A Quiet Path to More Sales

Education, for both retailers and consumers, is the first step toward selling more suppressors.

A Quiet Path to More Sales

Did you know residue discharge that accumulates in a suppressor eventually will change the weight and sound-reducing performance? Or that a suppressor retains enough heat to quickly remove a layer (or two) of skin should you touch it after a few shots? And, of course, suppressors aren’t 100% silent. 

I knew suppressors are not totally silent, but wasn’t fully aware of the other two facts until I attended the HUSH event in Alabama last March. The full-day event at Cavern Cove range east of Huntsville brought together companies and shooting media to learn more about different products including Advanced Armament suppressors. Everyone enjoyed banging targets with everything from .22 and 9mm pistols to a full-auto rifle and .300 AAC Blackout single-shot rifle at the 200-yard range. And yes, more than one person touched a hot suppressor because, well, we do those things. 

The event was hosted by Advanced Armament, which is based in Huntsville. Advanced was rescued from the second, and final, Remington bankruptcy; Ben Bachmeier, who was with the company pre-bankruptcy, now is in charge as senior program manager. His love of hunting, fishing and the outdoors and a degree in engineering led him to a career creating suppressors. Bachmeier is always trying to learn something new, and find any new technologies or designs that work better. 

Bachmeier puts his products to use, too. Last autumn he was out west with his father and friends hunting elk. They were split up about a quarter-mile apart when Bachmeier made a good shot on an elk across a canyon. He heard the shot, of course, but his father and friend did not. The suppressor worked. The other two men, both of whom are older and would be considered traditional hunters, initially eschewed the chance to use a suppressor for the elk hunt. 

“They took a look at it and said, ‘Ehh, that’s long. We’ll stick with what we have.’ They didn’t want one,” Bachmeier says. “My father and his friend did not hear me shoot from a quarter-mile away, thanks to the suppressor. I shot twice, actually. They didn’t hear either shot. The Jaeger (suppressor) did what it was supposed to do. That’s one thing we’re continually helping educate retailers and hunters about, the positives to using a suppressor. Yes, there is a process to legally own one and yes, they add some weight and length to a rifle. But the upsides are great for hunting and enjoyment at the range. 

“You’re not blowing out your hearing, which is cumulatively affected and damaged by loud noises. Those could be as simple as loud music and lawn mowers, or working in a loud factory, or repetitive blasts of firearms at the range. My father and his friend both wanted one after we were hunting in Colorado. They didn’t care about the weight or length. They were more interested in the protection aspect, because they saw firsthand that it worked.” 

That’s something retailers can and should know about, even if you don’t sell suppressors. More than 40 states allow legal ownership of suppressors and at least three dozen allow them for hunting. Being able to impart the correct knowledge about suppressors leaves a lasting image on customers. If you shrug or give the wrong information, or go off on a “who needs those?” tangent, a customer may not return. Being up to date, or knowing someone who is, definitely is a plus.

Quiet Range

At the HUSH event we were fortunate to have a bevy of companies send products to use during the day. Cavern Cove shooting range is tucked away in a gorgeous area near Cathedral Caverns State Park. Upon arrival, more than a few attendees remarked about the turkeys spotted in the adjacent field, and spring displaying its full array of beauty. 

It didn’t take long for us to don Walker’s hearing muffs and Vortex eyeglasses for protection, though. At the benches or stations were a variety of Taurus pistols, Fiocchi ammo, Traditions, Rossi and Rock River Arms rifles and Aimpoint optics. All were suppressed thanks to Advanced Armament. 

Our ear protection was more than ample to dampen the sound of steady gun fire. The AAC suppressors added more protection. Whether we were behind someone plowing through a Rock River Arms rifle in .223 or at the 7-yard pistol range firing the Taurus 9mm, everything was muffled. I’ve always considered good hearing protection to be akin to opaque glass; you can see something, but not clearly. With suppressors and the Walker’s muffs, you could hear the shots but they didn’t hurt. 

One of my favorite stations featured the Traditions Outfitter G3 single-shot rifle in .300 AAC Blackout. It was fitted with the Aimpoint Micro H-2 red-dot optic and Jaeger suppressor, which also works with .300 Win Mag, .308 Win and the capable and fun 6.5 Creedmoor. Our target was 180 to 200 yards; no one had a rangefinder and so we estimated based on the 100-yard target to the four or five stationed in the edge of the treeline. Saying 200 made us feel better when we dropped in a Fiocchi round and, moments after pressing the trigger, heard the distinctive yet muted “clang” on the steel. 

The Traditions Outfitter G3 rifle is perfect for small-frame shooters, has limited recoil, and is quite solid for whitetail, hogs and other game. With its 16.5-inch chromoly fluted barrel and synthetic stock and foregrip, it’ll take Mother Nature’s abuse while performing accurately. I liked it so much that I bought one after the HUSH event and am in the process of obtaining my suppressor. Feral pigs and whitetails definitely are on the agenda next season. The .300 AAC Blackout may be overkill for coyotes but I’d imagine the G3/Jaeger combo will still connect with a few. And if you don’t have the Traditions Outfitter G3 in your store, consider adding a few. You might be surprised at the attention.

Cleanup Revelation 

After shooting a few hours, a break for some barbecued pork at lunch and then an afternoon range session, we decamped to the Cavern Cove meeting area for a lesson on suppressors and cleanup. Thanks to Real Avid’s participation, we were able to see firsthand the new Master Gun Vise — fairly incredible for any home or retail store gunsmithing — and how to disassemble, clean and reassemble a suppressor. 

The baffle system inside a suppressor traps and disperses the gases that propel the bullet out of the muzzle. They’re still there, and some still escape, but most are contained and dispersed in the suppressor. It also catches all the particulate gunk created by the burning of a cartridge’s powder. And that can be a ton of buildup. Bachmeier says over time it’s enough to affect the dampening capabilities. Consider a laundry drier exhaust, car muffler or fireplace flue, as similar examples. Over time, any collection of lint, buildup, dust, ash or anything else can create issues. It’s the same with suppressors, he says. 

Suppressor cleaning could be an add-on option for your retail shop. It’s not difficult, nor does it take terribly long. Adding an ultrasonic cleaner to your store, which is good for myriad uses, might be a good investment. Learning to clean suppressors and offering that to customers is a way to get them into the store two times — drop-off and pickup. It’s also a selling point that the lead accumulation in the suppressor is not something they want in their home or workshop. You could set aside a specific place to do this work, especially if you have a range that requires cleaning and supervision for lead.


Future Events 

While the HUSH event was primarily for the shooting sports media, such events can also have a strong impact on retailers. 

“It is something that I want to do in the future, but right now I’m really trying to focus all our efforts on re-establishing the Advanced Armament brand and getting the business running smoothly,” Bachmeier says. 

New products are coming from AAC this year, including rifle suppressors and accessories for new products, and three suppressors in 2023. The company is also beginning to do repair and upgrades on suppressors while continuing to move forward. A HUSH-style event may not be in the immediate future for retailers, but if you hear of one I’d highly recommend attending. It’s a great learning experience and a ton of fun.


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