If you follow the suppressor world, you may have noticed a push towards protecting the shooters from toxic gas blowback. To paint a picture, when you fire a rifle without a suppressor, all those gasses leave the barrel and very little gas escapes the ejection port. Conversely, when you attach a suppressor to a rifle, the gasses are dramatically slowed down once entering the suppressor, causing them to rush backward out of the ejection port and near your face.
The most traditional way of creating a sound suppression device for a firearm is to use baffles in a stack. Think of cones with holes in them that a bullet passes through. Stack six or seven of them inside of a tube that attaches to your firearm, and you’ve got a suppressor. You can imagine as a bullet travels through the bore, each cone fills with gas and travels to the next cone, so on and so forth.
The downside of this design is that, because of the pressure inside of that suppressor, you get a fair amount more backflow out of the ejection port or wherever gas can escape. This also makes your firearm much dirtier, much quicker.
Lowering that backpressure is a tall order. A suppressor dramatically reduces the sound signature of a firearm by slowing down the air and, subsequently, the gasses leaving the barrel. A few companies out there are creating different technologies to slow down the gasses while also letting them flow through the suppressor, which helps reduce the blowback you experience.
When I heard of the Orion-X suppressor from X2 Dev Group, I immediately knew I wanted to test it out. One of my favorite rifles to test suppressors on is my 16” M1A EBR. The M1A has an open-top design and a very large ejection port, so you really notice how well the suppressor is pushing those gasses out of the muzzle or coming back at the shooter.
The Orion-X has a unique free-flowing design that acts as a gas mixing chamber with a larger volume than other suppressors. The Orion-X uses a modular user-serviceable core that allows the X2 to adjust flow dynamics and characteristics to create the optimal shooting experience.
By using chambers of different sizes and shapes, the Orion-X directs gasses through the suppressor, which allows the firearm to operate as intended while also giving the gasses time to properly flow through the suppressor. This reduces the sound signature, muzzle flash and blowback. The way the suppressor is designed also helps it cool much faster than other, more traditional baffle designs.
I set out to the range to do my testing, hoping that this would be the perfect suppressor for my M1A EBR build. It’s such a fun rifle to shoot, especially suppressed, but it’s a rough option if the suppressor has a lot of blowback. The Orion-X is a direct thread mount, which was nice since I didn’t have to worry about alignment for a baffle strike or misalignment.
I attached the Orion-X to the M1A and got behind the rifle to shoot at the berm so I could hear the report of the shot. I braced, waiting for the shot of gas in my face. Pop. I waited, and to my relief, I didn’t receive any sharp, stinging gasses from the ejection port. The report of the shot was also hearing-safe. So far, so good!
I continued firing the M1A, this time on paper, to see if there was any major point of impact shift, which is common with suppressors. But with the beefy barrel on the M1A and the Remington UMC ammo, there was no shift and the rifle was good to go punching holes in paper.
Some further specs on the Orion-X suppressor: The length is 6.25”, which is much shorter than other suppressors with the same level of sound suppression. The diameter is 1.98”, which gives a larger chamber for the free-flow design. The Orion-X weighs 17.3 oz., which is about on par for the size. The materials used in the design are 17-4 PH Stainless, 6AL-4V Titanium, Inconel and 7075-T6 aluminum. The suppressor comes in black or FDE high temp Cerakote.
If you’re interested in this unique, forward-thinking company, be sure to check out X2 Dev Group. They have multiple innovative products including charging handles and muzzle brakes.
For those suppressor junkies out there like myself, you won’t be disappointed by the Orion-X. The free-flow design allows you to use this suppressor on all types of firearms, especially those that don’t have the ability to adjust the flow of gas. At the end of the day, the old adage still rings true … silence truly is golden.
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