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Old July 31, 2015, 09:56 AM   #1
johnelmore
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Do silencers work? Are they worth it?

My experience is the ones available to the public do not work so well. Im not familiar with the ones the government uses, but the cans available to Joe Average are simply not "silent". You still have to wear hearing protection.

Furthermore, the cost and paperwork involved in getting one...the tax stamp, etc, simply not worth it. For the cost of the silencer, I can get myself a premium 1911 from Wilson Combat or take a cheap vacation to Italy.

So if you want to find the James Bond silencer, let me tell you, only James Bond knows where to get it. Ive yet to come across a good can.
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Old July 31, 2015, 10:08 AM   #2
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most people don't need one, unless you really have a need for it IMHO I would invest my bucks into something you much rather have, can't hunt with them and don't get silencer mixed up with suppressor there is a difference.
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Old July 31, 2015, 10:24 AM   #3
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Will pass, for now

Quote:
Do silencers work? Are they worth it?
By my measure, NO and for the many reasons mentioned. I have seen them in action, shot and it's not like the movies. They are not legal, in Iowa and when they do become legal and affordable, I "may" put one on a .22LR. Like so many products that come down the Pike, it's just another gadget to buy. ......

However, I never tell a man what to do with his money or wife .....

Be Safe !!!
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Old July 31, 2015, 10:27 AM   #4
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My experience is the ones available to the public do not work so well. Im not familiar with the ones the government uses, but the cans available to Joe Average are simply not "silent". You still have to wear hearing protection.
None are silent. You can't mitigate the sound of the bullet, only the blast. Supersonic rounds will still have a very loud "crack." Subsonic rounds still make a tearing noise through the air.

This isn't an issue of public vs. government availability.

So a 165 db blast from a rifle reduced down by 25-30 db is still quite loud and hearing protection is still a good idea at these levels.

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and don't get silencer mixed up with suppressor there is a difference.
Oh please explain this difference.
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Old July 31, 2015, 10:28 AM   #5
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Your expectations are a little too high based on what you have seen in Hollywood movies. Short of suppressing a rifle chambered in .22lr, just about about any centerfire gun with a suppressor will still be loud, though subsonic ammunition will make a big difference. The suppressors available to the average joe are no different that what our military's special forces would use, though as with anything goes you get what you pay for.
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Old July 31, 2015, 10:31 AM   #6
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For me it depends what you want it for. Rifle or handgun?

I have used them on .22s, both rifle and pistol. With those two the silencer is not far off Hollywood quiet. With the rifle it allows me to shoot at an outdoor range where the owner requests their use. With the pistol they were just plain cool fun!!

I've also used one for a centrefire rifle (.30 cal) and in this case I would say that they are an excellent investment, although I accept that they are harder to get in the US than they are here.

They reduce recoil, they reduce sound. Whilst I would not recommend it, I did shoot one shot without earmuffs, outdoors, and it was pretty loud but tolerable: an unsuppressed .22LR, say. I'd still strongly recommend wearing muffs regardless.

If to be used for hunting (not permitted here) then I'd be comfortable shooting "unmuffed" since it is one or two shots out in the open, not dozens from a shooting booth.

They greatly reduce my tiredness and increase my concentration and from now on any load development I make will be based on a suppressor being in play.
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Old July 31, 2015, 10:40 AM   #7
Jim Watson
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My limited experience agrees.
A .22 or even a centerfire pistol or SMG with subsonic bullet will be NEARLY as quiet as in the movies. The "can" will be bigger, though.

A high velocity rifle like a .308 will be "less loud" but still not comfortable with naked ears. Recoil is reduced - NRA considers them equivalent to muzzle brakes and does not allow them in F class and probably other events - and flash is contained, which might be useful if you are that kind of operator.

I have not seen a subsonic rifle like a .300 BO.
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Old July 31, 2015, 10:45 AM   #8
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It would be a luxury to not wear hearing protection. It would also be nice to hunt in a manner which does not disturb the neighbors. However, you still have to wear it with any can and the cost is so much I dont mind the neighbors too much.
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Old July 31, 2015, 11:00 AM   #9
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I have seen witness statements to the effect that an M1903 rifle with a Maxim silencer was quiet enough that the loudest noise was the click of the firing pin falling. (Of course that was inside a building, firing into sandbags, so the bullet noise down range was not a factor.)

But the Maxim is an extremely complex and expensive device, far from the simple baffles of modern suppressors.

Even so, one man I know who has had a goodly amount of experience with silencers/suppressors does make the point that a suppressor does not need to totally eliminate the noise of a gun - it need only make a gun sound not like a gun. So a suppressor that makes a gun sound like a handclap or dropping a book may well be sufficient noise reduction for the purpose.

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Old July 31, 2015, 12:23 PM   #10
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yadkin, my state (Minnesota) just passed a law making it legal to hunt with them here (after Aug 1st.).

I have a friend I grew up with that now lives in Florida that I go down and visit and we hunt hogs on his property (he owns 175 acres east of Sarasota). He owns/uses a 14.5" suppressed 300Blackout and it is amazingly quiet with subsonic ammo. So much so, that a lot of the time even after his first shoot, the hogs remain still although on high alert.
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Old July 31, 2015, 12:49 PM   #11
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Yes they WORK. None of them work like the movies show. But then i have to reload my pistol, unlime the movies

If they are worth it TO YOU, is something only you can answer.

I have a number of cans for various calibers and guns. My 22can on a bolt action rifle with subsonic ammo is much quieter then an air rifle And cannot be heard around the corner of my house when i shoot it in the backyard

My pistol cans do not make the gun "hearing safe" but i would not hesitate to shoot indoors without ears if that was needed. My AAC 9s is louder then a full size can, but only 1/2 the size. That can was Mil only until a cpl years ago, so the Mil DOES use suppressors unavailable to the public. BUT, that was based on SIZE not PERFORMANCE.

My rifle can makes a HUGE difference in reducing the sound signature of 556, 300blk and 308. Still the supersonic crack with full power ammo but MUCH quieter. With SUBsonic ammo they become silly quiet
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Old July 31, 2015, 01:28 PM   #12
Jim Watson
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I once read of the 1903 with Maxim silencer fired on a range with a row of telegraph poles down one side. It was said to sound like a machine gun burst as the bullet's shockwave reflected off each pole.
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Old July 31, 2015, 01:38 PM   #13
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"...loudest noise was the click of the firing pin falling..." Wouldn't be with service ammo. You can't "silence" supersonic bullets. The air will still be pushed out and it'll still BANG back. SMG's make a sort of PHUT sound you can easily hear 50 meters away. And tell the direction it's coming from.
Don't see the point of a suppressor for hunting. Suspect it has more to do with "Because I can." than any other reason. Pretending it saves hearing or doesn't disturb others is nonsense. You won't be hunting in your neighbour's back yard. Wouldn't count on prices coming down just because the States have decided it's ok to hunt with 'em. Plus there's still the $200 Tax.
Hollywood firearm sounds are manufactured. They don't think a real gun shot sounds real enough. ALL of 'em are added in editing.
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Old July 31, 2015, 02:45 PM   #14
Pond, James Pond
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Don't see the point of a suppressor for hunting. Suspect it has more to do with "Because I can." than any other reason. Pretending it saves hearing or doesn't disturb others is nonsense.
How does knocking 25-30dB off the sound-blast not save hearing?

Saying it doesn't is nonsense.


To quote Freehearingtest.com:

Quote:
the damage caused by one shot from a .357 magnum pistol, which can expose a shooter to 165 dB for 2msec, is equivalent to over 40 hours in a noisy workplace.
I've heard my own .308 with and without a can wearing ear protection and it is night and day in terms of intensity. I've heard my own .308 suppressed and while not pleasant but was bearable once or twice.

Whilst hunting why should people subject their ears to a sudden explosive soundwave as the one described above when they could saves themselves the experience? Not to mention gun-dogs. Their hearing is significantly more sensitive than ours: how must a gun-shot sound to them? Excruciating at a guess.

You may not see the point of one in hunting but that doesn't mean there isn't one, or more than one.
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Old July 31, 2015, 05:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Quote:
and don't get silencer mixed up with suppressor there is a difference.

Oh please explain this difference.
That one is easy. "Silencer" is the name given his invention by Hiram Maxim. He used it on his patents and in marketing. It is a BRAND NAME, now used (sloppily) as generic like "Kleenex" for tissue.

Call them "Silencers" or suppressors, or mufflers, they all do the same thing. They "silence" / suppress / muffle the muzzle blast. Nothing changes the sound the bullet makes, and they do nothing for the sound of the gas coming out of the action of a semiauto, or the cylinder gap of a revolver.

The Decibel scale is not straight arithmetic progression. A reduction of a few decibels makes a bigger difference in the damaging sound energy than the numbers alone indicate.

The US industrial safety standard for hearing protection requirements are 85 decibels. (TWA)

The advantage for hunting is being able to hunt without hearing protection and without hearing DAMAGE. It can still be a fairly loud noise, but is reduced below the level that causes damage to your ears.

Do they work? Yes. Do they make a gun completely silent? No. Some combinations are vey quiet, some not so much. The muffler on your car, or your lawn mower doesn't make it completely quiet, either, but it does reduce the sound a lot, compared to not having it there.
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Old July 31, 2015, 05:18 PM   #16
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Quote:
Call them "Silencers" or suppressors, or mufflers, they all do the same thing.
I believe the poster was implying that they function differently and I was intrigued to hear what the distinctions would be.

To date, I have been around 4 different rifle setups (varied owners, .223, 6.8, and .308 calibers {2 different .308s}) and all have managed to ring my ears with the suppressors on. They were certainly much quieter than without the suppressors, but still loud enough where I needed hearing protection.

I will undoubtedly own one or more in the future as they are a very good idea and are a safety feature, but since I still need to wear hearing protection with them for supersonic loads, I am not in a particular hurry.
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Old July 31, 2015, 05:23 PM   #17
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They do work, some better than others, depending on what you have and are shooting. Some can be, and even are, close to movie quiet.

I cant shoot a .22 long rifle out of a rifle in my carport without hearing protection. I routinely shoot a couple of my .223's from the same spot, using an AAC M4-2000 suppressor, sans ear protection, and my ears dont ring a bit. Move out of the confined space, and its even less noticeable. A single, unprotected .22 will leave my hearing deadened for a couple of days.

Now those .223's arent subsonic, and leave a "crack" downrange, but its really nothing like the muzzle blast.

I also shoot 9mm out of a couple of my Glocks through an AAC Evo-9. Ive also shot it from my carport, "wet", using 147 grain subsonic, and its sounds like someone shut a car door "easy", from inside the kitchen and bedroom thats on the other side of the wall.

Out in the yard, its really pretty quiet. When I first got it, I was trying it out on my burn barrel, and my wife was on the porch a few yards away, and asked if I got a new airsoft gun.

As for the comment on super sonic ammo not being quieted, Ive shot MP5 SD's, and some others that were very quiet, and using full power, factory ammo. By design, the barrels are ported, and do bleed off some of the power, so the bullet is actually subsonic when it leaves the barrel.
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Old July 31, 2015, 05:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yadkin
don't get silencer mixed up with suppressor there is a difference
There's no difference. "Silencer" is what Maxim named his invention, "silencer" is the primary term used by the federal government, and "silencer" was the primary term used for most of the 20th century. "Suppressor" is short for "sound suppressor", which is a term invented by people who wanted to more accurately describe what it does. Both terms are fine and both are used interchangeably.

44AMP, I think he was implying that there's a technical difference between a silencer and a suppressor; that's a misconception I hear a lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnelmore
My experience is the ones available to the public do not work so well. Im not familiar with the ones the government uses, but the cans available to Joe Average are simply not "silent". You still have to wear hearing protection.
Generally, the silencers used by the military are louder than the average silencer used by the general public. The military is usually less concerned with maximum sound reduction than they are about durability, less back-pressure, and less point-of-impact shift. But the general public tends to put more emphasis on quietness than the military does. That said, most of the silencers the military uses are available to the general public, and the ones that aren't available to the general public are that way simply because the companies don't see a market for them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by T. O'Heir
Pretending it saves hearing or doesn't disturb others is nonsense.
Seriously, where do you come up with this stuff? It definitely protects your hearing. How in the world could something that lowers a gunshot by 20 - 40 decibels not help protect your hearing? No, silencers aren't "hearing safe" from a medical standpoint, but they can still help protect your ears if you use them correctly. Me, I use hearing protection even when I shoot suppressed, so I'm protecting my hearing a lot more than I would without my silencers.

And silencers drastically lower the sound signature, so they can definitely help if you're trying to not disturb your neighbors. I often shoot a suppressed .22 at a friends house who lives out of city limits. His neighbors are close enough that without the silencer they would be annoyed by the constant gunfire, but with the silencer they don't even hear it.

And even if you're shooting something louder like a suppressed .223 that your neighbors can still hear, I'd bet they'd much rather have you shoot with a silencer than without. Most suppressed .223 rifles are quieter than an unsuppressed .22; don't you think your neighbors would appreciate that difference?
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Old July 31, 2015, 05:59 PM   #19
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A suppressor is just that it suppresses the noise of the weapon a muffler if you will no more, it does nothing to the velocity of the bullet.
A silencer actually silences the weapon (mostly pistols) by lowering the velocity of the bullet below the speed of sound and quieting the round before it leaves the barrel.
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Old July 31, 2015, 06:06 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yadkin
A suppressor is just that it suppresses the noise of the weapon a muffler if you will no more, it does nothing to the velocity of the bullet.
A silencer actually silences the weapon (mostly pistols) by lowering the velocity of the bullet below the speed of sound and quieting the round before it leaves the barrel.
No. That's just another myth about silencers; one of many, many myths that I hear a lot. Maybe I should add it to my sticky on common silencer myths:

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=534321
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Old July 31, 2015, 06:09 PM   #21
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Yes I think they are worth it.

It makes teaching young & new shooters alot easier with out the bark from the gun. You would be surprised at how much a new shooter will react to a gun when the bang is reduced and all they feel is a little push in their shoulder. I love my 22LR can and makes shooting alot more user friendly.

Its funny that alot of states say you have to use mufflers on your car because they are so loud with out one, but its just the opposite on a gun. I have been to ranges where everyone is using cans and it is a alot more enjoyable for everyone there.

They really are not that expensive when you realize how many guns they can fit on.
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Old July 31, 2015, 07:34 PM   #22
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Quote:
A suppressor is just that it suppresses the noise of the weapon a muffler if you will no more, it does nothing to the velocity of the bullet.
A silencer actually silences the weapon (mostly pistols) by lowering the velocity of the bullet below the speed of sound and quieting the round before it leaves the barrel.
The only suppressed weapon i have any experience with that "slows" the bullet down is the MP5sd. It does that by means of a reflex type can over a ported BARREL. The ports allow gas to enter the can eariler and increases the sound suppression. That also reduces the pressure behind the bullet thus slowing it.

Normally supersonic ammo exits at subsonic velocities and its pretty quiet.

No pistol can i know of slows bullets as they pass. In fact most cans "boost" speeds a small bit
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Old July 31, 2015, 11:20 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharkbite
The only suppressed weapon i have any experience with that "slows" the bullet down is the MP5sd. It does that by means of a reflex type can over a ported BARREL. The ports allow gas to enter the can eariler and increases the sound suppression. That also reduces the pressure behind the bullet thus slowing it.
Another similar design is the Gemtech Mist-22, which is an integrally-suppressed 10/22 barrel. The Mist has a fairly common design that includes a port in the barrel just in front of the chamber that keeps most ammo subsonic. Normally, most .22 ammo is subsonic in a pistol but supersonic in longer barrels, but the hole in the barrel bleeds off enough pressure that most ammo stays subsonic even in the longer barrel of the Mist. Some other designs I've seen include multiple ports, but the idea is the same.

And the Mist is like the MP5-SD in that the bullet never actually slows down inside the barrel, instead it simply has less acceleration than in a similar-length barrel because of the ports. So instead of being slowed from supersonic to subsonic, it simply never reaches a supersonic speed to begin with.

I've also see designs similar to the MP5-SD used in full-power centerfire rifle suppressors. The idea wasn't to keep the bullet subsonic, it was simply to make the suppressor as quiet as possible. One design was a custom-suppressed Steyr bolt-action .308. Normal ammo still went supersonic, but the barrel ports and the reflex design made it quieter than any .308 can I've ever heard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharkbite
No pistol can i know of slows bullets as they pass. In fact most cans "boost" speeds a small bit
A few current pistol cans use rubber wipes that the bullet passes through. These wipes are often used to keep an ablative from leaking out of the silencer, and they can also aid in the overall sound suppression process. Older designs used materials like leather or steel wool that the bullet passed through, and this also helped quiet the silencer even more than the baffles alone. These obstructions did slow the bullet down, but probably not by much. And the whole purpose of these designs wasn't to slow the bullet down, it was to help quiet down the propellant gasses even more than normal.

But these days baffle design technology has gotten good enough that modern silencers are super-quiet even without anything touching the bullet. So almost all modern silencer designs are just like Sharkbite says: Nothing touches the bullet; they don't slow the bullet down and they even can boost the bullet velocity a little bit. Though there are a few exceptions to this, the Degroat Nano and the Thompson Poseidon come to mind. These are micro cans designed to be shot "wet", and they have rubber wipes that hold in the ablative until you start shooting (they're also supposed to help the suppression process, but it's unclear how much difference they make compared to the ablative). In theory, the wipes will slow the bullet a little, but probably not by a noticable amount.

There are many different designs of silencers/suppressors, but the two words are still interchangeable and refer to the same thing.
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Old July 31, 2015, 11:29 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yadkin
A silencer actually silences the weapon
No silencer/suppressor truly "silences" the weapon; it's simply called a "silencer" because that's the name the original inventor gave it. Even the quietest centerfire pistol-caliber silencers ever made will still be over 120 dB, which is far from silent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yadkin
can't hunt with them
They may not be legal to hunt with in your state, but they're legal for hunting in 32 other states.
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Old August 1, 2015, 12:11 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by James K
I have seen witness statements to the effect that an M1903 rifle with a Maxim silencer was quiet enough that the loudest noise was the click of the firing pin falling. (Of course that was inside a building, firing into sandbags, so the bullet noise down range was not a factor.)

But the Maxim is an extremely complex and expensive device, far from the simple baffles of modern suppressors.
The Maxim Silencer wasn't all that complicated, and its baffle design was less efficient than most modern designs. Modern baffle designs have progressed quite a bit from Maxim's day.

Those witness statements can't be accurate. I've fired subsonic .308 out of an integrally-suppressed rifle that had a ported-barrel reflex design that was much more efficient than Maxim's design, and the sound of the gunshot was still noticably louder than the firing pin. Sure, it was super-quiet, but there's simply no way to bring a centerfire rifle shot down to less than the sound of the firing pin; not without having a ridiculously large silencer or ridiculously under-powered ammo.
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