The sound of silence – among many of the other crazy rules and regulations that the government has placed upon the ordinary citizen is the regulation of suppressors (also known as silencers to the uninformed). They will run you as low as a couple of hundred dollars to the thousands and are accompanied with a 4 to 12-month wait and a $200 tax infringement…I mean tax. Not only this, but it comes with mandatory fingerprints and a need to have that paperwork on you, and you can’t pass it down to your kids/other family members without them paying another $200 and waiting for a background check, etc. So, is it worth the hassle? Do they offer that much of an advantage?
Let’s discuss what they can do, the drawbacks, and hopefully, you can decide if a “can” is right for you.
The advantages of sound suppression are numerous. First and foremost, it reduces the sonic crack from a projectile breaking the sound barrier, many times reducing the need for hearing protection. This fact was used as a fear tactic back when they became a Class 3 item (ATF Designation) as it would make it capable for anyone to shoot in a crime and be silent, thus preventing the criminal’s capture. For some rounds like the 22LR, 45 ACP, or 300 Blackout, a suppressor may enable less report than the working of the action, but it is hardly the sound you hear watching a spy movie on TV.
Higher velocity rounds will reduce the sound of the report dramatically, but usually just below the threshold for hearing damage, hardly a silent shot. The second is that in a defensive scenario, especially indoors, it will reduce your hearing damage and may enable you to get off more than one shot before your exact location is known. Finally, I look at a potential hunting role as many don’t use hearing protection to hear if there are animals present, thus risking their hearing while shooting that monster buck.
So, what are the disadvantages? Well, the most obvious to me is all the red tape and regulation. Although we are supposed to not be on a registry when we purchase a firearm and fill out the form 4473 (yeah…. right), buying a suppressor will absolutely put you more on the radar for both federal and potentially law enforcement. There are a ton of stipulations that if you mess up, it magnifies the potential criminal charges. The second is that it’s not transferrable to anyone in your family, although I am aware you can do a trust, and it is transferred between the trust members (more $$ and headache to setup). Third, as of writing, suppressors are legal in 42 states, with many of them banning them for hunting…so when can you use them except to be that “cool guy” at the range. Finally, they aren’t cheap, with many having proprietary muzzle attachments.
Bottom line, they have some uses and would be fun to own, but only at the cost of miles of red tape and more money.
Also be sure to check out JM4 Tactical for your holster needs!
Author: Ian Bolser