AR-15 VS AK-47 Which is Better Suppressed?

So this argument has been raging for what seems like forever.

However, if you really look at the traditional rifles they aren’t really comparable. Both are intermediate cartridge firearms but that is about where the similarities end. The AK is a .30 caliber rifle designed to run as a machine gun, wielded by a poorly educated and poorly trained conscript soldier. Heck, you need a special tool to adjust the sights properly, because they didn’t want the ignorant peasants messing with them. The AR by contrast is a .20 caliber rifle designed for accurate marksmanship out to 600 meters. Soldiers are trained how to adjust their firearm on the fly and score hits.

BOTH guns have exceptional track records with indisputable kill counts, with the exceptions being the following:

The initial fielding of the AR-15 was disastrous because of a bureaucratic misstep that changed the characteristics of the ammunition at the last minute. This earned the rifle a reputation for poor reliability. Technological advancements driven by private sector innovation have since filled these gaps resulting in a modern rifle superior enough to be used by the elite militaries of the world.

The AK, has gone largely unchanged from its original design, but has been assigned the reputation of inaccurate. This is quite false, and has been found, through exhaustive testing, to be anecdotal. When you hand a rifle to an afghan child and tell him to spray and pray, he probably isn’t going to do well. Most grown men cant shoot this rifle well without proper training.

So we have established that the 2016 versions of these rifles are pretty much equal, especially when they have been broken by the ATF. Let’s evolve this conversation and talk about them as a suppressed rifle platform. As previously mentioned, comparing 5.56X45mm to 7.62X39mm is like comparing apples to oranges, or Israelis to Palestinians, You can make a fruit salad with apples and oranges, but we are pretty sure that the latter is where fire came from. SO, we have to convert one of these rifles to match the other. As a 5.45X39mm fanboy, I would love to use the AK-74. Unfortunately, Obama hates us and has banned the importation of all the good ammo and what we have left is not for play time. So our other choice is to add some beef to the AR and go with 300 BLK.

To do that we have converted this test to a video for your enjoyment:


Billy talks about 300 BLK

Silencers, Suppressors, Cost


Testing a YHM LT30 on a Century C39V2



If you are a subscriber to the various VSO pages. You know that we do a lot of testing for various silencer manufacturers. 

As an FYI, throughout this piece I am going to use the terms Silencer, Suppressor, and Can interchangeably. Don’t like one of those terms, get over it.

I recently received the following comment on one of our videos:

“I just can’t support these companies that are seriously trying to bullshit us with the cost of the silencers. Asking $500-$1000 for a fucking tube with baffles then acting like it’s such an engineering accomplishment is insane. Considering top end silencers are $100 in Europe.”

Trust me, we all feel the frustration; however, there are a couple things we need to consider here.

It’s easy to make a silencer. The concept is really not that complex, if you took high school physics and got better than a D+ you probably understand the basics of how this works. Furthermore, anyone with basic technical skills, tools, and materials can make one. It’s a tube… with baffles in it. The major concerns being that it is strong enough to take the forces you are going to subject it to, and it is made in such a way as to not interfere with a prospective projectile. Fail at either and it will not end well. That aside, there are two other aspects besides just cutting and welding that require a great deal of engineering.

When manufacturing a silencer there is a balancing act between back pressure mitigation and sound reduction. It is easy to make a can quiet. It is also easy to make a can with a satisfactory level of backblast. It is quite challenging, and I can attest to this fact, to do them both at the same time. Some have pulled it off, but very few. No, I will not name names, do not ask; watch the videos.

In the firearm industry (and just about everywhere else) we want it lighter, smaller and faster. Dimensions are a critical component of the buying process. Trying to keep it thin, short, and light takes a great deal of effort. This is especially true when you are also keeping the parameters discussed in the last paragraph in check. Again, it’s super easy to do if there are no size and weight constraints, and it can look like a donkey dick.

Science aside, let’s not forget that the bulk of the cost is associated with the artificial market scarcity created by federal government regulation. Regulation of business in general (let alone one that engages in the manufacture and sale of items the government hates) is crushing. Anyone who doesn’t run their own business really cannot speak on the topic of what others feel is appropriate to charge for their good or service. I know this because I used to live in the world of working for someone else. My perception of what things cost and how those numbers were derived was so drastically different than it is today, as a small business owner. When you compound the challenges of running your own show in America today with the draconian regulations under which these companies have to bring their product to market, I literally have no clue how they stay in business charging what they do. But they do, and they innovate and compete with foreign companies around the world.

This, of course, could get easier. I would love to see more cost effective options. America has the greatest technical manufacturing power in the world, especially when we are talking weapons, no one touches America. We The People need to compel our leaders to abolish these unfair and unconstitutional regulations, returning our liberty. Do that, and you will see $50 suppressors that crush today’s $1,500 cans with ease. This will not get better until you get the government out of where it does not belong


VSO Suppressor testing is powered by Silencer Shop 

308 Battle Rifles- Update

A mistake was made during the filming of the “308 Battle Rifles” video (time stamp 4:48) and a clarification should be issued to mitigate confusion. The component highlighted is actually the bayonet lug. Delayed roller locks auto adjust to the cartridge. As long as you meet a minimum power factor the gun will self regulate. I have CLEARLY never needed to adjust the gas on this gun. THANK YOU to our awesome subscribers for keeping me on the straight and narrow. I cant be right 100% of the time.  The version has been corrected and an annotation was placed on the YouTube upload  Thank you for watching….and paying attention.

Team Wendy Targets

The once respected Team Wendy (tactical equipment manufacturer) has been receiving a great deal of flack lately due the their recent announcement that they would be throwing their hat into the political ring in support of Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. Yes, you read that correctly. We aren’t talking about a visit to their facility, we are talking held a political event for her! To that effect, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK PEOPLE!!! This is completely unacceptable, and Team Wendy should die a slow painful death for this treason. Most agree.




Team Wendy here is a lesson in business; alienate your clientele at your peril. The hate is in full effect. All you have to do is visit a TW social networking account (pick one, ANYONE) and you will find everything littered with negative comments. That is, if they haven’t scrubbed it by the time you get there. By my count, to date, there have been over 20 posts removed due to the backlash. Just goes to show you, try to buy political influence, hedge your bets on a big government contract, sell your soul to Satan, and your customers that have a choice with give you a great, big middle finger.  I personally will be smashing my helmet with a hammer and buying a competitor product. I hear its a good time to buy stock in Ops Core.

To support the F’ Wendy campaign we have put together some training aids for your next range session.

TW pistol copy

Download the PDFs here:

TW pistol

TW Rifle

Pepper Spray is Bad for You

To preface this article it should be understood that I am not an attorney. Nothing written here or displayed otherwise should be construed as professional legal advice.


The following video was recently published on the channel and has generated a fair amount of angst about the subject. The video simply shows the ineffective nature of a readily available form of civilian pepper spray.



As you saw, the first “application” was delivered as intended from just outside of arm’s reach. Nearly useless. In the second attempt, the instructor pressed the device up to the subject’s face and dispensed across his cheek bones. The test subject was then able to draw a firearm, from concealment, and acquire a sight picture. The man then proceeded to beat the stuffing out of a heavy bag for several seconds.

I thought the discussion that ensued in the comment section warranted an addendum so I have collected my thoughts on civilian use of pepper spray.


The firearms industry and, to a greater extent, the sub-community of persons certified to carry concealed weapons (CCW) has a very dangerous practice. We often have a very egocentric view of our system and life circumstances. We apply these parameters to the life situations of others and believe that in some way they are objective facts because they work for us. This is wrong. You can see this in training courses around the country where some ex-operator is teaching CCW civilians how to perform an explosive breach on a shoot house. As a CCW civilian, who has been taught how to do those things, there is nothing wrong with learning. There is something wrong with applying those tactics to your day-to-day methods.


Which brings me to the subject of this article: Pepper spray.

Support for use of pepper spray often cites results and practices of the law enforcement (LE) deployment of military grade pepper spray (OC). This data is not applicable to the civilian carry of pepper spray products that are neither of the potency nor capability of OC for multiple reasons.




Police officers have a separate mandate and adhere to different work parameters than your average citizen. They have a right to use force in the enforcement of law or prevention of felonious activity; you, do not. You have a right to use force only when you are under threat of imminent bodily harm or death to yourself or others. This is most often applied to the use of lethal force. In the interest of brevity, let’s shorten this to a statement often offered at the scene of a “good shoot”. In some conjugation, ” I feared for my life.”


It is easy to empathize with a person who felt so compelled by fear that they took lethal action against an individual who threatened their life. Legal precedent supports this. It is less easy to empathize with someone who felt compelled by this fear but didn’t perceive the threat to warrant the use of deadly force. Legal precedent also supports: street fights, use of melee weapons outside of the role of home defense, ect. are instances where both parties usually wind up in jail. If you eliminate the right of self-defense by discrediting the threat as not serious, that is a Battery; a crime, not the fuel source. Depending on the prosecutor, they may even classify this as Assault.




We have already touched on the right to use force; however, in many locales (dare I say most) you have an obligation to flee. In other words, you have obligation to exhaust all means of escape. If you choose to carry pepper spray, does it mean that you have a device that could be considered a means of generating an opportunity to escape? We could imagine a situation where a hostile prosecutor could ask you the question, “Why did you go for your gun when you had other means at your disposal?” When your liberty hangs in the balance, a gap of that nature could make the difference in the eyes of 12 idiots…your peers.


Pepper spray acts by exposing sensitive tissues to an irritant mixture composed mostly of capsaicin. The key word here is irritant, rather, the root word “irritate”. That is exactly what you are doing to the person you hit with this stuff. The question is how do they respond? Do they curl up in the fetal position or do they become irritated. As previously stated, I am no lawyer but irritating a belligerent sounds a great deal like escalation. Most judicial precedent doesn’t look fondly at those who escalate non-lethal force encounters to lethal encounters.


3.) Pepper spray is NOT OC.


Most pepper spray products you can buy off the shelf are not of the same concentration of OC. Some come close, but many animal versions are actually weaker on purpose. Other differences can be found in the application of the product.


Usually you will find OC in two major forms. The most commonly thought of is a spray designed for personal use with a robust spray head, capable of spicing up a target or group of targets with a short burst. The second is most commonly associated with riots: a canister designed to either detonate or leak OC, sometimes fired from a grenade launcher-type device into crowds of hippies.


Civilians, for the most part, have limited access to the latter style. However, the sprayers on traditional pepper spray products that you would care to conceal are usually lacking in big way.


4.) Pepper Spray does not discriminate. 


All chemical munitions are subject to a lot more interference than a firearm. Have you ever heard someone talk about knife fighting and how it’s a really bad idea because, “you are going to get cut?” Same thing with pepper spray, you are most likely also going to dose yourself. There are a few things at play here: medium of delivery and Mother Nature.


Methods of Delivery






I am not going to waste breath discussing the idiosyncrasies of all of these, I think most intelligent people can understand the differences. I was able to find a website that does a decent job, but beware, they also sell the stuff.


Wind is the most obvious issue with pepper spray.  I don’t care how anal you are about ingress and egress into an area, at some point you will be walking into the wind. Obviously, some of the aforementioned products do better in the wind than others. Operative word “better”, but you are still likely to get contaminated if dispensed into the wind.


The second issue, that most do not account for, is the nature of physical altercation. Fights are not like the movies, they are sloppy and primal. You’ve never been in one? Google it. Now imagine doing that slathered in blazing sauce.


5.) Hick’s Law


Without going into extreme theoretical detail, Hick’s Law states that the time it takes for a person to make a decision is a function of how many choices they have. When seconds count, don’t clutter the field.



6.) Pepper Spray does not have the deterrence factor.


Take it from someone who has been sprayed before: it sucks. However, it doesn’t suck as bad as being dead. I am a lot more likely to push my luck with a spray canister full glorified buffalo sauce than with a 147 grain jacket hollow point.


Plain and simple, people understand guns. Pull one out, get an instant response. Point one at someone, get a stronger response. Use one against someone, get a response from everyone in the immediate vicinity. Pepper spray: not so much.



This brings me to a final point. If you want to defend yourself, carry a gun. Just because you have one, doesn’t mean that you have to shoot it. The act of drawing a gun and shooting the gun are two distinct actions with their own separate decision making processes and their own set of real-world consequences. To reiterate, you have to be willing to use it, but you may not have to. This is where training is required and I don’t mean your carry class.


If you must carry another implement with you in your plethora of cargo pockets, it should be a tourniquet. We always emphasize putting holes in bad guys. You are far more likely to need to fix holes in people than you are to put them there. If you must carry a third thing, it should be a knife or flashlight. These items are infinitely more useful than a bottle of hot sauce with a sprayer attached to it.


In closing, as a civilian, anyone worth pepper spraying is worth shooting. First one is $50K, the rest are free. Leave your condiments at home.





an attempt to initiate harmful or offensive contact with a person, or a threat to do so


the use of force against another, resulting in harmful, offensive or sexual contact.


secondary metabolite commonly produced by peppers, as deterrents against certain mammals and fungi


violence, compulsion, or constraint exerted upon or against a person or thing

B.A.D. Lever, Worst Magpul Product Ever



Magpul innovations into the AK-47

I am going to preface this by talking first about Magpul as a company. I am a fan boy for certain and they really are an innovative company. I don’t think anyone can argue to the contrary-Bringing us the all-powerful PMag, awesome furniture products, and things like the Hand-stop and steep-angled grips that truly revolutionized the way we think about operating a firearm. On the flip side, from the perspective of a new media producer, I am so tired of being treated like a second class citizen by this company that I don’t even visit their booth at trade shows like SHOT, NRA Convention, ect. To that end, most of their products I can’t lay a finger on because they are so solid. To the contrary, this one I can and I am going to enjoy dispelling some of that arrogance by writing this.

We have a condition; swiping our credit card on every new, hot thing that comes out for our guns that makes us feel relevant or “in the times” . In my travels, I have seen AR-15s that are so weighed down that the user can barely lift the thing for any extended period of time. I also see ALOT of added complexity that need not be there. Enter the MagPul Battery Assist Device (BAD lever); by far their worst product that was designed to solve a problem that does not exist.

bad lever alone

B.A.D Lever Photo from Magpul Website

To describe this thing to someone who may have missed it or may be new: This is a drop-in “upgrade” that extends your bolt release to be reached by your firing hand (pseudoambidextrous) . It also increases the surface area (doubles it) of the “ping pong paddle” for a more reliable “receiver slap”. The last “benefit” is the ability to lock the bolt to the rear without removing the firing hand from fire control. Does Magpul score some points on the intellectual aspect of this device? Yes, I give them check marks and gold stars for this all day. Execution, not so much (sad face emoticon).

That is all the nice stuff that I can say. Now to get down to business. Disclaimer; Every single thing that I am about to say comes directly from my own personal experience or the experience of my testing crew here at VSO. That experience is derived from countless hours across several guns and 10s of thousands of rounds through guns outfitted with this device. Your experience and opinion may vary, but if you are not playing at the same level then please, shut up, you don’t know what you are talking about.

Issue 1: The Magpul BAD lever increases the incidence of 3 specific malfunctions. 1.) Failure of last round bolt hold open.2.) premature bolt drop 3.) Premature bolt hold open.

We will start with number and progress
1.) Adding a BAD lever to a rifle does two things to the bolt release/stop- it increases its mass and it adds a lever arm to that mass. As a gun ages (through use) and/or gets dirty, the added mass and lever arm can cause a sluggish rise in the the internal bolt catch as he magazine follower must overcome a higher opposing force than designed. One of the favored features of an AR-style rifle is its last round bolt hold open feature. This prolific characteristic can even be used by the shooter to gauge when a reload is necessary. A sort of communication between user and implement that some have come to rely on. Making the bolt release more touchy by adding a BAD lever can upset this balance. Which brings me to my next point:

2.) Building off of the last point- As a rifle becomes worked (we are taking many, many rounds in), the slide stop lapps the port it rides in and the detent spring becomes more flexible. Both of these make it much more sensitive to external stimuli than when it was new. Everyone can check this on their guns, no matter the type, the more you use them the smoother they become. Adding a BAD lever can add just enough mass to prematurely drop the bolt during a reload sequence, giving the shooter the false impression that the firearm is hot and ready for work. This is especially true after a well worked gun has been thoroughly cleaned and if you actually train with your gun.

3.) Further building on the last two points this is something that I have only seen in .308 guns, call them AR-10s. Although I do not have sufficient trigger time on 300BLK guns to render and opinion, to date I have not observed this in a 300BLK rifle. Anyhoo, the increased inertia generated by a .308 impulse can cause a Bad lever equipped rifle that has been well broken in to prematurely go to bolt lock. Again, extra mass and distribution of that mass to a lever arm being wipped around by .308 recoil. This ESPECIALLY true when talking about running a suppressed gun, as the impulse can be substantially greater due to increased back pressure.

^^^^All of this stuff that I just said is all crap in comparison to my other issue with the BAD Lever:

Issue 2: The BAD lever is an Negligent Discharge (ND) Hazard.

One thing that I neglected to mention for those of you that are new to the BAD lever: That lever that allows you to operate the bolt release without coming out of the firing position? Yeah, it’s inside the trigger guard.

installed bad lever

Properly installed B.A.D. Lever Photo from Magpul Website

The focus of ALL the training I have ever taken has stated that your finger goes into the trigger guard for one purpose and only one purpose. When you have made the decision to shoot, the finger goes from the index point on the receiver, to the trigger. It stays there until the task is accomplished and then goes back to the index point until further instructed. The premise of teaching someone to do anything else besides this inside the trigger well is dangerous, stupid, and negligent. The brain is always on record; respect the trigger and give it its own room.

In closing I want to reference one of my opening thoughts. The BAD lever represents a manifestation of the human condition to shortcut. Sometimes we find the ourselves under the illusion that we can throw money at a problem. While this works in some instances more often than not its a band-aid for a more systemic issue. Recently one of my viewers asked why you wouldn’t gladly accept the advantage of a more ergonomic control like the BAD lever (paraphrasing). This is an exact example of throwing money at something rather than doing it right. To increase your competency with the firearm, you should train, not add complexity and cost to handicap yourself. Furthermore, you are doing yourself a disservice by not only making your gun less reliable, but also by making yourself less reliable through formation of training scars. In a critical situation you are reduced to the highest level of training you have mastered. The use of a crutch like a BAD lever will not enhance your training, but stifle it.

The last point that I would like to make is Magpul is a great company that has undoubtedly saved lives and advanced intellectual input on training doctrine through their inventions. It is my personal and professional opinion however that the BAD lever is simply a miss on their part. It does neither of these things nor does it promote safe practices that we have standardized in our industry. Think twice before you buy the new Wiz-bang5000 for your gun and invest more appropriately in training than gear.


There is no substitute for proper training