Silencer Shop Authority: Gemtech Dagger Review
Since joining forces with Silencer Shop, I’ve reviewed several rifle suppressors in both 5.56mm and 7.62mm varieties. Though each of these have differed (sometimes substantially) in terms of length, weight, materials, and capabilies, all of the rifle silencers I’ve examined thus far have featured quick detach (QD) mounting systems of some sort. There’s no doubt that QD cans generate the most market hype, but there are plenty of thread-mount options out there that deserve a look.
The Gemtech Dagger we will examine today is essentially an updated version of Gemtech’s popular GMT-300 WM suppressor. Built mostly out of titanium and rated for .300 WM (18″ barrels) and below, the silencer is both light and rugged. Let’s take a closer look at everything the Dagger has to offer.
Size & Weight
Dimensionally, the Dagger is a full-size suppressor. It measures 8.8″ in length and 1.5″ in diameter. This means that it can seem somewhat long on some Title I firearms, but it is important to understand that the Dagger was originally intended for .300 WM precision rifles. In that role, it is actually perfectly sized. Moreover, it should feel perfectly comfortable on the .300 BLK short-barreled rifles (SBRs) that have become popular.
While the Dagger is certainly full-size in stature, it is exceptionally light. Gemtech’s published weight for the silencer is 15.3 ounces, but my example weighed in at 16.4 ounces overall. Even at 16.4 ounces, the Dagger is lighter than many mid-size options on the market. It is also important to remember that as a thread-mount can, the Dagger does not require proprietary muzzle devices that further add weight. Normally, manufacturers list their suppressors’ weights without also accounting for their required muzzle accessories.
Design & Materials
Though the Dagger is advertised as a titanium suppressor, there is one key area where it deviates from this description. To help with long term durability, Gemtech added a hearty Inconel insert to can’s blast baffle. Thanks to this insert, the Dagger is rated for 10.3” barrels with 5.56mm hosts and for 12” barrels on .308 caliber firearms. You won’t find too many cans that use this much titanium but are also rated for barrels as short as those approved for use with Gemtech’s Dagger.
Behind the Inconel-reinforced blast baffle sit five distal baffles that are all machined out of titanium. Gemtech opted for stepped, conical baffles in the Dagger, much like those found in the GMT-HALO that I reviewed last year. Interestingly, while the five distal cones feature mouse-hole on the edge of their boreholes, the blast baffle’s bore is perfectly round. Generally, the ports help to induce gas turbulence and enhance suppression.
Because the Dagger is a thread-mount suppressor, there isn’t much to say in the mounting department. The can comes threaded in the .30 caliber standard, 5/8×24 pitch. If you intend to use the Dagger on most 5.56mm rifles, a thread adapter will likely be necessary.
One concern that some have with thread-mount cans is their tendency to loosen during use. As the silencer warms up and is subjected to vibrations from firing, it may start to work itself loose. QD designs typically feature active and passive retention measures that prevent loosening, but thread-mount suppressors like the Dagger lack these provisions. During range testing, there was only one instance where I checked the Dagger between strings and found it to be looser than I would have liked. Still, thread-mount silencers generally require more care to ensure that they do not loosen. Alternatively, a thread locker like Rocksett can be used to secure the suppressor to its host firearm.
As is commonly the case with quality rifle suppressors, the Dagger’s titanium tube is finished in high-temperature Cerakote. Aside from maybe black nitriding, Cerkote is perhaps the most durable finish used on silencers. With enough heat, it is possible to damage the finish, but it will take hundreds of rounds to get there.
As I mentioned it at the beginning of the review, the Dagger is a more interesting beast than you might expect from a thread-mount silencer. Essentially, it is a full-size can that weighs about as much as compact, .30 caliber suppressors. These factors are advantageous from a performance standpoint.
On my .308 PTR-91 and paired with 147 grain PPU ammunition, the Dagger performed very well. Not only did it eliminate most of the PTR’s concussive muzzle report, it also seemed to perform on par with other 9” class, .30 caliber suppressors on the market. Silencer Shop has tested the can and found that it meters 138 dB at the muzzle and 131 dB at the ear. While those numbers make it an average performer as far as muzzle report goes, the Dagger’s at ear attenuation is excellent. Moreover, point of impact (POI) shift was minimal with the Dagger on the PTR. Imparting only 2 MOA of leftward shift, the Dagger’s effects were both repeatable and predictable.
Moving over to my .300 BLK AR-15, the Dagger surprised me. Of course, the can did an excellent job of hushing Federal’s 220 grain American Eagle load, but it did so with a very minor downside. Whereas the other silencers I’ve tested have produced no noticeable blowback on my .300 BLK AR, the Dagger did seem to kick some gas back into my face. The blowback wasn’t unpleasant by any means and its magnitude was far less than you might find with a suppressed 5.56mm rifle. Still, the presence of gassy blowback with subsonic .300 BLK was surprising and I wonder if the portless blast baffle might be partially to blame.
The Dagger’s clear advantage over similarly-sized suppressors is its weight. While it is nearly 9″ long, the can is light enough that it avoids being a nuisance when mounted. For a suppressor as durable as the Dagger, that is a plus.
On the whole, the Dagger has quite a lot going for it. Sure, it is a thread-mount can and it lacks swappable mounts and end caps like some of its peers, but it makes up for these drawbacks in many ways. Rather than assume the bulk of a QD mounting system, Gemtech managed to keep the Dagger light with a basic 5/8×24 threaded mount. Moreover, the Dagger’s length allows it to go toe-to-toe with some of the top performers in the .30 caliber class.
The only major drawback with the Dagger is its price. Since coming under new ownership, Gemtech has indicated that lower prices are one of their goals. However, the company is still very early in the process. Silencer Shop and Powered By Silencer Shop dealers have some of the best prices on the Dagger and it still fetches between $900 and $1,000, depending on the dealer. Titanium certainly isn’t cheap or as easy to machine as stainless and other steels, but the Dagger would likely be a stronger candidate if it carried a slightly lower price tag.
An information security professional by day and gun blogger by night, Nathan started his firearms journey at 16 years old as a collector of C&R rifles. These days, you’re likely to find him shooting something a bit more modern – and usually equipped with a suppressor – but his passion for firearms with military heritage has never waned. Over the last five years, Nathan has written about a variety of firearms topics, including Second Amendment politics and gun and gear reviews. When he isn’t shooting or writing, Nathan nerds out over computers, 3D printing, and Star Wars.