After a recent article a few emails came in seeking further information about the suppressor/silencer situation. Well via an email the MCRGO (Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners) pushed out on the same topic the NSSF has this helpful infographic that addresses many of the questions about suppressors.
Here are a few of those questions that stood out though. The main questions on suppressors.
1. Is it ‘Suppressor’ or ‘Silencer’
Quite simply either term is both technically and legally correct. “Silencer” is the patented term by Maxim. Gun muffler would also be technically correct as the design theory is nearly identical to a car muffler.
2. How quiet do they get really?
The best “ratings” (reduction under ideal environmental and preparatory conditions) are usually 30-35 decibels dependant on the suppressor. Usually putting the quietest guns at 130+. That decibel rating is just under the momentary or impulse safe levels to prevent hearing damage, usually listed at 140db.
3. What purpose do they serve in society?
A suppressor is personal protective equipment. They are hearing protection. That is their primary and nearly sole practical function. They are fun, its cool tech. But it is ultimately a better form of protecting hearing than just plugs or earmuffs and the suppressor helps anyone near the firearm regardless of if they personally have hearing protection or are wearing it properly.
I shot a suppressed rifle for hundreds of rounds over this past weekend. It is still “loud” in the overall meaning of the term. You could hear it being fired anywhere on the range, even with non-electronic hearing protection.