Imagine being born before the age of manned flight, and then witnessing man walk on the moon. We live in an exciting age for sure, but even so there hasn’t been any earthshaking developments in the firearm industry for some time. But that doesn’t mean folks aren’t trying to innovate. Today’s subject is about one such product from a group of people with innovation on the mind, the Orion X suppressor from X2 Dev Group. But is the innovation all it’s hyped up to be?
The Orion X
The Orion X is a sound suppressor for centerfire rifles, it is a baffle-less design made from stainless steel, inconel, and aluminum. It is available in three calibers according to their website; 556, 6.5, and 7.62. Instead of the traditional baffle stack that reduces the speed of exiting gasses, the Orion X instead uses their Quantum Flo technology. The gasses that exit the muzzle are directed through a series of passageways that slow the gas down, while allowing the bullet to pass through to do it’s dirty work. The modular core of the Orion X is made of several pieces that amass inside the outer tube, the threaded end that attaches to the host is part of this core, and the outer tube with its threaded end-cap go around the core.
When I first picked up the Orion X, the weight was the first thing I noticed. It wasn’t particularly heavy, and its light construction made it seem lighter in weight than it really is. I have lighter cans for 556, but this one is by no means heavy. The next thing I noticed almost made me think something was wrong, the outer tube of the Orion X is machine-fit to the core. The tube has the slightest movement between it, and the core. The tube is prevented from turning around the core by a square boss at the rear around the mounting point. I could feel a slight rattle when shaking the suppressor, apparently this is all part of the design for no matter how tight you snug the end-cap with the supplied tool the fit is the same. The end-cap itself features a series of vent holes, where the redirected gasses are released. The model I tested had a nice FDE Cerakote, but it is available in other colors.
To the Range
As usual, I was eager to get this new suppressor to the range. I ran the suppressor on a couple different carbine rifles, all in 556. The first rifle had a sixteen-inch barrel, I threaded on the Orion X and got straight to shooting. One of the many purposes of baffle-less suppressor designs is to reduce backpressure to the host firearm, this is accomplished by allowing the gas somewhere to go without spiking the pressure up to unreasonable levels. The obvious benefits to this design is to avoid altering the function of the host, allowing it to function as designed. It also helps keep the host from becoming excessively fouled, which is a common side effect of suppressors.
That being the case, I left the gas setting of my rifle right where it always is. The first few shots through the Orion X went off exactly as expected, the rifle cycled as it always does and no additional effects were noted. If anything the recoil impulse was subdued slightly due to the additional weight and diffusion. Unfortunately I was at a public range which meant I had to wear ear protection, this robbed me of the opportunity to hear the report made by the Orion X. But I would soon get another chance.
With the Orion X in hand, I took another rifle into the country to see what kind of performance I could expect, both rifles this would feel the heat on this trip. With nothing but the trees to hear me, I put the Orion X through several shooting positions and several magazines worth of ammo. The sixteen-inch rifle was much more pleasant to shoot than the eleven-inch one, the bullpup configuration of my Desert Tech MDRX brought the muzzle closer to the ear than a traditional AR style rifle. With the ejection port in front of the face a few inches, and the muzzle of the rifle at least sixteen to twenty inches in front of that, the Orion X was quite tolerable. Rifle function was flawless with zero adjustment to the gas system. But when the shorter bullpup rifles were used, it was a little less tolerable. The sixteen-inch rifle had a fairly loud first-round pop, but was fine after that. The eleven-inch rifle on the other hand was another story, with the ejection port just under the ear and the muzzle only a foot or so from your nose, it was unbearable without ear protection. That’s no surprise I would say, but it is unfortunate because I think that configuration is where the Orion X would shine. And I love it when host/suppressor combinations allow for open ear shooting.
After shooting enough ammo to make my wallet hurt, I decided to check out one of the other interesting features of the Orion X. The tool provided with the suppressor allows the user to completely disassemble the suppressor, giving you the opportunity to see how it works, and clean out any carbon buildup. Holding the square host-end of the suppressor in a vice, I used the tool to engage the end-cap and loosen it off. You can then remove it from the vice and pull the core from the front of the suppressor, and disassemble the various stages of the suppressor core. It is a fascinating design, almost like a puzzle for guys. You can see the way gasses are directed around the inside of the suppressor, and out the muzzle end of the can. I hadn’t shot enough to make cleaning the suppressor necessary, so after figuring out the reassembly I tightened the cap back down for the next range trip.
The Orion X is a great example of innovation in our market. While it may not be an earth-shattering development like rail-guns or case-less ammo, it is still a step into the next generation. I can only wonder what the next step beyond these type of suppressors will be. With an MSRP of $1195.00 it is not an entry level suppressor, but it would be an great addition to your NFA collection to run on your hosts that may be sensitive to suppressors.