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Old 02-03-2018, 06:13 AM   #377
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Default AAC Honey Badger LVC and the Hearing Distance Table

AAC Honey Badger LVC .300 Blackout

I want to stat the AAC Honey Badger .300 Blackout, in the prototype configuration that DEVGRU received as the Low-Visibility Carbine.

I haven't been able to find conclusive data on the exact configuration that Advanced Armament Corporation supplied to DEVGRU for testing, but the information from Silvers in 2012 should be pretty close, as he was head of R&D at AAC at the time.

What information I mostly lack is how long the carbine is overall without the suppressor, how much the suppressor weighs and how much trouble it is to remove and attach. I know it's probably not a QD model, but does that mean two seconds longer than a QD model to remove or attach or does it mean five minutes with tools?

I also lack data on how many weapons AAC ultimately delivered during the classified testing process, where the AAC Honey Badger competed against the SIG MCX, an offering from LWRC, possibly a version of the LWRC M6, and one or more manufacturers who have elected to have their involvement remain secret, but whose products might have included versions of the Colt SCW, HK416c or FN SCAR-PDW/FN SCAR-P, either in 5.56x45mm or re-chambered for .300 Blackout or 6.8mm SPC.

I'll only be featuring a couple of AAC Honey Badgers with the DEVGRU operators, unless I find evidence of two different configurations that both seem intriguing, in which case there will be two of one configuration and one weapon in the other. No matter how few were delivered for testing, it doesn't seem unrealistic that a platoon from Black Squadron could manage to scrounge up 2-3 examples still in DEVGRU armouries two years after testing finished.

And, yes, I am aware of the Honey Badger by Q, a company founded by Kevin Brittingham, the original founder of AAC and driving force behind the AAC Honey Badger. However, there are substantial cosmetic changes from the original AAC weapon which was tested by DEVGRU and these may reflect some significant mechanical modifications. In any case, not the exact same weapon and not with the exact same stats, not to mention, an entirely new suppressor. It may even be a better weapon, but as I have no reliable information that anything designed or built by Q has been delivered to DEVGRU or any JSOC unit, I was going to avoid featuring it. The weapons available will be remaining test carbines and thus made by AAC.

GURPS rules question about the AAC Honey Badger: Do I give the suppressor a -2 to Hearing or a -3?

It's basically a question of rounding up or down for the measured dB performance and selecting which benchmark we wish to be consistent with.

Combined with the subsonic bonus, even -2 would be generous in actual dB terms (measured performance is 124-126 dB, possibly up to 128-130 dB for the compact suppressor). However, if we compare to stats for other suppressors that GURPS already has statted, then suppressors of this expense level and quality (other AAC suppressors appear in GURPS products) are often -3 to Hearing. If we limit the purpose-built suppressed weapon to -2 Hearing, you can reach better GURPS sound-suppression with subsonic rounds in weapons that demonstratably are noisier than the AAC Honey Badger in real life.

In a nutshell, do we go with consistency with an externally measurable dB number* (and and the usual mathematical convention of rounding up for 5 and higher) or do we elect consistency with already published stats for suppressors, which allow more variation in quality and differentiate between weapon systems considered distinct in real life?

Which would mean that the best suppressors in common calibers were basically limited to -2 Hearing penalty, plus a -1 subsonic bonus. Importantly, and contra published stats, with the combined penalty of -3 Hearing and -2 subsonic bonus being unknown, as far as I know, for 5.56x45mm, .300 Blackout, 6.8 SPC or .458 SOCOM, and, in fact, may only exist for huge rifle rounds which start out at a higher dB rating. Not to mention that pistols would be limited to -2 or very rarely -3 combined Hearing penalty from subsonic ammo and suppressor, for all common calibers like .380 ACP, 9x19mm, .40 S&W or .45 ACP.

A problem here is that the MP5SD is given -3 Hearing, which does not specify whether it already includes the subsonic ammo bonus. Assuming that it does, this is actually pretty fair for the measured dB of the weapon system, which ranges from 123 dB to 132 dB, depending on who is measuring and how. The problem lies in the fact that the H&K Mk23 pistol and the M4 are both given -3 Hearing with their standard military issue suppressors, giving them both the same GURPS dB level as an MP5SD, even using standard ammo.*

Measurable dB for supersonic 5.56x45mm from a suppressed M4 and the .45 ACP +P fired from the Mk23 are both around 138-139 dB. It's possible that the best AAC suppressors and other, 2010s era, suppressors for the M4 might give slightly better performance, as in 130-134 dB.

This is not to say that giving -3 Hearing for the excellent quality suppressors used by SMUs under JSOC for these weapons is wrong. In fact, they can both perform well enough to reduce sound signature by over 30 dB.

It's just that starting from 150 dB for .45 ACP or supersonic 5.56x45mm is very generous. It's rounding down from 158-159 dB to 150 dB, before we start modifying the sound signature.

Of course, no matter how good the suppressor is, it won't silence the supersonic crack of 5.56x45mm using standard military ammunition. So one should not expect a suppressed M4A1 carbine using M885/M885A1 ball or Mk262 Mod 1 Black Hills 77 grain SMK to be effectively as covert as an MP5SD sub-machine gun, no matter what GURPS rules say.

So, do I base the Honey Badger suppression stats on consistency with MP5SD stats or with H&K Mk23 and M4A1 stats?

Of course, it's possible to interpret p. 158 of High-Tech as simply using another definition of measured dBs than simply peak pressure at muzzle, given that High-Tech states that the values are 'weighed for human hearing'. As gunshots are short, sharp noises, perhaps the system is rating them as lower dB than their peak, which causes them to be assigned a line about 8-15 dB lower than the measurements commonly cited in firearm publications?

This would mean that a suppressor could be measured as 120-124 dB, but still be accurately placed a line or two lower on the Hearing Distance Table, because it's harder to notice and place over a long distance, with environmental noises, than sustained noise at its measured level. If this is a possible interpretation, I like it. It allows GURPS stats to work as written, even if real world measurements of suppressor performance are sometimes not as low as the lines they are assigned on the table.

*Especially egrerious with the M4 using supersonic 5.56x45mm ammo, of course. And using subsonic 5.56x45mm (which has many issues in actual practice, but whatever), we get the 100 dB 'Airgun, silent ammo, revvying gas engine' line on High-Tech p. 158. Suppressed, subsonic .223 are very quiet (ca 117 dB), but I've never seen an experiment where they could reach dB ratings quite that low.
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Last edited by Icelander; 02-04-2018 at 05:58 AM.
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