfect to ensure that they are aligned straight to avoid baffle strikes, plus the baffles must almost lock into place together to keep them from moving and messing up the alignment. The second difference involves the length of the silencer in comparison to the amount of decibel reduction; “silencer efficacy”. A stacked baffle design can more effectively work the gases and therefore can make a quieter silencer with less length. The increased surface area of the stacked baffle design also helps to pull the heat out of the gases faster which also aids in reduced decibels. Dakota Silencer is currently marketing the Varminter 2.0 which is a stacked baffle design. Our first model of the Varminter was a monolithic core design. By making the switch, we’ve been able to create a more efficient design. The first Varminter in the .223 caliber was 8.3 inches long and weighed 18.9 oz. It achieved a decibel reduction 32.2. Our current Varminter 2.0 in .223 design in 7.2 inches long and weighs 16 oz. It achieves a 38 decibel reduction. As you can see, the second design of the Varminter is far more effective than the first, and this is largely due to the revamped construction utilizing titanium and a stacked baffle design. Another advantage to the stacked baffle design is that it can handle magnum calibers without needing to have increased length added. The first baffle in the stacked baffle setup is heat treated which provides greater structural integrity. Manufacturers can also use different types of materials, such as Inconel which is a blend of stainless steel and nickel or titanium, to form the baffles. Those two metals are difficult to machine which makes them impractical for an entire monolithic design. Finally, there’s the issue of the first round pop, or FRP. The FRP is the louder report you hear on the first shot. The main cause of the FRP is the oxygen that is in the suppressor which causes the powder to burn at a different rate. There’s nothing that can realistically be done about this factor, so it’s something manufacturers have to try to mitigate in other ways. In a monolithic core, it is more difficult to alter the blast chamber- the initial space in the suppressor which takes the first and most potent blast from the firearm. The CNC machine which mills out the metal for a monolithic design can only cut from an X and Y axis, thus preventing the ability to finer tune the blast chamber. Typically, in a stacked baffle design, the blast chamber is created from a top down position which allows for greater maneuverability to create a blast chamber which significantly reduces FRP. FRP is always more prominent in monolithic designs. Each design has its proper application. A monolithic design can be very useful in a .22 platform as it’s easier to clean one piece than four or five pieces. At the end of the day, it’s up to you as the purchaser to decide which design you prefer and would work best for you. Rimfire silencers do need to be cleaned due to lead build up from the bullets not being jacketed. Higher caliber rounds work like a muffler and clean themselves with continued usage and won’t need cleaning because the bullets are jacketed and lead build up is not a concern. If you’d like help making that decision or would like any other silencer information, give us a call today! Dakota Silencer Team