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Old February 13, 2015, 03:45 PM   #1
Machineguntony
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Who here is going to admit that they use silencers primarily because they're 'cool'?

A discussion, just for fun, because the NFA forum is my favorite forum.

What I mean by 'cool" is that they're somewhat of a novelty, or that we see them in movies, and we want one.

For me, I find a suppressor somewhat impractical. I think they add extra weight to a gun, extra length, and they block the sights, unless you have high sights. I purchased a handful of silencers a couple of years ago, and now they're just paperweights. I use them only when I want to take a cool, James Bond-ish looking pic with my gun.

People like to argue that suppressors have a utilitarian purpose because they protect against hearing damage. Not really. If anything, use of suppressors may actually increase hearing damage. The reason being that many people who use suppressors wrongly believe that if you use a suppressor, you do not need hearing protection (and I see this phenomenon now with suppressors becoming more common). A suppressor will only bring the decibels down to about 120 dcB. Anything above 85 decibels will cause hearing damage: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hear...ges/noise.aspx

To the shooter, who is using a suppressor, it may not sound as loud as a regular unsuppressed gun blast, but, no doubt, there is hearing damage that is being cumulatively accrued by the shooter.

Don't get me wrong, I like them a lot, and I encourage people to buy them. But if the ATF took them off the NFA list, I, and I suspect many others, would look at them and say...meh, everyone has one now.

So the pretty girl is all T&A, and nothing inside. Who is going to admit to falling in love with the girl? Step right up.
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Old February 13, 2015, 03:57 PM   #2
Bill DeShivs
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Without looking up specs and such- I have shot .22s with silencers, and there is not much way the noise would cause hearing damage. Larger calibers may be different.
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Old February 13, 2015, 04:05 PM   #3
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There are times when I would have liked to have had one. For instance, when I lived in FL, we ran deer/hog feeders in a rural neighborhood where I own a lot (all the lots are at least 5 acres and most of the lots are still undeveloped). As a courtesy to the neighbors living there we normally used only archery but having a silenced rifle would have allowed us more range (shooting hogs with a silencer is legal in Fl).
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Old February 13, 2015, 04:06 PM   #4
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Shooting with a silencer is a pretty relaxing experience, but then I've only shot .22 that way.

Having said that an awesome looking AR carbine is going to be a pretty big motivator for me getting a .223 can sometime later this year!

So yes, cool has a lot to answer for!!
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Old February 13, 2015, 08:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Machineguntony ....... I think they add extra weight to a gun, extra length, and they block the sights, unless you have high sights.
I have an integrally suppressed Ruger 10/22.....doesn't add any weight, exact same length as any 16" 10/22, and doesn't block anything.

My Colt 6933 AR with silencer doesn't weigh as much as my friends 16" AR without a suppressor. It isn't longer either. I've yet to see a 5.56 suppressor that blocks the irons of an AR.




Quote:
People like to argue that suppressors have a utilitarian purpose because they protect against hearing damage. Not really.
Science disagrees.






Quote:
If anything, use of suppressors may actually increase hearing damage. The reason being that many people who use suppressors wrongly believe that if you use a suppressor, you do not need hearing protection (and I see this phenomenon now with suppressors becoming more common). A suppressor will only bring the decibels down to about 120 dcB. Anything above 85 decibels will cause hearing damage: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hear...ges/noise.aspx
Wholly and completely illogical conclusion based on a faulty assumption.
YOU assume people with silencers don't use hearing protection.........that's 180 degrees from my experiences.

There's a ton of folks who shoot unsuppressed without hearing pro.......because they are ignorant. Same with eye pro.

Your claim about sound reduction is more than a bit vague.......what caliber, action type and barrel length are you attempting to suppress? All you hear on my 10/22 is the clack of the bolt..........and that's about as loud as clapping your hands.



Quote:
To the shooter, who is using a suppressor, it may not sound as loud as a regular unsuppressed gun blast, but, no doubt, there is hearing damage that is being cumulatively accrued by the shooter.
True, hearing damage is cumulative. My 11.5" AR15 is obnoxiously loud unsuppressed......but with a suppressor it's quieter than an unsuppressed .22 pistol. That right there is the best reason to have a suppressor on my SBR.




Quote:
Don't get me wrong, I like them a lot, and I encourage people to buy them. But if the ATF took them off the NFA list, I, and I suspect many others, would look at them and say...meh, everyone has one now.
Not likely.
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Old February 13, 2015, 09:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill DeShivs
I have shot .22s with silencers, and there is not much way the noise would cause hearing damage.
An audiologist would disagree with you. Repeated exposure to noises as low as 85 dB can cause hearing damage. The quietest .22 silencers on the market rarely get a shot down below 115 dB.

http://american-hearing.org/disorder...-hearing-loss/

From that page: "Habitual exposure to noise above 85 dB will cause a gradual hearing loss in a significant number of individuals, and louder noises will accelerate this damage."

The tone and duration of a suppressed gunshot doesn't make it seem anywhere near as loud as it is, but it's still loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage over time, even with a suppressed .22.
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Old February 13, 2015, 09:46 PM   #7
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There's an element of duration involved. The report of a gunshot lasts a very short time, so if you total up the total time involved in 100 suppressed shots it's less total noise exposure than 10 minutes on a factory floor.
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Old February 13, 2015, 09:49 PM   #8
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I agree with Theo on this. 85 decibels doesn't seem loud, especially when you are used to the thunder clap of an unsuppressed gun. But manufacturers will admit and agree that even the quietest 22lr suppressor will have, as Theo stated, will only get the sound down to about 110 decibels. And, as can be easily verified by reading about hearing damage via a simple google search (or at the site that Theo provided you), a person only needs 85 decibels to sustain cumulative hearing damage.

Thus, the caliber, even if it is a 22, doesn't matter, as it relates to cumulative hearing damage.

If anything, some of the responses in this thread support my hypothesis: people think that certain calibers are safe, if suppressed. So people tend to underestimate the damage that is slowly being caused to their ears. So they shoot without hearing protection.

Also, if you read some of the advertisements for suppressors, especially when it comes to hunting, they imply that because you are using a suppressor, you now don't need hearing protection when hunting.

Again, I am making this argument for the sake of discussion. I have nothing, other than my anecdotal experience, to ascertain that people are actually less likely to shoot with hearing protection if they have a silencer. I do see a lot of people shooting suppressors without hearing protection, and I see ads that imply that you don't need hearing protection (heck, if you go to the silencer shop videos, or most youtube silencer videos, the shooter almost never wears hearing protection; and if someone calls the shooter out on the lack of hearing protection, a common response is, 'he's using a suppressor').
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Old February 13, 2015, 09:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elkins45
There's an element of duration involved. The report of a gunshot lasts a very short time, so if you total up the total time involved in 100 suppressed shots it's less total noise exposure than 10 minutes on a factory floor.
You're absolutely right. But saying that a suppressed .22 can't cause hearing loss is incorrect.
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Old February 13, 2015, 10:10 PM   #10
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It's quite possible I'm wrong. But, there are a lot of very common things louder than a suppressed .22. Driving nails is much louder-as is cutting your yard, listening to most live music, running machinery. I don't want to get into an argument. The Walther P22 with Gemtech silencer that I shot in my back yard was so quiet the neighbors on the other side of the fence had no idea. It sounded just like a BB gun.
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Old February 13, 2015, 10:27 PM   #11
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Yelling "GET OFF MY LAWN!!!" one foot away from someone's ear can cause hearing loss. So can the headphones on your iphone, a vacuum cleaner, your lawnmower, leaf blower, weedeater, a barking dog, a popped birthday balloon, or whistling too loudly. Heck, the ushers at AT&T Stadium wear earpro during Cowboys games.

Simply throwing out the decibel reading of the sound is nearly meaningless unless you know how far the meter is from the source. Measuring db at the muzzle of a suppressed .22 rifle will give a far different reading than if measured at the buttstock.


Your ears and eyesight are precious and deserve protection. My grandfather lived to age 100, but the last 20 years he required a hearing aid for normal conversation. Listening to the birds, crickets, coyotes the wind weren't possible. While a suppressor wouldn't likely have prevented his hearing loss it sure as heck wouldn't have made it worse or occur sooner.

I work in special education and have a couple of dozen kids on my caseload with a visual or hearing impairment, some have both. It's nothing to mess with.

If you hear someone say "Silencers mean you don't need ear plugs".....then educate them.
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Old February 13, 2015, 10:43 PM   #12
Theohazard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill DeShivs
But, there are a lot of very common things louder than a suppressed .22. Driving nails is much louder-as is cutting your yard, listening to most live music, running machinery.
Some of those things can be louder than a suppressed .22, some can be quieter. All can cause hearing damage over time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill DeShivs
The Walther P22 with Gemtech silencer that I shot in my back yard was so quiet the neighbors on the other side of the fence had no idea. It sounded just like a BB gun.
I agree that it sounds like a BB gun, but it can still cause hearing loss. A Walther P22 with a silencer will be louder than a suppressed 10/22, and you can see from this chart that a suppressed 10/22 with subsonic ammo is between 115 and 120 dB:




Compare that chart to the decibel levels of other common sounds:



And if you go to Google images and search for "db levels common sounds", you can see all sorts of other charts like that one.
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Old February 13, 2015, 10:57 PM   #13
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Nice chart, Theo. Very informative.

Part of the reason why suppressors are so deceptive is that, as the chart above shows, the suppressor bring the decibels just low enough that it doesn't cause pain or discomfort. A unsuppressed gun blast is 160+ decibels which is more than enough to cause instantaneous pain or discomfort. At 115, since you are below the threshold of pain or discomfort, you are in a dangerous zone where you don't realize that you are causing damage to yourself; in essence, the shooter is lulled into a false sense of security.

I agree that there are many things that cause hearing damage. But the fact, that other things that cause hearing damage, doesn't lessen the danger caused by the illusion of safety from shooting a suppressed gun without hearing protection.

You might not be able to do something about your boss screaming in your ear or the jackhammer (120 decibels) running outside your office window, but you can do something about protecting your hearing when shooting.
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Old February 13, 2015, 11:01 PM   #14
aarondhgraham
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I don't own a silencer,,,

I don't own a silencer or silenced firearm,,,
But if I ever were to purchase one,,,
It would be for the cool factor.

Aarond

.
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Old February 13, 2015, 11:23 PM   #15
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From what I have seen on Theohazzards data I am verey suspect of it's accurarcy. For example....Disco at 1 meter from speaker The sound equipment I run at my nieces catoring events gives me 3000 watt peaks per side and at 1 meter from two pairs of Peavy SP2Gs the decibel reading maxed out the meter I borrowed meaning above 140.

The only thing other then the $200 tax stamp that has stopped me from getting one for my Mark I is the fact that the tax stamp would put me on another registry.

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Old February 13, 2015, 11:52 PM   #16
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For me the choice is simple. I can run a suppressed pistol for HD or have to worry about getting my electronic ears on if i need the pistol.

Its just easier to screw the can on the gun at bed time and not have to worry about it. My TiRant 9s doesnt add much weight or change the balance of the gun enough for me to worry about.

So now if something goes down in the middle of the night.... My hearing (and that of my loved ones) is safer then without the can.

A can might not be "silent" but its worlds better then a bare muzzle

I admit to the "Cool" factor involved as well
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Old February 14, 2015, 01:05 AM   #17
Machineguntony
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The thing that most concerns me is that the new James Bond doesn't even use one. He doesn't even have the option: no threading on the barrel.



Obviously, they'll hear him if he shoots that thing!
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Old February 14, 2015, 02:01 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hartcreek
From what I have seen on Theohazzards data I am verey suspect of it's accurarcy.
The thing about this subject is that it's based on simple test data that is easy to search for on Google. However, there is no standard for testing the decibel ratings of certain sounds. But that's why it's good to look up multiple tests and check the sources.
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Old February 14, 2015, 04:13 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharkbite
A can might not be "silent" but its worlds better then a bare muzzle
This. Instead of using terms like "hearing safe", we should use terms like "hearing safer". You still get cumulative hearing loss with a can, but it's a whole lot less than without.
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Old February 15, 2015, 10:00 AM   #20
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Quote:
Machineguntony

People like to argue that suppressors have a utilitarian purpose because they protect against hearing damage. Not really.
I have to agree with you here.

Even though the unprotected shooter does not notice much of anything while shooting, his/her hearing is being damaged.
This damage will show up in some form down the road... the most common form of damage is tinnitus.

If you value your hearing, you should protect it when mowing the lawn, running the vacuum, attending concerts, etc.

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Old February 15, 2015, 11:20 AM   #21
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While it is just plain cool, there are other factors.
Recoil is reduced in many instances. My 308 bolt gun has significantly less recoil suppressed. Mechanical accuracy is unaffected. Practical accuracy is increased, as there is less likelihood of flinch from less recoil.
Some guns, like ar sbrs, are so loud that a suppressor is needed to make it even tolerable. My ar pistol with 10.5" barrel is a pussycat suppressed.
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Old February 15, 2015, 11:28 AM   #22
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I live in a state where suppressors can be legally owned and used and have recently even been ruled lawful for hunting and they are getting popular in these parts.

I have almost no interest -- not zero interest, mind you, but close. I think the OP's point is pretty much it for me. Would be neat, fun and interesting but at this stage... of precious little tangible use to me.

Part of my soul shrivels up and dies at the very idea of sending THE MAN a couple hundred dollars for that obnoxious stamp, not to mention the associated hassles and annoyances. And for me, I don't have my own land to shoot on, so any place I ever have occasion to shoot typically has other shooters present... which makes a suppressor an almost completely moot point.

Would be fun to play with but the governmental red tape turns my stomach.
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Old February 15, 2015, 11:36 AM   #23
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The Man collects a tax on just about everything we do & buy, don't
let a $200 tax stamp stand in your way of owning a sound suppressor.
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Old February 15, 2015, 12:11 PM   #24
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Sorry, very poor sell. Exercise your right to buy those stamps. I won't be taking part in it and I'll be happy to amend or retract this if I should ever change my mind.
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Old February 15, 2015, 01:31 PM   #25
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There are some really sweeping generalizations in going on here.

Quote:
If anything, use of suppressors may actually increase hearing damage. The reason being that many people who use suppressors wrongly believe that if you use a suppressor, you do not need hearing protection
I really don't see that, and I deal with people who own and shoot with silencers all day. People who buy them tend to do a great deal of self-education on them. In terms of hearing protection, the perception is that they act as harm reduction, not harm elimination.

Quote:
But if the ATF took them off the NFA list, I, and I suspect many others, would look at them and say...meh, everyone has one now.
While that mentality may exist to some extent, it's not what I'm seeing. To the contrary, many shooters would welcome the reduction in cost and hassle, which are the biggest bars to entry.

In such a situation (which is a fairy tale at this point anyway), existing owners might feel that they overpaid by buying earlier, but most of the ones I know would simply see it as an incentive to buy more.
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