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Old July 4, 2013, 05:07 PM   #1
Machineguntony
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The proper term is 'Silencer', not 'Suppressor'

So I was at the gun store a few days ago, shopping for a threaded barrel for my silencers, and the gun store guys are all so burly.

I prefer the term 'silencer' over 'suppressor', and ten years ago, I was very much into the shooting sports, and now I'm getting back into it. My girlfriend, however, is not into shooting, and I am trying to ease her in.

I call it a silencer, and the guys go nuts, 'it's a suppressor, if you don't know what you're talking about you shouldn't be using those things...blah blah blah. It doesn't make the gun silent. It only suppresses, have you ever heard one blah blah blah'.

My girlfriend is already intimidated and now she is even more so.

So I argue that the term, 'supressor' is incorrect for different reasons.

Here are my reasons:

1. The inventor of the silencer, Hiram Percy Maxim, called it a silencer. If he's the inventor, he gets to name it. His invention, the first credited silencer, was called the Maxim Silencer.

2. It's legally known as a 'Silencer' under 26 USC 5845. The legal term is 'silencer', according to law and according to the ATF.

2. English is about communication, and communication is about being understood. If you told the average person about a 'suppressor', they would think you were talking about a dictator. Everyone knows and UNDERSTANDS the word Silencer.

3. The same right wing NRA guys who eschew left wing political correctness, over super accurate descriptive terms like African American or People of Color, get their panties in a bunch and then argue that 'the term silencer is totally incorrect and conveys a bad Hollywood produced image of the assassin'.

4. Not all terms or words must be completely descriptive, so long as they communicate the idea correctly. For example, it's a 'television', not a 'teleaudiovision'; and we don't say that 'computer' is inaccurate because it does more than compute.

5. Finally, 'silencer' is so much damn cooler than 'sound suppressor'.

The gun guys didnt know how to respond, but they swore that it was always a
a suppressor until Hollywood came along with their, peww peww peww (wrong, see number 1 above).

Anyways, my girlfriend likes the term 'silencer', and she's hot, so she gets the final vote.

Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; July 4, 2013 at 06:18 PM.
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Old July 4, 2013, 06:21 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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You're right, in the sense that Maxim named his device "silencer" but in the modern world both terms are equally correct.

Just about the ONLY incorrect statement would be that it's NOT a "suppressor" or NOT a "silencer".

Both are correct.

I like the term silencer better. To me, "suppressor" sounds all tacti-cool, operator-wanna-be, mall-ninja.

Possibly, it's because it's usually those types who try to argue that it's "not a silencer".
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Old July 4, 2013, 06:51 PM   #3
Theohazard
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Quote:
Brian Pfleuger posted
You're right, in the sense that Maxim named his device "silencer" but in the modern world both terms are equally correct.

Just about the ONLY incorrect statement would be that it's NOT a "suppressor" or NOT a "silencer".
This! This times 100!

OP, those guys at the LGS were completely wrong, but so are you when you say, "It's not a suppressor". It's both. There is more than one correct term. Heck, I say "can" more than anything else. Are you going to correct me and say, "It's not a can"?

Yes, Maxim called it a "silencer". And yes, the BATFE calls it a "silencer". (By the way, don't the guys at that LGS you went to see the word "silencer" on the Form 4s they fill out?) But many people started using the term "sound suppressor" because anyone who has ever shot one knows it doesn't actually silence the weapon.

I work at one of the largest suppressor dealers in my region of the country. Almost all employees own at least one silencer and many of us own more than one. We all use the terms "suppressor", "can", and "silencer" interchangeably because all those words describe the same thing.

Quote:
machineguntony posted
Anyways, my girlfriend likes the term 'silencer', and she's hot, so she gets the final vote.
Ha, I love it! That's as good a reason as any to pick one term over another!
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Old July 5, 2013, 12:09 AM   #4
dakota.potts
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I prefer the term suppressor. I know the MP-5 SD is Germal for Schalldampfer which means "sound dampener". I think suppressor sounds more formal than silencer anyways. Kind of like how firearm sounds more formal than gun.
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Old July 5, 2013, 08:01 AM   #5
Skans
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I disagree with everyone. It's not a suppressor, not a silencer. The proper term is "can". If you don't call it a can, then you should stick to airsoft and video games.
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Old July 5, 2013, 10:13 AM   #6
James K
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The law calls it a silencer. In the gun community, as in women's fashions, fads and fad terms take over from time to time and create great hoopla, with lots of noise and little real meaning.

In the silencer/suppressor issue, the term "silencer" was widely used until recent years when some purists insisted that, since the device does not totally silence a firearm, it cannot be called a silencer. That was also part of a campaign to persuade BATFE that the NFA did not apply to the gadget they were peddling, since it suppressed sound but did not silence it. The ploy didn't work, but the campaign had ramifications and the term suppressor caught on, because it sounds more "insider" than "silencer."

They are the same thing, legally and otherwise. Legally, any device, by whatever name it is called, that reduces the sound level of a firearm (including a change to the firearm itself), is a "silencer" under federal law.

Jim
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Old July 5, 2013, 02:17 PM   #7
creightonenterprises
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I've always preferred the term suppressor. Silencer makes me think about James bond movies, and our cultural fascination with the assassin waiting in the shadows.
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Old July 5, 2013, 02:24 PM   #8
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I prefer the term "muffler"
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Old July 6, 2013, 08:11 AM   #9
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I've heard people in europe refer it as a " sound moderator "
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Old July 6, 2013, 08:37 AM   #10
Willie Lowman
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I'm with Skans on this one. It's a can.
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Old July 6, 2013, 08:46 AM   #11
TXAZ
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"long round gun do-hickeys"

I be to differ.
According to my 5 year old neice, who frequently announces "I already know that and everything!!", they are "long round gun do-hickeys".
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Old July 6, 2013, 09:00 AM   #12
allaroundhunter
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Re: The proper term is 'Silencer', not 'Suppressor'

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Originally Posted by TXAZ View Post
I be to differ.
According to my 5 year old neice, who frequently announces "I already know that and everything!!", they are "long round gun do-hickeys".
And with that I suppose we can consider this wine closed. No arguing with that logic
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Old July 6, 2013, 09:46 AM   #13
Tom Servo
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I like the term silencer better. To me, "suppressor" sounds all tacti-cool, operator-wanna-be, mall-ninja.
Of course, the guys who insist on making the distinction are the ones who claim they need a "Class 3 license" to own the darned things

"Silencer" is a bit misleading in that it doesn't exactly silence the firearm, but we're really splitting hairs on that. If we're going to get that picky, we might as well go back to the "clips vs. magazines" debate.
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Old July 6, 2013, 09:50 AM   #14
LockedBreech
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The proper term is 'Silencer', not 'Suppressor'

This is always one of those issues I can't believe people care about enough to get upset. I use silencer.

Kinda a great point about how some folks in the gun community tends to resist eye-rollingly unrealistic PC rules of language usage, but then will try to enforce their own similar rules.

Can't we all just agree that they're awesome? That one poster on here, Fireman or something similar, has an Inox Beretta Bobcat and an Inox Beretta 92 with matching silver silencers. So sweet.

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Old July 6, 2013, 10:11 AM   #15
JD0x0
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I prefer the term suppressor. To me it just seems more technically correct. It SUPPRESES sound, recoil and muzzle blast. A "silenced" gun is rarely "silent" especially if you're using supersonic ammo. Either term works. I prefer to use the term "suppressor" it just sounds more professional to me.
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Old July 6, 2013, 10:21 AM   #16
LockedBreech
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The proper term is 'Silencer', not 'Suppressor'

Quote:
Originally Posted by JD0x0 View Post
I prefer the term suppressor. To me it just seems more technically correct. It SUPPRESES sound, recoil and muzzle blast. A "silenced" gun is rarely "silent" especially if you're using supersonic ammo. Either term works. I prefer to use the term "suppressor" it just sounds more professional to me.
That's the problem though. It might sound more professional subjectively, but since "silencer" is what the law calls it, silencer is actually the more professional term.
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Old July 6, 2013, 10:27 AM   #17
Theohazard
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Quote:
LockedBreech posted
Kinda a great point about how some folks in the gun community tends to resist eye-rollingly unrealistic PC rules of language usage, but then will try to enforce their own similar rules.
It happens at the time in our shop: A customer will use the word "silencer", and another customer (usually a friend) will proceeded to correct him and admonish him for not knowing they're actually "suppressors". So I'll always point out that their inventor called them "silencers", the Feds call them "silencers", and many - if not most - manufacturers call them "silencers." That usually quiets down the argument pretty quickly.
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Old July 6, 2013, 10:36 AM   #18
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That's the problem though. It might sound more professional subjectively, but since "silencer" is what the law calls it, silencer is actually the more professional term.
See, that's still subjective. To YOU it sounds more professional, but since when has "professional" been an objective term?

Enthusiasts and experts use "suppressor" far more often. Newbies and other people who don't know anything about them say "silencer" far more often. Companies who use the term "silencer" mostly do it to market to people who are new suppressor owners; they're worried if they use the term "suppressor" people won't know what they are.

Considering the definition of "professional", I'd say that makes the term "suppressor" more so. But that's my opinion. Use whichever term you want. They're both fine.
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Old July 6, 2013, 10:41 AM   #19
LockedBreech
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The proper term is 'Silencer', not 'Suppressor'

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Originally Posted by Theohazard View Post
See, that's still subjective. To YOU it sounds more professional, but since when has "professional" been an objective term?

Enthusiasts and experts use "suppressor" far more often. Newbies and other people who don't know anything about them say "silencer" far more often. Companies who use the term "silencer" mostly do it to market to people who are new suppressor owners; they're worried if they use the term "suppressor" people won't know what they are.

Considering the definition of "professional", I'd say that makes the term "suppressor" more so. But that's my opinion. Use whichever term you want. They're both fine.
In your neck of the woods that might be true. The fact that most posts in this thread so far support the use of "silencer" contradicts the "enthusiasts and experts" claim, and the bit about silencer company marketing is complete guesswork, not fact.
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Old July 6, 2013, 10:46 AM   #20
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I'm just speaking from the point of view of someone who works at one of the largest suppressor/silencer/can dealers in my region of the country. And that's not total guesswork; I've talked to plenty of company reps.
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Old July 6, 2013, 11:14 AM   #21
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I prefer the term "muffler"
LOL, this gets my vote.
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Old July 6, 2013, 01:32 PM   #22
Machineguntony
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I agree with Theo, and I emphasize my prior point.

Technically, all terms are correct. I just hate it when gun guys or 'enthusiats' get all high and mighty over how 'a silencer is such an incorrect term, and suppressor is technically correct.

It wouldn't have bothered me except the guy got all burly in front of my girlfriend, who I'm trying to ease into the shooting sports.

I go into this gun shop a lot, and I know the guys and their politics. These are the same guys who get upset over the term, 'African American', Native American, Physically Challenged, etc.

Btw, suppressor isn't technically very descriptive either. The actual and technical term would be 'Muzzle Blast Reducer'. There are five categories of sounds that a gun makes: action noise to ignite, Muzzle blast, Sonic signature, Discharge action, projectile impact noise. The MBR only reduces muzzle blast and does nothing for the other four categories. So a suppressor is not very technically descriptive.

So enthusiasts can go suck it! Lol

From now on, we must all call it a Muzzle Blast Reducer, but I'll accept MBR.
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Old July 6, 2013, 02:41 PM   #23
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Machineguntony posted
From now on, we must all call it a Muzzle Blast Reducer, but I'll accept MBR.
Ha, I love it! But come on, everyone knows it's technically a "MBRBPE": Muzzle Blast Reducer and Back-Pressure Enhancer; all us suppressed DI AR-15 guys are very familiar with the extra gas to the face!
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Old July 6, 2013, 02:44 PM   #24
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The proper term is 'Silencer', not 'Suppressor'

How about WMMT? Wife Mad Money Tube.
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Old July 6, 2013, 02:56 PM   #25
Theohazard
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How about WMMT? Wife Mad Money Tube.
Oh man, that one's a little TOO accurate...
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