Innovative Arms Proves High Quality Suppressors “Can” Be Affordable

Martin Lefty 300 BLK

I talked with many people in the suppressor industry at the 2012 Silencers Are Legal shoot. Large companies like AAC, GEMTECH, and SureFire sent teams of employees to the shoot. The owners of smaller companies showed up in person, sometimes with just one or two models to demonstrate. Of all the folks we met at the shoot, Phillip Woodell of Innovative Arms impressed me the most. He answered every question we asked about suppressor technology in a simple way that we could understand. However, it was clear that Phillip has a vast knowledge of sound engineering and metallurgy. We came away from our time with Innovative Arms firmly believing in his company and his products.

Innovative Table
Innovative Arms Suppressor Models
Martin Lefty 300 BLK
Martin shoots the left-handed AR-15 with prototype 300 Blackout suppressor.
AK of Doom
I really like the looks of this AK with a 7.62 Deception suppressor attached.

Innovative Arms was the biggest of the small suppressor manufacturers we visited. They make suppressors for .22, 7.62 NATO, 5.56 NATO, .45ACP, and 9mm pistols and rifles. In some calibers, they have more than one model available. The Grunt is their standard 5.56, but they also have a Grunt Mini, a 1.25-inch shorter model that is just a bit louder. A Grunt Mini attached to a 10.5-inch short-barreled AR-15 results in quiet rifle that is still shorter than a standard 16-inch carbine.

The Deception is intended for 7.62 NATO rifles. It also works with some similar calibers such as 300 Blackout or 7.62×39. Phillip displayed a Deception on one of the coolest looking short-barreled AK-47s I have ever seen. I took photos while my coworker Martin shot a prototype based on the Deception design, optimized for the 300 Blackout cartridge. This version had a recoil-reducing muzzle brake fitted to the end cap that literally spelled out 300, if you look at it carefully. Martin is a lefty and the dedicated left-hand configuration of the Stag rifle made him smile. It is ridiculously quiet using subsonic ammo. On a firing line full of shooters firing sound suppressed guns, this one stood out from the crowd.

300 Blackout Brake
It’s for 300 Blackout rifles. Get it?

Innovative Arms designed most of their suppressors using a one-piece billet monocore. This makes them super easy to disassemble and reassemble for cleaning. The exceptions are the 9mm and .45ACP models, which use highly modified K-baffle systems for maximum efficiency in those calibers. The billet core designs are cool because of their simplicity and strength. To keep costs down while still using the billet core technology, most Innovative Arms suppressors attach to their hosts via plain old barrel threads instead of complicated, expensive quick detach devices. Innovative Arms can build suppressors that will attach using a variety of quick detach muzzle devices, but they have two disadvantages. You will pay extra for that quick detach convenience, and the quick detach system adds length and weight to the suppressor. A simple thread-on design can have a larger expansion chamber relative to a quick-detach suppressor, so it may be quieter, yet cost less.

22 Monocore
Monocore technology on display. This is a .22LR Apex Micro.

Phillip believes that maximizing the size of that expansion chamber is one of the many factors required to build a quiet suppressor. One of my first questions was about the distinctive spiral on some of his designs. I thought it looked futuristic but wondered if it actually served any purpose. The spiral is actually an exoskeleton designed to give the suppressor structural strength. Mounted on the outside the exoskeleton maximizes the internal capacity of the expansion chamber and baffles without making the suppressor’s body physically larger. The exoskeleton also acts as an efficient heat sink, like the fins on a motorcycle engine.

Grunt Mini, WAR Receiver
5.56 Grunt Mini suppressor, WAR upper receiver.
Satisfied Customer
A satisfied customer test fires his integral M&P-22 suppressor. Now to wait on the paperwork.

Innovative Arms makes one product that is not a silencer—the WAR AR-15 upper receiver. A suppressor creates more gas pressure in the operating system of the AR-15, which can accelerate wear and tear on the rifle. The WAR upper receiver features a switch on its left side that you can flip from regular to sound suppressed modes with your bare hands, regardless of whether the gun has been fired recently. Switchblock gas blocks made by competitors often need tools or spare rounds of ammo to swap between modes, and after firing they may get so hot that you won’t want to touch them anyway. The WAR upper receiver has quickly become one of Innovative Arms’ best selling items. Like any other AR-15 upper receiver, it requires no license or paperwork to purchase.

Innovative Arms also offers an “integral” .22LR suppressor for Smith & Wesson M&P-22 rifles. This configuration is extremely quiet—instead of adding the suppressor to the end of the barrel, the barrel and suppressor merge into a single unit. To suppress calibers larger than .308, Innovative Arms makes the LDSP, or Long Distance Service Provider, rated to effectively suppress calibers up to .300 Winchester Magnum. At the Silencers Are Legal shoot, we got to shoot a one-of-a-kind .22LR open-bolt machinegun with integral suppressor that Phillip calls the SFG—Super Fun Gun. Its high rate of fire proved that Innovative Arms .22 caliber suppressors stand up to extreme temperatures while maintaining their sound suppression effectiveness, even through long bursts of full auto fire. Innovative Arms also does custom builds for specific applications, such as the .300 Blackout prototype. They do build custom suppressors using existing quick-detach systems, and Phillip told us that he has patents pending on a couple of quick-detach designs of his own.

Super Fun Gun
Martin zips through a .22LR magazine using the aptly named Super Fun Gun.

Innovative Arms have been building suppressors for seven years now. The blend of excellent quality at an affordable price makes them worthy of serious consideration. Rifle-caliber silencers from the heavy hitters in the suppressor industry often cost around $1,000, not including Uncle Sam’s $200 tax stamp. The 5.56 Grunt and Grunt Mini start at just $599 suggested retail. The Deception 7.62 suppressor starts at $699. Fifty dollars more gets you the spiral exoskeleton shroud on any rifle suppressor. The Apex Micro monocore .22LR suppressor is only $280! Having seen and shot these suppressors first hand, I’m a believer. Innovative Arms suppressors are an excellent value.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (8)

  1. I have a 300 Blackout that was my first AR build. It is one of the best ARs I have fired and I would like to put a can on it. What is the cost for a Innova-arms suppressor? Also how would I go about getting this done? After reading all the post seems like everyone had a great time with your product.

  2. I am the owners of the 300 blackout pictured above.. Phil built this for me and his ideas were spot on.. The weapon is awesome.. Innovative Arms has built me several weapons and suppressed all of them.. I also had the first integral MP 15/22
    They are a great company.. Family owned and super customer service.. I just ordered a 45 can and another 30 cal can..

  3. Having first hand knowledge of Philip, his family and his products, I am a firm believer.
    First off, he builds some of the best, most detailed and well thought out products you will ever see.
    He can explain the reasoning behind every detail of his product…..and they work….well.
    Two, He and his family are great people. They are a top notch company to do business with.

    I no doubt expect to see Innovative Arms being a leader of noise suppression.

  4. Being a owner of a Innovative Arms W.A.R. receiver and a Grunt suppressor, I can tell you first hand that their products are top knotch, and cost way less than the competitors, Glad to see Phillip getting the recognition he deserves..

  5. Here in the Peoples Republic Of New York State,we can only dream and fantasize about such glorious options.Our legislatures are full of dysfunctional Liberal idiots,who’s ideology wants to regulate everything from Soda Pop to sun exposure!

  6. Great review and nice to see some reasonable prices on these things! I have always wondered why they are so damned expensive, considering what they are – especially when you see what they sell for in other countries. I assume that there are additional expenses in the US from the manufacturing end, courtesy of good ol’ Uncle Sam.

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