by Eugene Nielson
The obvious answer to these drawbacks is the development of an effective sound suppressor for shotguns. This is easier said than done. The large bore diameter of the 12 gauge shotgun has been the major impediment to the development of an effective round suppressor. Conventional sound suppressor designs of a practical size have allowed 100 much gas to escape to effectively silence the weapon.
In the late l960s, the U.S. Navy, recognizing the difficulties in developing a conventional suppressor for the shotgun, developed a silent shotgun cartridge in conjunction with AAI Corp. Unfortunately, the silent shotgun cartridge, although technically a success, proved impractical due to its high cost of manufacture and low-lethality.
Now, over 20 years later and after four years of research and development, Tactical Operations Inc., of Beverly Hills, Calif, has developed the Clandestine 12. The suppressor utilizes an advanced, patent-pending design with proprietary artificial environment technology to provide performance that was previously unattainable with earlier designs.
Additional barrels can be supplied at additional cost. The second barrel consists of a standard Remington 18-inch cylinder bore barrel with a Wilson Combat Scattergun Technologies front sight with a tritium dot. A Wilson Combat Scattergun Technologies magazine extension tube is also supplied with the 18-inch barrel.
The suppressor has a stainless steel body and heat-treated aircraft-grade aluminum internal parts. Taking into consideration the fact that it’s designed to suppress a 12-gauge shotgun, the suppressor is exceptionally compact. The suppressor measures 10 inches long and has an outside diameter of 2.75 inches. There’s a tritium dot sight on the top of the rear end-cap.
The suppressor is a sealed unit and is designed to be maintained by user. All maintenance requirements are performed without disassembly. Cleaning is by immersion. Petroleum naphtha (safety solvent) is recommended for this purpose.
The suppressor does add a significant amount of weight to the muzzle. The Clandestine 12 suppressor weighs approximately 3.75 pounds, making the shotgun quite muzzle heavy. It’s certainly not a weapon that one would want to lug around all day.
Tac Ops is working on a prototype for a lighter and smaller suppressor for the Clandestine 12 which should significantly improve the handling characteristics of the weapon. The new suppressor will improve the balance of the Clandestine 12 and should eliminate any complaints about the Clandestine 12 being "too muzzle heavy."
Shotgun breaching is by no means limited to doors. Shotguns can also be employed to breach iron-barred windows, take out sliding glass doors, dislodge the shackles of padlocks, and defeat vehicle door mechanisms with little, if any, collateral damage.
Max Maven, Tac Ops gunsmith, developed a special 2-inch OD stainless steel stand-off for the Clandestine 12 suppressor. The muzzle cap of the Clandestine 12 suppressor has a threaded extension on the front for the stand-of The stand-off can be unscrewed and removed when not needed, reducing the overall length of the Clandestine 12. The muzzle of the stand-off is serrated to reduce the likelihood of slippage during door contact.
Because of the suppressor, there isn't any need for the stand-off to also serve as compensator. The Tac Ops stand-off is ported 180 degrees on the bottom. The ports are quite large and serve only to vent the gasses. The lack of ports on the top of the stand-off is intended to reduce the likelihood of debris being blown upwards towards the operator during breaching operations.
TESTING AND EVALUATION
While at the range, an assortment of rounds were fired, both standard (supersonic) and subsonic. The muzzle sound signature with subsonic ammunition was reduced to a level that was the same as that produced by a .22 short fired from a rifle. Others that were present likened the sound signature to that of a .177 caliber RWS pellet rifle. Put another way, the manual cycling of the 870’s pump action was actually louder than the sound of a subsonic 12-gaugt round being fired from the Clandestine 12.
Close to 30 rounds were fired through the Clandestine 12 while at the range. The suppressor wasn't cleaned during the duration of the testing. No additional artificial environment fluid was added during the testing. There wasn't any noticeable increase in the sound signature as the tests progressed. The Clandestine 12 was as quiet at the end of the testing as it was at the beginning. The performance of the suppressor throughout the testing speaks highly of the design.
While I haven't had the opportunity to test the Clandestine
12 in low light conditions, Tac Ops assures me that muzzle flash has been
eliminated with the loads that they have tested. Given the design of the
suppressor, I have no reason to doubt this.