Sound moderators have become quite common in countries where legislation allows them to sport shooter. With widespread use comes innovation and the research for better solutions. The new Daniel Defense DD WAVE sound suppressor is probably the most innovative on the market.
Sound moderators and baffle wear
Sound moderators, suppressors or “silencers”, call them as you may, are meant to reduce muzzle blast from a firearm to make it hearing safe. They don’t make it “silent” Hollywood like: 25 to 30 dB sound reduction is quite a feat for most moderators, unless you are willing to deal with mass and encumbrance well outside the practical limits of a portable firearm.
However, they bring blast down enough to spare operators like military personnel and LEOs severe hearing damage in case of firearm discharge, particularly in an enclosed environment, and allow competitors safer shooting in better comfort.
They achieve this result by harnessing the hot gases from a cartridge, allowing them to expand in a controlled way in a series of chambers created by internal baffles, which are exposed to extreme heat, pressure and gas kinetic energy which can cause rapid wear and, in the end, failure of the device, particularly in case of military use with fully automatic weapons.
Given that a suppressor for a 9mm or 30 cal firearm can cost well north of 1000$, (plus the 200$ tax stamp and endless bureaucratic nonsense involved in a suppressor purchase for US citizens), the highest durability is highly desirable. Various solutions have been tested to achieve a vast range of compromises between lightness and durability, and while metals like aluminum and titanium may be light, they leave much to be desired as baffle material.
Daniel Defense has thus chosen an all-inconel manufacture for their DDWave suppressor, their goal being not the lightness, but durability, with excellent performance in sound reduction.
What is Inconel
Inconel is the name of a family of nickel-chromium alloys that were initially developed in the ‘40s to withstand extreme heat and pressure, with high resistance to creep, that can in the end lead to a manufact’s premature failure.
Unfortunately the properties that make inconel so desirable for this application also make it extremely difficult to machine, and extensive machining would be required to achieve the complex shapes needed for the baffles to be most effective in noise reduction.
Direct Metal Laser Sintering
Many gun enthusiasts will probably remember the clamor made by Solid Concepts when they 3D printed a 1911 handgun to prove the durability of parts created via Direct Metal Laser Sintering. In the same year, Elon Musk astonished the world with Space-X SuperDraco engine, which was fully printed in inconel with the DMLS process.
While Soild Concepts’ 1911 was printed on an EOSINT M270 3D printer costing between 500.000$ and 1 million $ at the time, DMLS printers are today still quite expensive, but within the reach of a wider public than just the aerospace industry.
The engineers at Daniel Defense have thus chosen to manufacture the DDWave through DMLS. This allows to create a monolithic body without welds (a typical failure point for sound moderators) with an elaborately shaped stack of baffles that would be impossible to create with more traditional methods and that increases gases dwell time in the can, achieving 30 dB noise reduction on .223 guns (which is really a good result for a .30 caliber can) and a 40 dB reduction on a 300 Blackout gun.
Monolithic manufacture allows also a lighter body than one made through welding, with the first baffles reinforced for better resistance.
A patented thread quick clamping device prevents carbon lock (the locking of the moderator to the mounting device due to carbon buildup) so that the moderator can always be attached or removed without tools. These feature make the DDWAVE one of the most innovative and effective moderators on the market.
The DDWave is available both with quick detach system and direct thread with standard 5/8”x24 TPI thread with a MSRP that makes it very competitive.