If you’ve done any precision shooting through magnified optics, you’re probably aware of the effect mirage has on your visibility. The shimmering heat waves reduce optical clarity and can be a big distraction. This problem is compounded when shooting suppressed as the can is one big fire-trap. In a similar fashion, if you’ve spent much time shooting and moving with a suppressed rifle, the odds are good you’ve felt the scorch of a blazing can bumping into your leg. A quality suppressor cover can be a good solution for both mirage management and safety.
To learn more about the benefits of suppressor covers, I picked up a heavy cover from Cole-Tac named the “HTP” Python. I also picked up a bit lighter offering from Junior Arago at Burn Proof Gear. Much like the different roles the suppressors themselves can fill, these two “can wraps” represent different ends of the performance spectrum. One is designed for maximum protection and mirage reduction and thus comes with the expected increase in weight. The other is light and durable, meant to provide a layer of physical safety and reduce mirage without being a heavy or bulky. We’ll compare the two offerings but first, a little about each company.
Cole-Tac is a small shop running out of Unity, NH. Started up in 2014 by Dustin Coleman and his wife, Cole-Tac is expanding and hiring on new employees. A recent product announcement by a certain major SILENCER COmpany showed a product eerily similar to the one I had sitting on my keyboard. I’d say Cole-Tac’s products are gaining acclaim and being licensed out, though I haven’t got confirmation on this.
Burn Proof Gear (BPG) is the manufacturing vehicle for Junior Arago of Miami, FL. He started manufacturing his own suppressor wraps after the first one he purchased loosened up and blasted off the end of his can, despite having been cinched tight. Unsatisfied with the products he was seeing, Junior decided to test his hand at manufacturing. He plans on bringing more products to market in the future, including a kydex suppressed pistol holster.
Cole-Tac’s HTP suppressor wrap is a three-layered design. The first two layers are a fiberblass mat with the outside coated in high-temp silicon. The cover is 1000D cordura with Boa straps to keep the cover cinched tight. The inside layer is rated to 3000 degrees Fahrenheit. While the outer cordura wrap isn’t rated to as high a temp, if you manage to scorch it Cole-Tac will replace it. The website lists this wrap at 5.4oz, though each can cover is cut to match the length of your specific make and model. My cover weighed in at 4.55 oz. The outer wrap is available in 8 patterns/colors. The AAC suppressor went from 1.5″ in diameter to 2.37″ with the Cole-Tac wrap.
BPG’s Suppressor Wrap (medium) is rated to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit and is made of a proprietary Kevlar/Nomex blended fabric with Kevlar bungee cords. 100% fire retardant construction and machine washable, the BPG wrap is an exercise in simplicity. The BPG cover weighs in at 2.43 oz and is available in three colors. The AAC can with BPG wrap went from 1.5″ to 1.98″, noticeably slimmer than the HTP.
Heading out to the range, I brought a Ranger buddy, IR thermometer, AAC 762sdn6 suppressor and a 16″ barreled AR pattern rifle. I also brought my test subjects, the HTP wrap from Cole-Tac and the BPG Suppressor Cover (medium). We ran strings of fire without a suppressor, let the can cool and then ran additional strings of fire through each suppressor wrap to compare how the heat and mirage were cut down. The suppressor was allowed to cool to ambient temperature between each string of fire.
First up was the naked can. One magazine fired in 20 seconds was the baseline test. Starting at an ambient temperature of 86.9 degrees Fahrenheit, the first string of fire brought the can up to 159 degrees F. Even at that temperature there was mirage present and the can was too hot to handle. Not exactly third degree burn territory, but too hot to put back in the rifle case for sure. 159 degrees is not considered hot for a suppressor at all. With continued firing they can easily exceed 800 degrees F.
After enough time had elapsed for the can to cool down to ambient temperature, the BPG medium cover was next. The day was heating up quickly so 90 degrees Fahrenheit was the new ambient temperature. An identical string of fire brought the front cap of the suppressor up to 168 degrees F, an increase of 5% due to the insulating properties of the wrap. The outside of the cover was 120 degrees, a reduction of 29% over the naked metal. At this temperature, the light mirage was reduced notably and the can could be handled (although it was still a little bit of “hot potato”). This is nowhere near the temperature limit of the BPG wrap but shows the difference a wrap can make between “instant skin melt” and “ow that sucks but I don’t require medical attention.” Further strings of fire showed the BPG is a solid performer at mitigating mirage.
Once my can had cooled, we cleared the firing range of the six velvet bucks that were chompin’ on apples and slid on the Cole-Tac HTP. The fiberglass/silicone layer slides on tight before the cordura cover is placed on top and cinched down snug. The baseline test was performed again, taking the 762SD-n6 from 90 degrees to 180 degrees at the front cap. This is an increase of 13% over bare metal, showing the increase in insulating properties over the BPG wrap. The exterior surface of the HTP never even got to triple digits, it stayed right at 95 degrees. This showed 40% decrease in temperature compared to a butt-naked suppressor. Continued strings of fire showed that while the heat did eventually soak through the insulation of the HTP, it was always at a drastically reduced temperature. Mirage was eliminated in the first string of fire and reduced tremendously after that.
Neither product showed signs of wear during the test. While I would have liked to perform additional testing on our range day, rapidly increasing temperatures outside were keeping the AAC can too hot for too long between strings of fire. While both Burn Proof Gear and Cole-Tac are producing suppressor wraps, these two products aren’t really apples-to-apples in their application. The HTP seems to me like the Ferrari of can covers. Made for the highest level of performance, I feel the HTP would be the better option for a precision rifle where cutting down on mirage would be the highest priority and a few extra ounces are no big deal. I do wonder about the long term field durability of fiberglass wrap, though so far I have no reason to think it won’t hold up. Meanwhile, the BPG offering is built like a Toyota truck: it works well enough and will keep on working for a very long time. While it doesn’t cut down on temperature or mirage to the same degree, it comes in lighter, slimmer and made in a manner I believe will prove more durable. For that reason, I would say the BPG wrap feels right at home on my SBR’s and PDW’s where inches and ounces are always at a premium and mirage isn’t as big an issue. Neither showed serious deficiency in design or construction and both performed within advertised specs. For these reasons, I can say either represents a worthy purchase. The BPG wrap is here for $90 and the Cole-Tac HTP is here for $96. Both Cole-Tac and Burn Proof Gear offer heavier and lighter variants on their respective products shown here, as well as for blast diverters Don’t be a fool, wrap your (suppression) tool.