Founded in a garage in West Valley City, Utah, in 2008, suppressor maker SilencerCo was launched when two friends—Josh Waldron and Jonathon Shults—decided they could make a better suppressor for a .22 rimfire handgun than what was already on the market. Waldron was a professional photographer, Shults a sound engineer. Together they created the Sparrow rimfire suppressor.
As you probably know by now, it worked! Today, SilencerCo bills itself as the largest suppressor manufacturer in the nation, and no one disputes the claim. SilencerCo produces a full line of handgun and rifle suppressors, and last year debuted the first shotgun suppressor manufactured on a large scale, the Salvo 12. There's a lot more to their story, though. Here are 10 things you probably didn't know about SilencerCo.
1. Both CEO Waldron and President Shults are dedicated hunters, and hunting is most definitely on the SilencerCo creative “brain” when products are being developed. “We’ve designed and manufactured many of our products with hunting very much in mind, including our Omega and Salvo suppressors,” says Shults. “For me, if you can’t use it hunting and it doesn’t make your hunting better? I don’t think the product will be successful.” It should be noted that, right now, the Omega is the company's most popular rifle suppressor.
2. In fact, the company’s shotgun suppressor, the Salvo 12, came about because of hunting. A duck hunt, to be exact. “I couldn’t believe how loud it all was, even with hearing protection,” says Shults. “I told Josh I wouldn’t go duck hunting again until we made a shotgun suppressor! So that’s when we started working on what would become the Salvo 12.”
3. SilencerCo was the founding member and sponsor of the American Suppressor Association (ASA). Since the ASA’s formation in 2011, 30 pro-suppressor laws or regulations have been enacted. This includes 15 states legalizing hunting with suppressors, and two states legalizing suppressor ownership.
4. ASA, SilencerCo and the National Rifle Association are major supporters of the Hearing Protection Act (HPA) of 2015 (H.R. 3799), introduced in the U.S House of Representatives in October 2015 by Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ). The HPA would remove sound suppressors from regulation under the National Firearms Act, leaving them to be treated as ordinary firearms.
5. A big part of SilencerCo’s marketing budget is not actually spent on promoting their own products, but in promoting the use of suppressors. Waldron is regularly on the road, at trade and consumer shows and numerous other venues, touting the many benefits to suppressing firearms. “It’s all about education,” says Waldron. “Getting the word out, showing people that these devices are helpful—that silencers are really all about hearing protection, reducing noise pollution, and making your shooting safer.”
6. Last year, SilencerCo launched a new R&D arm of the company, SilencerCo Weapons Research. Based in Austin, Texas, the new facility is working to develop a variety of hunting and shooting products, beyond suppressors.
7. One of the first products from the Weapons Research facility: the new Radius, a rail-mounted rangefinder capable of ranging out to a mile on a reflective target and attaching to a Picatinny rail in any orientation. A hunter can operate the Radius with their rifle on the shoulder, determining the range of stationary or even moving targets without having to come off the rifle.
8. Another Weapons Research creation that’s created a big stir is the Maxim 9, an integrally suppressed 9mm pistol. So far, no company has successfully managed to produce a handgun with an integral silencer that is holsterable and hearing safe with any factory ammunition. But the Maxim 9 will do all of that and more. SilencerCo expects to release the Maxim 9 near the end of 2016.
9. SilencerCo is also in the ammunition business. It currently offers two different loads in .300 Blackout, both of which launch their .30 caliber bullets at sun-sonic speeds to further enhance sound reduction when used with a suppressor.
10. Among the company’s most popular suppressors with hunters are the Harvester 30 and the Harvester Big Bore. When paired with the integral Anchor Brake, these Harvesters offers best-in-class recoil reduction across a wide range of calibers, from .22 Hornet to .300 Win Mag for the Harvester 30, and up to .338 Lapua Magnum for the Harvester Big Bore 338.