SilencerCo's Fight the Noise mural
A very cool rendering on the wall at SilencerCo

By William “Bucky” Lawson

Ever love your job? I mean to the point that you feel like you’re hanging out with your friends every day and working together toward something great? I’d say some of you have experienced that, but I’m willing to bet that many, even most, have not. I know it’s been a damned rare occurrence for me in my forty years in the workforce. Well, I visited a place like that recently. I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of days with the good folks at SilencerCo at their facility in West Valley, Utah.

Along with a few other guests, I was hosted by Matt Pinnell, SilencerCo’s Marketing Communications Manager. I planned to write a couple of articles about SilencerCo’s product line, especially the new Hybrid 46M suppressor, and maybe the production process. You know, the usual stuff. I’m still going to do some of that, but I couldn’t help being struck by SilencerCo’s company culture. It just had that feel that this was a great place to work.

Sure, they had the usual company slogans about how much they value their people. I’ve seen all that before. Most of the time it was lip service. How a company acts tells you a lot more than what they mouth at you, and it doesn’t take long to know where you really stand.

I started thinking this place might be different when I saw the mural on the back wall of the shop floor. It’s huge: floor to ceiling and fifty or sixty feet long. It was my first encounter with what seems to be the company’s mission: “Fight the Noise.”

SilencerCo unapologetically advocates for the benefits provided by suppressors to the shooting and hunting community. Many folks aren’t aware of those benefits thanks to media and political propaganda.

Hollywood has convinced people that only assassins use suppressors. I’ve had close personal friends tell me that the only possible reason I would want a suppressor is to kill someone quietly. It’s a flawed, but all too real view that is gleefully seized upon by anti-gun groups and politicians who thrive on that kind of fear.

The mural features a crowd of people, under an American flag, with their mouths taped shut. The connection is obvious: Keep your mouths shut and do what you’re told. SilencerCo is fighting back against that narrative.

I saw “Fight the Noise” plastered and spray-painted on the walls in the marketing department next to the bison trophy. I also noted that the marketing department was arranged so that everyone who worked there faced one another and had a big table around which to sit and exchange ideas.

SilencerCo marketing office with Fight the Noise message on the walls.
Jace enjoys lunch under the loud and clear message in the marketing office

No cubicles here. There were cool things around, like a Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet and dogs. Real dogs.

There was a dude named Gizmo chilling in the office while we were there. When I asked about him, I was told that SilencerCo encourages team members to bring their dogs to work. Now that is cool, ‘cause if you don’t like dogs, well, I can’t help you.

Turns out Gizmo is Media Director Jace LeRoy’s pal. And before you think that only the “management” gets to bring their dogs, au contraire. Everyone, even on the shop floor, can do the same. They even have a “Dog Station” with supplies folks might need for their furry friends. I was quickly learning that this was my kinda place.

In between the mural and the marketing office, we were ushered down to the indoor range. Lots of space backed by an armory room full of firearm-related goodness. We were welcomed by R&D Test Engineer and Data Manager Josh Sensinger and I do mean welcomed. I had wondered how the guys tasked with our tour might feel about working on a Saturday. I have to say, everyone seemed glad to see us.

Josh spent a couple of hours answering questions, showing us how they measure decibels, and letting us take some test shots through the equipment. We got to sample the new Hybrid 46M on various platforms (more detail in the next article) and shoot some sweet guns.

SilencerCo indoor range with sound testing equpment
The SilencerCo indoor range with test equipment.

About that armory…I know some readers have routine access to rooms full of guns most of us only see in photos. I am not one of those people. It was a serious gun porn experience. I won’t go into all the stuff — see the photos for that — but they encouraged us to handle the firearms and check out the various suppressors. Maybe that’s how all such places are, but I doubt it. It was a good time.

SilencerCo Armory
Some of the cool firearms in the SilencerCo Armory. I particularly like the surplus guns on the right.
SilencerCo Armory
Firearm goodness. Love those AKs.
SilencerCo Armory
All these cool guns. Love me some lever actions.

Once again I was impressed by how the mission was about bringing the benefits of the technology to the people. Josh talked about it, and, by this time, we had been joined by Jace, Production Specialist Josh Rowley, and Marketing Armorer and Coordinator Quinton Mount. They talked about it too. Stuff like the Hearing Protection Act and how beneficial it would be to the shooting world. Like it’s a company thing, you know?

That “company thing” isn’t just limited to suppressors, either. Jace is producing an ongoing video series called American Gun that profiles everyday people who use firearms for hunting, self-protection, or whatever. We also meet some folks who make their living in the firearms world.

The goal is to push back on the anti-gun narrative peddled by the media and politicians. It’s great stuff that you should be aware of and share around. We need more stuff like this. You can find those videos, as well as SilencerCo’s “Fight the Noise” playlist, on their YouTube channel.

After lunch, we drove to The Farm, a big range about an hour outside of town with gorgeous views of the Rockies. Now, I’m a proud Appalachian-American and I love my mountains, but these were on another level. We even saw a few antelope on the way back. I enjoyed every bit of it.

Outdoor shooting range in Utah, The Farm, view of the Rocky Mountains.
Part of the magnificent view from The Farm.

I was already thinking about this article and I asked Matt about the company culture while we drove. He told me that they base it on “The Three Ps:” People, Passion, and Precision. I later saw a sign in the facility laying out those concepts, but Matt reeled them off.

SilencerCo vision: People, Passion, and Precision
SilencerCo’s Vision.

At the risk of sounding like a shill, I think they are worth mentioning because SilencerCo seems to live up to them. Since we’re talking about culture, I’ll mention that under “People,” employees came first. I like that because I’m a firm believer that folks who like their jobs and company will do better work, thus benefiting the second group on the list, the customer/end-user.

I’ve included a photo of the sign I mentioned, so I won’t go through it all. But it reminded me of something I heard at a defensive firearms training course I attended a few years back. The instructor told us to buy firearms and accessories from “people who give a damn about their customers.” That stuck with me, and I try to do that. After all, I may have to bet my life on those products one day. I got the impression that the folks at SilencerCo are those kinds of people, and it starts with what happens inside that production facility.

Needless to say, we had a great time at the range. It didn’t hurt that we got to shoot more suppressed weapons. I was chosen for this writing assignment because I had zero experience with suppressors going in. I was truly amazed. I knew they wouldn’t be Hollywood quiet, but shooting a .45-70 and a .338 Lapua Magnum without ear protection? I would never have thought it possible.

Sara Liberte shooting Ed Brown 1911 with SilencerCo Hybrid 46M and Pork Sword.
My fellow writer Sara Liberte on the 1911 with the Hybrid 46M and prone behind the Black Collar Arms Pork Sword.
Stephanie Kimmell test firing with SilencerCo Hybrid 46M suppressor.
My fellow writer and editor extraordinaire Stephanie Kimmell fires test rounds inside and slings the Marlin .45-70 outside.
William "Bucky" Lawson shooting the 300 Blackout and Marlin .45-70 with Hybrid 46M big-bore-suppressor
Yours truly with the .300 Blackout and the Marlin .45-70, both wearing the Hybrid 46M. I need that Marlin in my life.

Note that we only did that outdoors. We definitely wore ear pro at the indoor range. I came away thinking that I need a suppressed .45-70 in my life. Once again, though, the thing I remember most is the people. Even though I had only met them a few hours earlier, I felt like I was among friends. I think that’s a big deal and it wasn’t a front put up for the benefit of the guests. These are real people and, let me tell you, Quinton is a hoot.

Quinton putting the Hybrid 46M on the .338 Lapua Magnum
Quinton putting the Hybrid 46M on the .338 Lapua Magnum.
Matt and Sara posing for cool photos with the .338 Lapua.
Matt and Sara posing for cool photos with the .338 Lapua. They weren’t really shooting.
True Pearce, Stephanie Kimmell, Jace LeRoy, Sara Liberte, Matt Pinnell, Quinton Mount
Good times with the gang at The Farm. Left to Right: True Pearce from Guns America; Stephanie Kimmell from Breach Bang Clear and the Mag Life; me; Jace LeRoy of SilencerCo; Sara Liberte from Breach Bang Clear, the Mag Life, and Sara Liberte Photography; Matt Pinnell and Quinton Mount of SilencerCo.

We finished the day with an official tour of the shop floor. Very interesting and they had a few folks working on a Saturday afternoon. Again, focusing on culture and philosophy, the most noticeable thing was the giant American flag hanging from the ceiling right in the middle of the place. I loved it. We all loved it.

Sara Liberte with her two dogs standing under the huge American flag inside the SilencerCo plant.
Sara, Jasper, and Archie under that big ol’ American Flag.

Later, while wandering around, I noticed a whiteboard with the company events for October written on it. One was a company barbecue. Another was a costume contest. Great stuff. Good companies do things like that. But what jumped out at me was the following note: “All Hands Meeting (4PM under the American Flag).” I asked Matt about it. The All-Hands meeting is a monthly event. It’s always held under the giant flag, and it always begins with the pledge of allegiance. “It’s cool,” Matt said. “It creates a really great atmosphere of patriotism and an inclusivity I’ve never felt anywhere else.”

I appreciate stuff like that. I’m all about foundational thinking. Comes with being a historian, or a nerd as some of my closer friends say with a smile. My personal and political philosophies are based on that. I’m not swayed by short-term policy promises, but by how policy fits with what happened between 1775 and 1791. If those dates don’t mean anything to you, well, you need to do some reading. I not only got those vibes from these guys, but we also talked about it. Honest to God, we talked about Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill, D-Day, the Constitution, the First and Second Amendments. We talked about the sacrifices made by those who came before us. Sacrifices still being made today. These are my people, and it was refreshing to run into so many in one place.

Matt may have summed it up best when he told me about the All-Hands meeting: “We’re like this giant group of friends who all love hunting, shooting, and the Second Amendment. And we get to pause for a minute to reflect on how lucky we are to work and live in a place that supports what we love.” Amen, brother

 

William “Bucky” Lawson is a self-described “typical Appalachian-American gun enthusiast”. He is a military historian specializing in World War II and has written a few things, as he says, “here and there”. A featured contributor for Strategy & Tactics, he likes dogs, range time, and a good cigar — preferably with an Old Fashioned that has an extra orange slice.



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