Good afternoon everyone and welcome back to TFB’s Silencer Saturday brought to you by our friends at Yankee Hill Machine, manufacturers of the YHM Turbo K rifle suppressor. Last week we get a basic overview of the very capable SilencerCo 36M modular suppressor. This week we have a review of the brand new Dead Air Silencers Primal – a multi-caliber, multi-host suppressor that can handle anything from rimfire to .338 Lapua. That’s quite an accomplishment, especially coming from a company known for making quiet, well-engineered silencers. So, is this your next suppressor purchase? Let’s take a look.
I’m beginning to sound like a broken record: do-it-all suppressors are usually not my cup of tea. But, since I’m not the typical silencer owner, I have to keep myself in check. While I prefer to have dedicated suppressors for most hosts, I am a special case in that most people don’t have an NFA disease that coaxes you into spending their retirement money on silly metal tubes.
But after spending time with the 36M last week and the Primal this week, I believe I’m maturing as a silencer owner. While there are some detractors to multi-caliber and multi-host silencers, when designed correctly, they are an excellent way to gain functionality without investing in additional tax stamps.
The Dead Air Primal @ TFB
SILENCER SATURDAY #191: The Beast Unleashed – The Dead Air Silencers Primal
There is no free lunch. Another saying I repeat often. A suppressor that can withstand .338 Lapua muzzle pressures will have to be heavier and longer than a typical pistol suppressor. Point being, with each caliber that is added to the specifications, concessions are made.
It is not often that one suppressor can suppress both supersonic 300BLK in a semiautomatic host and subsonic 9mm in a pistol host. Below, the SIG Rattler and the SIG XCARRY both with the Dead Air Primal.
The SIG 716i AR-10 in .308 and a select fire AR-15 are both outfitted with the Primal.
Let’s take a look at the details.
- Product Page: https://deadairsilencers.com/products/primal/
- MSRP: $929
- Buy At Silencer Shop: $769
- Rating: .458 caliber with energies up to .338 Lapua
- Length: 7.9″
- Weight: 16.5 oz.
- Diameter: 1.618″
- Materials: 17-4 Stainless Steel
- Finish: Nitride thread insert, high temp Cerakote® silencer
- Mount: Ships with 5/8-24 insert and HUB to P-Series adapter
- Compatible Quick Detach System: KeyMo Xeno Adapter
- Compatible KeyMount Flash Hiders:
- 1/2×28 (SCAR 16)
- 5/8×24 (SCAR 17)
- Compatible KeyMount Muzzle Brakes:
- KeyMicro Brake
- Compatible with Xeno Mounting System:
- Xeno Adapter
- Xeno Flash Hider
- Xeno Brake
- Fixed Mounts:
- Additional Accessories:
- Flash Hider End Cap 7.62
- Flash Hider End Cap 5.56
- Front Cap 7.62
- Front Cap 5.56
- Front Cap 6.5
- Front Cap Tool
The Primal’s end cap is compatible with the Nomad/Wolverine end caps. However, unless you are trying to squeak every last decibel out of a subsonic bolt action setup, my suggestion is to leave the .458 end cap in place to avoid unwanted damage . Below the Primal .458 end cap (left) and the Nomad end cap (right). I’m a moron, so I kept the Primal’s native end cap installed for this review.
The Primal is not just a beefier Nomad: the baffle designs differ in geometry, with the Primal’s baffles being curved versus a curve and steps for the Nomad. The relief cuts or “mouse holes” are aligned throughout the stack, presumably to minimize point of impact shift and improve supersonic suppression. Below, the Nomad (left) and the Primal (right).
You can see the classic cone baffles from the mount end in the picture below.
And here’s another shot of the cones from the muzzle end of the Primal.
The Primal can be outfitted with every Dead Air mount currently available. From the included 5/8 x 24 direct thread mount (included), to the KEYMO system, the Xeno system, three lug, and pistons for pistols hosts. The Xeno system is currently my favorite – simple, no moving pieces, and with left hand threads to prevent unscrewing any muzzle devices .
As a comparison, below are the Dead Air Nomad (Top), Dead Air Nomad-L (middle) and the Dead Air Primal (bottom). The Primal’s diameter is slightly smaller than the Nomad, presumably to maintain hoop strength without increasing weight (the larger the diameter, the more challenging it is to contain higher pressures). No need to critique my science, I’m not an actual engineer.
So far I’ve suppressed the following hosts and calibers using the Primal:
- 9mm – Pistol (subsonic)
- 9mm – Full Auto SP5K (subsonic/three lug)
- .45 ACP – H&K MARK 23 (subsonic)
- 5.56mm – Full Auto AR-15/M16 with a 14.5” barrel
- 300BLK – SIG MCX Rattler (supersonic/subsonic)
- 300BLK – Bolt Action (subsonic)
- .308 – SIG 716i AR-10
- .45-70 – Henry Big Boy X (full power Underwood – just two rounds)
The pistol hosts suppressed very well with the Primal. While it is not the quietest pistol suppressor I’ve shot, it was better than I expected. The H&K SMG suppressed decently – the .458 bore may have made it louder than other options. Blowback was very minimal.
All of the supersonic rifle rounds seemed to perform on par with other rifle silencers currently on the market. Without proper metering equipment, it would be difficult to make any conclusions based on the perception of the shooter’s ear alone. Anecdotally, the AR-10 was my favorite host out of all the supersonic rifle calibers.
Where I believe I can offer the most insight is with the subsonic 300BLK hosts. I’ve shot a decent amount of 300BLK over the years and have earned my Blackout Connoisseur merit badge. First, there is a noticeable first round pop. Not obnoxious or annoying, but it’s there. That was a bit of a surprise since Dead Air has always ranked high in the absence of FRP (the Nomad line). After the first shot, the rest of the rounds suppressed well above average. Impressive when factoring in the over generous bore size.
When making your decision whether or not the Primal meets your needs, I would evaluate it holistically – that is don’t judge it based on the performance of a single round or host. This is a Swiss Army Knife, not a scalpel, butcher knife, or EDC folder. With the Primal, you could suppress nearly every threaded barrel in your safe. Why quibble over a decibel or two when in a few minutes you can go from a .45-70 rifle to a 9mm pistol. That’s the Primal’s real power.
Thanks for reading. Be safe and we’ll see you back here next weekend for another Silencer Saturday.