I work at a gun shop. New and exciting products are always coming through the door, but one thing never changes: The people who walk through the doors are always intrigued by suppressors. People always have questions about suppressors. Here are the answers to a few of them.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
Most people believe suppressors quiet muzzle blasts by slowing the bullet down to subsonic speeds. The bullet doesn’t break the sound barrier, so there is no loud crack when it exits the barrel. That belief is a myth.
While subsonic ammunition works the best in a silencer, you have to realize what causes the loud blast. When a gun is fired, it produces extremely hot, pressurized gases. Rapidly-burning propellant ignited in the shell case creates these gases. When the gases escape the muzzle, the instant change of the outside environment causes the loud blast. Inside of silencers are baffles and expansion chambers that funnel, cool, and spread out the gasses to reduce their noise upon exit. The diversion of these gases suppresses the noise.
HOW WELL DO THEY FUNCTION?
Silencers do a fantastic job lowering the decibels your gun produces. However, they are nothing like you see in Hollywood action movies. They’re nowhere close to being completely silent. I’d venture to say the majority of firearms—using a suppressor with subsonic ammo—could be fired outdoors without the use of ear protection.
ARE THEY HEAVY?
When people see a handgun with attached silencer, they think the gun must be unbearably heavy. In reality, they are very lightweight. SilencerCo silencers are especially lightweight and well built. While the silencer does throw the balance of the gun off, it’s easy to get used to. And reduced recoil, less muzzle flash, quieter shooting, and better accuracy are some of the better tradeoffs.
WHO NEEDS A SILENCER?
In my eyes, silencers are for those who can legally and lawfully shoot in their backyard. Neighbors can be funny about loud activities. Fireworks, motorcycles, and shooting are all activities that can drive neighbors crazy. A silencer will allow you to shoot in your own backyard without disrupting everyone around you. Just make sure you can safely and legally discharge your firearm on your property before doing so.
IS THERE PAPERWORK INVOLVED?
There are legal steps involved with owning a suppressor. You can’t go to the store and buy a silencer to shoot at your house the same day. Buying a suppressor is a timely process. You must weigh your options and see if a silencer is right for you. If it is, start the process. You’ll be well on your way to a more enjoyable shooting experience.