Why You Should Own A Silencer (Suppressor)

Most firearms enthusiasts would agree that suppressed firearms are some of the most fun and most desirable firearms toys you can play with.  Invented by Hiram Maxim in 1902 (in parallel to the automobile silencer…aka, the muffler), it’s hard to point to any item that’s more effective at making shooting more enjoyable and safer.

In addition to the cool factor that comes with seeing James Bond, Jason Bourne, special operations units, and other action heroes use them throughout the years, they have a tremendous amount of practical value for firearms enthusiasts in general and preparedness minded people in particular.

Just to dispel any preconceived ideas that you might have, the vast majority of the benefits of suppressed weapons can be enjoyed without having to endure a “Mad Max” scenario.

Before we get into the benefits of suppressed weapons, let me give you some quick background…

To begin with, “silencers” don’t silence a weapon…they only suppress the sound level of the firearm, which is why there has been a shift from calling them “silencers” to calling them “suppressors.”  In reality, it doesn’t really matter what you call them…silencer, suppressor, gun muffler, etc.  There’s NO difference and everyone knows what you’re talking about.

When a firearm discharges, particularly a semi-automatic firearm, there are several sources of noise:

  1. The bolt/slide assembly going backwards, the spent round being extracted, and the next round being loaded.
  2. The muzzle blast.
  3. On semi-autos, in addition to the sound of expanding gas exiting the muzzle, you’ve also got the sound of expanding gas exiting the ejection port.
  4. Bullets traveling faster than roughly 1150 feet per second will break the sound barrier and cause a tiny sonic boom.
  5. The sound of the mechanical percussion that ignites the round.
  6. The sound of the round hitting a target.

For the most part, suppressors suppress the sound of muzzle blasts and don’t affect the other 5 factors, but simply suppressing the muzzle blast can often mean the difference between needing to wear hearing protection to shoot and not needing to wear hearing protection.

Suppressors use the same noise suppression concept as automobile mufflers…in fact they were developed at the same time and “silencer” and “muffler” are used interchangeably with both technologies in many parts of the world. Both allow the expansion of gasses inside of a container rather than in the open air.

And, just like there are several non-tactical benefits to using an automobile muffler, there are several non-tactical benefits to using a suppressor in addition to the tactical ones.

To begin with, it’s just polite. In England, New Zealand, and several other “civilized” countries around the world that allow firearms of one type or another, people use silencers so that they can talk while shooting, hear after shooting, shoot while their friends and family sit and chat nearby, shoot near their pets without damaging their hearing, shoot without bothering the neighbors, and shoot at night without waking the neighbors and/or causing unnecessary calls to law enforcement.

With the benefit that suppressors have when shooting around animals, it would be ironic, but understandable if PETA became a big proponent of the loosening of laws and expanded use of suppressors.

Expanding on that list, there are an increasing number of “suppressor only” firearms competitions where the non-competitors of all ages can comfortably have normal conversations without hearing protection just a few yards behind the line.

Many low-light training courses have had to be canceled in recent years because of neighbors complaining about the noise when they’re trying to relax for the evening or sleep. Suppressors are an obvious solution to this issue.

Also, nighttime is the best time to shoot one of America’s most costly animals…wild hogs. I said “shoot” instead of “hunt” because hogs are estimated to cause $200-$800 in damage apiece per year and sows can deliver as many as 10 babies per year. As a result, hog control becomes a mix between hunting and eradication. What this means is that in addition to bothering the neighbors less when hunting with a suppressed weapon, it also can allow the shooter the opportunity to take more hogs per engagement—this is because they will be able to see better and get back on target quicker and because the decrease in noise MIGHT allow them multiple shots before the herd scatters. And if you’re wondering if you can hunt hogs with a silencer…the answer depends on where you are. A continually increasing number of states allow either varmint eradication and/or hunting with a silencer. In some states, you can use silencers, night vision, and/or thermal vision. In Texas, you can even shoot hogs while hanging out of a helicopter.

Great learning tool

Next, when you consider the fact that suppressors decrease sound levels, improve accuracy, reduce felt recoil, and reduce muzzle flip, it quickly becomes evident that they are almost the perfect tool to use when introducing a new shooter to the sport…particularly young shooters and females who may be apprehensive of firearms in the first place.

They’ll be able to hear your range commands easier since they don’t have to wear ear protection, they won’t feel like they’re being yelled at since you’ll be able to use your normal voice, they won’t be as afraid of the blast & recoil as they might be, and the reduction of muzzle flip leads to a significant reduction in anticipatory flinch. (This is when you “push” the barrel down in anticipation of the round going off to try to counteract recoil. It is one of the most, if not the most common problem that shooters of all skill levels have.)

Tactical Considerations

Even though tactical benefits won’t be nearly as useful to most people, there are some notable ones that I want to share with you.

  1. If you’re on a tactical team where everyone is using suppressed weapons, it will be very easy to differentiate friend from foe.
  2. If you’re not an audio blocker, your hearing will probably be shot pretty quickly after you fire your first shot and you won’t be able to communicate as effectively with your team. Suppressors mean that at least, even though your opponents’ weapons may blow your hearing, yours and your teammates won’t. (As a note on the “audio blocker” comment…some people’s ears mysteriously compensate for explosions and firearms noises in high stress situations.
  3. With most normal powder loads, suppressors contain most, if not all of the muzzle flash and allow shooters to maintain their night vision longer than with unsuppressed weapons.
  4. When using an SBR, (Short Barreled Rifle) suppressors can significantly increase muzzle velocity and terminal ballistics.
  5. Suppressed light and noise and the alteration of the frequency of the muzzle blast makes direction finding much more difficult than with non-suppressed weapons.

Here’s a quick clip of shooting a suppressed .300 Blackout to show the controlability and quietness that you get with a suppressor.

That’s it for today. Let me know if you’ve got any experience with suppressors and whether or not you intend on buying any in the future. If you had a choice, would you rather have a fully automatic weapon, a suppressed weapon, or a short barreled rifle? Share your thoughts by commenting below:

P.S.  There has been A LOT of interest this week in the Home Defense Rifle course.  If you haven’t signed up yet, please do right now by going >HERE<.  You’ll get instant online access as well as DVDs in the mail.  The techniques and methods have been proven on the battlefield but specifically adapted for the needs of civilians defending themselves from home invaders.  Learn more now by clicking >HERE<

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