When AWC developed the Amphibian S, it was the first commercial venture into the manufacture an integrally suppressed small caliber semi-automatic pistol since the days of the American OSS (Office of Strategic Services) and the British SOE (Special Operations Executive). In another time, these clandestine services used the HiStandard and occasionally the Colt Woodsman pistols made just for these organizations to finalize negotiations with hostile opposition—usually privately and on a one-on-one basis. Those guns were fitted with Maxim-type muzzle suppressors as they were known then; some were in-line tubes and some were eccentric tunnels. Their internal components were wire mesh discs, fine rolled screen wire, and washers and baffles. Sophistication brought on by time, mission requirements, and noise suppression science has brought us to the era of the AWC Amphibian S.
The Amphibian S is a two-part unit. The host weapon is the latest current production Ruger Mk. III pistol. Now some 60 years in production, the Ruger semiauto .22 Long Rifle pistol is the near-standard of the industry when it comes to an affordable handgun appreciated by shooters in every category imaginable. The current model has high-visibility adjustable sights, a frame-mounted American-style magazine release and a loaded chamber indicator. Robust beyond its competitors, every Ruger to be used as an Amphibian S is still detail-stripped and “blue printed” by AWC for consistent reliability with standard and high velocity cartridges. Neither slide locks nor other bolt-hold-closed mechanisms are needed to further contain escaping gas or preclude mechanical clatter; the internal component parts are a symphony of sophistication reduced to calculated simplicity.
Not so much by radical departures from previous manifestations but rather by informed steps forward—there have been 13 variations over a 29-year span—the Amphibian S has become the most advanced and sought-after special weapon of its type in the world. It is in service with the SEALs for pest control, in spook and covert ops military arsenals, police and law enforcement special unit armories, and in private gun safes of good neighbors who enjoy target practice or just plinking pine cones and tin cans.
In an earlier time, the OSS used HiStandard and Colt Woodsman pistols refitted with integral “silencers” as they were known then; note the relatively small sights and the exposed hammer. (Photo courtesy: WRAITH)