Ask Foghorn: Are Suppressors a Good Idea for Home Defense Guns?

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Mike asks:

Now that I am turning 40 and I have a toddler in the house I
am rethinking my Home Defense strategies and tactics. One of my biggest thoughts (in terms of money and time investment) is filing the requisite paperwork and getting suppressors for my HD guns. What are your thoughts? Also, what happens to my suppressor in the case of a DGU? What else should I consider?

In my opinion, if you live in a silencer-friendly state and you don’t have a can on your home defense gun, that should be your next purchase. Like, your very next purchase, even over ammunition . . .

Think about the standard home defense scenario for a second. You’re in an enclosed space, facing an unknown number of a-holes, and all you have on your side is stealth and surprise. Firing a gun, ANY gun, in that situation immediately makes the situation worse for the defenders.

First, you’re now deaf. Not permanently, but enough that it’s painful and disorienting. Try firing your gun sometime when you are on an open outdoor range, and notice how long it takes for your hearing to come back. Now imagine that there are a bunch of very helpful walls to bounce that sound right back into your ears instead of it dissipating into the air. Yeah, no bueno.

So now you’re deaf. Where are the bad guys? Perhaps you shot one of them, and maybe he’s down. Maybe he’s not, and he’s running off somewhere, leaking. Are they regrouping? Are there more? You can’t hear a damned thing, so all you have to go on is your eyesight. And in the stereotypical home defense scenario that we think about (it was a cold, dark night…) your eyesight alone isn’t really going to cut the mustard. You need to hear if they are still moving, where they are, etc. Which you can’t do now that you’re deaf.

Finally, you’ve also given away your location. They know exactly where you are, what you have, and how many rounds you’ve fired. The element of surprise has evaporated. On the one hand, this could be good enough to send them scurrying into the night. Or they could regroup and try to take you down. It depends on what their plan is, but being deaf, you have no idea what’s going on.

So yeah, a silencer sounds like a brilliant idea. Which is why I’m using my 300 AAC Blackout SBR as my bedside gun, the ability to fire it without killing my hearing. For now, that is. I have a 9mm silencer sitting in the local gun shop on the last couple weeks of waiting for the transfer to be approved. And once that comes back, it is going straight on my Sig Sauer Mk. 25 and replacing the rifle.

And this isn’t just me spouting another of my harebrained theories — Chris Costa agrees. And so does his beard.

As for what happens when you use a silenced gun in a home defense situation, that’s going to depend on your local officials. I can tell you exactly what’s going to happen to my gun if I ever need to use it, namely that SAPD is going to confiscate it and throw it in the locker with everything else. And if I’m lucky, I’ll see it again — even if it was ruled a justifiable homicide and no charges are brought. I’m still taking that ride downtown for manslaughter until they figure out what happened.

Even if I never see the gun again, I’d still be perfectly happy buying a new gun and silencer. Because to me, my life is worth more than the price of a new gun.

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