Benefits of Sound Suppressors Demonstrated in Surefire Video
If you are considering purchasing a sound moderator (aka “suppressor” or “can”) for one or more of your rifles, a video from Surefire explains the many benefits of modern suppressors. Sound moderators not only reduce the audible sound coming from a firearm, but they also reduce flash signature, dust signature, and recoil.
In the video below, Surefire highlights the features and benefits of its line of quick-attach suppressors. These are crafted from special alloys that are “stronger at 1000° F than stainless steel is cold.” While the video focuses on the use of suppressors by military and police personnel, these devices are also beneficial for hunters and competitive tactical shooters.
A shot from a .308 Win rifle can be as loud as 167 db to the shooter. Notably, the noise level can be just as great to someone positioned one meter away (Source: 1999 Finish Suppressor Trials). What’s worse is that popular muzzle brakes can INCREASE shooters’ noise exposure by 5 to 10 db. The noise level at which hearing damage can occur is about 140 db. A quality modern suppressor can reduce .308 Win rifle shot noise levels to 130 db or less.
Flash Signature Reduction
For a varminter, a quality suppressor can reduce the visible muzzle flash from a rifle by 90% or more. That’s important when hunting at night. The bright flash can both spook game and temporarily degrade the hunters’ night vision. Using a suppressor can help the shooter maintain his night-adapted vision.
Recoil reduction is a real benefit. In 1992, Finland’s National Board of Labor Protection tested a variety of suppressors on both bolt-action hunting rifles and select-fire military rifles. The study concluded that recoil reduction was significant: “Suppressors reduced recoil energy by 20 to 30 percent, or about as must as muzzle brakes, making powerful bolt-action hunting rifles considerably less painful to shoot (especially repeated shots in training).”
When firing prone, a rifle with a muzzle brake kicks up a large cloud of dust. (Watch video at 3:00). In a military situation, this dust signature can reveal the shooter’s position — with potentially disastrous consequences. For a tactical competitor, the dust may prevent recognition of a hit while impeding a rapid second-shot. For the varminter, the dust cloud is a nuisance that may prevent him from seeing his hits, while sending critters scurrying back into cover.
Message to Politicians — Suppressors Will Save Tax Dollars
Here is an interesting finding from the 1992 Finland Suppressor Project: “The unit price of a mass-produced suppressor may be reduced to $50 to $70 (1992 prices). [This low cost] will make cost-effectiveness of the suppressor far better than that of any shooting range [sound-proofing]… and, actually, also better than the cost-effectiveness of hearing protection, especially when several persons are present while just one of them is shooting at a time.” Too bad most politicians can’t seem to understand these points. They still view suppressors as evil tools employed by gangsters, rather than proven safety devices that will reduce noise pollution.
Is the “price of noise” something we really need to consider from a public policy standpoint? Absolutely. In 2004 the Veterans Administration paid out $633.8 million in compensation to 378,982 vets whose main disability is hearing loss. Only a small fraction of those vets saw combat; most damaged their hearing during weapons training activities.
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