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SILENCER SATURDAY #64: 5.56mm Allen Engineering Suppressors

Good afternoon friends and thanks for joining us once again for TFB’s Silencer Saturday. We have a special treat for you today: a comprehensive test of five of the most popular Allen Engineering Suppressors available. The M4S, AEM2, AEM3 and AEM4 respectively are all designed around the profile of the M4 barrel. As a comparison, we’ll test the AEM5 (MK12 Silencer) on the 18” SPR platform it was specifically designed for the U.S. Military. The setup should be familiar since we metered the .223 AEM5 alongside the .224 Valkyrie AEM5 about six months ago right here on Silencer Saturday. I’ve shot my fair share of suppressors and still believe that the AEM5 is the quietest 5.56mm option available on today’s market.

Contents Of This Review:

  1. Introduction
  2. Shooting the 5.56mm AEM Suppressors
  3. Observations
  4. Conclusions

The ability to perform side-by-side testing of some of the most iconic silencers of the last three decades is pretty amazing. I certainly don’t take this opportunity for granted and appreciate the help and support from Ron Allen. From the invasion of Panama in 1989, Somalia, the first Gulf War to the Global War On Terrorism, the suppressors formerly known as Ops Inc have been right there on the front lines. And if you’ve read our historical piece on Allen Engineering, you already know that even the Ops Inc engraved suppressors were most likely made by Ron Allen himself.

SILENCER SATURDAY #64: Allen Engineering Suppressors

Allen Engineering Suppressors

Can you hear me now? Allen Engineering Suppressors (L to R): M4S; AEM2; AEM3; AEM4; AEM5

1. Allen Engineering – Introduction

For the uninitiated, Allen Engineering designs and builds reflex suppressors. Which means that each model extends back past the muzzle and over the barrel to provide additional internal volume without adding additional length. The unique baffle design works to push (and slow) expanding gasses back into the reflex area before heading out the end cap.


Allen Engineering Suppressors

Allen Engineering suppressors


The design requires a special barrel profile and over-the-barrel collar for a proper alignment. The M4-designed models require a different profile and collar compared to the SPR models. Here’s the technical drawings for the M4 collar mount:

Allen Engineering suppressors

And here’s the technical drawings for the SPR collar mount.

Allen Engineering suppressors

There are other mounting solutions and setups that are out of the range of this review (and my abilities) that may be covered at a later date. In addition, Allen Engineering has a 30 caliber silencer that may be reviewed here at Silencer Saturday in the future.

Although these suppressors requires special barrel profiling and mounts, they aren’t limited to the AR15 platform; bolt action rifles can be outfitted as well and make for quiet and accurate rifles.

2. Shooting The 5.56 Allen Engineering Suppressors

Let’s go through some real world shooting and data recording on five Allen Suppressors Engineering designed for the 5.56 cartridge.

Disclaimer: I am not a scientist, but I do play one on the internet. Decibel meter data alone, even if done correctly, is a poor way to evaluate silencers. Your personal use case, requirements and applications are more important than any list of numbers. Decide how you are going to use your suppressor and what is important to you, then use all the factors combined to make a purchase decision. When in doubt, ask. My email can be found below.

Decibel Metering: Environmental Variables

    • B&K 2209 (Courtesy Of Allen Engineering)
    • A Weighted
    • 37 degrees Fahrenheit
    • 47% Humidity
    • 29.76 in Hg
    • Snow covered ground
    • 5.56mm Host: 18BCM Upper; (AEM5); 11.5” Generic.
    • Bolt only MILSTD: 115.1 dB
    • Bolt only ear : 117.6 dB

Allen Engineering Suppressors – M4S

  • Caliber 5.56
  • Diameter: 1.5”
  • Length Past brake: 1”
  • Length past muzzle: 2.25”
  • Overall length: 4.5”
  • Weight: 11.2 ounces

MILSTD MUZZLE

  • 150+ (all)

At The Ear

  • 149.2
  • 146.5
  • 147.2
  • 146.9
  • 147
  • 147.2
  • 148.5
  • 145.5
  • 146.1
  • 146.4
  • 148.9
  • 146.6
  • 147.4
  • 146.4 bolt hold open

Allen Engineering Suppressors AEM2

http://aesuppressors.com/suppressors/AEM2.html

  • Caliber: 5.56
  • Length: 6″
  • Weight: 15oz
  • Finish: Black Oxide
  • MSRP: $575

MILSTD MUZZLE

  • 149.8
  • 141
  • 138.5
  • 140.2
  • 140
  • 139.1
  • 140.1
  • 139
  • 140.2
  • 140.3

AT THE EAR

  • 143.1
  • 142.1
  • 143.9
  • 142.4
  • 143.9
  • 146
  • 142.5
  • 142.1
  • 144
  • 142.5 bolt hold open

Allen Engineering Suppressors AEM3

http://aesuppressors.com/suppressors/AEM3.html

  • Caliber: 5.56
  • Length: 7″
  • Weight: 18.2oz
  • Finish: Black Oxide
  • MSRP: $625

MILSTD MUZZLE

  • 140+
  • 138.5
  • 136.9
  • 136.5
  • 137.1
  • 136.2
  • 137.3
  • 137.5
  • 137.8
  • 137.4

AT THE EAR

  • 140+
  • 140+
  • 143.6
  • 141.2
  • 142.2
  • 141.1
  • 142.3
  • 143.1
  • 142.5
  • 143
  • 143.1
  • 145.1 bolt hold open

Allen Engineering Suppressors AEM4

http://aesuppressors.com/suppressors/AEM4.html

  • Caliber: 5.56
  • Length: 8.5″
  • Weight: 20oz
  • Finish: Black Oxide
  • MSRP: $675

MILSTD MUZZLE

  • 137
  • 132.6
  • 129.1
  • 132.8
  • 132.6
  • 131.4
  • 130.6
  • 130.1
  • 132.4
  • 131.1

AT THE EAR

  • 140+
  • 141.4
  • 143.5
  • 142.3
  • 141.4
  • 141.4
  • 143.6
  • 144.2
  • 144.6
  • 142.5
  • 143.4

Allen Engineering Suppressors AEM5 – MK12 SPR Silencer

http://aesuppressors.com/suppressors/AEM5.html

  • Caliber: 5.56
  • Length: 8.8″
  • Weight: 21oz
  • Finish: Black Oxide
  • MSRP: $699

MILSTD MUZZLE

  • 132.2
  • 132.5
  • 130.2
  • 129.8
  • 129.9
  • 130.1
  • 129.8
  • 130
  • 129.9
  • 129.1
  • 130.6
  • 130.5
  • 129.1

AT THE EAR

  • 137.5
  • 137.6
  • 138.6
  • 137.5
  • 137.9
  • 139.6
  • 137.9
  • 138.1
  • 137.9
  • 135.1
  • 135.6
  • 135.4
  • 134.6
  • 139.9 bolt hold open

3. Observations

While the tiny 4.5” M4S was the loudest of the group by far, it was interested to see the ‘At Ear’ numbers lower than the muzzle numbers. However, since the meter I have is not calibrated for readings over 150dB, it’s impossible to know how much quieter the numbers were for today’s results.

The AEM4 Was the obvious winner on the 11.5” barrel setup, sporting impressive numbers at both the muzzle and the ear. Any time you can fall below 140 dB on a short barreled AR15, you’ve found a keeper. The AEM2 and AEM3 did a very respectable job and were fairly pleasant to shoot.

The AEM5 could benefit from the use of an adjustable gas block. While the muzzle numbers were stellar, I bet I could get the AEM5 into the low 130’s at the ear with a bit of tuning. It’s still the quietest 5.56 silencer I’ve ever heard.

4. Conclusions

All silencer aficionados should consider owning an AEM5 – both for its historical value and for its  unprecedented suppression levels. If you can deal with the added weight and length as well as the atypical mounting system, you won’t be disappointed. And after today’s results, I’m thinking the AEM4 might fall into that category as well. The M4S is not a regular production model and it’s size is impressive. I’d say if you were planning on an AEM4 on an M4 setup, an M4S also might be nice to have as an ultra compact option.

After several decades, the Allen Engineering Suppressors can still hold their own with the best models on the market today.

Thanks for reading. Be safe. And we will see you next week.



Source: The Firearm Blog

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