SILENCER SATURDAY #315: Flash Hiding With the SureFire RC3 Suppressor

Good evening everyone and welcome back to TFB’s Silencer Saturday brought to you by Yankee Hill Machine, manufacturers of the brand new YHM 338 Bad Larry Suppressor. Last week we jumped in the Delorean, put on our new AR googles, rubbed the crystal ball, or whatever future-predictors do and took some educated guesses at the next 20 years of silencers. This week, with the groundhog giving us a bit of a Spring preview, we get back out on the range to test the flash hiding capabilities of the SureFire RC3 suppressor. After the sun starts to drop behind the trees, I’ll be back with some results.

More SureFire RC3 @ TFB:

SILENCER SATURDAY #315: Flash Hiding With the SureFire RC3 Suppressor

I do not shoot under night vision that often, so reducing muzzle flash is not on my list of priorities from my suppressors. However, I do understand that there are those that want low muzzle flash (hunters) and those that need low muzzle flash (MIL/LE/defensive shooters). As we noted back in November, SureFire released a public service announcement stating that anyone who wants the optimal muzzle flash reduction when using their RC3 suppressors should be using an open tine flash hider mount rather than a closed tine flash hider or a muzzle brake.

SILENCER SATURDAY #315: Flash Hiding With the SureFire RC3 Suppressor

It has come up recently that the RC3 may exhibit suboptimal flash performance with closed-tine muzzle devices. The RC3 was designed to operate optimally with SureFire SOCOM open-tine adapters (SF3P, FH556RC, WARCOMP-556-1/2-28), and delivers unmatched flash reduction in this configuration. Gas flow dynamics in low-back-pressure suppressors are extremely complex and sensitive to the slightest change. As a result, the RC3 may have increased muzzle flash with closed-tine adapters and muzzle brakes (SFCT-556-1/2-28, WARCOMP-556-CTN-1/2-28, SFMB).

Even though flash hiding and night shooting isn’t my thing, I thought it would be interesting to shoot a combination of mounts on two barrel lengths with by the RC2 and RC3 suppressors and compare the results. But first, lets review the specs.

Specifications – SureFire SOCOM556 RC3

  • Model: Surefire SOCOM556-RC3
  • Manufacturer’s Page: https://www.surefire.com/socom556-rc3/
  • MSRP: $1799
  • Materials: Inconnel
  • Finish: Cerakote
  • Diameter: 1.5 in (3.8 cm)
  • Length: 6.3 in (16.0 cm)
  • Length added to weapon*: 3.8 in (9.7 cm)
    • * Actual length may vary, depending on which SureFire adapter is used
  • Weight: 17.0 oz (482 g)

Features:

  • 60% less back pressure
  • Virtually eliminates explosive flash
  • ast-Attach® design allows fast, secure, easy attachment and removal without tools
  • Backward compatible with SureFire SOCOM Fast-Attach muzzle devices
  • Durable Inconel construction delivers long service life

Specifications – SureFire SOCOM RC2

  • Model: SOCOM556-RC2
  • Manufacturer’s Page: https://www.surefire.com/socom556-rc2/
  • MSRP:  $1,199
  • Materials:
  • Finish: OLC and Cerakote
  • Diameter: 1.5″
  • Length: 6.4″
  • Length added to weapon: 3.8″
    • * Actual length may vary, depending on which SureFire adapter is used
  • Weight: 17.0 oz
  • Sound Data @ the shooter’s ear (from SureFire)
  • 10.3″ – 137.74
  • 14.5″ – 136 .40

Muzzle Devices:


Here’s the test combinations:

  • 11.5” with Muzzle Brake and SureFire RC2
  • 11.5” with Muzzle Brake and SureFire RC3
  • 14.5” with Muzzle Brakeand SureFire RC2
  • 14.5” with Muzzle Brake and SureFire RC3
  • 11.5” with Muzzle Brake Only
  • 14.5” with Muzzle Brake Only
  • 11.5” with Flash Hider Only
  • 14.5” with Flash Hider Only
  • 11.5” with Flash Hider SureFire RC2
  • 11.5” with Flash Hider SureFire RC3
  • 14.5” with Flash Hider SureFire RC2
  • 14.5” with Flash HiderSureFire RC3

Note, the 14.5” barrel is a Knight’s Armament hybrid gas system and the ammo used is the .223 Federal Fusion 62gr soft point.

Let’s go to the tape.

11.5” with Muzzle Brake

SureFire RC2

SureFire RC3

14.5” with Muzzle Brake

SureFire RC2

SureFire RC3

11.5” and Muzzle Brake Only

14.5” and Muzzle Brake Only

14.5” and Flash Hider Only

11.5” and Flash Hider Only

11.5” with Flash Hider

SureFire RC2

SureFire RC3

14.5” with Flash Hider

SureFire RC2

SureFire RC3

Understanding that this is an unscientific test using an iPhone and a guy shooting in the woods, I think we can draw some very basic conclusions. First, the SureFire flash hiders appear to work very well whereas, predictably, the muzzle brakes don’t seem to suppress flash at all. Barrel lengths, also predictably, play a role in observed flash with the 11.5” producing more unburned powder at the muzzle. And it appears that the RC3 has improved flash hiding capabilities over the older RC2.

From my testing, the RC3 performed just as well, if not better, with the muzzle brake over using a flash hider. Surprisingly, the RC3 on the 11.5” with a muzzle brake had no detectable flash at all – I would have guessed that the 14.5” with a flash hider would have been the best performer.

Again, this is anecdotal at best and the ammunition used to test muzzle flash is probably the biggest variable, but it is interesting to see some visual data nonetheless.

Thanks for reading. Be safe, have fun, and we’ll see you back here next weekend (and later this week) for another Silencer Saturday.


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