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August 3rd, 2022

Even with Suppressed Firearms Hearing Protection is Important

suppressor silencer moderator facts fiction sound levels noise decibles dB
Silencer-equipped AR photo courtesy The Silencer Shop.

OK, you’ve paid the tax stamp and acquired your new suppressor (aka “silencer” or “moderator”). Do you still need to wear earplugs or muffs? Absolutely. Even with that expensive new “can”, your rifle could be generating over 140 decibels (dB) of noise — about the same as as an unmuffled 9mm pistol shot. That’s loud enough to create permanent hearing loss with repeated exposure.

Firearms Are Loud: 140 dB to 175 dB

Audiology group ASHA explains: “Exposure to noise greater than 140 dB can permanently damage hearing. Almost all firearms create noise that is over the 140-dB level. A small .22-caliber rifle can produce noise around 140 dB, while big-bore rifles and pistols can produce sound over 175 dB. Firing guns in a place where sounds can reverberate, or bounce off walls and other structures, can make noises louder and increase the risk of hearing loss. Also, adding muzzle brakes or other modifications can make the firearm louder. People who do not wear hearing protection while shooting can suffer a severe hearing loss with as little as one shot[.] Audiologists see this often, especially during hunting season when hunters and bystanders may be exposed to rapid fire from big-bore rifles, shotguns, or pistols.” Source: ASHA, Recreational Firearm Noise Exposure.

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Suppressors, On Average, Reduce Noise Levels about 30 Decibels
In an article for Ammoland, gunwriter Sam Hoober says that you can expect about 30 decibels (dB) of noise reduction from the average suppressor: “Looking at a few different products, SilencerCo attests their suppressors reduce the sound pressure of a 9mm gunshot to anywhere from 125.7 dB to 131.5 dB, depending on the model. Advanced Armament Co, another popular supplier, attests a 23 dB to 33 dB reduction or down to 127 dB. Liberty Suppressors, another manufacturer, attests a reduction of 24 dB to 38 dB, depending on model and other factors. In short, we can presume something on the order of 30 dB of attenuation as an average.”

Using that 30 dB number you can quickly discern that you’ll still need hearing protection — good hearing protection — when shooting any suppressed firearm (even a .22 LR). “Spikes of 130 dB and more can result in permanent hearing damage instantly”. Source: NRA Blog.

The Myth of the “Quiet” .22 LR
The NRA Blog notes that “many rimfire shooters, particularly those using the beloved .22 Long Rifle cartridge, argue that the small .22 LR caliber doesn’t produce enough sound to damage your hearing”. So, is that really true. or is it a myth?

In fact, a .22 LR can be much louder than you think — a .22 LR pistol can produce sound levels of 134 dB. That’s well above the normal human pain threshhold.

Sound Levels for Common Noises:

9mm Luger pistol: 160 dB

Jet aircraft engine (near): 140 dB

.22 LR pistol: 134 dB

Normal human pain threshold: 120 dB

Noisy Nightclub: 110 db

Riding Motorcycle at 65 mph: 103 db

Power Lawnmower: 95 dB

Hearing damage possible: 85 dB (sustained for 8+ hours)

Ringing Telephone: 80 dB

Normal conversation: 60 dB


The Risk of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be progressive and irreversible. If you are a shooter, this is serious business. As the NRA Blog cautions: “You may not even realize you’re harming your hearing. Hearing loss occurs gradually, and can go effectively unnoticed until symptoms become severe. By then, the damage is done.”

Nobody wants to go deaf. But we often see shooters without effective hearing protection when they are walking around a few yards behind the firing line. That’s bad — even if you are away from the firing line, gunshot noises can damage your hearing. You MUST use effective hearing protection every time you go to the range. Good foam earplugs costs mere pennies but they can prevent deafness in your later years. Many folks also wear muffs over plugs.

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April 22nd, 2022

Suppressor Academy — Great Resource for Suppressor INFO

Suppressor Academy GunsAmerica Digest silencer central

GunsAmerica Digest has a new Suppressor Academy webpage that provides host of helpful information about suppressors (aka “silencers” and “cans”). The Suppressor Academy online resource page features in-depth articles with important information for anyone considering acquiring a suppressor. The articles explain the key benefits of suppressors, how to choose a suppressor, and how to comply with Federal and state laws regulating suppressors. Below we link to four Suppressor Academy articles. Click the title for each topic to read the full-length article.

Who Can Own a Suppressor — Legal in 42 States »

Suppressor Academy GunsAmerica Digest silencer central
Photo: American Suppressor Association

Suppressors are now legal in 42 U.S. States. There are certain legal requirements for obtaining a suppressor, including paying a $200 Tax Stamp. To own a suppressor you must be legally eligible to purchase a firearm, pass a BATFE background check, pay a one time $200 Transfer Tax, and satisfy age requirements. (SEE ALL Requirements). In most (but not all) of those states you can use a suppressor for hunting. The eight (mostly blue) states which still prohibit civilian suppressor ownership are: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. READ FULL ARTICLE on GunsAmerica Digest.

18 Reasons to Own a Suppressor »

Suppressor Academy GunsAmerica Digest silencer central

Suppressors serve one main purposes — to reduce the sound levels produced when firing pistol or rifle rounds. But GunsAmerica Digest editor True Pearce notes there are many other reasons to own a suppressor. A suppressor can reduce muzzle blast and felt recoil. The suppressor may prevent hearing damage that occurs through bone conduction better than earplugs and muffs because it reduces the noise energy at the source. When hunting, the reduced shot noise can help avoid spooking game. Having a suppressor also makes it easier to communicate when working as a team on a hunt. And, when compared to a muzzle BRAKE, suppressors are much less likely to kick up dust, dirt, sand, and snow when you shoot prone. READ FULL ARTICLE on GunsAmerica Digest.

You Don’t Need a Special License to Own a Suppressor »

Suppressor Academy GunsAmerica Digest silencer central

There is some confusion surrounding the laws concerning suppressors, which are now legal in 42 U.S. States. In most jurisdictions that allow suppressor ownership, no additional state permit or license is required. But you do have to comply with Federal requirements when acquiring the suppressor. You may wish to create a trust to own the suppressor — there are some important practical advantages to having a suppressor trust. The Traditional NFA Gun Trust allows multiple responsible parties, i.e. “trustees”, to legally have possession of the suppressor. Each trustee must be verified and for each suppressor owned by the trust there will be a $200 Tax Stamp. READ FULL ARTICLE on GunsAmerica Digest.

How to Choose A Suppressor »

Suppressor Academy GunsAmerica Digest silencer central

When shopping for a suppressor there are many factors to consider: price, build quality, materials, sound level reduction effectiveness, weight, ease of mounting, and ease of cleaning and maintenance. We recommend that all suppressor buyers research the options. Check the manufacturer’s reputation, check diagrams for disassembly and maintenance. There are always trade-offs. Shorter suppressors may save some weight, but if they don’t cut the decibels as well you may be disappointed. You also need to consider the caliber — will your suppressor be used on multiple firearms? If so then get one that fits the largest caliber you will shoot. READ FULL ARTICLE on GunsAmerica Digest.

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April 6th, 2022

How Do Suppressors Affect Accuracy — Surprising Test Results

Shooting Sports Suppressor Sound

Shooting Sports Suppressor SoundAre sound suppressors useful in competition shooting? In some disciplines, and in venues where sound “moderators” are permitted, the answer is “yes”. In the November edition of Shooting Sports USA eZine, you’ll find an interesting article about the use of sound suppressors (aka “cans”). The article explores the use of suppressors in Europe and in tactical matches in North America. You’ll also find an explanation of the rules and regulations governing suppressor ownership and use in the United States.

Shooting Sports Editor Chip Lohman tests three rifles from the bench and found that sound suppressors did not harm accuracy. In fact, all three test rifles (one each in .223 Rem, .308 Win, and .338 Lapua Magnum), shot slightly better 5-shot groups at 200 yards when a suppressor was fitted to the barrel. However, the suppressors did alter point of impact. Interestingly, velocity standard deviation (SD) values were lower with suppressors in place for all three test rifles. This observation calls for further study.*

CLICK HERE to Read Suppressor Article in Shooting Sports USA

Shooting Sports Suppressor Sound

So the use of suppressors in competition could be a good thing. However, in the United States, current NRA rules prohibit the use of sound suppressors. NRA Rule 3.16.1 subsection (a) states: “Sound Suppressors are not authorized for use in High Power competition.” In addition, there are some practical problems with suppressors — the heat rising off of a naked suppressor can create mirage problems (that’s why some shooters wrap their cans with a cover).

Despite such issues, now commonly see suppressors on rifles used in tactical matches and PRS/NRL events. For example, many competitors in the Steel Safari field challenge match use suppressors. The photo below shows our friend Zak Smith competing in the Steel Safari with his suppressed Accuracy International rifle.

Zak Smith Thunder Beast Steel Safari Suppressor

Commentary — What Can We Conclude?
Obviously, this three-rifle SSUSA test was not definitive. One well might observe different results with different types of suppressors, fitted to different kinds of rifles. Mounting a suppressor to any barrel will certainly affect harmonics and “tune”. But this SSUSA study does suggest that tactical shooters, who are allowed to use suppressors in competition, may find that the benefits of suppressors (significantly reduced recoil and less noise) outweigh any meaningful accuracy loss, at least in PRS-type matches.

NOTE: The article cautions that one should not extrapolate too much from the SD numbers, given the low number of test shots. Chronograph-maker Ken Oehler, when asked to comment on the SD values stated: “[You should] report the observed SDs, but draw no conclusions until… you can do more testing with larger sample sizes.”

Qualifications to Obtain a Suppressor

To legally obtain a suppressor, you must fill out Federal Forms and pay a $200 fee to the ATF. You must also pass BATFE background checks and otherwise comply with Federal and state laws. States can regulate suppressor ownership or use, so be sure to check the laws in your area. On the federal level, the process to acquire a suppressor is regulated under the National Firearms Act of 1934.

PURCHASING TIP: ATF Announces New e-Form 4 Platform for Suppressor Registration

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March 17th, 2022

How to Legally Acquire and Register a Suppressor

Suppressor silencer purchase regulations state map BATFE

So you’re thinking of buying a suppressor (aka “moderator”, “silencer”). You can’t just get one off the shelf at Walmart. Acquiring a suppressor requires filling out paperwork and paying a Federal $200 Tax Stamp. Plus there is typically a pretty long wait. However, the good news is that suppressor ownership is now legal in 42 of the 50 American states — that’s 84%! For most American adults, getting a suppressor is legal, provided the buyer passes the required background checks (explained below). The 42 “suppressor-friendly” states are shown as RED in the illustration below.

Suppressor silencer purchase regulations state map BATFE

States Where Suppressor Ownership is Allowed
These 42 states allow private ownership of suppressors: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY. Note: Even if you live in one of the states listed, you should still verify that owning a suppressor is legal in your area. Some states may have municipal- or county-based restrictions.

“Suppressor ownership [has] boomed in the 21st century. Thanks in part to companies like Silencer Central that streamline the purchasing process, the number of registered suppressors has grown from 285,000 in 2010 to over 2.6 million in 2020.” — GunsAmerica Digest

States Which Prohibit Suppressor Ownership
The eight states which prohibit suppressor ownership are: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. These states are shown in GRAY in the map.

Qualifications to Obtain a Suppressor

To legally obtain a suppressor, you must fill out Federal Forms and pay a $200 fee to the ATF. You must also pass BATFE background checks and otherwise comply with Federal and state laws. States can regulate suppressor ownership or use, so be sure to check the laws in your area. On the federal level, the process to acquire a suppressor is regulated under the National Firearms Act of 1934. According to the American Suppressor Association, to own a suppressor in the United States you must:

1. Be at least 21 years of age to purchase a suppressor from a dealer.
2. Be at least 18 years of age to purchase a suppressor from an individual on a Form 4 to Form 4 transfer (contingent on state laws).
3. Be at least 18 years of age to possess a suppressor as a beneficiary of a trust or as a member of a corporation (contingent on state laws).
4. Be a resident of the United States.
5. Be legally eligible to purchase a firearm.
6. Pass a BATFE background check with a typical process time of 8 to 10 months.
7. Pay a one time $200 Transfer Tax.

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That fifth requirement, “be legally eligible to purchase a firearm”, involves a list of factors. The prohibitions are set forth in the “prohibited person” list found on ATF Form 4473.*

PURCHASING TIP: ATF Announces New e-Form 4 Platform for Suppressor Registration

Hunting with Suppressed Firearms

Some 39 of the 42 states that allow suppressors also permit the use of suppressors when hunting. However, three states which allow suppressor ownership DO prohibit the use of suppressors while hunting or shooting game. These states, all in the Northeast, are: Connecticut, Maryland, and Vermont.

There is an informative article on the NRA’s American Hunter website regarding suppressor use for hunting. The article, What Hunters Need to Know About Suppressors, answers common questions about licensing, tax stamps, and suppressor types. The article explains the history of the $200 tax stamp which must be paid when acquiring a suppressor:

“Why the Tax? In 1934 … the federal government, while battling gangsters such as Al Capone, heavily restricted silencers with passage of the first National Firearms Act. Hoping to gain an advantage on criminals that often had better weapons than cops, the Feds placed a mandatory ‘sin’ tax on silencers that was so high it would effectively ban their purchase by all but the wealthiest individuals. In 1934, $200 was the equivalent of $3,500 today. The $200 tax still stands despite no evidence that a simple metal tube is capable of causing crime.” — American Hunter

The American Hunter article also discusses how well suppressors actually reduce noise. User should be aware that the sound level of a large, centerfire hunting cartridge will still exceed 130 decibels (dB) on average, even with a typical suppressor (silencer) in place. For that reason, we recommend that hunters continue to wear ear protection even when they shoot suppressed.


Persons prohibited from acquiring a firearm, under Federal law, are those who fall into on or more of categories listed below. Prohibited individuals include any PERSON:

— Who was convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
— Who is a fugitive from justice;
— Who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 802);
— Who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution;
— Who is an illegal alien;
— Who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
— Who has renounced his or her United States citizenship;
— Who is subject to a court order restraining the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of the intimate partner; or
— Who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

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March 7th, 2022

Good Reasons to Acquire a Suppressor

suppressor silencer true pearce gunsamerica digest hearing protection
Read full story in GunsAmerica Digest for all 18 reason to own a suppressor.

Do you own a suppressor yet? If you live in a state where silencers are allowed, there are many good reasons to get a modern suppressor. The process for acquisition has been streamlined. Vendors such as SilencerCo can now handle most of the legal paperwork required. And the choice of suppressors is greater than ever before.

Along with basic noise reduction, what are the key reasons to get a suppressor? There are actually many. True Pearce, Editor of the GunsAmerica Digest, has written an excellent article about the benefits of suppressors: Why a Silencer Might Prevent Dementia & 17 Other Reasons You Need a Suppressor. Here are FIVE of the 18 reasons outlined in the article. We recommend you read the full story to access ALL 18 reasons. That full article has worthwhile insights for anyone considering getting a suppressor.

CLICK HERE for FULL STORY with ALL 18 REASONS »

Reason — Protect Your Hearing
Owning and using a suppressor helps prevent hearing loss. Hearing loss is a legitimate health concern that all firearms owners should be concerned about. Firearms are loud. The average firearm without a suppressor is between 140-165 dB and creates what is called an impulse noise (i.e. a noise that lasts for less than one second).

OSHA’s limit for impact/impulse noise is 140 dB…. Every time you fire a gun (including a .22 LR) without hearing protection or a suppressor, you can permanently lose hearing and it never returns. Surgery and hearing aids cannot restore the hearing you lose — it’s gone forever. Suppressors do not make your gun silent! However, they can make the impulse noise much less than 140 dB.

Reason — Reduce Muzzle Blast
A suppressor reduces or eliminates muzzle blast. Traditionally, we associate flinching with recoil, and while recoil can contribute to flinching, many shooters are finding that when using a suppressor on a caliber with no recoil they don’t suffer from the concussion, noise, and blast. As a result, they don’t close their eyes, flinch, or jerk the trigger.

Reason — Reduce Felt Recoil
A suppressor … reduces recoil or kick. Nobody that’s telling the truth enjoys getting punched in the shoulder, and that’s essentially what happens when you shoot a lightweight centerfire magnum rifle. Suppressors are very effective at slowing the recoil down or [reducing it significantly]. I personally observed a small (70-lb) 12-year-old boy shoot a 5.5-pound 6.5 PRC with a suppressor. After shooting he got up smiling and said, “That didn’t kick at all!”.

True Pearce Suppressor Silencer GunsAmerica Digest

Reason — Reduce Muzzle Rise to Keep Your View on Target
Suppressors reduce muzzle rise and make it possible to stay on target through your shot [so you can watch the trace and impact]. This allows you to make your own wind calls and corrections.

Reason — Reduce Dust and Dirt Kicked Up from Muzzle Blast
Suppressors prevent snow, dust, dirt, or other debris from blowing up when you shoot prone. If you’ve shot much with muzzle brakes, you know this is a real thing.

CLICK HERE to Read all 18 Reasons to Own a Suppressor »

suppressor silencer true pearce gunsamerica digest hearing protection
GunsAmerica Digest Editor True Pearce hunting with his horses and suppressed rifle.

Related Article: ATF Announces New e-Form 4 Platform for Suppressor Registration

suppressor silencer true pearce gunsamerica digest hearing protection

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December 18th, 2021

New 10.8 Oz. Suppressor for Hunters from SilencerCo

silencerco evo suppressor can silencer light weight

SilencerCo’s new Harvester EVO is a lightweight suppressor designed for hunters and precision shooters. Evolved from SilencerCo’s Harvester 300, the new Harvester EVO suppressor is notable for its compact size and VERY light weight. Constructed with cobalt-6, inconel and 17-4 heat treated stainless steel, the new EVO weighs just 10.8 ounces (0.675 pounds) and retails for $680.00.

The Harvester EVO can work with chamberings from .223 Rem up to .300 Win Mag. Consumer feedback on the previous Harvester models led SilencerCo engineers to make the EVO shorter, lighter, and more affordable. The smaller size makes the Harvester EVO less likely to get caught on bushes and brush in outdoor environments.

silencerco evo suppressor can silencer light weight

Weighing just 10.8 ounces, the Harvester EVO is one of the lightest rifle suppressors you can buy. The EVO’s low mass and smaller size “gives the EVO an edge over other hunting suppressors” said SilencerCo Senior Product Development Specialist, Dewie Vieira. CLICK HERE for Harvester EVO product details.

EVO Suppressor Product Specifications:

● Rated for calibers ranging from .223REM/5.56NATO to .300 WIN
● Tubeless, light-weight design
● Weighs 10.8 ounces
● Measures 6.24″ in length
● Constructed with cobalt-6, inconel and 17-4 heat treated stainless steel materials
● Ships with both a Bravo ½ x 28 and Bravo ⅝ x 24 Direct Thread Mount

silencerco evo suppressor can silencer light weight

For more information on the Harvester EVO, visit Silencerco.com/silencers/harvester-evo.

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December 2nd, 2021

Suppressor Basics — What You Need to Know

Suppressor silencer NSSF infographic decibel noise reduction moderator fact sheet

Curious about suppressors (aka “silencers”, “moderators”, or “cans”)? Below you’ll find an informative NSSF Infographic that covers the history, legal status, design, and operation of modern-day suppressors.

Here’s a cool video showing how suppressors work. This video features see-through rifle suppressors filmed with ultra-high-speed (110,000 frame per second) cameras. When played back in super-slow-motion, you can see the flame propagate through the suppressor and the bullet move through each baffle before it exists the muzzle. Check it out!

See Through Suppressor in Super Slow Motion (110,000 fps) — Click Arrow to Watch:

Suppressor Facts — What You Need to Know

In this infographic, the NSSF provides the history, specifications, benefits and uses of firearm suppressors. Don’t suppress your knowledge!

Suppressors reduce gunfire sound levels by using baffles that contain expanding gasses exiting a firearm’s muzzle when ammo is discharged. Suppressors are similar to car mufflers that were, in fact, developed in parallel by the same inventor in the early 1900s. Well-designed suppressors typically reduce the gun sound levels by 30-35 decibels (dB). Suppressors are becoming more popular even though it still takes many months to get approved. In fact, the number of suppressors registered with the ATF grew by over 1 million from 2011 to 2017. That’s a 355% increase.

Suppressor silencer NSSF infographic decibel noise reduction moderator fact sheet

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November 15th, 2021

How Sound Hurts Your Ears — Why You Need Hearing Protection

hearing protection sound noise american suppressor association ear muffs earplugs can silencer

Protect Your Hearing — Wear Protection Whenever You Shoot

hearing protection sound noise american suppressor association ear muffs earplugs can silencerNoise induced hearing loss and tinnitus are two of the most common afflictions for recreational shooters and hunters. Everyone knows that gunfire is loud, but very few people understand the repercussions that shooting can have on their hearing until it’s too late.

The better quality suppressors can reduce the noise of a gunshot by 20 to 35 decibels (dB). Good muffs or plugs will reduce sound by 23 to 33 dB. By decreasing the overall sound signature, suppressors help to preserve the hearing of recreational shooters and hunters. Even the most effective suppressors, on the smallest and quietest calibers (.22 LR) reduce the peak sound level of a gunshot to between 110 to 120 dB. To put that in perspective, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), that is as loud as a jackhammer (110 dB) or an ambulance siren (120 dB). For normal caliber handguns and rifles, suppressed sound levels routinely exceed 130 dB, just shy of OSHA’s “hearing safe” threshold of 140 dB.

hearing protection sound noise american suppressor association ear muffs earplugs can silencer

According to Dr. William W. Clark, the current Director of the Washington Univ. School of Medicine’s Audiology/Communication Sciences Program, a “serious threat to hearing comes from recreational hunting or target shooting”. This is in large part due to the fact that many people choose not to use traditional hearing protection devices like earplugs and earmuffs because they want to be able to hear their surroundings. Multiple studies have found that between 70 to 80% of hunters never wear earplugs or earmuffs, and nearly half of all target shooters don’t consistently wear traditional hearing protection. Thus, it should come as no surprise that for every five years of hunting, hunters become seven percent more likely to experience high frequency hearing loss.

This article is based on information from the American Suppressor Association (ASA). Since the ASA’s formation in 2011, three additional states have legalized suppressor ownership and 18 states have legalized suppressor hunting. For more information, visit www.AmericanSuppressorAssociation.com.

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November 14th, 2021

Suppressor Basics — How to Obtain Them and How They Work

suppressor silencer moderator facts fiction sound levels noise decibles dB
Map courtesy SilencerShop.com.

Q & A: TOP TEN Questions about Suppressors Answered HERE »

You’d like to protect your hearing, and maybe you’re a little curious about how your rifle might shoot suppressed. So you’re thinking of buying a suppressor (aka “can”, “moderator”, “silencer”). You can’t just get one off the shelf at Walmart. Acquiring a suppressor requires filling out paperwork and paying a Federal $200 Tax Stamp. Plus there is typically a pretty long wait. However, the good news is that suppressor ownership is now legal in 42 of the 50 American states — that’s 84%! For most American adults, getting a suppressor is legal, provided pass the required background checks.

States Where Suppressor Ownership is Allowed
Currently, the following 42 states allow private ownership of suppressors: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY.

Note: Even if you live in one of the states listed, you should still verify that owning a suppressor is legal in your area. Some states may have municipal- or county-based restrictions.

States Where Suppressor Ownership is Prohibited
Unfortunately, there are still eight (8) States that forbid private ownership of suppressors. The eight No-Go States are: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island. In these eight states, private ownership of suppressors (aka “silencers”) is forbidden. Hopefully that a few of those eight hold-out states will change their laws in the months ahead.

Looking Inside a Suppressor in Action
Popular YouTube Channel Smarter Every Day recently released a cool video featuring rifle suppressors with see-through acrylic sleeves. The team filmed shots through the suppressors using ultra-high-speed (110,000 frame per second) cameras. When played back in super-slow-motion, you can see the flame propagate through the suppressor and the bullet move through each baffle before it exists the muzzle. Watch the results in the video below — it’s mesmerizing:

See Through Suppressor in Super Slow Motion (110,000 fps) — Click Arrow to Watch:

Suppressors, On Average, Reduce Noise Levels about 30 Decibels
In an article for Ammoland, gunwriter Sam Hoober says that you can expect about 30 decibels (dB) of noise reduction from the average suppressor: “Looking at a few different products, SilencerCo attests their suppressors reduce the sound pressure of a 9mm gunshot to anywhere from 125.7 dB to 131.5 dB, depending on the model. Advanced Armament Co, another popular supplier, attests a 23 dB to 33 dB reduction or down to 127 dB. Liberty Suppressors, another manufacturer, attests a reduction of 24 dB to 38 dB, depending on model and other factors. In short, we can presume something on the order of 30 dB of attenuation as an average.”

suppressor silencer moderator facts fiction sound levels noise decibles dB

Using that 30 dB number you can quickly discern that you’ll still need hearing protection — good hearing protection — when shooting any suppressed firearm (even a .22 LR). “Spikes of 130 dB and more can result in permanent hearing damage instantly”. Source: NRA Blog.

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November 2nd, 2021

Video Showcase: Alabama Arsenal Rifle Tests & Suppressor Info

Alabama arsenal video showcase rifle review Barrett Savage CZ 457 suppressors

With over 240 shooting-related videos, the Alabama Arsenal YouTube Channel is a remarkable resource. This video channel provides detailed field tests of tactical-type rifles, ARs, and pistols. The testers have access to some very impressive ranges, and many of the tests are far more thorough than you’ll typically find with most gun magazines and gun-centric YouTube channels. For example, Alabama Arsenal has a series of 1000+ round pistol test videos. These are well worth watching if you are considering purchase of a defensive handgun.

Today we showcase three rifle videos, two centerfires, and the CZ 457 .22 LR in two styles. After these rifle videos, you’ll find two very interesting technical videos regarding suppressors. The first tech video shows how to install suppressors, while the second video explores how suppressors can affect muzzle velocity.

Barrett MRAD .300 PRC at 2200 Yards — Extreme Long Range

Here’s a rugged tactical rifle put to the test at Extreme Long Range. This video, featuring a Barrett MRAD chambered for the .300 PRC cartridges, features accuracy testing out to 2200 yards (1.25 miles). There is some good drone footage covering the long path to the target. The shooter noted that the bullets fired from his .300 PRC “go sub-sonic somewhere between 1800 and 1900 yards”, creating additional ballistics challenges at this yardage.

Savage 110 Elite Precision for PRS Production Class


Alabama arsenal video showcase rifle review Elite Precision 110 Savage PRS NRL suppressor

In this video AA’s team reviews the Savage Elite Precision Rifle with MDT ACC Chassis. Retailing for about $1750.00, this is one of the better production class options for PRS and NRL competition. Guns America Digest did a full review of this rifle, and was quite impressed.

CZ 457 Varmint Precision Trainer and Chassis

CZ 457 test rifle video chassis

In this video, Alabama Arsenal compares two versions of the popular CZ 457 rimfire rifle, a great choice for the NRL22 tactical game. The test compares the CZ 457 in a Manners composite stock with a CZ 457 version in a Varmint Precision aluminum chassis. Right now basic CZ 457 rifles start at about $400.00, with the Varmint Precision Chassis models running $845-$900.

Informational Videos about Rifle and Pistol Suppressors

Alabama Arsenal regularly tests its firearms with suppressors. Over the course of time, the testing team has leaned much about modern sound moderators, comparing features and learning how to install and maintain quality suppressors. These two videos offer valuable information on suppressors.

Silencer School Pt. 3 — Mounting Basics

Field Testing — Do Suppressors Change Bullet Velocity

Want to see more content like this? Here are LINKS…

Alabama Arsenal has 240+ videos on its YouTube channel. In addition, you’ll find dozens of firearms photos and other shooting-related content on Alabama Arsenal’s social media pages: Facebook; Instagram; and Twitter. You can support the Arsenal’s gun testing by subscribing to the Alabama Arsenal’s PATREON Page.

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September 6th, 2021

Suppressors for Hunting — What You Need to Know

There is an informative article on the NRA’s American Hunter website regarding suppressor use for hunting. The article, What Hunters Need to Know About Suppressors, answers common questions about licensing, tax stamps, and suppressor types. The article explains the history of the $200 tax stamp which must be paid when acquiring a suppressor:

“Why the Tax? In 1934 … the federal government, while battling gangsters such as Al Capone, heavily restricted silencers with passage of the first National Firearms Act. Hoping to gain an advantage on criminals that often had better weapons than cops, the Feds placed a mandatory ‘sin’ tax on silencers that was so high it would effectively ban their purchase by all but the wealthiest individuals. In 1934, $200 was the equivalent of $3,500 today. The $200 tax still stands despite no evidence that a simple metal tube is capable of causing crime.” — American Hunter

The American Hunter article also discusses how well suppressors actually reduce noise. User should be aware that the sound level of a large, centerfire hunting cartridge will still exceed 130 decibels (dB) on average, even with a typical suppressor (silencer) in place. For that reason, we recommend that hunters continue to wear ear protection even when they shoot suppressed.

For example, Thunder Beast Arms says its latest Ultra 9 Suppressor will reduce the report of a .308 Win to 132-134 dB: “The ULTRA 9 will suppress a typical .308 bolt-action rifle down to approx. 132-134 dB. It also has very little or no ‘first round pop’ (FRP) in most applications.” NOTE: These dB levels are measured in accordance with MIL-STD-1474D using BK 2209 SLM offset one meter from muzzle.

How Loud Are Unsuppressed Rifles?
Firearms Are Loud — 140 dB to 175 dB. Audiology group ASHA explains: “Almost all firearms create noise that is over the 140-dB level. Exposure to noise greater than 140 dB can permanently damage hearing. A small .22-caliber rifle can produce noise around 140 dB, while big-bore rifles and pistols can produce sound over 175 dB. Firing guns in a place where sounds can reverberate, or bounce off walls and other structures, can make noises louder and increase the risk of hearing loss. Also, adding muzzle brakes or other modifications can make the firearm louder. People who do not wear hearing protection while shooting can suffer a severe hearing loss with as little as one shot[.] Audiologists see this often, especially during hunting season when hunters and bystanders may be exposed to rapid fire from big-bore rifles, shotguns, or pistols.” Source: ASHA, Recreational Firearm Noise Exposure.

suppressor fact and fiction moderator silencer

How Much Does a Good Suppressor Really Reduce Firearm Sound Levels?
That depends on the rifle, the cartridge, and the effectiveness of the suppressor. The American Hunter article explains: “Suppressors retard the speed of propellant gases from the cartridge that rapidly expand and rush out of the barrel. It’s these gases that produce the loud boom that’s heard for miles. A suppressor’s series of internal baffles slows these gases so they are not all released at once, thereby muffling the sound.” Many good commercial suppressors can achieve 30-35 dB sound suppression. However, Zak Smith of Thunder Beast Arms says: “There are a bunch of manufacturers who publish values that are not reproducible, or use an ad-hoc test instead of a mil-spec test. In many cases we’ve tested the exact same suppressors they’ve advertised with 30-40 dB reductions and found they are actually in the high 20s instead.”

Again, for this reason, we recommend that hunters use ear protection, such as electronic muffs, even when shooting suppressed.

Choosing a Suppressor for Hunting Use
The American Hunter article explains that there are many types of suppressors on the market. Bigger suppressors are heavier, but they normally are more effective. You also have a choice in muzzle attachments:

“For most hunting applications, direct thread is the best choice. If you intend to buy only one suppressor yet you have multiple guns, it’s advantageous to buy a model sized and rated for the largest caliber you intend to use. While a suppressor made specifically for a .223 Rem. will reduce the sound of that round slightly better than a model made for .30 caliber, for example, you can use a .30-caliber can for smaller calibers — but not vice-versa. In general, the bigger the can, the more it reduces sound. Smaller suppressors, however, are easier to carry in the woods.” — American Hunter


Chart from American Suppressor Association.

States Where Suppressor Ownership is Allowed
Currently, the following 42 states allow private ownership of suppressors: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY. NOTE: Suppressors are legal in Connecticut and Vermont, but hunting with silencers is not allowed in those states.

How to Apply for a Suppressor
To acquire a quality suppressor, you’ll first need to shop around, comparing verified performance. Unfortunately some manufacturer’s dB claims are exaggerated. Give due consideration to size, weight, and durability. When you’ve selected a brand and model, find a Class 3 dealer authorized by the ATF to sell suppressors. You must fill out ATF Form 4, get fingerprinted, and pass a background check. Along with two completed copies of Form 4, submit your fingerprint card, passport photo and a check for $200 to the ATF. Then you wait for the ATF to process your application. American Hunter says the average ATF suppressor processing wait time is now nine months.

BENEFITS OF SILENCERS

NOISE REDUCTION
According to OSHA, the threshold for a hearing safe impulse noise is 140 dB. Without hearing protection, exposure to any impulse noise over 140 dB causes varying degrees of permanent noise-induced hearing loss, which can also lead to tinnitus. Most well-engineered silencers take the dB level of their host firearm well below 140 dB, making those silencers effective primary hearing safety devices. You should always still wear hearing protection (muffs or plugs) when using suppressors.

RECOIL REDUCTION
By containing the explosion at the muzzle, suppressors significantly reduce perceived recoil energy, reduce the rifle’s rearward movement on recoil, and reduce rifle torquing and muzzle flip. The reduction of recoil (and rifle torquing/hopping) lessens shooter fatigue and helps the shooter get his sight picture back on target rapidly after firing. With smaller calibers, a suppressor may enable the shooter to maintain a nearly-continuous sight picture, following the shot into the target. In addition, by reducing felt recoil (and muzzle blast), a suppressor can help inexperienced shooters avoid flinching.

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August 20th, 2021

“Can Do” — How Modern Suppressors Are Made — Step by Step

Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle
Image from SilencerShop.com Octane 45 HD suppressor review. SWR is now a part of SilencerCo.

Here is a cool video that shows the entire production process for a SilencerCo Octane pistol suppressor start to finish. Beginning with the raw materials, this video shows a wide variety of cutting, milling, drilling, burnishing, fitting, metal bathing, surface finishing, and laser etching processes.

If you have any interest in production methods you’ll want to watch this video all the way through, and maybe a second time.

SilencerCo states: “From cutting metal to chemical baths, to extensive quality control every step of the way, our streamlined process is more than just a few steps.” We think you may be surprised by how many steps are involved in producing this silencer (aka “suppressor”).

The Octane is a user-maintainable, multi-caliber centerfire pistol silencer featuring a modular mounting system for use across a wide range of hosts. High strength, stainless steel CTA™ (Click Together Assembly) baffles are easily disassembled for cleaning. This design makes the Octane one of the most durable small-caliber suppressors on the market.

In its Octane 45 review, SilencerShop notes: “When it comes to ease of maintenance, the Octane 45 is probably the simplest .45 suppressor on the market. It uses the new click-together baffle system from Silencerco/SWR – which allows the suppressor to come apart like a monocore suppressor, while providing performance that is closer to a K-Baffle design.””

Metal Rods Being Cut
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Heat Treating Components in Furnace
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Hand-Finishing Internal Components
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Parts Getting Ready for Metal Treatment
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Computer-Controlled Milling
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Liquid Chemical Bath
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Laser Text Etching on Outer Tube
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Final Assembly of Baffles in Tube
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

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October 22nd, 2020

Suppressor Myth Busting — Do Silencers Degrade Accuracy?

Shooting Sports Suppressor Sound

Shooting Sports Suppressor SoundAre sound suppressors useful in competition shooting? In some disciplines, and in venues where sound “moderators” are permitted, the answer is “yes”. Some years ago Shooting Sports USA (SSUSA), published an interesting article about the use of sound suppressors (aka “cans”). The article explores the use of suppressors in Europe and in tactical matches in North America. You’ll also find an explanation of the rules and regulations governing suppressor ownership and use in the United States.

Former SSUSA Editor Chip Lohman tested three rifles from the bench and found that suppressors did not harm accuracy (at least with these rigs). In fact, all three test rifles (.223 Rem, .308 Win, and .338 Lapua Magnum), shot slightly better 5-shot groups at 200 yards with a suppressor than without. However, the suppressors did alter point of impact. Interestingly, velocity standard deviation (SD) values were lower with suppressors in place for all three test rifles. This observation calls for further study.*

CLICK HERE to Read Suppressor Article in Shooting Sports USA.

Shooting Sports Suppressor Sound

So the use of suppressors in competition could be a good thing. However, in the United States, current NRA High Power rules prohibit the use of sound suppressors. NRA Rule 3.16.1 subsection (a) states: “Sound Suppressors are not authorized for use in High Power competition.” In addition, there are some practical problems with suppressors — the heat rising off of a naked suppressor can create mirage problems (that’s why some shooters wrap their cans with a cover).

Despite such issues, it is now common to see moderators on rifles used in non-NRA-sanctioned tactical matches such as the Precision Rifle Series. For example, many competitors in the popular Steel Safari field challenge match use suppressors. The photo below shows our friend Zak Smith competing in the Steel Safari with his suppressed Accuracy International rifle.

Zak Smith Thunder Beast Steel Safari Suppressor

Commentary — What Can We Conclude?
Obviously, this three-rifle SSUSA test was not definitive. One well might observe different results with different types of suppressors, fitted to different kinds of rifles. Mounting a suppressor to any barrel will certainly affect harmonics and “tune”. But this SSUSA study does suggest that tactical shooters, who are allowed to use suppressors in competition, may find that the benefits of suppressors (significantly reduced recoil and less noise) outweigh any meaningful accuracy loss, at least in PRS-type matches.

*The article cautions that one should not extrapolate too much from the SD numbers, given the low number of test shots. Chronograph-maker Ken Oehler, when asked to comment on the SD values stated: “[You should] report the observed SDs, but draw no conclusions until… you can do more testing with larger sample sizes.”
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October 16th, 2020

Supreme Court, Silencers, Contests and More on GunTalk Radio

Joe Biden Beto O'Rourke gun control AR15 AR-15 second amendment Tom Gresham Gun Talk coronavirus

There’s a good episode of Gun Talk Radio this Sunday, 10/18/2020. This week’s broadcast will cover a variety of topics. First the broadcast will focus on the importance of confirming Judge Amy Barrett as the new U.S. Supreme Court Justice. In addition, the show will explain the best way to purchase and register a silencer in compliance with all Federal laws and regulations.

This week, Tom Gresham talks with the Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottlieb. They discuss what’s at stake when filling Justice Ginsburg’s seat, and what major gun rights cases SCOTUS might decide in 2021. Plus Brandon Maddox of Silencer Central discusses how his company makes it easy to get a suppressor — Silencer Central will prepare AND file the ATF paperwork for you. Call 866-TALK-GUN with your comments and questions.

This broadcast airs Sunday October 18, 2020 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM Eastern time on 270+ radio stations nationwide. Listen on a radio station near you or via LIVE Streaming.

Big Prizes for “Enter… If You Dare” Contest
In addition GunTalk Radio is running a great “Enter… If You Dare” contest right now. The giveaway Grand Prize winner receives a Springfield Armory XD-M Elite Optics Ready 9mm pistol, a SilencerCo compact Omega 36M modular suppressor, a Crimson Trace red dot reflex sight, AND a $400 gift certificate from Galco. Four First Prize winners will take home a $150 Galco gift certificate, plus one of four triggers from Timney Triggers. Enter now through Friday, October 30th at GunTalk.com/WIN.

Joe Biden Beto O'Rourke gun control AR15 AR-15 second amendment Tom Gresham Gun Talk coronavirus

Gun Talk Radio — Podcast Archive

If you miss the live show broadcast or Live Streaming, past broadcasts can be heard online via the GUNTALK PODCAST Site and Apple iTunes. The Gun Talk Podcast Archive has hundreds of past shows you can access via the internet. Here’s an informative podcast focusing on firearms selection for self-defense.

Gun Talk Podcast from 5/31/2020 — Security, Riots, and Gun Choices:

All Gun Talk shows are also archived as podcasts for download or online listening. Gun Talk is also available on YouTube, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and GunTalk.com.

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October 13th, 2020

How Suppressors Are Made — Great SilencerCo Production Video

Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle
Image from SilencerShop.com Octane 45 HD suppressor review. SWR is now a part of SilencerCo.

Here is a cool video that shows the entire production process for a SilencerCo Octane pistol suppressor start to finish. Beginning with the raw materials, this video shows a wide variety of cutting, milling, drilling, burnishing, fitting, metal bathing, surface finishing, and laser etching processes.

If you have any interest in production methods you’ll want to watch this video all the way through, and maybe a second time.

SilencerCo states: “From cutting metal to chemical baths, to extensive quality control every step of the way, our streamlined process is more than just a few steps.” We think you may be surprised by how many steps are involved in producing this silencer (aka “suppressor”).

The Octane is a user-maintainable, multi-caliber centerfire pistol silencer featuring a modular mounting system for use across a wide range of hosts. High strength, stainless steel CTA™ (Click Together Assembly) baffles are easily disassembled for cleaning. This design makes the Octane one of the most durable small-caliber suppressors on the market.

In its Octane 45 review, SilencerShop notes: “When it comes to ease of maintenance, the Octane 45 is probably the simplest .45 suppressor on the market. It uses the new click-together baffle system from Silencerco/SWR – which allows the suppressor to come apart like a monocore suppressor, while providing performance that is closer to a K-Baffle design.””

Metal Rods Being Cut
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Heat Treating Components in Furnace
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Hand-Finishing Internal Components
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Parts Getting Ready for Metal Treatment
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Computer-Controlled Milling
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Liquid Chemical Bath
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Laser Text Etching on Outer Tube
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Final Assembly of Baffles in Tube
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

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December 4th, 2019

Suppressor Facts Revealed — How They Work

Suppressor silencer NSSF infographic decibel noise reduction moderator fact sheet

Curious about suppressors (aka “silencers”, “moderators”, or “cans”)? Below you’ll find an informative NSSF Infographic that covers the history, legal status, design, and operation of modern-day suppressors.

Here’s a cool video showing how suppressors work. This video features see-through rifle suppressors filmed with ultra-high-speed (110,000 frame per second) cameras. When played back in super-slow-motion, you can see the flame propagate through the suppressor and the bullet move through each baffle before it exists the muzzle. Check it out!

See Through Suppressor in Super Slow Motion (110,000 fps) — Click Arrow to Watch:

Suppressor Facts — What You Need to Know

In this infographic, the NSSF provides the history, specifications, benefits and uses of firearm suppressors. Don’t suppress your knowledge!

Suppressors reduce gunfire sound levels by using baffles that contain expanding gasses exiting a firearm’s muzzle when ammo is discharged. Suppressors are similar to car mufflers that were, in fact, developed in parallel by the same inventor in the early 1900s. Well-designed suppressors typically reduce the gun sound levels by 30-35 decibels (dB). Suppressors are becoming more popular even though it still takes many months to get approved. In fact, the number of suppressors registered with the ATF grew by over 1 million from 2011 to 2017. That’s a 355% increase.

Suppressor silencer NSSF infographic decibel noise reduction moderator fact sheet

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November 23rd, 2019

Suppressor Basics — How to Get One and How They Work

suppressor silencer moderator facts fiction sound levels noise decibles dB
Map courtesy SilencerShop.com.

Q & A: TOP TEN Questions about Suppressors Answered HERE »

You’d like to protect your hearing, and maybe you’re a little curious about how your rifle might shoot suppressed. So you’re thinking of buying a suppressor (aka “can”, “moderator”, “silencer”). You can’t just get one off the shelf at Walmart. Acquiring a suppressor requires filling out paperwork and paying a Federal $200 Tax Stamp. Plus there is typically a pretty long wait. However, the good news is that suppressor ownership is now legal in 42 of the 50 American states — that’s 84%! For most American adults, getting a suppressor is legal, provided pass the required background checks.

States Where Suppressor Ownership is Allowed
Currently, the following 42 states allow private ownership of suppressors: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY.

Note: Even if you live in one of the states listed, you should still verify that owning a suppressor is legal in your area. Some states may have municipal- or county-based restrictions.

States Where Suppressor Ownership is Prohibited
Unfortunately, there are still eight (8) States that forbid private ownership of suppressors. The eight No-Go States are: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island. In these eight states, private ownership of suppressors (aka “silencers”) is forbidden. Hopefully that a few of those eight hold-out states will change their laws in the months ahead.

Looking Inside a Suppressor in Action
Popular YouTube Channel Smarter Every Day recently released a cool video featuring rifle suppressors with see-through acrylic sleeves. The team filmed shots through the suppressors using ultra-high-speed (110,000 frame per second) cameras. When played back in super-slow-motion, you can see the flame propagate through the suppressor and the bullet move through each baffle before it exists the muzzle. Watch the results in the video below — it’s mesmerizing:

See Through Suppressor in Super Slow Motion (110,000 fps) — Click Arrow to Watch:

Suppressors, On Average, Reduce Noise Levels about 30 Decibels
In an article for Ammoland, gunwriter Sam Hoober says that you can expect about 30 decibels (dB) of noise reduction from the average suppressor: “Looking at a few different products, SilencerCo attests their suppressors reduce the sound pressure of a 9mm gunshot to anywhere from 125.7 dB to 131.5 dB, depending on the model. Advanced Armament Co, another popular supplier, attests a 23 dB to 33 dB reduction or down to 127 dB. Liberty Suppressors, another manufacturer, attests a reduction of 24 dB to 38 dB, depending on model and other factors. In short, we can presume something on the order of 30 dB of attenuation as an average.”

suppressor silencer moderator facts fiction sound levels noise decibles dB

Using that 30 dB number you can quickly discern that you’ll still need hearing protection — good hearing protection — when shooting any suppressed firearm (even a .22 LR). “Spikes of 130 dB and more can result in permanent hearing damage instantly”. Source: NRA Blog.

Story idea by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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March 7th, 2019

Hands On with SilencerCo Suppressors — Range Time in WA

SilencerCo Suppressor Hybrid 300 Omega Osprey moderator sound

Our friend Gavin Gear of UlimateReloader.com recently visited a SilencerCo dealer in the state of Washington, The Range LLC in Yakima, WA. Gavin was able to test a number of suppressors (aka “moderators” or “silencers”) for both rifle and pistols. Gavin recently released a lengthy article covering his experiences. If you are in the market for a suppressor, we highly recommend you read Gavin’s SilencerCo Products Overview on UltimateReloader.com.

Gavin was able to test three SilencerCo suppressors: the Omega 300, the Hybrid, and the Osprey 45. In addition Gavin was able to handle the Maxim 9, an integrally suppressed 9mm handgun.

SilencerCo Suppressor Hybrid 300 Omega Osprey moderator sound

Gavin reports the Omega 300, which is rated up to .300 Winchester Magnum, is a very popular “can”. According to Gavin, the Omega 300 has become the best-selling rifle suppressor in history for important reasons. First, it has an integral muzzle brake. Second, it can work for multiple calibers, from .223 up to .308. Third, “It is very tough — .300 Win Mag rated, and full-auto rated”.

SilencerCo Suppressor Hybrid 300 Omega Osprey moderator sound
SilencerCo lineup, from left: Omega 300, Hybrid, Osprey 45

Gavin says the Hybrid Suppressor is an interesting concept: “One suppressor that you can configure for multiple calibers, both rifle and pistol. This includes the ability to change out the threaded mount on the muzzle end, and you can also swap out end caps that will optimize sound suppression for different calibers. The Hybrid… is full-auto rated, and can handle rifle cartridges up to and including .338 Lapua Magnum! But this suppressor can also be used for pistol applications…from 9mm up to 44 ACP.”

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January 26th, 2019

Suppressors — Why You Still Need Hearing Protection

suppressor silencer moderator facts fiction sound levels noise decibles dB
Silencer-equipped AR photo courtesy The Silencer Shop.

OK, you’ve paid the tax stamp and acquired your new suppressor (aka “silencer” or “moderator”). Do you still need to wear earplugs or muffs? Absolutely. Even with that expensive new “can”, your rifle could be generating over 140 decibels (dB) of noise — about the same as as an unmuffled 9mm pistol shot. That’s loud enough to create permanent hearing loss with repeated exposure.

Firearms Are Loud: 140 dB to 175 dB

Audiology group ASHA explains: “Exposure to noise greater than 140 dB can permanently damage hearing. Almost all firearms create noise that is over the 140-dB level. A small .22-caliber rifle can produce noise around 140 dB, while big-bore rifles and pistols can produce sound over 175 dB. Firing guns in a place where sounds can reverberate, or bounce off walls and other structures, can make noises louder and increase the risk of hearing loss. Also, adding muzzle brakes or other modifications can make the firearm louder. People who do not wear hearing protection while shooting can suffer a severe hearing loss with as little as one shot[.] Audiologists see this often, especially during hunting season when hunters and bystanders may be exposed to rapid fire from big-bore rifles, shotguns, or pistols.” Source: ASHA, Recreational Firearm Noise Exposure.

suppressor silencer moderator facts fiction sound levels noise decibles dB

Suppressors, On Average, Reduce Noise Levels about 30 Decibels
In an article for Ammoland, gunwriter Sam Hoober says that you can expect about 30 decibels (dB) of noise reduction from the average suppressor: “Looking at a few different products, SilencerCo attests their suppressors reduce the sound pressure of a 9mm gunshot to anywhere from 125.7 dB to 131.5 dB, depending on the model. Advanced Armament Co, another popular supplier, attests a 23 dB to 33 dB reduction or down to 127 dB. Liberty Suppressors, another manufacturer, attests a reduction of 24 dB to 38 dB, depending on model and other factors. In short, we can presume something on the order of 30 dB of attenuation as an average.”

Using that 30 dB number you can quickly discern that you’ll still need hearing protection — good hearing protection — when shooting any suppressed firearm (even a .22 LR). “Spikes of 130 dB and more can result in permanent hearing damage instantly”. Source: NRA Blog.

The Myth of the “Quiet” .22 LR
The NRA Blog notes that “many rimfire shooters, particularly those using the beloved .22 Long Rifle cartridge, argue that the small .22 LR caliber doesn’t produce enough sound to damage your hearing”. So, is that really true. or is it a myth?

In fact, a .22 LR can be much louder than you think — a .22 LR pistol can produce sound levels of 134 dB. That’s well above the normal human pain threshhold.

Sound Levels for Common Noises:

9mm Luger pistol: 160 dB

Jet aircraft engine (near): 140 dB

.22 LR pistol: 134 dB

Normal human pain threshold: 120 dB

Noisy Nightclub: 110 db

Riding Motorcycle at 65 mph: 103 db

Power Lawnmower: 95 dB

Hearing damage possible: 85 dB (sustained for 8+ hours)

Ringing Telephone: 80 dB

Normal conversation: 60 dB


The Risk of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be progressive and irreversible. If you are a shooter, this is serious business. As the NRA Blog cautions: “You may not even realize you’re harming your hearing. Hearing loss occurs gradually, and can go effectively unnoticed until symptoms become severe. By then, the damage is done.”

Nobody wants to go deaf. But we often see shooters without effective hearing protection when they are walking around a few yards behind the firing line. That’s bad — even if you are away from the firing line, gunshot noises can damage your hearing. You MUST use effective hearing protection every time you go to the range. Good foam earplugs costs mere pennies but they can prevent deafness in your later years. Many folks also wear muffs over plugs.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
April 20th, 2018

Don’t Go Deaf — Understand Risks of Concussive Hearing Loss

Mark Kuczka Accurate Ordnance hearing protection dB noise muzzle brake PRS muffs earplugs concussion concussive hearing loss

Did you know you can damage your hearing even if you are wearing the best hearing protection available? Well, have you ever heard of concussion (or concussive) hearing loss? There is no amount of anything you can put in or over your ears to protect you from concussion loss. My audiologist explained to me the concussion comes through the facial bone structure and damages the ear’s tiny bones.

Editor’s NOTE: This may be the most important tech article we’ve run all year. It explains how you can suffer inner ear damage and hearing loss even if you use earplugs or muffs. Read that again — hearing loss even with typical hearing protection. This kind of concussive hearing loss can result from shooting with muzzle brakes in confined spaces. Using a suppressor (aka sound moderator) can reduce the risk of concussive hearing loss. You may not have the ability to use a suppressor, but this article explains how you should be more mindful of your hearing.

Why I Use a Suppressor (Preventing Concussive Hearing Loss)

Report by Mark Kuczka, Accurate Ordnance

It must have been the road noise. I thought I was having a hard time hearing my five year old daughter speaking to me on my cell phone because of the road noise. That old SUV was kind of loud inside. Until I switched the phone to my left ear and suddenly I could hear her just fine. Wait, what just happened? I moved the phone back to the right ear and there was that muffled voice again. That’s when I knew I had a problem.

“What?” Lots of us in the shooting community have lost some hearing along the way due to our time on the range or in the field. Those of us who hunt have certainly discharged a firearm or three without ear protection and without concern for our hearing. After all, it’s just one shot, right? How much can it hurt?

Actually, that one shot DOES hurt your hearing. Any sound over 140 dB is immediate hearing loss. It just happens to be killing a small amount of our hearing so most of us continued the practice without a care. Living with hearing loss now makes me wish I could go back 20 years and better protect my hearing. I can’t change what I did in the past, but going forward I can certainly do the most to protect the hearing I still have.

I decided to shoot about a year’s worth of matches with just braked rifles. That year is when I lost significant hearing in my right ear and some in the left. I’ve gone back to shooting only suppressed rifles whenever possible.

Mark Kuczka Accurate Ordnance hearing protection dB noise muzzle brake PRS muffs earplugs concussion concussive hearing loss

I shot my first suppressed firearm, a .22 LR pistol, in 2003. After a few rounds I wondered why everyone (who can do so legally) didn’t shoot suppressed? No one drives without a muffler. Why would you? Point is I immediately appreciated the hearing protection benefits of suppressors. That passion got me into the business of selling suppressors and it wasn’t long before I was one of the biggest retailers for companies like AAC, SWR, SilencerCo, Ops Inc. and others. [Editor: The author’s business, Accurate Ordnance, no longer sells suppressors. So this article is NOT a sales pitch. Mark just wanted to share his experience so others might protect their hearing.]

Mark Kuczka Accurate Ordnance hearing protection dB noise muzzle brake PRS muffs earplugs concussion concussive hearing loss

Did you know you can damage your hearing even if you are wearing the best hearing protection available? You’ve heard guys say, “I’ll wear plugs and muffs, so I’ll be just fine shooting that .50 BMG!” Well, ever heard of concussion (or concussive) hearing loss? Yeah, I hadn’t either. I’ll sum it up the way the last audiologist I spoke with about my hearing loss did – there is no amount of anything you can put in or over your ears to protect you from concussion loss.

A hand grenade went off right next to a buddy of mine. He lost some hearing as a result of the blast. No one is really surprised by that. I mean it is an EXPLOSION. It’s loud. Duh. But I had no idea the blast from a muzzle brake could basically hurt my hearing the same way. The doctor explained to me the concussion comes through the facial bone structure and damages the ear’s tiny bones. Same thing as what can happen through any TBI (traumatic brain injury).

Hearing loss diagram inner ear

I’ve owned quite a few different suppressors over the years and have shot just about everything out there. I’m still as big a fan as ever. However, I wanted to see if using a suppressor in PRS (Precision Rifle Series) and similar matches was actually a hindrance. Some people feel the added length and weight of a suppressor can make getting into some shooting positions slower or problematic. So I decided to shoot about a year with a muzzle brake instead of a suppressor. I sure regret that decision…

Getting Headaches at PRS Matches Was Warning Sign
It is fairly common in PRS matches to shoot through pipes, vehicles, inside “shoot houses” and around other obstacles that echo a rifle’s blast. I noticed I was starting to get headaches about halfway through a day of PRS match shooting. I knew the issue wasn’t hydration. I mean look, if you are peeing every other stage down at the amazing CORE range facility in mid-summer you are NOT dehydrated. So, what was causing the headaches? It wasn’t until I went back to shooting suppressed in those same environments that it became clear the little mini concussions from that muzzle brake was causing my headaches. And of course the doctors confirmed that.

Let me stop here and say I am NOT anti-brake. Muzzle brakes are useful tools and for some situations are the best tools. An aggressive brake can be more effective at reducing recoil than a good suppressor. A suppressor does add some recoil reduction, just not as much as most quality brakes. Don’t forget to factor other variables, such as caliber and rifle weight, into the equation though. For example, a 15-lb 6mm Creedmoor rifle doesn’t need much recoil reduction in the first place.

Mark Kuczka Accurate Ordnance hearing protection dB noise muzzle brake PRS muffs earplugs concussion concussive hearing loss

So, I started shooting matches long before the PRS even existed and always shot suppressed in those days. The suppressors made communication with a partner or RO easier and it was just a more pleasant shooting experience. On the recommendations of a few people I decided to shoot about a year’s worth of matches with just braked rifles. That year is when I lost significant hearing in my right ear and some in the left. I’ve gone back to shooting only suppressed rifles whenever possible and especially at matches. I’ve only once or twice found the extra length of the suppressor made it a little more inconvenient to run a stage, but not by much. Trust me, the points I missed were not because I took two extra seconds getting the muzzle in a port or window.

My hearing is something I value and will do everything to protect from this point forward. You’ll never again see me on a match field with an un-suppressed rifle. To me the minimal gains of running a braked rifle aren’t worth losing more hearing.

Choosing a Suppressor — What to Consider

Okay, so I have hearing loss that I can’t get back and realize I need to go back to shooting matches with a suppressor. But which one? I’ll still be shooting matches with custom fit plugs so I just need something to add a little recoil reduction and kill that concussion.

At our shop, Accurate Ordnance, we generally recommend direct-thread suppressor solutions to our customers. The main reason for that is all the problems we’ve seen with other fast-attach muzzle devices. It doesn’t take much tolerance stacking to result in accuracy issues. There are a few exceptions for us and the Rugged Suppressors products top the list. Since the Razor 762 uses a muzzle brake adapter on the rifle to attach the suppressor, I can use the same suppressor on my .223 Rem training rifle. My primary match rifles are chambered in 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor and the muzzle threads on those is a standard 5/8×24. My .223 Rem training rifle has .5×28 threads on the muzzle, which is standard for that caliber. Thus, the muzzle adapter interface lets me share the suppressors between all the rifles. And on that .223 Rem training rifle I have the option of switching the end cap on any of the Rugged products to a .223 aperture size, which makes the suppressors slightly more sound efficient (meaning quieter).

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