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Suppressor Cleaning Method





OBJECTIVE: The objective of this effort is to develop an effective method to remove carbon/metal fouling from permanently sealed, Quick Detach (QD) and direct thread-on suppressors. Current cleaning methods are often ineffective on permanently sealed suppressors. Proper cleaning would extend the service life of these items and eliminate unnecessary replacement costs.

DESCRIPTION: Due to operational tempo, suppressed weapons fire is becoming more common during everyday operations. More carbon/metal fouling accumulates in the firearm through suppressed fire than unsuppressed fire, which necessitates more frequent cleaning. Marine Corps issued suppressors are typically permanently-sealed, QD suppressors. Although these are easily removable from the barrel for cleaning, they are sealed units that cannot be disassembled into individual components to facilitate cleaning. Without the ability to properly clean sealed suppressors, these units are turned in as unserviceable before their lifetime. If a method to properly clean these suppressors were available, this would extend the service life of the item and eliminate unnecessary replacement costs. Proposed methods shall demonstrate superior cleaning performance to conventional methods.1, 2 In addition, proposed methods shall address facility impacts such as cost/savings benefits and the disposal of generated hazardous material.

PHASE I: The small business shall demonstrate the feasibility for the development of a suppressor cleaning system that meets the Marine Corps’ needs. Feasibility shall be demonstrated through benchtop testing with a breadboard model.

PHASE II: The small business shall develop a prototype cleaning system with the capability to simultaneously clean multiple suppressors. The prototype shall be provided to the Marine Corp for testing and evaluation.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The small business shall support the Marine Corps in transitioning the suppressor cleaning system manufacture cleaning systems suitable for fleet use. The small business shall prepare a Facility Impact Report assessing costs, infrastructure requirements, maintenance, and disposal of hazardous material. At a minimum, cleaning systems would be made available to Intermediate Maintenance Activities (IMAs) where facility impacts are easier to manage. An initial quantity of 12 to 24 is projected for the IMAs. Suppressor cleaning systems are desired for use at the Organization Level where maintenance must be expeditious to ensure operational readiness. However, units at the Organization Level are more sensitive to facility impacts due limited resources. If the Facility impact at the Organizational Level is favorable, a quantity of 48 to 96 is projected in addition to those for the IMAs. Private Sector Commercial Potential: In addition to the DoD military market, this cleaning system would be applicable to state and local law enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security (i.e.; State Department, FBI, Secret Service and Coastguard) and the civilian sporting market.


  • Atkinson, B., “How to Clean a Firearm,” SSAA National Media & Publications, accessed 19 February, 2016,
  • Sweeny, P. “Should You Clean Suppressors,” Firearm New, March 2015, accessed 19 February, 2016,
  • Dater, P., “Sound Measurement Techniques,” Small Arms Review, V3#11, Aug 2000.
  • Dater, P., “Firearm Sound Levels and Hearing Damage, “Small Arms Review, V6#3, Dec 2000.

KEYWORDS: Small Arms; Sound Suppressor; Suppressor Maintenance; Noise Suppression; Suppressor Fouling; Quick-Detach and Thread-on Suppressors

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