From time to time, you may come across an image of a suppressor on an AR-15 wrapped in a suppressor cover. Are these covers glorified fashion accessories, or do they have practical value that makes them worth purchasing? To learn more, we recently sat down with Alceu Aragao Jr., CEO of Burn Proof Gear.
Q: Thanks for joining us. Can we start with how Burn Proof Gear came about?
Alceu Aragao Jr. – Burn Proof Gear – I got in the industry in the summer of 2015, making prototype suppressor covers. I was finishing my engineering degree, and a friend of mine had a holster company. I had reached out to him to see if he wanted to make a holster for a suppressed pistol. We prototyped a few options, and we realized that we needed some sort of protective cover…I ended up purchasing an inexpensive suppressor cover, but it wasn’t what we needed, as it was too fat for a pistol, and it wouldn’t stay mounted, it would slide off.
I also found that if you shot with it on a rifle, it would melt due to having Cordura fabric on the outside. This experience with a poorly made suppressor cover led me to decide to make my own.
I took some Kevlar fabric I had sitting around and taped it onto the suppressor using aluminum tape, and it worked better than what I had previously. Eventually, I moved on to using rope instead of tape. Not long afterward, I sold my first cover. That said, it was still rudimentary and nothing like what we sell today.
Over time, we got a patent, created an LLC, a small social media presence, and started getting our designs in people’s hands. Finally, after a year or so of getting hands-on feedback, we were able to come up with a final design.
Q: I think many people can see the need for a suppressor, but why suppressor covers?
Alceu Aragao Jr. – Burn Proof Gear – Suppressors have a lot of positives. They protect your hearing. They protect those around you from loud noises when shooting indoors doing CQB. They’re great for those that do a lot of long-range precision shooting.
Some may not know that suppressors are also important for those that shoot while using night vision. Many don’t realize that when you’re shooting a rifle using night vision or thermal without a suppressor, it becomes very difficult, and it’s not practical. The flash of the firearm makes them almost useless, and you can actually break your night vision. So, shooting with a suppressor allows you to shoot with night vision and takes care of all of the sound, flash, thermal/IR signature problems.
But, for all of the benefits of a suppressor, you get a thermal signature coming off of your suppressor as they get hot. You also get heat mirage. So at Burn Proof Gear, our main concern is eliminating that thermal signature. Secondly, suppressor covers are critical to protect the operator from when they are transitioning from rifle to pistol, or just stowing the firearm away in a bag or a vehicle, and not burning anything.
Q: Someone new to suppressors may not realize just how quickly they can get hot. I’ve had some painful lessons, and I can see how a cover might be useful and could quickly pay for itself.
Alceu Aragao Jr. – Burn Proof Gear – A lot of people have stories about accidentally burning themselves. In my experience, ten shots gets you to the point where you can burn someone. After a single magazine, you can end up in the hospital if you’re not careful. If my math is correct, it’s typically seven degrees Fahrenheit on average per trigger pull. So, after three 30-round mags, or 90 rounds, you’re at 630 degrees, plus the ambient temperature of, let’s just say 70 degrees. That puts you at 700 degrees. That’s enough for a terrible third-degree burn. You’d be going straight to the hospital after about 3 to 5 seconds of exposure.
If you accidentally grab a suppressor or push it against someone, it takes a second or two for you to react or pull away. Getting in and out of tight spaces, you’re setting yourself up for a serious injury. There’s even the possibility of causing someone to flinch and causing a negligent discharge.
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Q: What should we be looking for in suppressor covers?
Alceu Aragao Jr. – Burn Proof Gear – There are undoubtedly many companies making suppressor covers, including those from China, and others come from enthusiasts who decide to make gear. The problem with making suppressor covers is that there is a lot to consider. If they are not engineers or don’t know what the product should do, it can get a little dicey. As with many firearm products and accessories, there is a lot of false advertising. It’s certainly a case where your readers should be careful and research what they are purchasing; as is often the case, suppressor covers are products where it’s really ‘buy once, cry once.’
One of the reasons you need to do your research is that there are many companies out there using nylon. We’ve used it in the past for very special one-off individual requests, but we don’t like to do it. So if someone is selling you a nylon suppressor cover, they are lying to you, as it’s not truly a suppressor cover; instead, it’s something for use on an Airsoft gun that’s not made to withstand heat.
You’ll see companies out there that will claim their covers are rated to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, or they’ll use a welding fabric that is rated to 2,000 degrees. You’ll find this is not an accurate rating because a suppressor cover is only rated to what the lowest material is. Meaning, if that company is using Velcro that is only rated to 300 degrees, then that’s what your cover is actually rated to. The same applies if you are using nylon fabric rated to 350 degrees.
On our suppressor covers, we only rate them to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, even though we use a fiberglass mesh sleeving that goes over the suppressor, and then a Kevlar cover that goes over that, and 2,000-degree fabric sewn into the inside of the cover.
We are careful only to say 1,000 because the Kevlar begins to degrade once the cover gets to 1,000 degrees. I think it’s better to do as a company – to underrate our products – versus making inaccurate claims. Unfortunately, some companies out there have copied our designs and claim ratings higher than ours, but it’s simply not true.
Q: Can you describe your suppressor covers and how they differs from others on the market?
Alceu Aragao Jr. – Burn Proof Gear – Our suppressor cover has two parts – a fiberglass mesh sleeving rated to around 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. It has DuPont Kevlar fabric, made by a company called Safety Components. We usually use diamond-weave black Kevlar on the covers. We have also used ripstop black Kevlar fabric in wheat tan color. These Kevlar covers are rated to 800 to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on how it is put together. The cover is a bit like a sandwich in that it has Kevlar on the top and bottom, and on the inside, there is a layer of 32-ounce fiberglass welding mat fabric. It is rated to 2,000 degrees and is similar to what the sleeving is, just thicker and more tightly woven. Channels are sewn into the cover, and we then use Kevlar rope woven in through the cover, which makes the cover sinch around like a tube. We designed it so that the rope sinches down on itself to tighten and stay shut.
Q: You offer different sizes of suppressor covers. Can you explain why fit is important?
The covers really do need to fit well so that there is no sliding around. When a cover is properly installed, it should be about a half-inch longer than the total suppressor length, including the quick detach portion of the suppressor. It should sinch around the front and back about a quarter inch.
Once you tighten it on, you should be able to hold the gun by the suppressor and shake it without the suppressor cover coming off. It was designed for guys going overseas and using it for combat, so that they could “set it and forget it” and not have to ever worry about it coming off.
Q: Can you talk a bit about pricing?
We could sell these cheaper. If we did, we’d sell way more…but we’re selling you a service. We’re selling you a warranty. When someone asks for a suppressor recommendation, we say that you should go with someone who will be around forever. We recommend SureFire quite often because we know they are going to be around for the long haul. With us, we’ve been in business for six years, and we don’t plan on going anywhere. You’re paying for a warranty and customer service. We can walk you through the installation if you have issues. You’re not just buying something from China and being left on your own. It’s also made in the USA.
Q: Before we finish, I’d like to ask you about your Rail-Rap… how did that product come about?
Alceu Aragao Jr. – Burn Proof Gear – The Rail-Rap was a collaboration with TacPack. We had featured a prototype on our Instagram, and they saw it and asked if they could put them in their boxes. We spun up and made 5,000 Rail-Raps, and they sent them out for Christmas. They were a big hit and we’ve been cranking them out ever since.
It has an opening on the top and bottom that allows for forward grips, controls for lights, etc., and is attached with Kevlar cord that we use for our suppressor covers, not Velcro. It’s made of fire-retardant Kevlar on the inside base layer that touches the rail. Then there is a layer of Kevlar ballistic fabric in the center that adds rigidity. Finally, on the outside is whatever pattern you want to run. The hottest we’ve ever seen a rail get after almost 300 rounds non-stop was 600 degrees Fahrenheit, and the Rail-Rap will withstand more than that.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
Alceu Aragao Jr. – Burn Proof Gear – At Burn Proof Gear, we have a commitment to high-quality products and to bringing products to market that solve problems for shooters. They are products that they can count on. They can rest assured that the quality is there and that our products will not fail when they need them. When you look at something like suppressor covers, it’s an item that has a real purpose, and it is one that everyone who has a can on their rifle should consider.
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