The Salvo 12 suppressor review: a look at a game-changing tool in the world of shotgunning.
I heard the thwack-thwack-thwack! as I approached the firing line, and for all the world it sounded like a loud pellet rifle. But when I got to the line I realized the “thwacks” were from 12-gauge shotguns equipped with SilencerCo’s new Salvo 12 shotgun suppressor.
And these weren’t subsonic 12-gauge loads being shot, either, but Federal Top Gun 2¾-inch field loads with 11⁄8 ounce loads of 71⁄2 shot.
Amazing, I thought to myself.
I was at the new product introduction of the Salvo 12 in July this year, held just outside of Salt Lake City and hosted by SilencerCo. The suppressor manufacturer had invited about three dozen people to the event—media, retailers and distributors—to observe and use their newest product. And my early impression was: it works and could be a game changer, especially for shotgun hunters.
The Salvo 12 has a different look to it. Most suppressors I’ve used are round and slim. Not the Salvo 12, which is long and rectangular. I assumed it would be really awkward to use, especially at the end of a swinging shotgun barrel.
Instead I found the balance point pretty quickly on the Salvo-equipped Benelli Model M2 12-gauge. I missed my first three clay pigeons, but began making hits as I got used to this rig.
What took me more time was figuring out how to truly aim a shotgun with a Salvo 12 attached to the end of the barrel.
The Salvo 12 comes in four lengths, from 6.42 inches long to just a bit over 12 inches, and weighs from 21 ounces at the smallest size up to 34.5 ounces. I used the 12-inch model on two different shotguns, the Benelli and, later, a Mossberg. But something about that extra 12 inches protruding from the end of the barrel had me aiming and looking above and beyond my targets.
“You’re shooting over,” said Darren Jones, of SilencerCo’s marketing department and the range officer at my shooting position. “Bring it down, man!”
Once I did that and got used to dropping my aim point, the pigeons started breaking with some regularity. Other shooters, I noticed, knocked down more clays as they went through the firing line multiple times, many dusting off six and seven pigeons in a row by their third session.
The Salvo 12 connects to a shotgun via the choke tube device, which threads into the end of the barrel. Screw in the connector, and then attach the Salvo 12 to the end of that connector. Connecters will be offered in a variety of choke tube sizes, including an extra tight choke for turkey hunters.
The suppressor is is a modular design of rods and baffles and can be taken apart. So a lot of people are simply going to buy the 12-inch model, along with a kit that has different sized rods, and will adjust the size to fit their particular shotgun or hunting or shooting situation. The rod kit will likely sell in the ballpark of $50 to $70.
Recoil was greatly reduced with the Salvo 12, too, by about 25 percent was my estimate with the 12-inch model. Of the four sizes, the largest three models of the Salvo 12 muffle the sound, measured at the ear, to below 140 decibels—over 140 decibels and the human ear can sustain damage.
The smallest Salvo 12, though, the 6-inch model, is rated at 149.2 decibels at the muzzle, 140.6 decibels at the ear. So shooters using this version will still want to use hearing protection.
The Salvo 12 is designed for use with shotgun slugs, as well as all wadded shotshell loads, and has been tested extensively on a wide variety of slugs. However, not all new slug gun barrels have choke tube-style threading. SilencerCo is working with shotgun makers and its own design crew to come up with various options for attaching the Salvo 12 to slug barrels, smoothbore and rifled.
While at the new product intro, I didn’t get a chance to use the Salvo 12 with shotgun slugs, but I will this fall on a slug gun hunt for deer and wild hogs.
For hunters, the Salvo 12 promises to let us shoot without ear plugs or bulky muffs, communicate with other hunters and hear the game as it is approaching. For volume shotgun shooters, the reduced recoil can only help our shoulders.
All of this does come with a cost, however. The current price is $1,400, though actual in-store prices remain to be seen when the Salvo 12 gets to stores in fall 2014.
Salvo 12 Shotgun Suppressor
Width 2.21 in.
Height 2.96 in.
Attaches via threaded connector, included.
Weight (with connector)
6-inch 21 oz.
8-inch 25.5 oz.
10-inch 30 oz.
12-inch 34.5 oz.
Decibel (dB) level, at ear
6-inch 140.6 dB
8-inch 137 dB
10-inch 134.1 dB
12-inch 132 dB