Technical Design & Engineering

After you have received an approved Form 1 from the ATF, you can legally design or redesign and modify or convert your DIY suppressor into a firearms silencer and legally use it in most states. Here are some design considerations:

Metals, Temperature, and Weight

Form 1 Z uses some of the strongest, hardest, lightest, most heat  resistant, most expensive metals available, so that YOU can make an incredibly high-quality suppressor.
The key factor in metal selection is the maximum ‘worst case’ temperature that a part will ever momentarily reach. Most quality silencers are made from some form of Stainless Steel (heavy and durable), Titanium (light and strong), Aluminum (very light but very low temperature) or exotic nickel or cobalt based alloys like Inconel or Stellite.
If you are making a suppressor just for the smallest of powder charges, like .22 Rimfire, then most parts can be made of Aluminum, which is cheap and light, but fails catastrophically if temperatures go above 400 degrees F.
High-Alloy Heat-Treated Aerospace Titanium is our favorite for any part that may exceed 400 F, but will never exceed 800 F. This is most suppressors for most applications, especially AR-15s! Our heat-treated Titanium alloys have the same strength as very good steel, but only weigh 56% as much! Yes, good Titanium costs a lot more and is harder to machine, but you will love the difference on your gun! This is why the best, most expensive silencers in any store or from any maker are Titanium.

The first baffle in a silencer does most of the work and gets hotter than anywhere else. This ‘Blast Baffle’ or ‘Primary Baffle’ is typically made of a more durable material than the rest of the silencer. An extremely durable heat-treated Stainless Steel like 17-4PH H1025 is a good candidate to increase the durability of a Titanium Suppressor. Inconel, or even a small Stellite insert can be used if 17-4 is not durable enough.
So, if you need to shoot a fully automatic rifle for a hundred rounds at a time, go with the heavy durable and exotic metals. If you are only shooting rimfire, save cost and weight with aluminum. But if your use is common centerfire cartridges like .223 Rem, 5.56 NATO, .308 Win, 7.62 NATO, or most varmint or big game hunting calibers, limited to 50 rounds of rapid fire, which equates to about 800 F in most cases, why in the world do you want the horrible weight penalty that comes with all steel suppressors or those exotic nickel and cobalt alloys?! Spend the extra money and use Titanium for a super-light suppressor!

In the case of our sweet little 2.7-ounce rimfire Z10, we are able to make most parts from an incredibly strong aerospace 7075 aluminum alloy, heat-treated to an extremely rigid T6 condition. This is only possible for parts that will never exceed 4000 F. The more critical parts are still Titanium, like we use for most parts in all centerfire applications. With this temperature limitation, aluminum can only be used for rimfire applications, small pistol in slow-fire, and maybe, maybe, maybe a hunting rifle that will only be fired a few rounds at a time without cooling.
The aluminum parts of a Z10 can take way more than 100 rounds of rapid fire from any common rimfire cartridges because those little loads of gunpowder don’t make much heat. We test our rimfire Z10 with 50 rounds of slow-fire from an AR-15 with standard 5.56 ammo, just to prove the strength. The Z10 would take much more than 50 rounds of 5.56 – if you keep the temperature down. But if you rapid fire that 5.56/Z10 combo (Not Designed to Work Together!), you will get that tiny 2.7 ounces of aluminum and titanium to 4000 F in about 10 rounds, then disintegrate! Yeah, it’s fun testing, but expensive!

So, full-auto suppressors tend to be made of Stainless or an exotic alloy that can tolerate 1,000 degrees F or more. These metals are used on most of the suppressors sold, but why?! Those suppressors typically weigh around 22-26 ounces plus the adapter. Good for a boat anchor, but crappy for the front of your gun. But these metals are much cheaper and easier to machine than Titanium. No problem if you are on a bench mounted 20 lb machine gun. Big problem if you a sporting a standard weigh rifle or pistol. Don’t buy a full-auto rated suppressor if you don’t shoot full auto! Spend a few bucks more and drop half the weight by upgrading to Titanium.
The Z15-Ti Lite Short is incredibly light at less than 8 ounces, and the full sized Z15-Ti Lite Long is just 9 ounces. If you find ANY similarly sized suppressor at any price that matches our weights, please let us know. We have looked and have not found one.
Most of the quick detach fittings on the market add around 4-6 ounces. So most stainless QD name brand setups will be around 26-32 ounces – 3 TIMES AS HEAVY AS YOUR TITANIUM Z15!!! In your backpack this would not be a big deal. On your muzzle? Well, you decide.

Bullet Clearance Diameter

The hole down the center of your suppressor must be larger than the largest bullet that will ever pass through it. But how much? If your barrel threads are correctly centered and aligned, 0.020” is enough – near the barrel. But, as the bullet gets further and further from the barrel, small alignment issues are magnified.
Most name brand silencers are designed with center holes that are 0.040” to 0.120” larger than the bullet diameter. Shorter suppressors tend to the tighter numbers, and longer suppressors tend to be around 0.050” to 0.080” over bullet diameter. Bigger is safer, but smaller is a little bit quieter! Also, direct-thread Silencers may have central passages a bit smaller than Silencers with a complex mounting system.
If you want to get really tricky, you might drill your primary baffle to about 0.030” over bullet diameter, and all the secondary baffles to about 0.050” over, and your Front Cap to around 0.060” over. So, for example, as .30 Caliber bullet is 0.308” diameter. The primary baffle (blast baffle) could be around 0.338” or 11/32, the secondaries could be around 0.358” or 23/64 and the Front Cap might be about 0.368” or 3/8. If you have a fully equipped machine shop or want to spend a small fortune on precision drill bits or reamers, this is your chance to shine! Your Suppressor will probably be a couple of dB quieter.

Or you could be more practical and drill everything to 0.375” with a common 3/8” drill size. Your Suppressor will probably be a couple of dB louder – not noticeable in practical use.
Many people new to suppressors worry that the recoiling gun will rise up and hit the bullet before it can escape the suppressor. A few equations or a slow-motion camera will prove that this is really not a big issue. The bullet moves so fast compared to the recoiling gun that for practical considerations the bullet is gone before the gun moves.
Others worry that there may be some flexibility or ‘play’ in the barrel, suppressor, or the joint between them. Once again, this fear is unfounded. A properly installed suppressor is very rigid and does not ‘flex’ into the path of the bullet.

Tools

In order to make your DIY Titanium Suppressor into a firearm silencer, you will need some tools. You will be drilling very hard Titanium and heat-treated 17-4 Stainless. Good cobalt or carbide drill bits are preferred, but more common bits can work if new, sharp and used correctly.
You’ll need some simple hand tools, cutting oil, and most significantly a drill press with a vise mounted on its table. For the Z10 a handy guy can get away with just a bench vise and a hand drill, but you’ll probably want the drill press with a vise on its table for the bigger Suppressors.

Alignment

It is critical that your suppressor is aligned with the path of your bullet, or you will get a baffle strike! This may destroy your suppressor, injure you or bystanders, or worse! Just ask anyone who has tried to machine their own from scratch, bought some cheap Chinese ‘auto filter’, let their Right-handed suppressor come loose while shooting, or had misaligned muzzle threads such as is common on many inexpensive foreign military guns.

Form 1 Z uses incredibly sophisticated CNC machines, single setup machining techniques, and advanced computer designs, so that your DIY suppressor is straight and true.

We also design our Z15 DIY suppressors with left-handed threads everywhere except the thread that screws to your gun’s muzzle. Why do we mention Left-hand threads under Alignment? This is because standard (Right-handed) rifling spins your propellant gasses to the Right and loosens all Right-handed threads as you shoot. Form 1 Z DIY suppressors are designed to help keep your suppressor tight (aligned) during firing.If the threads on your muzzle are improperly cut or your muzzle is not threaded you will need to take your gun to a gunsmith for (re)threading.

Is your suppressor correctly aligned? The way to be sure is NOT to fire a round to find out! That is a brilliant as striking a match to see if you have a gas leak! Instead, insert a precision Bore Alignment Rod through the mounted suppressor and several inches into your gun’s bore. The rod will show the path of the bullet, whether down the middle of the suppressor (good), a little off center (uncertain), or into the side of the suppressor (bad!). Form 1 Z makes and sells Bore Alignment Rods at prices well below the name brands as a service to our customers. It’s the smart thing to do.

WARNING!

If your Muzzle Threads were not precisely cut to be correctly aligned with your bore, or if your suppresser is not kept tightly screwed on the barrel, you could get a dangerous Baffle Strike. Some inexpensive or foreign military arms threaded only for Flash Suppressors may have been manufactured with poorly aligned threads. Verify with a Bore Alignment Rod.

CHECK ALIGNMENT BEFORE SHOOTING!
KEEP TIGHT WHILE SHOOTING!
DON’T LET YOUR BUDDY “TRY” YOUR SUPPRESSOR ON HIS GUN.