Silence! Bowers Group LLC USS .22 Suppressor

By Frank Iannamico

Sound suppressors, aka silencers, have arrived. Their popularity has literally exploded in the last few years. This is evidenced by the growing number of companies making them and the number of firearms being offered with factory-threaded barrels. Regulation changes during 2016 resulted in a big win for suppressor ownership by eliminating the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) signoff and replacing it with a notification requirement.

Some of the best-selling sound suppressors are those designed for .22 caliber firearms. There are many reasons for their popularity. One is that just about everyone owns a .22 caliber firearm in rifle or pistol guise, in most cases both. Ammunition is relatively inexpensive, and .22 caliber firearms, using subsonic .22 caliber ammunition are very, very quiet. With a sound suppressor, you can target shoot without disturbing the neighbors—and preserve your hearing at the same time. A quality .22 silencer will come the closest to “movie quiet.” They are also an excellent tool to use when teaching novice shooters. Suppressors reduce felt recoil, and, most importantly, they allow an instructor and student to communicate more easily. When considering buying a suppressor, there are several things to keep in mind. The Federal transfer tax added to any purchase makes it a somewhat sizeable investment. With the $200 transfer tax, along with the time required for the BATFE processing procedure, silencers should be regarded as durable goods. Regardless of your budget, a smoking “deal” on a silencer won’t be of too much value if the manufacturer cannot or will not provide service or support for their products. Another consideration beyond the buyer’s budget is the intended use. There are a lot of manufactures and options, and there are a lot of .22 caliber suppressors on offer. The questions to ask are, do you need/want a silencer that will perform well on a pistol as well as on a long rifle? Are you looking for full auto capability and/or a silencer that can be used on multiple calibers? A silencer’s rating, caliber-wise, is largely determined by its materials. When it comes to .22 silencers, some are constructed entirely of aluminum alloys and are very light. The all-aluminum suppressors are generally used on semiautomatic or bolt-action firearms. Others are constructed from stainless steel for heavy-duty fully automatic use, while others use a combination of the two materials, usually a stainless alloy blast baffle or two.

Not long ago, most suppressors of any caliber were not user-serviceable. One of the primary reasons was that the manufacturer was afraid the owner would misalign the baffles and experience baffle strike or worse. Factories used special alignment rods to align the baffle stack. Another concern was an individual damaging the tube or baffles during disassembly of a heavily carboned suppressor. However, things have changed. Most modern .22 and other pistol caliber suppressors are user-serviceable, by customer demand. Modern snap-together baffle designs are (nearly) foolproof, making them easy to align without any special tools. However, when servicing a suppressor, one should be fully aware of the health and environmental hazards associated with lead dust and particles.

The USS .22 Caliber User Serviceable Suppressor (USS)

The Bowers Group LLC USS is 1.0 inch in diameter, 6.4 inches long and 7.3 ounces in weight. The tube is finished in matte black, and the suppressor incorporates a licensed variant of Joe Gaddini’s patented Omega baffle stack. The USS suppressor is constructed of a stainless baffle stack and stainless steel tube with a black oxide finish. While this material choice obviously results in a slightly heavier suppressor, it also makes the USS one of the most durable cans in its class. The USS .22 suppressor is rated for full auto fire with .22 LR ammunition. It also does an excellent job suppressing .17 Hornady Mach 2 (HM2), .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire (HMR), .17 Winchester Super Magnum (WSM), .22 Magnum, .22 Hornet and the FN 5.7x28mm round. The USS .22 is not rated or appropriate for .223/5.56mm firearms.

The Bowers Group Paradigm

Bowers Group also offers the lightweight Paradigm suppressor, which is an excellent choice for .22 pistols and rifles. This suppressor weighs in at 3 ounces. It is nominally 1 inch in diameter and 5 inches long. An 8-inch version is offered for those who are comfortable with the additional length to achieve stunning levels of suppression in a still-featherweight can. The standard tube color is matte black, but you may order these with a matte Man-Genta Royal Purple, matte Snappy Bubble Gum Pink or a matte Party Blue tube at the same price if you desire. The 8-inch model is only available in black. The Bowers Group Paradigm suppressor is not intended for fully automatic fire; it is intended to be small and light and still achieve world-class performance.

Barrel Thread Adapters

Most .22 rimfire caliber suppressors come with fixed 1/2-28 threads. With the Bowers Group .22 suppressors, you have a choice of several different ATAS™ thread-adapting inserts. While most U.S.-made .22 caliber firearms will use the 1/2-28 insert, other inserts are available for most of the popular imported .22 pistols, such as the Walther P22 and G22, M&P22, Colt/Umarex 1911-22, GSG and SIG 1911-22 and factory-threaded SIG Mosquitos and P226-22 pistols. A 1/2-20 insert is also available. Every Bowers Group suppressor comes with one insert included in the price of the can. The thread-adapting inserts are CNC crafted from billet and feature a hexagonal head, so you can quickly and easily change the thread pitch on your suppressor by changing the insert. This enables you to use one suppressor on many different firearms. The integrated systems, using the exclusive inserts, allow you to accomplish this without using a separate aftermarket thread adapter of questionable concentricity or thread quality and reduce the number of threaded junctions and length. Tolerance stacking is minimized, which prevents the introduction of sub-optimal parts.


Bowers Group LLC has manufactured a large number of .22 caliber suppressors over the years, and only a handful of them have required service or cleaning. They disagree with the common notion that suppressors should be cleaned often. In most cases of typical use, it is generally not necessary. However, if you shoot full auto on a regular basis, particularly with a short barrel, or you shoot through a brick of .22 ammunition every week or two all year round, that is not considered typical use. If this describes you, you should consider servicing the silencer regularly. If neglected too long, user-serviceable suppressors can be difficult to disassemble.

Customer Service

Bowers Group LLC’s policy states that they stand behind every can they have ever made, regardless of how old it is, whether it has been discontinued or whether you are its original owner. If the suppressor baffles were damaged as the result of a bad threading job, if the can came loose during firing or it filled with crud from firing thousands of rounds, no problem. The service goal is to get most cans out the door and on the way back to their owners in three to five working days. There is no charge for parts or labor, just a nominal fee of $20.00 to cover the cost of return shipping and insurance.


With the growing popularity of .22 caliber suppressors, many ammunition manufacturers have begun to offer special subsonic ammo. The “gold standard” .22 caliber ammunition for suppressed use is the readily available CCI Standard Velocity. Advertised at a subsonic velocity of 1,070 feet per second, it is ideal for rifle or pistol use and has enough power to cycle most semiautomatic and fully automatic firearms. The CCI Standard Velocity .22 ammunition features a 40-grain bullet with a muzzle energy of 102 foot-pounds. The Standard Velocity CCI may exceed the speed of sound in some rifles, for such applications CCI now also offers Special Subsonic ammunition designed for suppressed firearms, with a 40-grain copper-plated segmented hollow point, with a muzzle velocity of 1,050 feet per second and a muzzle energy of 98 foot-pounds. The downside is that CCI’s Special Subsonic ammunition is more expensive than their Standard Velocity ammo. CCI also makes Quiet-22, which comprises a 40-grain Segmented Hollow Point bullet with an advertised muzzle velocity of 710 feet per second and muzzle energy of 45 foot-pounds. The CCI Quiet-22 is designed to lower the report of non-suppressed firearms.

For More Info

Bowers Group LLC, PO Box 430, Cornelius, OR 97113

SAFETY NOTE: Lead is a poisonous heavy metal. Returning your suppressor to Bowers Group LLC for cleaning is recommended, the only charge is for return shipping and insurance. If you decide to service the suppressor yourself, avoid breathing lead dust or allowing it to get on your skin or clothing—wear gloves.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V22N7 (August 2018)
and was posted online on June 22, 2018


Comments have not been generated for this article.