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Old April 23, 2014, 09:01 AM   #1
Skans
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What would it actually take to silence a subsonic 9mm?

I'm assuming that this can be done, but that the silencer might be too large or cumbersome to make it practical. When I say "silence", I mean bringing the noise down to that of a very well suppressed .22 subsonic, where most of what you hear is the gun's mechanism.

Has anyone been successful in bringing the sound level down on a 9mm (or 45acp) to such a level?
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Old April 23, 2014, 10:04 AM   #2
Willie Lowman
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Are you talking about a semiautomatic pistol can or just in general?

There are some bolt action carbines that are "hear the firing pin" quiet. If this fantasy can is for a semiautomatic, it would possibly be to heavy for a Browning style action to work.
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Old April 23, 2014, 10:28 AM   #3
Skans
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I'm referring to a semi-auto pistol - no specific brand. I understand that a heavy silencer might not work with anything but a fixed barrel gun. There are some fixed barrel 9mm's handguns out there, not to mention "assault" type pistols.

Last edited by Skans; April 23, 2014 at 10:41 AM.
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Old April 23, 2014, 12:42 PM   #4
Theohazard
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Are you talking about a theoretical silencer, or are you looking for a realistic option? The best way I can think of to silence a 9mm down to .22 levels would need a longer barrel and would probably use a sealed, integral design. But that pretty much rules out using it on a pistol.

On a pistol, you'd just need a bigger silencer. Manufacturers have found that adding length (and therefore more baffles) makes a lot more difference than adding width. So I suppose if you had a 9mm silencer that was about the same width as an Octane 45 and about twice as long (and therefore with twice the baffles), it would be pretty darn quiet. But it would be difficult to make modified-Browning locked-breech semi-autos function with all that extra weight, even with a LID. And the extra length would mean you'd be much more likely to get baffle strikes.

Alternatively, you could use a standard-sized suppressor and design it to use wipes. Designs that use wipes aren't very popular because the wipes need to be replaced often (after about 20 shots or so) but they do make it much quieter for a little while. As far as I know, all the current designs using wipes take advantage of the extra suppression provided by wipes and make the suppressor super-small. DeGroat makes a 9mm silencer that uses wipes, and it's the size of a .22 silencer. It sounds similar to a normal 9mm silencer until the wipes wear out, and then it's super-loud. But if you designed a 9mm silencer using modern baffle technology that was about the same size as a .45 silencer, then designed it to use wipes, it might get close to sounding like a suppressed .22 until the wipes wore out. Heck, maybe someone already makes a can like that. Check DeGroat's website and see if they already make one like that; maybe they already exist and I've just never heard of them.
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Old April 24, 2014, 07:28 AM   #5
Skans
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Theohazard, thanks for the response - you provide some good information.

While I would consider purchasing a silencer, my problem has always been that I have yet to find one that works well enough for my liking in 9mm to motivate me to do a trust, the paperwork, etc. to buy one. Wipes that last for only a few shots is not really what I would be looking for. I just can't believe that sound suppression technology is sort of stuck where it is; or am I missing something?
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Old April 24, 2014, 10:41 AM   #6
Theohazard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skans
I just can't believe that sound suppression technology is sort of stuck where it is; or am I missing something?
Suppressor technology definitely isn't stuck; in fact, it's just the opposite: They've gotten a lot better just in the last several years. Over the last decade or so, silencers have greatly improved in quality and effectiveness. And thanks to new manufacturing technology and the boom in silencer popularity, there's currently an arms race going on in the suppressor world. Every few years a new batch of silencers comes out that effectively renders the current crop obsolete.

They're still not as quiet as Hollywood would have you believe, but current-generation 9mm suppressors are pretty darn quiet, and noticeably quieter than the ones from just a few years ago.

So if you want a 9mm silencer that's as quiet as a subsonic suppressed .22, you're not going to get that (at least not with a design that's even remotely convenient). But if you want a 9mm silencer that's pleasant to shoot without hearing protection and is noticeably quieter than the 9mm silencers from just a few years ago, you can get that. My Octane 9 is one of the quietest 9mm silencers ever made. Outside with subsonic ammo it's really quiet. No, it's not suppressed .22 quiet, and it doesn't sound anything like in the movies. But for people who have shot older 9mm suppressors, you can really tell the difference in the newer designs.
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Old April 25, 2014, 07:55 AM   #7
Willie Lowman
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Out of a pistol you won't get the preforance you are talking about. From a SBR you might.

My i use an old Tac-9 suppressor on my Uzi and I can hear the action cycle with subsonic ammo. It's not suppressed .22 quiet but its quiet enough that I can shoot it inside my barn with no ear pro.
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Old April 25, 2014, 09:07 PM   #8
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I doubt you can get what you want from a semiauto. If you where to pick up a single shot pistol you would likely be more happy with the sound.
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