Ratworx ZRX Sound Suppressor for Tavor 9mm
Oleg Volk 07.06.15
When mufflers were first invented for guns and engines around 1900, they were added as dangly afterthoughts. It took over two decades for auto mufflers to become fully integrated into the car designs. Due to the draconian regulations on guns and sound mufflers in most countries, it took nearly a century longer for firearm suppressors to become closely integrated with their host weapons.
Ratworx ZRX is a very clever integration of a stainless muzzle brake acting as a durable blast chamber, a monolithic asymmetric aluminum baffle stack aligning on that brake and a slightly extended Manticore Arms forend for the 9mm Tavor conversion. Together, these elements provide a very large internal volume, easy maintenance on the removable stack, and excellent heat dissipation, all in a package adding less than 3 inches to the already short bullpup. Unlike 9mm AR, suppressed Tavor doesn’t have noticeable blowback of powder fumes to the shooter.
Typical sound suppressors are cylindrical for the efficient ratio of weight to strength. ZRX is rectangular for better handling and has considerable surface area that maximizes cooling. A couple of ounces of weight make no difference, while the extra volume and radiating surface area do. For maintenance, several screws may be backed out and the entire stack then comes out of the front of the forend.
The carbine can still be safely fired without the baffle stack in place, but there’s no reason to do it. The large volume and effective baffle arrangement produce an ear safe report with subsonic ammunition. The forend retains M-lock slots for accessories and additional rails.
A logical question to ask would be: “Why use a 9mm Luger conversion on a 5.56x45mm gun?” The conversion allows training with less expensive ammunition, paying for itself over time. While 9mm is no substitute for 5.56mm at long range, blowback conversion approximates the handling of the rifle caliber original for CQB training. Quite a few indoor ranges lack rifle-rated backstops, so having the pistol caliber option opens up more venues for practice.
And, finally, Tavor in 9mm does make a very effective weapon in its own right for use against un-armored opponents. During the last range session, we tested several new cartridges loaded by Maker Bullets. 147 grain subsonic hollow points shown above gave minimal report and no muzzle flash, which can be essential for tasks like hostage rescue, and instant expansion along with 16 inches of penetration after four layers of denim.
On the other end of the spectrum, 75 grain HP came out of the Tavor 17″ barrel at 1700fps, giving even wider expansion with 12 inches of penetration. The suppressor does nothing for removing the projectile flight noise but still removed the blast and the flash of the launch. With the standard magazine holding 32 rounds, the weapon is as effective as any conventional submachine gun while offering better balance and excellent intrinsic accuracy.
Best of all, the forend, the brake, and the suppressor baffle stack cost only $400 altogether, no more than a decent rimfire suppressor.