Education|Truth About Suppressors

One of the biggest things plaguing the firearms industry and culture is misinformation. Our news, movies, tv shows, and video games are where the majority of people get their knowledge and understanding of firearms from. Which in turns create a false perception about the realities of firearms. This misinformation builds a false narrative about firearms that does more harm than good. The false narrative about firearms falls directly on suppressors too.

Before I joined the military I had limited knowledge about firearms. I was just like most Americans my firearms knowledge was derived from the media I consumed. I been working with firearms on a daily basis for about 3 plus years now. During that time I have personally debunked a lot of myths about firearms myself by spending extensive time with firearms. With so much mystery and allure about firearms let’s break the walls down and get to some truths about suppressors.

Here are 7 myths about suppressors.

Myth: Suppressors are illegal to own

Suppressors are not illegal to own at all. There are 42 states in where you can legally own a suppressor. You can hunt with a suppressor in 40 states throughout the U.S. The states that suppressors are illegal to own or use are California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.  

To be able to purchase a suppressor you have to be: 

1. Be a Resident of the U.S.

2. 21 years of age to purchase a suppressor from an authorized dealer

3. Be able to legal purchase a firearm

4. Pass an ATF background check

5. Pay $200 tax stamp 

Myth: Suppressors “silence” firearms

This is one of the most prevailing myths in tv, movie, and video games. Putting a suppressor is going to “silence” a gunshot. Turning you into this silent assassin capable of taking down enemies like a thief in the night. Survey says…you lose!

This perception of suppressors is completely false. 

Suppressors do not “silence” firearms. Suppressors reduced the sound signature of a shot being fired from your firearm. Suppressors work by giving the shot being fired a larger, contained space to dissipate and cool before the round exits the suppressor.  

The decibel level of an un-suppressed rifle is 165 dB. Which is louder than a fighter jet taking off from a runway, which is 150 dB. Now, add a suppressor to that same rifle and it reduces the decibel level from 165dB to 134 dB, which is a 31 dB drop in sound signature. On average suppressors drop the sound signature of a round being shot from 20-35 dB. 

Myth: Suppressor reduce accuracy.

This is an another myth about suppressors that is prevalent in the video games industry. Filmmakers are notorious for stretching the truth for a good entertainment and that “wow” factor of a good action set piece. In video game developers sacrifice realism for game balancing. 

In truth suppressors do not affect the accuracy of a firearm. Suppressors do not make any contact with the bullet, it simple contains and dissipates the gases before exiting the suppressor. Suppressors provide reduce felt recoil, muzzle flash and flip, and reduced sound all help a shooter improve their accuracy. 

Myth: Suppressors reduce the velocity of a bullet

The myth of reduce velocity of a bullet is yet again another video game based suppressor myth. With this myth a suppressor will give you reduce damage stats or reduce the effective range of your firearm. Again, video game developers are sacrificing realism for game balancing. A prime example of this myth being seen in a video game The Division 2 by UbiSoft.

However, suppressors slightly increases a bullet’s velocity. A suppressor acts as an extension of the barrel (faux barrel) giving the the gases more time to push that bullet before exiting the suppressor. The suppressor doesn’t drastically increase the velocity (only by 20-40 FPS) of the bullet, it is enough to change the point of impact when comparing shooting with or without a suppressor. 

Myth: Suppressors can only be used on one firearm.

This myth is simply incorrect. Once you go through the steps of legally owning a suppressor you can attach to any firearm you own. So, if you have 3 AR-style rifles you want to put it on you can with no questions asked. 

Myth: Owning a suppressor I relinquish my 4th Amendment Rights.

When I started researching myths about suppressors this one surprised me the most. I was mind blown by the question. It is one of the frequently asked question on SilcenerCo website.

I will lean on the silencer professionals at SilencerCo tell you the answer. Which is a No! SilencerCo states, “ No. This often comes up because of the mistaken belief that a “Class 3″ license is required to purchase a suppressor. A “Class 3″ license is a dealer license – and the ATF absolutely can show up to search a dealer’s premises; but, silencer buyers don’t give up any rights at all.”

Myth: Is it a suppressor or silencer? Which term is correct.

Actually when it comes down to terminology both are correct. 

The Suppressor was designed by Hiram Percy Maxim back in 1902. The suppressor was designed alongside the car muffler by Maxim. Many of the design principles in the car muffler made it to the suppressor design. In 1909 Maxim patented the design and called it the “Maxim Silencer”. The Maxim Silencer where popular during that time and the term silencer caught on. The term silencer is now used in legal definitions and on our ATF forms. 

Many purists within the firearms refer to them as suppressors which is technically correct. The suppressor reduces the sound signature of a fired shot from a weapon. Suppressor doesn’t silence a gunfire as the name silencer suggests.

Did you think I missed a common myth about suppressors? What is a myth you thought was true but learned it wasn’t? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for Reading

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