Black Rifles & Tactical Guns

CCW Weekend: Popular Suppressor Myths That Need To Die Already

By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

While the gun community has been clued in for sometime, there are certain myths about suppressors that just won’t die. Suppressors – which laypersons have been calling “silencers” because of the movies for far too long – don’t actually accomplish a whole lot beyond attenuating noise from a gunshot.

Suppressors been made a little harder to get thanks to regulation passed a very long time ago (the National Firearms Act of 1968) for what were considered good reasons. (They weren’t.) Though they aren’t terribly difficult to get today (a couple of forms and $200 payable to the ATF) the calls to restrict them or prohibit them entirely are still fairly constant.

Hillary Clinton even said that the shooter in the Mandalay Bay massacre said he couldn’t have accomplished his heinous acts without one…which is odd because he didn’t actually use one.

While you wouldn’t necessarily put one on a carry gun and put it in a concealed carry holster (though some people might!) there are a number of myths concerning suppressors, whether deployed on a rifle or a pistol, that just need to go away. Popular culture is replete with myth and exaggeration about a great many things, but the truth is that suppressors just aren’t the wonder devices some people think they are.

The first myth is just how much they attenuate the noise of a gunshot.

Watch the movies, and a pistol becomes practically silent when affixed with a suppressor. The tinnitus-inducing sound of a gunshot becomes little more than an odd “phoot” noise. Today, gun control advocates insist that the devices will muffle gunshots and make them harder to hear, even fooling the “ShotSpotter” system. The criminals will be able to shoot anyone anywhere and no one will be able to hear it!

Wrong.

Suppressors don’t even come close to silencing a gunshot. Your typical gunshot produces 145 decibels to 160 decibels or more, louder than a 747 at takeoff or a Mötorhead concert. (RIP Lemmy.) Though greater attenuation is possible, the typical suppressor attenuates about 30 dB, meaning the quietest a gunshot will usually get is between 110 dB to 120 dB. Further reduction is possible with subsonic ammunition and better suppressor design, but that’s typically about it.

Hardly silent, and as it happens, ShotSpotter actually does pick up suppressed gunfire. In fact, even if you attenuate gunshots down to 110 dB to 115 dB, it will still damage your hearing. Anyone hearing it will have no delusions about what that sound is.

Next is that regulating suppressors is necessary to prevent crime.

The Washington Free Beacon asked the ATF for some stats regarding suppressors and crime, and what the ATF reported was that they find only about 44 crimes involving use of a suppressor per year, of which only 6 per year involve the suppressor being used by a party with a prior felony conviction.

In other words, the number of gun crimes involving suppressors is statistically insignificant compared to overall crime involving guns. By comparison, the FBI reported 6,447 homicides, 167,323 aggravated assaults and 120,120 robberies involving firearms in the 2015 Uniform Crime Report, the last year for which complete data were available. Presuming the ATF’s number as constants (they aren’t, but let’s just assume so for the sake of demonstration) the 44 crimes involving suppressors make up about 0.00015 percent of the 293,890 gun crimes that the FBI were aware of.

So…they don’t really “silence” guns all that much and aren’t really used that much in gun crimes.

While wanting fewer people to die from violence (involving guns or otherwise) is certainly good – the people that advocate the loudest for gun control should probably stop getting their inspiration from the movies.

And if buying a suppressor means I’ll get a DB5 as a company car, I want as many of them as possible.

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Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.