American Eagle "Suppressor" .45 Ammunition


I was rather amused by a box of .45 Auto 230 Grain FMJ RN ammo that my son picked up for our collection and gave to me today. It is a black American Eagle box marked “Suppressor” on top of a drawing of a typical pistol sound suppressor. The bullets are GM FMJ RN 230 grain of what appears to the eye to be a very normal ogive and OA seating length. What amuses me is the hype on the box - “Subsonic to maximize noise reduction; Bullet weights and configurations are carefully selected for suppressor use, etc.” This ammo, by the way, ins Federal American Eagle Index Number AE45SUP1.

Since the speed of sound 1,126 FPS (in dry air, at 20 degrees Celsius), and Federals normal “Hardball” 230 grain FMJ RN loading in .45 Auto caliber, Index 45D, has a listed MV of 850 FPS (pretty much the norm for all .45 auto ammunition, non-Plus P, of this bullet weight), and the list MV for this “Suppressor” ammo is 840 FPS, probably within the normal deviation for any .45 auto round listed at 850 FPS depending on temperature, altitude, barrel length, etc., it is hard to see why this load is anything special in regard to silencer use. Further, as already mentioned, the bullet shows no revolutionary bullet shape.

In short, virtually all .45 Auto 230 grain bullet ammunition is subsonic.
Leaves me to believe that this stuff is nothing but hype, right up there for silliness with the Zombie ammunition.

The cartridges by the way, are in normal “FEDERAL 45 AUTO” headstamped, brass cases, with nickel boxer primer.

Something special? Hmmm. I don’t think so.

Reported here only because it is the first of this “brand” from Federal that I had heard of.


I thought the same thing of this .45acp offering in that line of Federal ammo, in so far as “isn’t virtually all 230gr .45acp subsonic?”. My only thought was that maybe the powder is fast burning, as in a short-barrel oriented type of loading so as to avoid excessive heat & residue in the suppressor? If it is, I don’t believe they make note of it in their marketing.


DK - This is what the box says about the propellants:

“Clean propellants for easier suppressor cleanup and performance.”

“Efficient burning propellants reduce uncomfortable propellant blowback.”

I am not sure I understand what “propellant blowback” is when a cartridge is used in a locked-breech pistol, as all .45s of which I am aware are, rather than in a blow-back operated pistol.

If the propellants used make for “easier suppressor cleanup” why don’t they use them in all their .45s, since I assume they would make for “easier pistol cleanup?”

I still think its hokum.

Regarding using faster burning powders, I would think that they would concentrate heat, etc. in a silencer rather than reduce those conditions.
I do know that fast burning powders like Bullseye or 231 still have plenty of “sound signature” even in long barreled pistols, since I have used both in an 8-3/8" barrel Smith and Wesson Model 27, and even with target loads, there was still plenty of bark. That, of course, was without a suppressor but the point is that the faster powders, to the “naked ear” anyway, don’t seem to reduce muzzle blast to any appreciably lower level.

I could be all wet here. I don’t have much experience with suppressors. Always illegal in California, and never could see much legitimate use for them for regular shooters, or even police, for that matter. Military - Yes!


I could be all wet here. I don’t have much experience with suppressors. Always illegal in California, and never could see much legitimate use for them for regular shooters, or even police, for that matter. Military - Yes![/quote]
Possible reasons for regular shooters using them are reduced noise nuisance and reduction of hearing damamge. They are legal in the UK, and hunting with them is legal and encouraged for this reason.

There is a major infestation of Feral red foxes in London. I remember TonyE telling me that he had been hearing shots by professional pest controllers using suppressed .22 rimfire rifles at night in suburban London.


Using the suppressor “wet”, i.e., spray some white lithium grease into the ‘can’ or Wd-40 , H2O etc. will cool the hot gasses and reduce the sound signature from the supersonic escaping gasses. Substantially reduces sound signature. It will however, leave a vapor/steam signature.


“Efficient burning propellants reduce uncomfortable propellant blowback.”

Blowback is when combustion gases exit the breech end of the barrel. A suppressor will retain a lot of gas by it’s action, and as a result a lot of gas stays in the barrel. When the breech opens, a good portion of the remaining gas vents back to the shooter. You never really notice the burning propellant stink and acridity in an unsuppressed gun, but adding a suppressor really makes all that crud 100 times more noticeable. The smell isn’t so bad (to me) but eye discomfort gets to be a big issue.


Wally, Thanks for the information. I have fired a suppressed pistol only once, a locked-breech type, and honestly didn’t notice the blow-by. Have fired an MP5SD once, and same thing. I don’t recall my firing of a silenced Ingram. It was such a piece of garbage that I lost interest in shooting it very quickly.

Oddly, the worst I have ever felt blow-by was in my Marlin 1894 rifle in .45 Colt caliber. For cowboy action shooting, full-power loads are not used, and the straight-sided .45 Colt cartridge cases are thick enough that the loads don’t expand the cases enough to form a proper seal. That doesn’t happen with the tapered-case .44-40s I usually shot.


blowback isn’t much of an issue with silenced pistol at a slow pace. Shoot faster or move to a platform that gets your face closer to the vented gasses and it gets less desirable quickly. Lefty shooting an AR silenced would be much more affected than shooting a pistol at arm’s length.

AE may be on to something with this ammo - I am sure it will sell, and it may be somewhat better than typical off the shelf 45ACP loads when used suppressed.


It probably will sell, whether actually better or not. I wonder how big the market is. I was surprised my son found it in California, since except for LE, silencers are flat-out illegal here, and even though there is a licensing procedure for them for “civilians” with 36 years in the gun business and 63 years as a serious shooter, I have never heard of anyone, simply on an individual “I want to own one” basis, being granted that license. Same for full-auto stuff. The market for subsonic ammo here is probably tiny. In a country where silencers are Federally controlled, and in some states simply banned, I am surprised there is enough market out there, especially for .45 since it is (although my favorite) not that big with LE anymore, compared to 9 mm and .40. At least that is my perception based on what police carry in California. My son just retired from 27 years with the CHP and while discussing this load, neither of us could think of any department in California, although there probably are a couple, where the general issue handgun was .45. The CHP used .40 cal.

When I shoot a handgun for self-defense practice, I use pretty close to a point of shoulder two hand hold, modified to straight isosceles when the target is beyond my ability to reliably hit just looking down the top of the pistol, and sights are used. For an old fat guy like me, that means I go to the sights at pretty short range - anything much past about five yards. That may be why I don’t recall any blowback of gases.


There is currently a movement to allow / make legal suppressors in all 50 states. Probably not CA or MA but who knows. A number of states have passed hunting with one to be legal.

I shot a suppressed MP5 once & thought it was quite dirty to shoot, for whatever that’s worth.


Pete - guess that could depend on the ammo used to some degree. Of course, when I shot one, I didn’t have to clean it after. The agents did that little chore. I shot one magazine full and unlike when shooting a revolver with powders like Unique and Bullseye, my hands were not dirty after I shot the thing. It was kind of fun, but I actually prefer an M3 (caliber and more experience with it) or even a Thompson. But then, I didn’t have to carry them. Frankly, I would have preferred to shoot the MP5 without a silencer on it. For me, it was just a fun thing.


NFA Class III, 68 GCA Title 2 items like suppressors and MG/SMGs are legal in MA. Not for hunting but to own and shoot. there are a number of type 7 FFL’s in MA, NH, ME, VT, and even in NY. Although NY residents can not own any of this stuff unless you are a type7…SOT FFL.


Hi John
I shot one at Quantico in the early 1990’s (don’t remember what ammo was used other than it was free) & when I had my face down to see the sights I got lots of blowback, which was what I meant as being dirty as none of that with the un-supressed weapon.

Speaking of ammo the stuff we ran through the Thompson was headstamped “R diamond P”, saved a couple loaded ones & some fired cases.

Hi Dave
Nice to see MA isn’t totally …


Pete - o.k. I don’t recall how I shot the MP5SD I did. I simply do not recall any blowback that I could feel at all with it. I don’t recall if I shot it cheeked using sights, or fired the magazine in short bursts from the hip. The targets were not more than 15 meters out. Still, I would think you might feel the blowback more firing it from the hip, thinking about it.

I am ashamed to say that I seldom paid any attention to the ammunition we used on our quarterly trip to the range with a Federal Agency. I do recall that the only two guns we shot much, when we had the range to ourselves, was the M3 (possibly an M3A1- I don’t recall now, as I had fired the M3 a bit when I was with the 380th MP Detachment (Crime Lab) - today a CI unit - and they kind of run together in my feeble mind these days. and the TSMG M1928. I do recall that the MP5SD had a standard plastic stock, not that abortion of a collapsing stock found with many HK shoulder weapons. Don’t know if that would matter at all, either.

Our most prolific shooting was when my friend who arranged me shooting with them brought out a burlap bag full of EC steel case .45 ammo, full enough that it was quite heavy to lift. It was filthy stuff, physically I mean. Just plain dirty from Lord knows what kind of storage.
My friend simply ripped open the bag on the ground and spread out the ammo, and then squirted it with oil. I guess he saw my jaw drop, because he “reminded me” that the .45 Tommy Gun was not my pet .30-06 sporting rifle. Of course, we all know that oiling ammunition is generally considered dangerous. At any rate, there was probably seven or eight hundred rounds, and the gun never skipped a beat all morning.
Only time in my life that I got tired of shooting that c.12 Lb. TSMG. I think it was that day that made me realize what a fantastic job EC/ECS had done making steel-case ammo during WWII. No jams, no squibs, no misfires, in that horribly filthy lot of ammo, even then almost 45 years old.


The manufacturers and other people I receive guidance from usually call it “back pressure”. It’s much more of an issue with centerfire rifles and SMGs than it is with pistols. Federal is correct in it’s marketing, but the typically large-volume commercial cans used on .45ACP pistols are not bad at all with back pressure, fouling, etc compared with other platforms.

Our team runs 11.5" Colts with GemTech TREK cans and they are absolutely of great benefit. They were less expensive than our Aimpoints, and reduce overpressure in confined spaces. A shorty 5.56 can blow out comms and eardrums inside a vehicle, hallway, etc. They dont even come close to eliminating sound signature; the remaining muzzle blast and sonic signature sound like a firecracker.

HK, AK and other platforms don’t have near the noticeable back pressure of direct-impingement gas-operated rifles like the M16-pattern guns. The stuff jets out from the charging handle recess, and as aforementioned is stanky and distracting if you’re not wearing high-coverage eye protection. The PRI GasBuster charging handle is marketed directly towards this minor issue. I shoot my suppressed Commando lefthanded, and get a “powder mustache” from it. The crud also blows down into the magazine; cleaning and lube require close attention.

John, the Mp5SD is a relatively small cartridge with a very high suppressor volume; I love those old guns and every kind of signature is greatly reduced. I always loved watch Singleton write his initials.

As DK and others have mentioned, AAC PPU S&B and plenty of others have offered subsonic ammo for a while, new products are added regularly it seems as more folks buy/use cans in the “Free States” haha.