Allen Engineering / Ops Inc suppressors

Pat Tarrant

Custom testicles
Staff member
Are AE/Ops Inc suppressors still a vaible design compared to more modern designs? I'm thinking of putting together a 11.5" SBR that'll be run fairly consistently with a can, and I'm really liking the AEM2 (Ops M4-M) design, as it only adds 2.5" of length past the muzzle device, and is reasonably light weight (under 15 oz). I know the attachment method is dated, and the bigger cans will suppress better, but I'm more worried about a good compromise between sound and size/weight, and less worried about absolute hearing safe operation.

I've considered getting other designs too, Surefire, Silencerco, Griffin, Dead Air, etc. It seems like the AE/Ops cans are still pretty good to go, accepting their mounting limitations.

Thoughts / opinions?


I was talking to a major suppressor manufacturer (who will remain nameless as I haven't asked permission to post his info) about reflex-style suppressors. The major points

Pro -less OAL gain
-can be better for reducing backpressure due to a larger blast chamber

Con -less efficient compared to more traditional offerings given the same size and weight
-not as effective sound suppression-wise (understanding that often a quieter muzzle noise means more backpressure and can be louder at the shooter's ear, especially for a lefty, like me.)

I have no experience with Ops Inc., but I have a fair amount of time with the AMTAC suppressors, and have tried them side-by-side cans from SiCi, Dead Air, Thunderbeast, and OSS. I find the pro and con list to be fairly accurate in my experience. Usually AMTAC will tuck their cans under a larger diameter handguard (like a JP). Even on their 9mm carbine, it still got hot enough that I couldn't hold it without a glove. Granted that was a post sample full auto, but the 223 was even hotter.

Having already said I have no personal experience with Ops Inc, I can say that the various mini 556 cans (sakerK, socom mini, m4sd-k, etc.) have all been a good compromise for me on sound/flash suppression, blowback, OAL and weight increase vs. handling. I would also take a serious look at any of those models as another potential option.
I think the pro/con list above is pretty accurate. On the weight/efficiency side though, the reflex cans keep more of the weight farther back so it, in effect, will feel like a lighter can.

I have one of the AE M2 cans, and also had Ron make up an AE M1 (same as the old OPS M4S). The M2 is a good compromise, I wanted the smaller can to make it a little easier to get in & out of the vehicle racks. Both are on dedicated guns, so removing/swapping isn't an issue. I went with the AE cans because I wanted something that would be as compact as possible.

The build quality of both appears to be very good. The machining and everything I could see of the internal assembly is very clean and precise. My dealer even commented that the build quality is better than some of the other cans he's seen, and on-par with any of the top manufacturers.

The M2 is comfortable to shoot outdoors without ear pro, the M1 is not comfortable, but it does still make the rifle substantially quieter. My ears won't be bleeding if I have to shoot inside without ear pro. The M2 is on a 10.5" gun and the M1 is on an 11.5" gun. You can get the standard mounts to work on a 10.5" gun if you're not shy about cutting down the length of the gas block to be about flush with the front end of the gas tube.

The mounting really isn't an issue for me, since they're dedicated to the guns. Even with their older screw-on mount, they're not exactly slow to get on or off. IIRC Ron recommends between 6 and 8 complete turns until the can fully seats. Carbon buildup can make them tough to get off, but a cheap strap wrench (or Blowers grip strength) makes it a simple task. The real limitation of the mounting system is that you pretty much have to run a gov/M4 profile barrel with the little shoulder cut 1/2" from the start of the threads. A lightweight barrel is a non-starter. I asked Ron if there was a way to make a mount that would work and the short answer was no.

The M1 is run inside a Seekins forend with a Ti header wrap heat shield with about 1.5" sticking out the front. The handguard does get uncomfortably hot after about 60 rapid rounds (back to back 1-5 drills with a D-60 mag, for example) but I usually run gloves with the rifle and have enough stuff attached to the front of the forend that I don't have to move my hand back very far to get off the hot section. I don't know if I'll stick with this setup. I've been thinking about trying the AEs on my longer guns, and using the SF Mini that I have in ATF jail on the SBRs. For my role, the chances of being in a prolonged shooting engagement where the heat would even start to be an issue is very slim, so it's really only a training day consideration.

Another selling point of the AE cans is the price. They're relatively inexpensive, especially considering the build quality. This is probably due to the simplicity of the mounting, but that is really a non-issue for me.

Pat Tarrant

Custom testicles
Staff member
Thanks Mike. I've been talking with Ron over e-mail and seeing if he could put together a custom mount for my 11.5" BCM ELW barrel. So far, he hasn't said no, but it's been pretty quiet since I sent him measurements for my barrel.
I did some quick measurements on my uppers and the AE M1 upper is about 2 1/8" shorter than my SF SOCOM Mini upper. The AE M2 upper is the same OAL as the SF, but...

The M1 is the loudest, and the M2 is noticeably quieter than the other two, with the SF in between the AE cans.

I would say that the M2 or SF Mini would be the best compromise for an SBR in terms of weight/length/sound. The M1 would probably be best suited for a longer gun where the blast won't be as bad as an SBR, or if you absolutely need to minimize weight & length.

My email contact with Ron was inconsistent. If you don't hear back from him after a reasonable time, shoot him another email. The production time on my cans was very reasonable.

Pat Tarrant

Custom testicles
Staff member
Thanks. I'm really trying to figure between the AEM2 and the new Sandman K. The AEM is simpler, proven, shorter overall. The Sandman K is more versatile (though that's mostly lost on me as I'm only using it on an SBR), and can be used with 30cal guns.


I own cans from AAC, Gem-tech, SiCo, and some older ones from YHM. I owned an AEM-5 for a short time before selling it to a buddy during one of the big panics. I've got several friends who own AE and OPs Inc cans, and I've got a good bit of time behind them.

I really like the AE cans, and Ron is almost always willing to do custom work if you ask nicely. The cans are reasonable priced, accurate, and well built. They aren't really QD, but they also aren't slow to get on and off. You are however limited on how thin your barrel can be (as another member posted) but since most of the ones I've shot were AE30's on bolt guns, that hasn't really been an issue.

The last point I would like to make has to do with the tone of the shot. I know this is subjective, but to me the AE cans usually have a deeper tone that is more pleasant to the ear. again YMMV. If it is your first can, you might want something more modular. If you already own others, and are looking for something a bit more specific for a build, the AEM2 (or any AE product) is a nice choice.


I have run ops inc 5.56 and 7.62 cans for years and only complaint is weight and bbl conturing, but compared to my other cans nothing beats the design for both recoil mitigation and sound suppression, I was just informed that a number of years ago the USMC tested all mil contract cans and the OPS INC 12th was the only one that was not locatable by the CROWS system. I currently own 2 KAC cans, 1 Thunderbeast ultra, 2 ops inc cans, 1 SWR 1 Slnencerco; I have owned a Gemtech HVT and a JET .338 in the past, so I have a fair bit of can experience. I have shot side by side with a ton surefire and AAC AWC and the overwhelming statement with the OPS is damn that is quiet