5 Things You Should Know About Suppressors

Hearing loss is a HUGE problem — especially for us shooters. In fact:

People who use firearms are more likely to develop hearing loss than those who do not. The reason? Firearms are loud. Almost all firearms generate noise levels above 140 decibels.

To put that into perspective, a military jet taking off at full blast is quieter than the sound of a gun being fired. To combat the loud sound of firearms, we have to wear ear protection.

But, the truth is:

Ear protection won’t always be available. For example, if my house is getting robbed by an armed robber, I most likely won’t have enough time to put on some earplugs. And even then, I’d like to hear EVERY footstep the intruder is taking so I can respond efficiently.

That’s why suppressors are a big deal — and why they’ve picked up a lot of traction. Here are five things you should know about suppressors.


1. Suppressors Are Not Silencers

First and foremost, though the terms “suppressor” and “silencer” are technically interchangeable, the more correct of the two would be the former. Why? Because suppressors do not silence! A common misconception about suppressors is that they completely take the sound out of a firearm’s blast. Well guess what—they don’t.

It happens ALL the time in Hollywood movies. The character has his firearm (let’s say it’s a Savage A17), equipped with an .17 HMR rifle scope and silencer, and supposedly could shoot away without ANYONE noticing. That’s just not true.

If you do a quick search on Youtube, you’ll find that guns still make noise even when equipped with a suppressor. Albeit the sound is significantly lower than it would be without the device, it nonetheless is anything but silent.

2. How Suppressors Work

Suppressors work essentially the same as car mufflers. In fact, both devices — car mufflers and suppressors — were created by the same guy, American inventor Hiram Percy Maxim.

When you fire a gun, pressurized gasses are released which results in the loud BOOM! sound you hear afterwards. Suppressors work by cooling and spreading these gasses out through the use of baffles and expansion chambers inside the device, which in turn reduces the noise of the gunshot.

3. The Benefits of Suppressors

Here are a few key benefits of suppressors:

  1. Reduces Hearing Damage - Suppressors reduce the deafening sound of gunfire by 30 - 40 decibels (dB).
  2. Reduces Recoil - By mitigating the high-pressurized gases, the recoil is reduced.
  3. Increases Accuracy - With the reduction of recoil, your accuracy will improve as a result.
  4. Reduces Muzzle Flash - The flash of light generated at the muzzle is reduced. 

In the realm of hunting, suppressors are a great substitute for ear plugs, because of the attentiveness required for the sport. If you want to kill a duck, you gotta be able to hear where they are first. Not only this, but suppressors help ameliorate some hunter’s struggle with accuracy, as the loudness of a gunshot can startle, and disrupt aim. Suppressors also help to not disturb the neighboring homes of some shooting ranges.

4. The Disadvantages of Suppressors

Like all things good, there are a few cons with using a suppressor:

  1. Cost - If you aren’t aware, suppressors are cost a pretty penny. The starting price of one is around $600 and could go way above $2,000. Not to mention the $200 tax fee. Yikes!
  2. Weight & Barrel Length - Suppressors will add a good amount of weight and length to your firearm. As a result, it’ll affect not only the balance of the firearm, but aim and maneuverability.
  3. Cleaning - These devices get dirty real quickly. So you’re going to have to step up your cleaning regime. 

5. How to Own a Suppressor

Suppressors require a bit of work to get.

You need to fill out forms, pass an ATF background check which can take up to 9 months to process, and pay a whopping $200 transfer tax fee. Alternatively, you can fill out most of the paperwork online at SilencerShop.

But before visiting your local dealer or filling out online paperwork, make sure you’re legally able to purchase one. The requirements are as follows:

  • Be at least 21 years of age to purchase a suppressor from a dealer;
  • Be at least 18 years of age to purchase a suppressor from an individual on a Form 4 to Form 4 transfer (contingent on state laws);
  • Be at least 18 years of age to possess a suppressor as a beneficiary of a trust or as a member of a corporation (contingent on state laws);
  • Be a resident of the United States;
  • Be legally eligible to purchase a firearm;
  • Pass an BATFE background check with a process time of four to ten months;
  • Pay a $200 transfer tax; and
  • Reside in one of the 42 states that currently allows civilian ownership of suppressors - AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY. If your state allows ownership of suppressors, double check to make sure it’s still legal in your area.

If you meet these requirements, feel free to buy yourself a silencer — you won’t regret it. That said, I’d like to turn it over to you:

Will you buy a suppressor? Or perhaps you already have one and would like to share your thoughts on it. Either way, let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

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