Silencers, also known as suppressors, are often shrouded in mystery and misinformation. Hollywood has portrayed them as tools of assassins and spies, but the reality is far different. In this blog, we will explore and debunk some of the most common myths about silencers. By dispelling these myths, we hope to educate and inform readers about silencers’ true nature and function. So, let’s dive in and separate fact from fiction!
Table of Contents
- THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SUPPRESSOR AND A SILENCER
- BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SILENCER
- SILENCER MYTHS
- SILENCERS ARE ILLEGAL TO OWN
- HUNTING WITH SILENCER IS ILLEGAL
- SILENCERS CAN ONLY GO ON ONE GUN
- SILENCERS MAKE GUNS HOLLYWOOD-QUIET
- YOU NEED TO HAVE A CLASS 3 LICENSE TO OWN A SILENCER
- SILENCERS NEGATIVELY IMPACT VELOCITY AND ACCURACY
- SILENCERS ARE ASSASIN WEAPONS AND ONLY HELPFUL FOR MILITARY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT SITUATIONS
- SILENCERS HAVE A SHORT LIFESPAN
- THE GOVERNMENT CAN COME INTO YOUR HOUSE UNANNOUNCED
- THERE ARE LONG WAITING PERIODS TO GET A SUPPRESSOR
- SILENCER CONCLUSION
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SUPPRESSOR AND A SILENCER
None, a silencer and a suppressor are the same product. In fact, there are a bunch of names for a silencer.
- Biscuit buster
All these items refer to a muzzle device that reduces the sound associated to firing your firearm. Not as commonly known, silencers also reduce recoil and help decrease muzzle flinch. With the advantages a silencer offers, many shooters see improved accuracy and better shot placement.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SILENCER
Inventor Jakob Stahel was the first to patent a silencer in 1892. Although he built it to kill cattle, he claimed the silencer could be adapted to fit other firearms.
10 years later in 1902 American inventor Hiram Percy Maxim, (son of Maxim gun inventor Hiram Stevens Maxim) invented a silencer that was the first commercially sold. He patented the “Maxim Silencer” on March 30, 1909. The original Maxim Silencer was available in every rifle caliber from the .22 to the .45. Larger calibers were available but were furnished with custom attachment devices.
In 1934, the National Firearms Act (NFA) was implemented to restrict and regulate certain firearms and devices. The result was $200 tax on suppressors. This had a big impact on the market for over 40 years. The $200 tax is still in effect today.
The history of the silencer is very interesting as well as the Maxim family history. But the goal of this blog was less education on the history and more so to illustrate the need and use for silencers dating back much longer than people realize. For a great chronological timeline and history of the silencer, there is a great blog post on the NRA’s website.
What history has illustrated is that the need and applications for a silencer existed long before Hollywood drove home the message that silencers were for “hitmen”. The reality is that suppressors were once readily available and used by average everyday sportsmen to reduce sound to the degree that wouldn’t damage hearing, reduce recoil, and a handful of related benefits depending on the application.
Technology has only improved silencers and added to the benefits, hence the explosion in the market.
For the sake of this blog, I’ve limited it to the most frequently cited concerns, wife’s tales, or myths regarding silencers but if you’ve heard one you feel merits mentioning, please reply to this post.
SILENCERS ARE ILLEGAL TO OWN
Suppressors/silencers/cans, whatever you call them… are completely legal to own, depending on your location. Suppressors are highly regulated under the National Firearms Act of 1934. This is a common myth that suppressors are illegal. Suppressors are currently legal to own in 42 of the 50 states.
HUNTING WITH SILENCER IS ILLEGAL
Hunting with a suppressor is completely legal in over 40 states! As long as you legally own the suppressor and follow the local, state, and federal laws that apply to having a suppressor…. you can use one for hunting!
In fact, there are advantages to hunting with a suppressed firearm.
- Silencers dramatically reduce the possibility of hearing loss
- Suppressors also reduce recoil, which can improve accuracy
- The games reaction is typically reduced with the loudest part of the shot suppressed
GSL builds some suppressors specifically for hunting for 350 Legend, 450 Bushmaster, and .300 blackout hunting-specific cans.
SILENCERS CAN ONLY GO ON ONE GUN
This myth is 100% false. There are definitely suppressors out there designed for one weapon type, such as some of the integrally suppressed barrels out there and the UZI-specific suppressor like the GSL Jericho.
Even then, the Jericho can still use any Full Sized or Mini UZI weapon. Suppressors are tied to CALIBER most often. Suppressors are designed based on bullet diameter and the pressure they can tolerate. For example, most 223 rounds can go through most 308-built suppressors. Lower pressure and a smaller round. Conversely, not all 223 rounds can go through all 9mm suppressors. Even though the bullet technically fits through a 9mm hole (0.354) the pressure of a 223 or .308 bullet would blow up many 9mm dedicated cans on the market.
SILENCERS MAKE GUNS HOLLYWOOD-QUIET
James Bond movies and video games stretch the truth about what a suppressor is capable of. Sometimes this also changes people’s expectations for a suppressor to be movie quiet. Unfortunately for
Hollywood…. more myths about silencers, and suppressors do NOT make everything about a weapon firing “Silent” They can get the sound levels down to where the shooter will not suffer permanent hearing loss, but never completely silent.
YOU NEED TO HAVE A CLASS 3 LICENSE TO OWN A SILENCER
You do not need to BE a Class 2 or Class 3 dealer or have a special license to own a suppressor; you have to KNOW a licensed FFL and SOT holding dealer to process the transfer.
Any person that can legally own a firearm, and lives in a state that allows suppressors, can own a suppressor. A suppressor purchase is a bit more involved than a firearm, but NO ANNUAL FEES come with owning a suppressor…No special license is required for an individual to own one.
SILENCERS NEGATIVELY IMPACT VELOCITY AND ACCURACY
Suppressors are INCREDIBLE for shooting. They lower the sound, the shock factor, the muzzle flinch, and the recoil, making controlling the weapon easier. They are easier and safer to shoot, and a quality suppressor does not make a weapon less accurate or slow in velocity.
You can see slightl velocity increases because the extra length gives the bullet a tiny bit longer to accelerate with the gas expansion in the barrel. It’s not a lot…. but it is not a decrease in velocity. A quality suppressor doesn’t make any contact with the bullet, so it won’t make your firearms less accurate.
SILENCERS ARE ASSASIN WEAPONS AND ONLY HELPFUL FOR MILITARY AND LAW ENFORCEMENT SITUATIONS
Suppressors are not silent or assassin’s weapons, more myths about silencers. They lower the sound, the shock factor, the muzzle flinch, lower the recoil, and make controlling the weapon easier.
Silencers are easier and safer to shoot and have many applications for hunters, self-defense, and daily carry weapons. They are great for training new shooters and helpful for population control of animals without disturbing your neighbors.
SILENCERS HAVE A SHORT LIFESPAN
Some suppressors are very low quality…they can fall apart after 10-15 rounds or less. The suppressor industry is competitive, and manufacturers sometimes run to the bottom of pricing and materials to make sales….. A quality suppressor will outlive you and your children.
Suppressors of the earliest days sometimes used disposable materials and were known to need to be replaced after a certain lifecycle or firing schedule. Modern technology and advancements in machining and materials have improved the lifespan of suppressors. Most quality manufacturers out there will provide a suppressor that will be built to last.
THE GOVERNMENT CAN COME INTO YOUR HOUSE UNANNOUNCED
Believe it or not, I have heard this said more than you would believe. This is false. Our 2nd Amendment and 4th Amendment rights as US citizens are not waived just because we bought a scary suppressor…
Many think that being “On the List” is going to result in additional screening or additional law enforcement scrutiny – That is also untrue.
THERE ARE LONG WAITING PERIODS TO GET A SUPPRESSOR
Believe it or not, there is not Federal or State regulation mandating a “Wait Period” to get a suppressor.
It does take a very long time to process one from purchase to take it home, though. Some would even call that lengthy process an infringement on our right to own one…Short answer, it depends on the time it takes to process it. Some have been approved in 8 days, and some have taken over 14 months….
First and foremost, I would be remiss not to say thank my team at GSL Technology, Inc. for many of the great suppressor photos in this post.
In conclusion, besides being fun to shoot and having less impact on your hearing, suppressors are not nearly as hard to purchase as many people think. If you have questions or comments, please leave them below, I would love to help.