Guns, Fine. But Why Do You Need a Silencer?

guns-silencer.jpg
You need this thing? Seriously?
The Texas International Firearms Festival is coming to Austin the weekend of August November 8. Of course, we are no strangers to gun shows round here. There is one in the Houston area practically every weekend. There, dealers and manufacturers ply their wares and provide educational programs for fellow enthusiasts.

While gun control remains a hot button issue in American politics, these gun shows are mostly made for collectors and hunters. They also tend to be cautious of the laws governing the use and sale of firearms in Texas.

But one thing has always confused me about these events. There are tons of gun accessories available at these shows. For the most part, they make sense. If you are a hunter, for example, you might want a good scope for your rifle. But there is one accessory I do not get: the silencer.

Among the vendors at the upcoming Austin firearms show are Silencerco and Silencer Shop. On the Silencerco website, it describes a new creation: the world's first shotgun silencer. That's just one of a number of products aimed at silencing rifles, in the case of a couple silencers, the kinds of rifles almost exclusively reserved for combat. Silencer Shop has suppressors for both rifles and for pistols. These are accessories that run into the hundreds of dollars.

I have no issue with hunting rifles. I'm not even terribly opposed to hand guns for personal protection. Cases, straps, ammo and all manner of options for the gun enthusiast don't seem far fetched to me.Some items are even practical.

But, I simply can't figure out, for the life of me, what anyone would want with a silencer, I mean other than an assassination attempt. I guess there could be an argument made for staying as quiet as possible while hunting to avoid spooking other game nearby, but even that seems like a reach.

There are plenty of good arguments made by those who collect weapons of all kinds for why they need or want them. I still have a hard time being convinced an assault rifle is something any non-military personnel member needs for any reason, but tack on a silencer and I am going to assume you are training to be a covert agent. I can find no other good reason for sticking a muzzle on the end of any weapon, let alone an AK.

Maybe there is a good reason. Maybe you can help me understand. Until then, I can only conclude you must be someone interested in taking up murder for hire.

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23 comments
yutubenut
yutubenut

So let me get this right, you think murders/assassin are deterred from killing because sound suppressors are illegal (well not really illegal)?


You also imply that having no restrictions on sound suppressors will make people want to kill. Really?!?

Please cite one case where a suppressor was used in a murder.


Lastly I refuse to use the inaccurate term silencer, it's not.  Try actually standing near a suppressed gun, it is not silent, it just won't cause permanent hearing loss like an unsuppressed gun will. 

93fd3s
93fd3s

First of all we have to address the "assault rifle" comment...why does anyone need that? Assault rifle is the actual military term for a full auto rifle, e.g., a machine gun. If that's what the author meant, fine...I also done see a great need for one but I'm not opposed to private ownership of them. If he meant "assault weapon" that made up term for "scary looking black rifle...that works just the same way as any other semi auto rifle" then he's a dolt!

Now as far as the "silencer" goes - I prefer the term "suppressor" as the sound of the firing of the gun is suppressed NOT silenced...stop watching Bond Flicks, Hollywood is not reality - there are many reasons to want one...and they have NOTHING to do with murderous intent.

First off...hearing protection is a pain, it's another accessory to buy and remember to bring with you to the range (though it's much less expensive than a suppressor). When I'm wearing hearing protection and not actually firing the gun such as during reloading, my hearing is impaired. If someone needs to get my attention in an emergency, it can be difficult. I am isolated from what's going on around me. It would be great if the firing of the gun were suppressed to the point where I did not have to wear hearing protection...I would be able to hear all the sounds around me without interference.

Likewise, others who may be around when I am shooting would be less startled or even annoyed if I'm out plinking on my property with a suppressor.

Sooner or later pretty much everyone accidentally forgets to put on their hearing protection...that can result in hearing damage.

I can't attest to the benefits for hunting as I'm not a hunter but there might be some.

Suppressors, just like a thirty round mag, do not affect the lethality of the firearm nor improve it's "combat effectiveness". It's too bad that firearms weren't developed from the get go with integral suppressors...then we wouldn't even be having this conversation. *sigh*

Cannabis4all
Cannabis4all

I think the author must be brain dead or deaf already.  Shooting makes a lot of noise-- not only your own gun, but those around you.  If they were suppressed, we would not need hearing protection, especially in hot, desert areas.  Think of it as a muffler for your  car-- yes, you could drive with straight tail pipes, but the noise would be tiring, if not deafening.  Literally.  A muffler makes it tolerable.  Ditto with a suppressor.  Why make a lot of noise when you don't have to?

h.johsens
h.johsens

As mentioned earlier the more important question is "Why are silencers illegal to begin with?" which can be followed by "Why should they be so difficult and expensive for the average citizen to obtain?" 

I see absolutely no reason for either of the above to be true. Silencers make shooting more enjoyable as it reduces the need for hearing protection at the range- especially nice on a hot day with a number of your friends and family. Makes it so you can visit at the same time as people are shooting.  

The second and more compelling reason to allow silencers that are inexpensive and accessible is related to the above points. Its just plain neighborly to keep the noise down. Why not be more neighborly? Around here in the San Francisco Bay Area by far the more frequent complaint that law enforcement gets in rural areas is that people are shooting on their private land. Its totally legal and in my experience people around here conduct their ranges in a safe manner compliant with all of the accepted standards of firearms safety. Why shouldn't people be able to enjoy their freedoms without infringing upon the peace and quiet of their neighbors? I just don't see any compelling reason not to!

HTX10
HTX10

As an audiology student I know that hearing loss caused by shooting is very common. It also often causes sometimes permanent ringing in the ears. Wear your hearing protection people! Or just get a silencer..

teebonicus
teebonicus

This article approaches the issue from the wrong direction.

There is no reason to burden the right to use suppressors. Instead of asking why they should be 'allowed', we should be asking what the compelling justification is for their restriction.

Approaching the exercise of rights from the author's perspective is diametrically opposite the founding principle that rights are not to be attentuated absent a compelling reason, and even then only in the least restrictive manner possible.

sgt.navazka
sgt.navazka

The picture in the article is more eloquent than thousand words. Ordinary people shouldn't have silencers, because only state employees with state permission to kill at discretion need one, right?

vincehathaway
vincehathaway

What? Eh? I can't hear you? Speak up, please. Oh, I am sorry, my hearing is damaged from a lifetime of shooting non-suppressed guns. I am not asking for sympathy but if you can't conceive of a reason....

sven779
sven779

The author has been watching too many movies. Real suppressors do not "silence" the weapon completely, but they do reduce the sound so that it doesn't cause hearing damage. Perhaps the author doesn't value his hearing, but most other people do. Also, in many countries in Europe, it is considered rude to hunt without a silencer, and those silencers are available for purchase without restrictions. They view silencers as being considerate of their fellow man, and do not consider them as equipment for "assassins in training."

laura1050
laura1050

The Texas International Firearms Festival is indeed coming to the Austin area, but the correct dates are November 8-9, 2014 at the Best of West Shooting Sports in Liberty Hill, Texas. More info and tickets can be purchased at www.texasgunfest.com

rehafner
rehafner

Another mindless buffoon who thinks "We the people" should provide a need prior to obtaining an object.  First let me inform the fool that you cannot walk into a sporting goods store and purchase an assault rifle as the German Strum Gewehr 44 has not been available except to museums that can afford such rare and highly collectible item and are they are not available to the general public, unless you pay a hefty tax stamp fee to ATF as starters.  Silencers do not silence anything, they just cut down on the sound decibels so you do not blow your ear drums out when required to fire in an enclosed area and do you do not have time to put on ear protection.   As previously posted, one would think that an intelligent individual would research prior to posting and making a fool of himself. 

atfsux
atfsux

One can argue from where the left normally comes at the gun issue,...the European perspective. In Europe, where people are packed into dense populations, even in what they consider "rural" areas,...suppressors are not only bought over the counter like a box of ammo is here, but you are considered an ungentlemanly bad neighbor if you shoot your weapon without a suppressor and make all that unnecessary noise that so disturbs the calm of the picturesque countryside. While gun-ownership may be looked down upon by most Europeans, suppressor use is ENCOURAGED. 

The history of sound suppressors being maligned in America began as political theater back in 1934. America was so open and still mainly rural back then, suppressors simply weren't perceived as needed back then, and also the medical science about how gunfire permanently damages hearing was not as developed as it is now. For all they get wrong about so many things, the Europeans actually have the proper attitude about suppressors.

Josh Webster
Josh Webster

Because it would be nice to enjoy my hobby without risking permanent hearing damage. It is a safety issue, plain and simple. This author clearly has seen too many movies.

Brian Phan
Brian Phan

There are many reasons why and the author of this blog is too ignorant and close minded to consider. I subscribe for the food stuff and events around Houston. Not this naive, ignorant crap/opinions.

dgnbrt8
dgnbrt8

Because if you run an automobile without one it's illegal, but the moment you put one on a firearm it becomes an instrument of assassination. Pure Hollywood BS. Most will reduce noise signatures to tolerable levels. But unless you are shooting specialized ammo in a really small caliber, they do not make the gun silent.

In certain areas of Europe, they are considered mandatory for hunting due to noise pollution concerns.

Please educate yourself on the subject before resorting to such Hollywood garbage.

odysseusmtanner
odysseusmtanner

Because guns are LOUD.  And silencers don't silence, they suppress the sound, that's why people who know what they really are and what they really do call them "suppressors."  Silencers are a Hollywood fiction.  Honestly, do the bare minimum of googling before posting and opinionating and ending up with a dozen's worth of egg on your face.


http://peopleofarms.org/

ssgmarkcr
ssgmarkcr

Suppressors are actually pretty easily available in England, the reasoning that cutting down on the excessive noise that is emitted from a firearm is good for everyone. 

Questions4U
Questions4U

Why do you think we are obligated to tell you why we have suppressors? 

Why do you think we care what guns/accessories you think we need/should be able to own?


Mind your own business, you don't get to choose what we buy. Who do you think you are anyway?

Nate
Nate

Suppressors don't silence guns to those quiet little <thhht> sound you hear in the movies or TV. You can still tell there is a gun being fired (exception might be for a bolt action .22LR shooting subsonic ammo).  But they reduce the noise enough to alleviate hearing protection in some cases.  And for those people that say, well, just wear hearing protection, the sound waves also travel through the bones in your face.


Going to the range and shooting steel plates with a .22 and hearing the bullet hit the target?  Thats pretty neat.


They also reduce felt recoil.


Also, they are cool.  Like a person buying a SRT Challenger instead of a Camry.


But don't worry.  The process for purchasing NFA items (which suppressors are) involves a 200 dollar tax stamp, filling out a very specific form, the ATF checking on you, fingerprints, photos, etc.  Oh, and a 6-12 month wait.  Not something most assassins do.  I have seen lots of suppressors at the range.  Never seen one on the end of an AK...

nguyenhm16
nguyenhm16

Why have mufflers on cars (ironically invented by the same guy for the same reasons)? Why wear eye and hearing protection? Why wear seatbelts?


Suppressors reduce the "bang" and the recoil, which makes shooting more pleasant, even if in most cases you still need hearing protection. Unsuppressed gunfire is around 160dB (standing next to a jet engine loud). A suppressor can reduce that 30dB+, which while not "safe" is "safer". Not to mention it's more polite to others around you (not just shooters but neighbors, etc.)


For example, hunters often don't use hearing protection. One shot with an unsuppressed gun while hunting is tolerable, but hearing damage is cumulative. A suppressor reduces that hearing damage (the supersonic crack of the bullet is still quite loud).


Plus on a .22LR, which are mostly subsonic, a suppressor can make it quiet enough to safely shoot without hearing protection.

SpaceFrank
SpaceFrank

I should probably point out that "silencer" is a misnomer; these devices are properly called "suppressors." I don't mean to be pedantic. The difference is actually important, because a can on the end of your barrel isn't going to silence anything, but that name might suggest otherwise to people who've never used one. Of course, that doesn't stop certain companies from using the term for marketing purposes. (to say nothing of the CoD-players who sometimes infest firearms message boards...) The bottom line is that there's no practical device that makes a gun as quiet as it sounds in the movies. The sound of a gun going off is loud as hell, and there's really no hiding it. The best you can do is decrease the noise level, which is useful for military purposes because it also reduces the range at which the sound might be recognized.


For the enthusiast, the benefit is actually safety-related. After all, guns are loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage. You can get away with wearing ear protection at a shooting range, but try tracking a deer when you're wearing earmuffs. With something like the shotgun suppressor seen in the above link, you can even shoot skeet without hearing protection. That makes things a lot nicer for bystanders at the barbecue. (This is Texas, after all.)


The problem actually becomes worse if you ever have to use a gun for home defense, because now you're standing in a room in your house with all that noise bouncing off the walls. If you're okay with people using guns for self defense, I would argue that you should be okay with them doing so with an eye to their own safely.

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