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Busting Some Suppressor Myths

Suppressor for a rifle and the mechanism that mounts it

Suppressors are getting a lot of attention these days. The Virginia Beach shooting where the culprit allegedly used a suppressor on one of his handguns to slaughter more than 10 people is the reason for this attention. Let's take a moment to bust a few myths that our opposition has put out there concerning gun suppressors.

In all actuality, suppressors are very rarely used in crime, not silent, and can be made in the garage. Let's take a look at each one in more depth:

Very Rarely Used

The truth of the matter is that suppressors are very rarely used in crime. From FoxNews and John Lott concerning the more than 1.3 million Americans who own suppressors:

These legal owners have been extremely law abiding. In the 10 years from 2008 through 2017, the BATF only recommended an average of 44 suppressor-related prosecutions┬áper year. This means that roughly .003 percent of “silencers” are used in crimes each year.

One of the reasons why most criminals won't use them is because they're very hard to acquire. You have to jump through proverbial hoops to get one. And, in addition to the atrocious wait time and the cost of the item itself, which isn't cheap, you have to pay an extra $200 for a tax stamp.

Criminals are not willing to do this, so they aren't used in crimes very often.

Not Silent

I hate when I hear a pro-2A person call a suppressor anything other than “suppressor.”

One of the reasons why I don't like it when people call them “silencers” is because they don't technically “silence” the firearm and it gives off the wrong connotation to people who just want to ban anything gun related out of fear.

The fear is understandable. I recently saw a comment from someone that said this: I see no use for them because I'd rather hear someone on a shooting rampage than not.

And, I get that. I want to hear it coming, too. But the thing is, they don't make the gun shots silent. In fact, they only drop them about 30 decibels.

While it'd be idiotic for me to argue this point any further because it does change the sound of the gunshot into something people may not be familiar with, to say that they silence a gun is just as idiotic.

They can be made

I'm about to blow everyone's mind: A suppressor can be made in a garage with items you can pick up in your local hardware store with a little creativity. It isn't easy to do correctly, but it can be done. So, if the criminals want to use a noise suppressor on their guns guess what? They're going to do it anyway.

In other words, any bans on suppressors will not work on anyone except for people willing to follow the law.

So where does that leave us? I've written an article about suppressor usage before, which you can read by that link. The article is based off the following graphic from the NSSF, which is one of the most informative things out there for suppressor ownership and why it's important:

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8 Responses to Busting Some Suppressor Myths

  1. Jay Dee June 11, 2019 at 4:22 pm #

    Actually I think we can work with the latest hoopla.

    Hollywood silencers are mythical devices that can reduce the muzzle blast of a 300 Magnum to whisper levels; I. e. less than 70 db. So let’s declare that any device that reduces the noise of a gun shot over 100 db or less than 50 db is a silencer and still controlled by the NRA. Devices that do not meet this standard are not silencers and may be freely manufactured, sold, transferred, possessed and used without bureaucratic impediment.

    Big gun control can’t complain. The silencers they’ve been portraying to the gullible public are still illegal. Shooters are happy because they can own real world suppressors without all the bureaucracy.

  2. Rob June 12, 2019 at 8:34 am #

    Great article dispelling the myths around suppressors. There is also the added benefit to those that shoot firearms regularly that it will reduce the sound so it doesn’t damage our hearing (i.e. hunting and target practice). This is more and more important as you get older because your ears don’t heal from hearing loss, the only thing you can do is use hearing aids to amplify the sound once you’ve lost it..

    • Bergcas June 12, 2019 at 10:03 am #

      I have had my Suppressors for 2 years, and always call it a Suppressor. We need to get the word (Suppressor) out to the public, as that is what it does!

  3. Thomas N Jones June 12, 2019 at 8:35 am #

    For the most part, I agree with your article. However, from personal experience, I know that a suppressor will in fact lower the sound produced by a firearm. I had a friend, who had a FFL and was allowed to own suppressors. He had a Ruger .22 with a suppressor. It was in fact a “silencer” The only sound made was the sound of the slide cycling. He also had an Israeli made Uzi with a suppressor. It sounded like a person clapping their hands. It certainly reduced the sound produced adequately enough that a person in the next room would not recognize it as gunfire. I am a gun owner, and in no way do I want to be a jerk, but, I do think that we need to be truthful and informed if we publish an article meant to persuade someone of our point of view. Miss-information destroys credibility.

    • Joshua Gillem June 13, 2019 at 4:21 pm #

      Hey Thomas, thanks for the comment.

      I appreciate the points you make. If you actually read the article, I do say that a suppressor does change the sound of the firearm to something someone may not recognize. I guess I could have been clearer as I didn’t say “how” it changed the sound. It changes the sound by quieting the gun more. Forgive me, I thought that was assumed as the topic of the article is sound suppressors. We don’t disagree here.

      It should be said that a .22 is a relatively quiet firearm to begin with and a suppressor does quiet it more. I’m not disagreeing with you there. When we’re talking about suppressors in general I think we have to use the “average” suppressor, if there can be such a thing. In other words, most crimes aren’t committed with a .22lr anyway, because they’re using something else. The guy who went on this rampage, for example, allegedly use a .45 ACP.

      By all accounts a .45 is louder than a .22 is.

      I also cannot really comment on the suppressed Uzi, as I’ve never heard one in person. I’ll add it to my bucket list.

      Thankfully, we live in the age of the internet and YouTube and suppressed Uzi videos are a dime a dozen. I just watched several and none of them sounded like a person clapping their hands. But, maybe it was me, or maybe my headphones are defective.

      I therefore believe I was being truthful and informed with everything I said being based on fact as presented in the graphic by the NSSF and other studies. I’m not trying to persuade someone to my point of view, just present information. People have every right to research what I’ve said here and see if I’m truthful.

      Thanks again,

      Josh

  4. John Isbell June 12, 2019 at 10:16 am #

    The interesting thing is that the shooter who allegedly used the suppressor was still caught. It didn’t keep others from hearing the shots. Police are trained to detect the sounds of suppressor.

  5. DEBBIE June 12, 2019 at 8:24 pm #

    Thomas Jones you don’t know what you are talking about. you mentioned a uzi from Israel with a suppressor wasn’t to smart, because that means its full auto. And there is nothing wrong with owning a suppressor,so you have to pay a tax stamp unless you are doing something illegal your making them sound like a bad thing to own, and the man who wrote this article does know what he is talking about. Just because you can fire a weapon does not make you a expert in anything.

  6. James June 12, 2019 at 9:33 pm #

    Hiram Maxim called it a silencer for his patent. So even though it doesn’t silence a gunshot, that is the correct term.

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