Quiet Giant: The TiON Dragoon .500 QD 

by Tommy Grant

A closer look at TiON and its new Dragoon .500 QD, a .50-caliber titanium suppressor that brings a lot to the table. 

While all suppressors are fun, some are more fun than others. At CANCON Georgia 2023 it was easy to track down the excitement. Naturally, belt-fed machineguns garnered the longest lines, but something a little fatter and slower at TiON’s lane drew quite a crowd as well.  

Understandable, given it was the public’s first chance to see the company’s new Dragoon .500 QD in action. For effect, it was mounted on a Big Horn Armory Model 89 lever-gun chambered for .500 S&W Magnum. That’s a big suppressor, a big rifle and a big bullet, and they made for one handsome package.  

While suppressed lever-actions are popular in their own right, it was the performance of the Dragoon .500 QD that made for a winning combination. What makes this can so good? A lot of it just has to do with how TiON builds its suppressors. 


Titanium Or Bust 

When TiON (then known as Freedom Armory Machine Works) was just starting to make suppressors 11 years ago, working with titanium was new for the team. While titanium offers many advantages over other common metals, especially when it comes to suppressors, the material presents distinct challenges.  

Firstly, titanium is an expensive metal, it requires more expensive tools to work with and the material takes longer to machine, further adding to the cost. Despite the complexity, TiON believes the benefits titanium brings to a suppressor are well worth the effort. Over the past 11 years, the company has refined its processes and increased its knowledge base and skill set to the point that titanium is now TiON’s preferred material.  

The metal has several inherent qualities that make it good for suppressors—for instance, excellent strength-to-weight ratio—but TiON clearly set out to take advantage of all of titanium’s unique attributes. That line of thinking is present at the beginning of each suppressor’s design process. 

Understanding the limitations of machining titanium, the company designs each can from the ground up for relative ease of manufacturing. This saves time, money and headaches when it comes time to start production. Another interesting quality titanium has compared to steel or aluminum is the ability to cut strong yet lightweight threads into the metal. TiON capitalizes on this fact by utilizing threaded components to assemble its cans rather than welding them. The company also machines its rifle suppressors from solid bars of titanium. According to TiON, by eschewing welding and starting with a monolithic piece of material, the company can give its suppressors some key advantages over traditionally manufactured ones.  

This is because welding has the potential to move or otherwise distort a suppressor’s baffle stack during manufacturing. By using threading to assemble its cans instead that’s not an issue with TiON’s products. Further, machining the suppressor bodies from solid bar stock in one continuous operation ensures perfect alignment with the other components. Welds are also simply another potential failure point in any design, but that’s one less thing that TiON (or an end user) has to worry about. As a bonus, the threaded design also means that suppressors like the Dragoon .500 QD can be fully disassembled, cleaned and serviced using standard tools.  

These benefits are enhanced by TiON’s baffle design and Quick Disconnect mounting system. Each baffle in the column is dovetailed into the next to ensure the stack is always properly aligned and oriented the same way, and the QD system likewise allows repeatable mounting of the suppressor.

What this all amounts to is TiON produces extremely consistent suppressors, and the company claims that its efforts result in repeatable shot groups, even between individual cans.  

Scott Morris, president of TiON, said at CANCON, his company’s suppressors are extremely popular with competitive long-range shooters. After considering all they do to guarantee this level of consistency, it’s easy to see why.  

The Dragoon .500 QD 

With all that in mind, let’s get back to the company’s latest suppressor, the Dragoon .500 QD. I didn’t see a single CANCON attendee put rounds through it without walking away with a smile on their face, myself included.  

Measuring in at 11.5 inches long and 1.75 inches in diameter, the first thing you’ll notice when you handle a Dragoon .500 is its weight. At about 21 ounces, it may weigh more than the average .30-caliber rifle can, but it also feels like it should weigh more than it does given it’s nearly double the length of one, as well.  

When I first picked up the Big Horn Armory Model 89, it already had the Dragoon jutting nearly a foot out from its muzzle. However, the rifle turned out very well balanced, more so than appearances suggested. You’d expect that much mass to make the gun front-heavy, but it shouldered as if the suppressor wasn’t even there.  

The next point of astonishment was the report. Out of the lever-gun’s 18-inch barrel, TiON clocked a 350-grain .500 S&W Magnum at 138dB at the left ear. Anything below 140dB is considered hearing-safe, and as someone who fired this setup without any ear pro in, I’d have to agree. It was extremely quiet for such a powerful round.  

TiON says that they’re not aware of any .50-caliber suppressor (in the non-.50 BMG category) that provides better sound reduction. Given sound suppression is every can’s primary job, it’s a big win for the Dragoon .500 QD. 

While this suppressor is obviously geared toward big-bore shooters, it’s also very versatile. It’s rated for everything from .22LR through .500 Auto Max and TiON offers several QD mounts, muzzle brakes and flash hiders with various thread pitches to facilitate mounting it on a variety of platforms.  

The Dragoon .500 clearly isn’t the can for everybody, but it should have big-bore enthusiasts and some hunters very excited. For those who have no interest in .50-caliber stuff, the company also offers a wide selection of suppressors in more standard calibers. If you appreciate lightweight and extremely consistent cans, those are definitely worth checking out too. 

For more information, please visit tioninc.com.

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