Just about every movie with a silencer portrays someone shooting a silencer-strapped gun followed by a strange, quiet laser sound that someone three feet away wouldn’t hear. They look cool, and in the movies, they sound cool. The cool gun guy pulls out his PPK, USP, Glock, or the hottest gun in Hollywood at the time and screws the silencer to the barrel before he wreaks havoc on his enemy. But as we all know, most movies are not accurate. And most of the time, the reason they’re using a silencer is not the real reason why people need them or choose to use them.
Let’s go over a bit of terminology and the history of suppressors, and then I’ll give you five reasons why I think every gun owner should have one.
Silencer or suppressor?
The first thing everyone should know is the difference between the two terms silencer and suppressor. The answer: not a thing. When someone uses either one of these two terms, they are describing the same thing. While there are a few cases when a custom-made suppressor for a specific high-end gun can be extremely quiet, they are normally not even close to what I would call silent. Because of this, I prefer to call them suppressors when I’m around people who do not understand how they work. However, the terms can be used interchangeably so long as the audience understands they are not typically “silent.” A car muffler will make a vehicle much quieter, but you can still hear it running; it’s just not the ear-deafening sound you hear when there is no muffler. The suppressor is the gun’s muffler.
To better understand the purpose of the suppressor, let’s look at why it was invented in the first place. The invention of the suppressor is
generally credited to Hiram Maxim who filed a patent in 1909 for what was trademarked as the “Maxim Silencer.” There are some that like to
portray suppressors as something only used by special forces and snipers, and they have been used by these groups of military personnel for decades. But is that why they were invented?
Mr. Maxim is reported to have said, “The Maxim Silencer was developed to meet my personal desire to enjoy target practice without creating a disturbance. I have always loved to shoot, but I never thoroughly enjoyed it when I knew that the noise was annoying other people. It occurred to me one day that there was no need for the noise. Why not do away with it and SHOOT QUIETLY.”
When shooting most any type of firearm, ear protection is required to protect your hearing from temporary or permanent damage. Most typical handgun rounds will produce 150-165 decibels. That’s loud enough to cause hearing damage if hearing protection is not worn. This can be greatly reduced with a well-made suppressor attached to your gun like those made by SilencerCo.
SilencerCo makes a great line-up of suppressors for about any type of handgun or rifle and often one silencer can work on multiple platforms. This can help with cost and with convenience.
So how would a suppressor help you?
According to SilencerCo, their Octane Multi-Caliber suppressor can lower the decibel of a 9mm round to approximately 127. This is much quieter and safer on your hearing but obviously not “silent.” So, if a “silencer” can still be easily heard by those around, why are they so regulated? That’s a good question for Uncle Sam because I don’t have a good answer for you. My guess is they just want your $200 tax fee for purchasing one.
During my career in law enforcement, we have used a variety of suppressed guns and there is one reason for it. It’s safer on our guys, especially when firing indoors. Try standing in a confined area and firing a gun; the impact on your hearing can cause you to become disoriented and knock you off balance. As for the “dangers” of suppressors, I have worked a lot of cases involving guns in my time and I can say I have never worked a shooting that we suspected took place with someone using a suppressor. That is mostly a Hollywood hype of hitmen and CIA operatives and the idea that suppressors were made for their purpose.
5 Reasons to own a suppressor
So here are some reasons gun owners should have a suppressor, should you feel the inkling to take the next step in gun ownership. There are plenty more reasons, but these are my top five.
- They are quieter
As discussed above, the sound level of a suppressed gun is greatly reduced, making it much safer for your hearing and those nearby. Our entire society is focused on healthier lifestyles, so why would we not want to encourage safer gun handling and shooting?
- Less recoil
Because of the way a suppressor works, there is less recoil when you fire the gun. This means it will be easier for those who may have issues with some calibers or the size of the gun. Your shooting experience can be much better when you can shoot without as much kick.
- Flash elimination
When you fire your gun, you may not realize how much expended energy and burning powder is coming out of the end of your barrel. Most
people shoot in the daylight, so it is not as noticeable. If you have ever fired a gun at night however, you will definitely notice it. If you ever
have to defend yourself at night, it can put you at a big disadvantage after your first shot because of the blinding light from your barrel. With a suppressor, you nearly eliminate any flash coming from your gun.
- Better accuracy
A suppressor is not going to make you shoot like the Hollywood stars or make you instantly competition ready. So, after that short disclaimer, I will say a suppressor will help improve your accuracy, especially with follow-up shots because of the reduced recoil.
- They are pretty cool
If any of the above reasons are not enough for you to want to own a suppressor then maybe you want one just because they look really cool. They make your gun look cooler and they make you look cooler when you’re holding a gun with a suppressor on it!
There can be a lot of confusion out there about suppressors, but the basic fact is they make shooting safer, more accurate, and more fun for
everyone around. The required tax fee is a one-time $200 fee along with the application and if that intimidates you, there are now touch screen terminals at gun stores where you can purchase a suppressor from companies like SilencerCo and it will help you complete the required ATF form. It can take a while for it to get approved, but once you have your new suppressor at the range, it will all be worth the wait.
Guest post by Jason Mosher.