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By Frank Iannamico

Recently, SAR had the unique opportunity to spend a few days at Gemtech’s research and development facility near Boise, Idaho.

Gemtech is one of the oldest firearm suppressor manufacturers in the U.S. still doing business. Dr. Phil Dater, one of the founders of Gemtech, has been experimenting with suppressors since 1976. His first experience was with a Ruger MKI integrally suppressed .22 caliber pistol manufactured by the Military Armament Corporation, then one of the few U.S. companies involved in the suppressor business. He soon discovered that the Ruger suppressor’s performance gradually deteriorated as shots were fired through it, and became virtually ineffective after firing a brick of .22 cartridges. A call was placed to the MAC factory in Georgia. They explained that the Ruger pistol suppressor was specifically designed for military operations with a life expectancy of approximately 200 rounds, after which the non-serviceable suppressed pistols were usually discarded. After disassembling the Ruger suppressor, and studying its construction, Dr. Dater felt that he could improve upon their performance and thus a lifelong quest began.

During 1978, Dr. Dater began manufacturing sound suppressors of his own design doing business as the Automatic Weapons Company in New Mexico. After relocating to Idaho, Dr. Dater founded Gemtech in 1993 along with Mark Weiss and Jim Ryan.

Today, Gemtech has grown into one of the largest manufacturers of sound suppressors in the U.S. In addition to the commercial civilian market, the company has many domestic and foreign government and military contracts. Most of Gemtech’s products meet or exceed specifications established by the British Ministry of Defence and the U.S. military. Additionally, Gemtech is the only suppressor manufacturer currently 9001 ISO certified.

First on the agenda was a tour through the research and development building where we were introduced to many of the people of Gemtech. In the rear of the facility, behind the offices, is a well-equipped shop where most prototypes are built and upgrades on customer’s suppressors are performed. The company’s barrel threading service is also done here. The production suppressor tubes and internal components are manufactured at Gemtech’s plant in Michigan.

The research...


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