2-Gun: Suspiciously Silent vs Ludicrously Loud

This month’s 2-Gun match was three pretty short stages, so my friend Tom and I decided to just play with a fun theme – he brought a pair of huge .50-caliber cannons (.50AE Desert Eagle and a .50 Beowulf AR) and I brought a pair of very quiet guns (SilencerCo Maxim-9 and Q Honey Badger, both shooting subsonics).


  1. Ian in the Q&A video: “Always zero your guns before a match.”
    Ian in today’s match video: “Oops, my pistol is not zeroed properly.”

    I know Ian is very busy, and I fully respect that he probably didn’t have the time to zero the pistol, but nevertheless it was still quite funny.

  2. My CCW has a red dot and the dot (and half the circle) sits right above the front sight post. I never realized it, but I like the comforting feeling of picking it up, looking down the sights and saying, “Yep, dot is still where I left it” before it goes in the holster. Wish I could take credit for that happy circumstance, but it is just a lucky combination of sights.

  3. i just realized that i never saw a Tournament where AR15 run smooth. I only run Valmets in .223 und .308 and a CZ75 sp01 Shadow, never had an Issue besides the Mag prices. My Co Workers run all AR, mostly Savage MSR 15 Recon 2.0 (mostly available AR in Germany) and non off then worked from the start…always having hickups, missfeeds, failed to fire, failed to eject….i really haven’t shot an AR where i thought, that’s the one, i could imagine to buy. the HK 223 is nice, but no AR and with 3K to pricy (my valmets and the shadow where 650 each with 3-5 Mags and so many extras.

  4. Ian’s friend Tom seems to think that .50 Beowulf (and I suppose the broadly similar .458 SOCOM and .450 Bushmaster as well by extension) has no practical application. I tend to agree with him, unless you count certain hunting scenarios. I suppose those would be related to the continued popularity of the .45-70 among hunters in the US. What do you think?

    • There’s always a use case. Granted, the required stretching of the imagination required is usually in the realm of “Ain’t ‘effin likely…”, but there is always a use case to be posited.

      If I remember right, the original purpose behind the various “big bore” AR-15 compatibles was something that came out of the SEALs and the US Coast Guard, being as they both wanted weapons that would work for things like putting great big holes in small boats, and which would also work as boarding weapons.

      I’m not entirely sure I’d have gone down that path, but… That was the rationale.

      In my view, the idea of having a situation wherein you can easily mix up magazines containing different calibers like the various “alternative” offerings to the 5.56mm is just plain stupid. If you can lock the magazine into the same mag well, and there are two different calibers involved? You done f*cked up, as a designer and logistician.

      I’ll go even further: If you design the damn things such that they go into the same mag pouches? You’re just asking for trouble. In my opinion, you ought to have clear, easily discerned tactile clues built into every system such that making a mistake about which magazine or round goes into which weapon requires a hell of a lot more work than any of the various 5.56-alike substitute calibers. You aren’t designing for Joseph shooting on the weekend “fun-run” range; you’re designing for Joe, the dumbass private that’s been kept awake for the last 72 hours with nothing more than catnaps, and who is mentally and physically exhausted. I’ve seen this crap in real life, and I’m not a fan.

      Real life example: The US military answer to mine clearance, the MICLIC. That damn thing is probably the most complicated of Rube Goldbergesque devices we’ve ever put on general issue, and when you’re the guy supervising some element of a unit undergoing training wherein the troops are pretty much burnt the hell out after two weeks of intense training in the California high mountain deserts? You suddenly realize why simplicity of design and building things so that mistakes are not only unlikely, but nearly impossible, is the preferred solution. It isn’t a hell of a lot of fun to be working around 2000lbs of C4 and a rocket motor that are supposed to be working in perfect harmony, and the guys who’re doing the work haven’t had much in the way of sleep in the recent past.

      Don’t design for the exquisitely-trained uber-soldier who’s just had a full night’s rest, a cup of coffee, and expect that same system is going to work for that same guy after he’s been kept out on operations for weeks on end, is exhausted, and whose mental functions ain’t what they were in garrison. If your system requires careful attention to detail by the operator? You done screwed the pooch.

  5. I’ve pointed this out before, and I’ll point it out again: Noise has a certain psychological and tactical utility. Silence is not always golden, and there are absolutely times and places where you want the bowel-loosening effects of great big booms going downrange.

    There are good reasons that early firearms displaced the old-school weapons like the bow and crossbow, and not all of those were related to training or efficiency. If you’re wanting men to stand in place and take a cavalry charge, then it helps if you give them something with which to make great big banging noises with which to ward off the bad things they know are coming for them with big poky things at the ends.

    Noise has a morale factor. It also has an effect factor that we often discount. You walk into an ambush wherein there are a bunch of guys picking you off with silencers, you don’t react the same as when you walk into an equally deadly ambush wherein there’s a wall-‘o-noise generated by a couple of full-bore machineguns and a coupla’ Claymore mines. The one ambush, you don’t really notice you’re in big trouble, and you keep assaulting, which means you might well manage to kill some of your ambushers. The other kind, where there’s this huge, ugly assault on your senses? That’s a morale-breaker; you’re way more likely to break and run, reducing the amount of chance that your ambusher is going to get hurt.

    It’s a time-and-place sort of thing; there are times when you absolutely want a “silent ambush”, such as when you’re deep in enemy territory and you’re looking to eliminate small teams, taking prisoners. On the other hand, on that same mission? You absolutely want tons of noise and effect, ‘cos there will be times when you want to scare the ever-lovin’ snot out of them.

    I not only want control of signatures, I want someone to build me a “loudener” device that I can use when I want that sort of effect. Silencers are only about half of the equation…

    Guarantee you, when they finally get to the point where they’re experimenting with things like X-Ray lasers for individual weapons? Things without noticeable signatures? They’re gonna have to do something to give them a signature, one way or another. And, if they can’t? More than likely, you’re going to see chemically-propelled projectile weapons continue to dominate any battlefields where there are people. Machines? Not so much; they don’t have psychological levers you can pull.

    Well, not yet, anyway… Fear might be a feature we find wise to implement with any AI-controlled battlefield machinery, but then again, maybe not: A fearful tank is one that might look back at you and say “Yeah… You first, meatbag…”

    • Certainly some muzzle brakes and other types of add-ons do act as your “loudeners!” Looking at the SVT-40 self-loading rifle [take your pick: six-baffle or two-baffle muzzle brake?], and the Egyptian/Swedish Hakim, those are mighty loud for sure.

      Doubtless there are others.

    • “(…)want someone to build me a “loudener” device(…)”
      Then send request for proposals against Snake-Hound Machine, New Hampshire who developed Loudener which can be seen at 1st photo from top
      according to inventor It exists because sometimes the demoralizing effect of live fire is important. Sometimes you wanna be quiet, sometimes you wanna be loud. If you’re going to be loud, why not be really, really loud?

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