Editor’s note: Watch a video of the Maxflo 3D suppressor being tested on Patriot Ordnance rifles below
Hiram Maxim is generally acknowledged as the inventor of the first commercially successful sound suppressor, which he began selling in 1902. Less than a year later, the Wright brothers made their first powered flight. The following decades saw an unbelievable acceleration in aviation development, progressing from the canvas-skinned Sopwith Camel to the P-51 Mustang to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, with its stealth technology and vertical takeoff and landing capabilities.
But advancements in sound suppression haven’t been as meteoric. More than 100 years later, the technology is still basically the same—a tube with a system of baffles designed to slow gases and let them cool. Modern machining has made improved baffles and exotic alloys have made suppressors lighter, but there haven’t been any advances that are analogous to the evolution of the propeller-driven biplane to jets capable of flying at several times the speed of sound. Until now.
NEXGEN2 (NG2) Defense is a new company built around an ingenious suppressor design that does away with traditional baffles, instead relying on advanced flow dynamics (AFD). Outwardly, the MAXFLO 3D looks much like any other suppressor, but its core holds all of the secrets. This core design provides a host of benefits, including the elimination of first-round “pop” and flash as well as accuracy-robbing turbulence and recoil. Most importantly, the silencer possesses “Zero Back-Pressure Suppression” technology.
At the 2017 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Atlanta, I had a conversation with Frank DeSomma, the owner and founder of POF-USA. I had just completed an article on his brand-new Revolution—an AR-platform .308 Winchester/7.62mm NATO rifle. It’s a gun so innovative that many 5.56mm NATO parts are used, making the rifle as light and fast-handling as any typical AR-15. As we spoke, a familiar face interrupted us. It was Scott Mc-
Gregor, holding a MAXFLO 3D suppressor in his hands.
I last saw McGregor at a trade show earlier in the year. It was there he warned me that the new company he was working for, NG2 Defense, was going to have an earth-shattering product soon. As we chatted, McGregor unscrewed the suppressor’s backplate and withdrew its radical internal baffle system before handing it to DeSomma. Standing in awe as he turned the MAXFLO 3D’s baffle sleeve over in his hand, he finally said, “I have to tell you, I have spent my entire adult life in aerospace engineering and fabrication, and what you have here is a masterpiece. I have never seen such well-executed and intricate machining. When can I shoot it?”
McGregor made plans to drive down from the NG2 Defense factory in Utah to meet DeSomma at his Phoenix-area factory and asked if I’d like to come. Three weeks later, I made the three-hour drive. When I arrived at the POF-USA factory, Frank DeSomma and his son, Cody, were preparing some guns for our outing with the MAXFLO 3D suppressors. One of the guns was the POF-USA P416, a select-fire, piston-driven 5.56mm AR with a 10.5-inch barrel. Also being cleaned and prepped was a select-fire P308 with a 12.5-inch barrel and DeSomma’s new Revolution with the same length barrel.
While we drove to the range, I had the chance to do a quick interview with Scott McGregor. We’ve been friends for over a decade. Our first meeting took place at one of the DPMS Tri-Gun matches in St. Cloud, Minn. McGregor has an interesting background. He previously worked for a steel target company, handled outside ad sales for a firearms publisher and a cable shooting show, and made sales for a major firearms manufacturer. But he is first and foremost a 3-Gun competitor, always managing to make the major matches despite a heavy workload. He knows guns like few people do, so when NG2 Defense was beginning to form, McGregor was brought on board to help with sales.
“NG2 Defense is a brand-new company officially founded in December 2016, and we were able to have a booth at SHOT Show in January. Ernie Bray is our CEO, and he is the gun genius behind the design. Advance flow dynamics is his area of expertise, and while he had some input from other folks, it was his concept. It’s pretty exciting to have such an innovative product and help get the word out, to help build the brand and build the company.” McGregor continued, “We’re making a tremendous investment in machinery, and there’s nothing we can’t do with them. We have top-of-the-line machinery, and I honestly don’t think you could find anything better than what we have.”
McGregor’s knowledge of suppressors became immediately obvious as he walked me through the ins and outs of NG2’s innovative can.
“The MAXFLO 3D doesn’t create backpressure, unlike conventional suppressors. Our advanced flow dynamics allow the gases to flow continually through the can.
“Blast chambers and traditional baffle stacks, which require the gas to be re-compressed before moving to the next baffle with only the tiny muzzle hole for gas to exit, are eliminated on our design. Conventional cans cause a backup of gases—there’s nowhere else for the gas to go except back down the barrel and into the upper receiver. Backpressure can create a host of problems for guns depending on how they are tuned. You can have a perfectly tuned full-auto AR that runs smooth and ejects at 4 o’clock and then throw a suppressor on it and have nothing but problems. Gas is like water—it follows the path of least resistance.
“A conventional suppressor can dramatically increase the cyclic rate of a full-auto gun to the point where it outruns the magazine’s ability to push a round up in time to be fed by the bolt carrier. These weapons are not meant to run at those levels, and they break. Backpressure also increases carbon buildup on the bolt carrier group and in the upper receiver, as well as heat. Chunks of unburned powder are also blown back into the upper receiver. Sometimes the gas comes out of the charging handle hole, and as a result the shooter gets a face full of gas. In that position, it gets up under your glasses. You’re also breathing it. You can’t shoot as many rounds without fouling, and it dramatically increases your cleaning time. In short, backpressure can be very detrimental!”
The greatest innovation, according to McGregor, is in the center of the design. “The main component is the core, and it’s made out of titanium. The core has enough holes in it so the gas can flow relatively evenly. There is also fluting within each hole to kind of create a vortex. The whole point is to redirect, slow and cool the gas. So, as the bullet comes through, there is no blast chamber like a typical can has. The NG2 design eliminates the blast chamber. Again, on a conventional design, the gas would have to compress again to go into the next chamber, and so on for as many baffles as the design uses. The only exit being the tiny hole at the end of the suppressor.
“On the MAXFLOW 3D, the gases will flow through the core into the intricately machined baffle sleeve, which is made from 17-4 stainless steel. The gas bounces around and gets redirected, but there’s nothing in there that will block it from flowing forward. It continues to flow forward, out of the can, because it is the path of least resistance, rather than back into the barrel. The MAXFLOW 3D is vented at the front, and the gas is allowed to flow freely out instead of being compressed and pushed back up the bore. The holes at the end of the can do not make it any louder—it is still hearing safe. The military considers hearing safe to be under 140 decibels. We definitely beat that!”
Maxflo 3D Full-Auto Test
To start, we fired 10 rounds through the 5.56mm NATO P416 on full-auto without any muzzle device in place. We used a PACT timer to record the cyclic rate and discovered that it was throwing 847 rounds per minute. We noted the gun was easy to control, with rounds ejecting at 3 o’clock. Next, we attached a conventional suppressor and fired the gun on full-auto again. One thing we all noticed was just how violent it felt compared to unsuppressed shooting—it was definitely less controllable. Instead of the gun ejecting to the 3 o’clock position, brass was now ejecting at the 12:30 position. It also increased the cyclic rate to approximately 1,097 rounds per minute, a 23-percent increase.
Finally, we attached the NG2 MAXFLO 3D suppressor and fired another 10 rounds on full-auto. Our cyclic rate dropped back down to 850 rounds per minute. The empty cases were once again exiting at about 3 o’clock. “We didn’t even have to change the gas setting,” exclaimed Frank DeSomma, referring to the carbine’s five-position-adjustable gas system.
“This is huge,” DeSomma added. “There is not another suppressor company in the world who makes anything that can match NG2 Defense’s technology. Shooting with a suppressor is often a balancing act. Usually the gas system needs to be adjusted. If the weapon is direct impingement and not adjustable, that means the buffer and buffer spring need to be tuned to the suppressor. At that point, it becomes a huge pain because when the suppressor is removed, the other parts need to be swapped back.”
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Frank’s son, Cody, talked about the added service life afforded by the new tube: “Full-auto suppressed guns increase the bolt’s velocity, and this causes premature or accelerated wear on the parts. We know immediately when we get a gun back for repairs that it has been shot with a suppressor.”
Before the heat beat us into submission, we also fired the full-auto P308 and the semi-auto Revolution, both fitted with a MAXFLO 3D. The recoil-reducing benefits of the suppressor were immediately obvious, making both rifles every bit as controllable as the 5.56mm NATO P416. With the mid-May desert heat we faced, it was nice to not have to deal with hearing protection. We used Wolf supersonic ammo with all of the guns, and none of the noise was bothersome or uncomfortable.
It’s refreshing to see a new product that started with a blank slate instead of another “me too” design. NG2 Defense’s suppressor displays an enormous amount of innovation and ingenuity. It is strong, lightweight and quiet while being easy to clean and maintain. NG2 Defense’s MAXFLO 3D suppressors are currently available for 5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO weapons with a suggested retail price of $1,495. McGregor tells me that NG2 is also working on designs for pistols.
This article was originally published in “Tactical Weapons” November/December 2017. To order a copy and subscribe, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.