Guns and Gear

The New SOCOM RC3 – SureFire’s First Low Back Pressure Suppressor

After what seems like an eternity, SureFire has finally released its first-ever low back pressure suppressor – the new SOCOM RC3. Much like the previous two suppressors in the SOCOM line, the new RC3 boasts industry-leading durability, and near identical specifications and features as the RC2 but with the added bonus of 60% less back pressure than the RC2 making it more suitable for shooting indoors, as well as reducing the overall amount of gas and toxins being directed back at the shooter. SureFire brought out a few media outlets including TFB to Ridgeline Defense in New Hampshire at an event they dubbed the RC3 Rally to get us all a chance to run the RC3 in various shooting situations to showcase its capabilities and durability. Today I’ll share with you my initial impressions of the suppressor and you can be sure that there will also be coverage on TFBTV from James Reeves and a future installment of Silencer Saturday from our Editor in Chief Pete.

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The New SOCOM RC3 – SureFire’s First Low Back Pressure Suppressor

Specifications

  • Caliber: 5.56 mm (.223 Caliber)
  • Construction: High-Temp Allow
  • Coating: Cerakote Finish
  • Diameter: 1.5″ (3.8cm)
  • Length: 6.3″ (16.0 cm)
  • Added to Weapon*: 3.8 in (9.7 cm)
  • Weight: 17 oz (482 g)
  • MSRP: $1799

*Actual length may vary, depending on which SureFire adapter is used

The New SOCOM RC3 - Surefire's First Low Back Pressure Suppressor

Features

  • 60% less toxic gas for cleaner and more controlled shooting experience
  • Eliminates explosive flash common with low back pressure from the first round to the last
  • 100% Inconel construction delivers the combat-proven reliability and durability that established SureFire’s SOCOM suppressor legacy
  • Backward compatible with SureFire’s SOCOM Fast-Attach muzzle devices
  • Compact design maintains the firearm maneuverability
  • Class-leading sound suppression protects hearing and improves the ability to communicate

Ridgeline Defense and Team O’Neil – Making the RC3 Rally a Possibility

SureFire’s planned course for us was to be able to experience the RC3 in several key environments where shooters often experience increased exposure to back pressure generated by suppressors like the RC2. The Ridgeline Defense training facility is perfect for simulating indoor environments, as well as having the ability to train in and around vehicles. For the first day of our experience, we were able to practice shooting with the RC3 on the flat range and directly compare it to its non low back pressure predecessor, the RC2. My initial impression of the suppressor’s supposed 1.5 dB increase in noise was that it was not even noticeable, however, the tone of the RC3 is much different compared to the RC2s. The RC3’s tone sounds much lower to my ear whereas the RC2’s tone seems higher pitched or much shaper sounding.

The New SOCOM RC3 - Surefire's First Low Back Pressure Suppressor

Becoming a Wheel Man

Our second day was a combined driving and shooting experience with the first part of the day being spent with Team O’Neil. Team O’Neil is a rally driving school that also trains military and law enforcement outfits in disciplines like offensive driving, off-road driving, and of course, driving with firearms. This part of the training allowed us to get accustomed to being rattled around inside the vehicles for the following day’s activities. Part of this training included learning how to more effectively manage a front-wheel-drive car’s weight distribution to maximize turning capabilities on unpaved roads, performing J-Turns as well as a crash course in how to properly execute a PIT maneuver.

The New SOCOM RC3 - Surefire's First Low Back Pressure Suppressor

Low-light and low-flash

After our lighting one-day driving course, we had the opportunity to return once again to Ridgeline Defense, this time at night to test out not just the RC3’s flash suppression capabilities, but also the latest generation of SureFire Turbo Scout Lights to really see just how effective they can be at allowing the user to identify targets at longer distances. The flash suppression of the RC3 is definitely something to admire about the suppressor as it’s hardly noticeable even if you’re looking at it. During our nighttime shooting experience, I attempted to film the flash using both my DSLR and my cell phone but neither of the camera’s sensors could pick it up.

The New SOCOM RC3 - Surefire's First Low Back Pressure Suppressor

The New SOCOM RC3 - Surefire's First Low Back Pressure Suppressor

Shooting from Vehicles

The final day of shooting involved a combination of what we learned in the driving course, and from the folks at Ridgeline Defense. We were allowed the rare opportunity to not only shoot from inside static vehicles but from moving vehicles as well in simulated checkpoint blow-throughs, vehicle retreats, and drive-bys. While the vehicles did have all of their windows removed, the amount of gas coming back inside of the vehicle wasn’t even noticeable even when the car was sitting in one spot.

The New SOCOM RC3 - Surefire's First Low Back Pressure Suppressor

While working through a fire and retreat exercise, the SOCOM’s sound suppression proved to be helpful in allowing two shooters to exfil from a vehicle, and make an effective retreat while still being able to communicate verbally with one another. Obviously, hearing protection should still be worn, especially when shooting super-sonic ammunition, but the RC3 definitely maintains the SOCOM’s reputation for sound suppression.

The New SOCOM RC3 - Surefire's First Low Back Pressure Suppressor

Over a combined 3 days of shooting and probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 rounds or more, I don’t think I got “gassed out” even once – a testament to the RC3’s back pressure reduction capabilities. SureFire wasn’t the least bit shy about letting us bang up the RC3s on concrete barriers, fences, and the connex boxes we shot from and I’m sure no one is surprised that these tough silencers handled all of the abuse without flinching.

The New SOCOM RC3 - Surefire's First Low Back Pressure Suppressor

Closing Thoughts

I’d really like the chance to test out the RC3 more. The world’s arguably most durable suppressor just got a lot better with its adaptation into a low-back pressure suppressor. The inclusion of its capability to be mounted on adapters already in existence, as well as maintaining a virtually identical weight and form factor means that if you want that low back pressure capability, you won’t have to completely redesign your setup just to accommodate it. While its asking price makes it one of the most (if not the most) expensive suppressors in the world, its legendary durability combined with an impressive reduction in gas blowback might make it a solid choice for someone who is a high-volume shooter. As always, we’d like to hear your thoughts on the new RC3 let us know what you think in the comments!

The New SOCOM RC3 - Surefire's First Low Back Pressure Suppressor

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