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How To Thread Barrels

How To Thread Barrels

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Travis Pike

Travis Pike

A threaded barrel on a firearm provides several benefits to shooters. With it, you can attach a variety of muzzle devices to enhance your gun’s performance, like suppressors, compensators, and flash hiders. It also allows for easy customization and can even make it possible to make quick swaps between attachments in different shooting scenarios.

As demand for the benefits of suppressors and other muzzle devices has grown, threaded barrels have become the industry standard for most gun manufacturers. They are practical and have become a frequently sought out feature on a firearm for many shooters. But even though factory-threaded barrels have become more common, they are still a minority in the hands of many shooters.

Threading a barrel is not something most people can do at home. The process requires a number of expensive and specialized machines and years of experience to achieve correctly.  For that reason, if you want a threaded barrel for your firearm, you have two options:

  1. Take your weapon to a trained gunsmith. The process of threading a barrel requires specific fixtures and lathes. And since most barrels are not symmetrical, they are very hard to work on without expensive tools. Gunsmiths have these tools and they do it well.
  2. Purchase a threaded barrel for your particular platform. Keep in mind that with the wide variety of different firearms, it’s not always just as simple as buying a new barrel. To help you understand the best option for your specific firearm we are going to break it down by platform.
SilencerCo suppressor and mount

What are threaded barrels?

Threaded barrels are firearm barrels with external threads at the muzzle end, designed to accommodate various muzzle devices such as suppressors, compensators, muzzle brakes, and flash hiders.

Specifically, the thread is the spiraling ridge on the outside muzzle end of the barrel that matches a compatible ridge on the inside of a muzzle device, to allow two parts to be screwed together. The thread is precisely machined to ensure that the muzzle device is securely attached. 

threaded and unthreaded pistol barrels
Barrel threads are machined to exacting requirements to ensure the safe and reliable function of your suppressor.

Are threaded barrels needed for silencers?

Yes, in the modern era, a threaded barrel is necessary for modern and effective suppressors. A threaded barrel provides a standardized interface that allows the suppressor to be securely screwed onto the barrel’s threads, ensuring proper alignment and stability. This alignment is crucial for the suppressor to function effectively in reducing muzzle noise and flash.

There are always exceptions, however. There are suppressors that can attach to a rail and just happen to line the suppressor up just right with the barrel. Other devices have used friction-fit designs. Regardless, these devices are rare and have an increased risk of baffle strikes and catastrophic malfunctions. 

Are threaded barrels needed for muzzle devices?

Yes, for all intents and purposes, they are required. There have been accessories in the past that allow the attachment of muzzle devices without threading the barrel, but these are few and far between and don’t function as well as threaded muzzle devices.

Threaded Barrels for Handguns

Most handgun barrels cannot be threaded, due to their short length. For most handguns, you’ll need to purchase a threaded barrel. This gives you a slightly longer barrel that allows the threads to clear the slide of the pistol so suppressors and other muzzle devices can be attached. If the barrel is not extended slightly with the threads exposed, you will not be able to attach those accessories.

pistol threaded barrel threads exposed
A threaded barrel on a pistol must extend past the slide to allow for the attachment of a suppressor or other muzzle device.

Here at SilencerCo, we have an entire line of threaded barrels that will allow you to attach a suppressor with a piston. You’ll have no problems finding Beretta® threaded barrels, Glock® threaded barrels, SIG® threaded barrels, and many more.

Threaded Barrels for Rifles

Most rifles have most of their barrel exposed, or at least the end where the projectile pops out exposed. Depending on the rifle, it might already be threaded. Modern rifles like the AR series almost always come with threaded barrels unless it’s a feature specifically banned under some zany and nonsensical law.

threaded barrel of an AR-15
Many modern AR platform rifles come from the factory with a threaded rifle.

While threaded barrels are becoming more common, most traditional rifles do not have threaded barrels. If you want your rifle to have a threaded barrel you should take it to a professional gunsmith. It’s a fairly basic service that most gunsmiths offer.

Depending on the platform you may need to push your front sight slightly rearwards to accommodate the barrel threading. Additionally, altering the barrel length needs careful consideration to avoid inadvertently creating a Short-Barreled Rifle (SBR). An SBR typically has a barrel length of less than 16 inches for rifles and less than 18 inches for shotguns.

When threading a barrel for suppressor attachment, it’s possible to include muzzle devices like flash hiders or compensators to increase overall length. It’s worth noting that adjusting barrel length often requires rethreading, either due to personal preference or if a threaded barrel is being modified.

Crucially, the added length of muzzle devices does not count toward the barrel length unless they are permanently affixed. This distinction clarifies the legal status of the firearm and its compliance with SBR regulations. So, while threaded barrels and suppressors provide valuable benefits, understanding these considerations ensures responsible and lawful firearm modifications.

unthreaded rifle barrel
Before you take your rifle barrel to the gunsmith to be threaded, make sure what thread pitch you need.

Prior to contacting a gunsmith you’ll need to understand what thread pitch you’ll need for your muzzle device or suppressor. The thread pitch on your rifle’s barrel needs to match the thread pitch of your chosen muzzle device. Different calibers may require different thread pitches due to the size of the barrel and projectile being fired. Thread pitches vary, and checking what thread pitch your muzzle device requires is mandatory.

Shotguns — A Different Kind of Threaded Barrel

Outside of suppressors, muzzle devices aren’t common with shotguns, and shotgun barrels tend to be fairly thin. A few shotguns have external threads, like the KSG Bullpup, but the large majority of shotguns are threaded inside the bore, specifically for attaching chokes. In the shotgun realm, threaded chokes are the prevalent threading arrangement for enhancing versatility and performance.

shotgun barrel and SilencerCo chokes
SilencerCo offers an assortment of Echo Choke Adapters to work with Benelli, Mossberg, Remington, and many more.

Different gun companies use different choke systems with different thread patterns. Mossberg and Remington have their own choke patterns, as does Benelli. These thread patterns are more or less standardized to specific chokes. If your shotgun isn’t threaded for chokes and you want to attach something awesome like the Salvo 12, you’ll need to send the shotgun barrel to a competent gunsmith.

Man wearing a SilencerCo T-shirt shoulders a shotgun with Salvo 12 suppressor attached.
The SilencerCo Salvo-12 attaches using Echo Choke Mounts.

Much like getting a rifle barrel threaded, you’ll need a competent and reputable gunsmith to do the work. Luckily, you aren’t restricted to a particular choke design if you are getting your shotgun barrel threaded. A Remington 870 can be threaded for Mossberg chokes, Benelli chokes, etc. Just choose what you prefer. The Salvo-12 has adapters to work with Benelli, Mossberg, Remington, and many more.

Where can you get a threaded barrel?

Remember, if you want a threaded barrel for your firearm, you have two options. You can take it to a reputable gunsmith, or you can buy a threaded barrel that is made to fit your model of firearm, with a thread pitch and bore size to match your suppressor.

If buying a threaded barrel is the option you choose, be sure to check out the line of SilencerCo threaded barrels. You’ll find threaded barrels for Glocks, HKs, SIGs, and more. These barrels are meticulously designed to provide reliable and accurate suppressed shooting.

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