The two hobbies of gun love and do-it-yourself projects very rarely intersect. You might be able to build furniture in your shed, fix a leaky pipe, or change the oil in your car, but most people don’t have the knowledge, the tools, or the permits to make their own gun or gun parts.
Every once in a while, though, you’ll come across an inventive gunsmith who discovers a way to incorporate simple, everyday products into guns. Sometimes it can be as simple as duct taping a flashlight to a rifle. Other times, it’s a bit more unorthodox.
Behold the Econo-Can, crafted from a simple oil filter. Normally, this humble car part filters contaminants from engine oil. As it turns out, it also does a fantastic job of filtering out the sound of gunfire. Chris of American Specialty Ammo posted a YouTube video of the Econo-Can invention, an oil filter suppressor for the budget price of around $75.
We’ll briefly dive into the instructions for how to make these things because, well, there really isn’t that much to it.
Buy an oil filter.
Acquire a registered adapter. The one in the video is registered as a suppressor with the ATF.
Screw the adapter onto the oil filter to create the Econo-Can.
Attach the Econo-Can to your gun.
That’s pretty much it — it really doesn’t get much simpler than “screw the one thing into the other thing.” What you’re left with is a cheap and effective suppressor that can make a P22 Walther sound as quite as an airsoft.
According to the video, they actually had to go out of their way to prove to the viewers out there that they hadn’t pulled the old switcheroo. No, that’s not an airsoft that they’re firing. As proof, you can see the first shot blowing a hole out of the back of the oil filter.
Now, here’s the tricky thing about the Econo-Can. When you build a gun suppressor out of car parts, you automatically assume that it’s going to be worse than a factory-machined suppressor that’s been designed by expert gunsmiths. You’d probably think, “This would be a cheap alternative, but if I really want a decent suppressor I’ll have to shell out the extra cash for a top-shelf product.”
Wrong. Not only is the Econo-Can cheaper than the 22 Sparrow Suppressor that they use in the video (which goes for about $400 to $500), but it’s also much more effective at reducing sound. Just listen to the difference.
We get the feeling that suppressor manufacturers are squirming in their seats as they’re watching this.
What makes the Econo-Can so intriguing is that it seems to hold up fairly well with a variety of weapons. It withstood 100 rounds from a .22 LR and 90 rounds of a full auto 5.45×39. Not too shabby! Even if it does suffer wear and tear, getting a new one would be as simple as driving down to your local car parts store and picking up another oil filter for a few dollars.
The only real downside is that, to put it bluntly, it looks ridiculous. Sure, it’s quiet and all, but having a massive blue column on the end of your gun adds a lot of bulk and might earn a few mocking jokes from your shooting pals. The look could be significantly improved by a coat of gunmetal black paint, but nothing is going to mitigate the bulky mass. You definitely won’t be able to holster a pistol that’s hooked up to an Econo-Can, even if you have a holster specifically designed for suppressors.
The Econo-Can has got its pros and cons, but considering how well it performs in its primary role as a noise suppressor, we’re willing to bet that more than a few gun owners will be hitting up AutoZone later this week for a cheap do-it-yourself project.
We’re liking this trend of fusing gun parts with gunsmithing. These are two things that are loved by guys the world over. Next up, we’re really hoping that somebody figures out how to hook up a machine gun to an internal combustion engine. Now that would be an impressive firearm, one that can fire full automobile.
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