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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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    • This might just be me but I have never had an issue with hearing loss while firing outside the range.

      When I hunt I have never worn ear protection mostly because I prefer to hunt on foot most of the day instead of in a blind. I’ve killed deer three years running and each time I’ve been focused enough that I literally “hear” nothing and I don’t find my hearing noticeably impaired after firing. Similarly I’ve put hundreds of rounds down range out of my shotgun during upland game bird season without issue. I would honestly never contemplate utilizing ear protection while hunting.

      I may be mistakenly comparing apples to oranges here but I feel pretty confident that the adrenalin I’m going to get hit with in a home defense scenario will make hunting look like a bucket of water sitting beside the pacific ocean. The deafness issue would be the least of my concerns.

      Legally using a supressor for home defense gives me a bad feeling. and on the flip side there’s always the consideration that firing your weapon is just one more way to alert the “good guys.” Pop a round off in a residential neighborhood and you know damn well the cops are already on their way… just food for thought.

      • @GI_JoJo: Agreed. I’ve shot pistols outdoors without ear pro multiple times before. Smart? No. Deafening? Hardly. I also agree about hunting; I’ve shot deer, coyotes, etc. from an enclosed “shooting house” and definitely don’t remember being “deafened”; maybe a bit of ear ringing a few minute later once the adrenaline wore off.

        Do cops wear ear pro when they do tactical ops? Military?

        A prosecutor would have a field day with a “silencer”; you’d be made out as a mercenary killer before a grand jury. Even putting on ear muffs would be portrayed as “looking for a chance to shoot to kill” or similar.

        To the average idiot on a grand jury, suppressors == hit men from the movies. You don’t want that hurdle to overcome; I’d rather be deaf. But you won’t be just from firing a weapon indoors once in a lifetime.

        • You may be correct about the grand jury. However, it is not just sound but pressure you will have to deal with indoors. Deafness after the first shot will leave vulnerable to other threats. The sound level combined with an over pressurization will play havoc on your senses in a home.

          I have fired a .45 ACP round unsuppressed in a house. Buddy’s house was about to be demo’d to build a new home on property and we experimented a little. We were unable to hear and it took a lot of effort to concentrate.

          I want to retain my senses as much as possible because I do not know when the threat will be over.

          I will take my chances with the court.

        • I personally don’t see the need; “silencers” quiet a firearm some, but it’s still LOUD.

          As for the prosecutor, if one does choose to use a lengthened gun in home defense, they’ve the option of hiding the can in the cupboard before the local constabulary arrives.

      • Have you every shot indoors? I can tell you there is a real difference between shotting outdoors and indoors. I can tell you even between indoor ranges there can be a real difference. One range I went to you could almost shot without any protection at another range I go to I actually wear 2 types. One inside the ear and one muffs over the ear and the sounds of gun shots are still loud enough to make me jump.


      • According to Massad Ayoob and other expert witnesses, using any NFA item (silencer, full auto rifle or short barreled rifle) is a terrible idea. Same goes for handloads or “superkiller 3000” brand bullets, who all scream murderous intent.
        Don’t worry about the ears ringing, chances are that due to the adrenalin rush you won’t hear a thing. And stick with whatever brand of bullets the local PD uses.

        • That may be true Bob but don’t you want to be a tacticool suppressed weapon wielding home defense OPERATOR like the author!?? Sure, it may be entirely unnecessary and could cause you to spend the rest of your life in prison but won’t it all be worth it for that moment right after a home defense shooting when you feel like Chris Costa? Before you go to prison that is, I doubt being in prison makes you feel like Costa. But forget prison what’s important is that old fat white guys get to pretend they are Chris Costa.

        • “They know exactly where you are, what you have, and how many rounds you’ve fired.”

          …well apparently my home invaders are Operator-as-f*ck also…

        • While I like Ayoob, everything he says isn’t gospel. He keeps talking about stuff in court that hasn’t been brought up. Granted, I would hate to have my can tied up along with my piece while stuff got sorted our. However, if it is legal, it is legal. Does it matter if a home invader perp gets a couple of sub-sonic .45 acp to the head or one 240-grain soft point .44 mag?

  1. If i survive a dgu the last thing I’m worrying about is the fate of the gun that I used. I hope none of us are using family heirlooms with great emotional attachment as our defensive guns.

    • +1

      Yes, if you’re in a DGU, that weapon is gonna be gone for a while, with anything attached to it, for a trip to the crime lab and some time in a police evidence locker somewhere. At least until the incident is reviewed by a grand jury and no charges are filed.

      And…at least in my state…MAKE SURE THEY TAKE IT BEFORE A GRAND JURY TWICE. That prevents the issue from ever being brought up again.

    • I was using my grandfather’s Winchester 94 (a real one made by the real Winchester) and I had this epiphany for this very reason about a year ago and got an AR to use in lieu of it.

  2. Next gun purchase should be a firearm with integral suppressor. Aftermarket modifications can void warranty or cause catastrophic malfunction in the firearm.

    Buy once, shoot for ever.

  3. I’m an air traffic controller and preventing hearing loss is critical in my line of work. If I ever have to use my pistol or rifles in home defense, I would think that there is also a threat of losing my job due to hearing loss. A silencer is a high priority for me… too bad I don’t have $1000 laying around waiting to be spent right now.

  4. That pictured suppressed Glock isn’t nearly as quiet as it looks. Lots of decibels leaving the action area and via the supersonic ammo crack. Quieter? Yes. Quiet? No.

    • Hard to say what caliber that Glock is, but; .45 acp will be subsonic, mostly. 9mm defensive loads can be had subsonic. My G17 dedicated for HD is so outfitted. Even with supersonic ammo, the suppressed sound level is way below what can cause permanent damage. Quiet isn’t the primary goal. Below damaging levels is.

    • This is something that I thought of immediately and have not seen discussed elsewhere – why does it always seem to be all or nothing to get MAXIMUM suppression? We are not hitmen, after all and we are certainly not expecting to take a shot and then slip away into the night undetected. Wouldn’t a suppressor that reduced the report to reasonable levels be just as effective in this case as a suppressor that is twice as long intended for maximum noise reduction? It would be a whole lot easier to explain to a grand jury as well. As for firing a pistol (.357) without hearing protection (and some few occasions in the military with an M-16), I don’t care how tough you think you are, those Db’s are gonna wreck you ears. Trust me, tinnitus sucks and it can’t be cured.

      • So far, all the compact suppressors I’ve seen have been right near the ragged edge of what OSHA puts forth as the threshhold of dangerous for impulse noise. It’s possible we’ll see something new at SHOT show this year.

  5. Bought electronic muffs for myself and my wife, which we keep by the bed, the type that allow you to hear normal conversation and suppress gunfire. Got them for just the reason that the inside discharge of a firearm is deafening.

    • But how do you find the room for the muffs on your bedside table with a pistol, rifle, shotgun, mace, police scanner, body armour, Depends, MRE’s and all the other stuff you need close at hand to feel secure in you own home already there?

      • No one keeps MRE’s on the nightstand. Doing so would indicate one had nothing to live for. Mace? That’s so 1970’s I can’t believe anyone remembers the word. Depends? OK, now you’ve gone too far, resorting to ageism…

      • Not true. Mine have separate microphones for each ear, pointed forward, and I can absolutely directionalize sounds by swiveling my head a bit.

      • I agree with the high-quality stereo ear pro point of view, for the sound-enhancement property. Suppressors have their place, but unbalance a good handgun. There is no point to putting a suppressor on a shotgun, though the Metro system for the 870 was amusing. They’re good on a backup survival pistol for recon. Perhaps if suppressors were legal to use (as opposed to merely own) in my state, my bias would change?

  6. 100 million adult gunnowners. 1000 dollar nut for suppressor. Aint happening. Go buy a 50 buck pair of ear muffs and dont forget a double barrel shotgun like uncle joe said.

  7. Supressors are a viable option but here are some take aways.

    1. The blast of a firearm is one hell of an intimidator.

    2. The blast alerts others, like neighbors (possibly even family members in harms way if the property is large), that something very bad is going down.

    3. It adds (swing) weight and worse length to your gun. It makes it more difficult to manuever when things get too close for comfort – like grappling.

    4. If you want to do sound suppression right you need to go w/ subsonic ammo which limits your choices and performance.

    One of the biggest advantages of a sound suppressor (not mentioned here) is they make excellent flash suppressors. At night one blast could make you Helen Keller for a few seconds (depends on the firearm and conditions) – not good. They also do a good job of taming recoil and muzzle flip.

    Good Job Nick!

    • “4. If you want to do sound suppression right you need to go w/ subsonic ammo which limits your choices and performance.”

      Good thing is, it’s easy to find subsonic ( < ~1126fps) pistol ammo.

    • Maybe we can save some bucks and take a lesson from Hollywood – before you go stalking that intruder, drape your pillow over your shooting hand, fold it under and hold the bottom. I have it on good authority from every action director I have ever met that this is perfectly legal, no NFA permit required, and will reduce the sound of the report to almost zero, as well as cover muzzle flash. /s

  8. Just a side note. You have your HD gun equipped with a suppressor, bad guy(s) let off a few rounds in your house first from their unsuppressed firearms…hearing loss, and temporary night blindness from their muzzle blast.

  9. Now don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have a can for my AR, just don’t have an extra $1000.00 laying around for the can and stamp. But if the bad guy(s) shoot first, you’re SOL!

    • You don’t need $1000. You can get a user-serviceable Huntertown Kestrel 5.56 can for $389 with free shipping to your dealer ( ; add to your cart to see the cheaper price). Add $200 for the transfer tax and $75 for the transfer, and you have only spent $664 to suppress your AR-15 for both full-powered 5.56mm rounds and .22LR with your CMMG or similar conversion kit.

      Even if you have to go pay an attorney to set up a trust because you prefer that to submitting the Form 4 as an individual taxpayer, you can still get this all together for less than a thousand bucks. (I charge $250 to set up a trust, and that is just a one-time thing after which you can add more firearms with no additional trust-related expense.)

    • Several good cans out there in the sub $500 realm. Manufacturers are popping up all the time now and pushing prices down. Quality for some of these new guys is excellent and price is no longer an indication of quality in the silencer market.

    • Here’s another option I haven’t seen discussed: How often do you really need that suppressor? DefDist has a plan to 3D print a suppressor from plastic. Instead of making a hard-core full metal jacket max noise suppression unit for $500 to $1,000 bucks, why doesn’t someone create a plastic, disposable, use it once and throw it away suppressor that only lowers the report to bearable levels? If the thing could survive maybe 30 rounds of 9mm, even if it got louder towards the end of the string, wouldn’t that be enough? If you’re not done by then you’ve got bigger problems than the sound of your rounds going off. Now you’re down to maybe $100 bucks for the suppressor, $200 for the stamp and $75 or so for the transfer.

      • I want a suppressor all the time. Why would I waste that much money on a disposable when a couple hundred more buys me something that can last for decades, maybe a lifetime? Or, are you suggesting breaking the law by making a illegal suppressor?

      • Because absolutely 0 people would buy it.

        Look up the glock suppressor. They already do that. None of the manufacturers are going to make something like that. No one is going to spend $50 + $200 and a 6+ month wait on something they can only use once and never again.

  10. I bet an anti-gun D.A. would just love to take a case to court where a suppressors was used in a shooting. That’s the kind of thing that play well to uninformed juries.

    • If the situation was clearly in favor of the homeowner, I don’t think the DA’s office could make a case for having a can on a self-defense gun at home. Their interest in bringing charges shouldn’t change if there was a suppressed firearm used or a normal firearm. The reason why the DA would bring charges starts with “did you have a reasonable fear?” or “was the intruder clearly within your domicile?” and so on. Once you choose to respond with lethal force, suppressed or not, the DA gets involved.

      Now, if you were in the wrong for using lethal force in the first place, the addition of a can to the situation is going to make your situation 10X worse.

      However, the civil case that could follow (as I mention below) – that’s where the can will be brought up again, and again, and again, and again, as some sort of evidence of “intent,” along with using HP ammo, and all your training, and everything else.

      If you have assets, and the decedent’s relatives get pitched a case by the right contingency lawyer, you’ve got a very real problem. Even if you win the case, you’re going to be out thousands to tens of thousands for legal fees to defend yourself.

      • …unless you live in PA or a similar state, which provides that justified shootings cannot be followed up with civil suits, either by the perp or the late perps family.

  11. Unfortunately I have been forced to fire in self-defense and in defense of property before, and I can tell you from personal experience that once you’re so focused and adrenaline pumped, you don’t even notice the sound of your gunfire. That included the one time I fired a full auto mag of .308 from an FAL in a (somewhat) enclosed space because I forgot the switch was on auto. Knocked me flat on my bum from the unexpected recoil (and heels getting stuck in the ground), but the first thing I remarked on after the situation was over was that I could hear perfectly fine!
    That being said, yes, I think a suppressor on a home defense gun is a wonderful idea. But… one must always consider how it will be spun in court.

      • Haven’t tried it in my house- as I hate to have to fix the holes in drywall after,

        but judging from how my ears ring if I slip the muffs just a little to adjust glasses at the range, when the guy with the .500 bear hunting revolver is blasting away in next lane,

        it probly wouldnt work for me, either. I did hear about the “hearing exclusion” for operators and some hunters in a Col Dave Grossman seminar-

        and wondered about the science of it- how does adrenalin work I wonder- anyone know more?

        Curious- does it actually save those little bitty hairs and nerve cells from damage- or is it simply perception that is altered, like the tunnel effect of adrenalin on vision in fight or flight.

        • I have read about some parts of the hearing organs physically stiffening so they don’t transmit as much.

        • Auditory exclusion does not prevent permanent hearing loss. The physical mechanism is cilia, tiny hairs in the inner ear, being broken by sound vibrations more violent than their ability to bend. The bending is what triggers the nerve impulses we perceive as sound.

          When under stress, the brain can ignore those sensory inputs it believes will not help you survive, which also touches on tunnel vision, memory gaps, and speeding or slowing of time. It does not mean the sensory input didn’t come in, just that you didn’t notice it.

        • The idea is that increased blood pressure can cause the auditory channel tissues to flare out, engorged with blood. You can actually suffer temporary hearing loss/reduction when this happens, based on the same principals.

          Ever run long distance? This happens to me almost every single time I run over a couple miles – temporary hearing loss until my heart rate settles.

          I also have never experienced hearing loss or ringing when firing a rifle while hunting. Never noticed the sound or recoil of my .270 at all, so far as I can remember. Firing it at the range is a different matter.

  12. Suppressor comes off real easy even after shooting a few rounds. Way before anybody else gets there. Not that I would do that, or anything. And, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    • The only thing worse than a DA going after you for a suppressed weapon would be for witness testimony to reveal that you hid the silencer.

    • You can tell when a suppressor was used in a shooting, has something to do with burn marks. The worst thing you can do is remove the silencer. THAT’S when the DA is going to jump on you. Why did you remove it if you didn’t feel guilty for using it?

  13. After having seen a couple of civil “wrongful death” cases brought from DGU’s, and how the lawyers made a Real Big Deal about hollow point ammo, I’d want no part of having a can on my self defense weapon.

    What a field day for the plaintiff’s lawyer(s).

      • I believe FBI, CHP, and many CA PDs are sharing same standards on duty carry in .40 S&W, typically in Ranger JHP.

    • Yup. If my homework is correct, Massad Ayoob was one of first writing about how important to consider the legal aspects of carrying a weapon for self-defense as carefully as the choice of gun or ammo, to include definitions of jeopardy, and how you would answer the question in court, after a shoot, why you used that particular weapon.

      Pretty hard to defend a silencer in CA, no matter how much sense Nick makes here. Better to invest in a set of these:

      One small problem is they are somewhat disorienting until you get used to the amplification and imperfect stereo effect especially if you have them turned way up.

      Just about pooped my pants one time using them for hunting when a deer walked up on me from behind in a hide and “chuffed” – sounded like it was on top of me….

  14. lol A suppressor for home defense? Just dumb. And the people at Lauer Weaponry here in WI who do my suppressor work would say the same thing.

    I guess if one lives in a silent friendly state and they can legally obtain the right and you don’t mind an extra foot or so on the end of your defensive gun then go for it. Not too sure how many intruders you plan on having over for dinner. But in a defensive situation where you kill someone in your home and you end up in court the suppressor part will destroy your chances of getting off with no consequences. If you decide to remove it after you are now officially committing a crime.

    What really are the benefits here? Nick states loss of hearing issues, he seems to go on and on with this one. And he states how sound will give away your location. So in total he states two reasons, both invalid for the underlined reasoning.
    First off, the mere sight of a gun will scare off most, lasers are a great visual to scare off intruders, but the sound will do it ten fold, although who the hell is shooting at a target they can’t hit? Do I really care about my minimal temporary loss of hearing as the bad guy is bleeding out on the floor? I could spit out 30 rounds into a room with a suppressor and the only thing it will do is kill someone, maybe an innocent, plus you lose the intimidation factor with no sound. If your only goal is to kill someone than by all means use a suppressor, hopefully the courts and lawyers will understand the reasoning. The deaf part I don’t really get, unless you are using a magnum shotgun round or a large caliber rifle or handgun round your shots should not be deafening you unless you are in a very enclose space and/or are not use to gunfire. And is one just shooting at no specific target to where you would need to fire more than one or a burst of rounds at one time, if you have a situation where you think or can confirm a intruder has entered are you just going to spray a room full of bullets?

    Bottom line is suppressors are a BAD idea for home defense. The fact the the king of TTAG is pushing this idea as a good thing overall makes me question his motive here. I almost think this is a “look what I have” article, even though pretty much anyone that can buy a gun legally can qualify to own a suppressor legally. It’s just for most there is no need for one as almost every circumstance does not require the use of one. We shoot our suppressed firearms at our range, after that and a good clean most my firearms especially the suppressed ones go into the safe. I know not a single person in my circle that would use or condone the use of a suppressor for home defense, we support the right, but it’s just not the smartest thing to do.

    • Is there a specific law in your state that forbids use of suppressors outside of range or other recreational shooting? I’m pretty sure there isn’t one in WA, except maybe for hunting.

      Nobody should plan for a specific number of bad guys, especially for a home invasion scenario, or plan for the sound to cause them to flee. Remember that some home invader types may be on pretty serious drugs. I won’t shoot to intimidate, and while I know you’re not pushing the double barrel Biden theory of home defense, to make any intimidation factors a major part of your plan may not be wise.

      Every shooting is different. You may not hear the shots, or you may hear them but not suffer any short term loss, or you may be partially deaf for a time. Even if only one shot is fired, I want to stack the deck in my favor, so I can talk to the dispatcher if nothing else.

    • Not that he needs me to defend him, but my personal take was not that Nick is pushing anyone – on the contrary- just advancing an informed point of view, and another example of the evolution of best-practices based on good science and experience.

      And like a lot of the posts here, its meant to be thought-provoking- and I personally appreciate the debate-

      lots of real-world experience here, including your gunnies, so thanks for sharing-

      I think I learned here that use of silencers is common to the point of being universal in some shooting ranges in Europe, for saving hearing for yourself and lane neighbors, and its been legal for some time there.

      But I do agree with your point of view on how the prosecution could use that to impugn your motive with the jury. But maybe that will change as useage changes- sort of how how “hollow-points = bad”, in years past,

      but now those attributes and others seem to be accepted more as making good sense for stopping power, if you believe the PDX marketing hype.

      In fact, didnt I read here that door-kickers are going to JHP in .223 because it also tends to over-penetrate less in drywall?

    • Your mention of a laser scaring off intruders suggests your “information” has been gleaned from Hollywood productions rather than reality. And, then you accuse the rest of us of planning to “spray a room full of bullets?” I’m surprised you left out the “racking” sound of a pump shotgun as intimidating.

      The justification of lethal force in self-defense is in no way predicated by the equipment or accessories. Please cite a single case where a suppressor (or other “scary” accessory) has been the deciding factor in a self-defense case called into question.

    • I don’t believe there are even any cases in existence where someone used a suppressed weapon in self defense. So all of this “it’s a terrible idea and the DA will screw you on it” isn’t based in any objective truth. It’s legal to own a suppressor and use it in most places.

      Not to mention if someone used a suppressed weapon and a stupid DA decided to go after it, there are a plethora of SWAT members and members of the armed forces who would be glad to explain in court why legally obtained suppressors are a no-brainer, common sense addition to a legal home defense weapon. Plus the case would set a precent since such a case hasn’t even happened before so far as we know.

  15. We sell them, a lot of them. We own them, a lot of them. NONE are on any HD firearms in the home or shop. Not a good idea to add the length to a handgun that you expect to use in close quarters. I suggest you take your shiny new blackout SBR with the can on it and go shoot without EP in an enclosed environment Nick. You will quickly discover that an AR platform, unless in a rimfire caliber, with a can, produces a prodigious amount of noise (about 140dB for 5.56) at the ejection port…right in front of your right ear. Having both ears get “blown” is bad, but only having one can be worse.

  16. Call me paranoid, but the reason I don’t have a SBR, supressor, or any other NFA goodie is that I refuse to submit to an ATF inspection at any given time. Giving up your rights for a cool toy isn’t a great idea in my book.

    • This “subject to ATF inspection at any time” stuff is an urban legend that originated from common misunderstandings about what is required to legally acquire NFA firearms. You don’t have to be an FFL, you don’t have to keep a bound book, and the fuzz can’t just descend on your house at any time without a warrant.

    • That is one of the internet “rumors” about NFA items that I wish would die. You do not surrender your Fourth Amendment rights just because you have an NFA item registered to you. The ATF is still required to obtain a search warrant. The only people the ATF can inspect at will is FFLs like myself, and only my shop, during business hours (which they have on file). Even that is tempered by the law…they can only do it once a year, unless firearms sold out of my shop start turning up in crime scenes in higher than average rates.

  17. They’ve got some really good ear protection nowadays from what I’ve been reading that protect your ears from the sound of the gunshot, but which actually enhance your hearing with regards to other sounds. So you get the benefits of both enhanced hearing and hearing protection. It’s because of how they can miniaturize the electronics now. I’d think with a pair of such ear muffs (if that’s what they are called) and a night vision scope on your AR, you’d be pretty set for home defense.

    I am curious, but why would you get skewered for having a suppressor on your gun in a Court for a home defense shooting? If the prosecutor wanted to argue that you had evil intentions, could your defense argue, and you argue if questioned by the prosecutor, that it was so that you could protect the hearing of yourself and/or your family? I’d think that argument would play well with a jury if the facts about suppressors/silencers were explained.

    • Of course. I highly doubt a DA could actually do anything besides make your life uncomfortable for a little bit and force you to spend some money on a lawyer. There are tons of SWAT and armed forces members who would gladly explain to the court why suppressors are a common sense addition to a home defense weapon, and the jury will respect their opinion, they see such people as authority figures.

      The defense would be a piece of cake, and it would set a precedent since such a case hasn’t even happened so far as we know.

  18. “I know not a single person in my circle that would use or condone the use of a suppressor for home defense, we support the right, but it’s just not the smartest thing to do.”

    A lot of gun owners aren’t interested in the practical applications of firearms… they simply want to exercise their “rights” because they can. If that means strolling down a Texas road with an Ar-15 for defense against deadly lizards so be it.

    If your house is being invaded by a mob I can’t think of a better way to clear the place than a couple of loud shots from a gun. Most low-life intruders are going to cut and run at that point. Plus, as you said, it warns neighbors that something is going on, and they might call the cops when you can’t. The benefits seem obvious to me.

    Unless of course you are one of those bloodthirsty gun owners who sees a home invasion as a license to release your inner Rambo and want to execute as many people as possible. In that case, I guess a silencer might help you.


    • A few shots from a suppressed ar-15 will still clear out all the wanna-be thugs, it’s not “silent” in any way, it’s more like a .22 LR unsuppressed. If that doesn’t, then the wailing of their buddy you just popped will do the trick.

  19. Suppressors are nice, but…

    They’ll still know where you are and how many shots you fired. Your hearing will suffer less and the flash will be lessened, but stealthy you’ll not be.

    This ain’t the movies, sir.

  20. even if you don’t want to go through the paperwork to “legally”(the 2nd Amendment already protects your right to, but try telling that to a modern jury)own a suppressor, it might be worth it to learn how to make one, in the event the SHTF, when no one is enforcing such unconstitutional laws, and where hopefully after everything has settled down there won’t be any.

  21. Meh, I am going with a 12 ga. Home defense gun. I hope the sound of a round being racked in is enough to send whoever is breaking in away, and if not the 12 has plenty of power with somewhat less accuracy required. All things being equal however I would just prefer that the guy breaks in during the day to steal the TV. I have insurance for it and nobody risks getting hurt.

  22. Question: if you pop in hearing protection prior to investigating what just went bump in the night, could that not be construed as intent to shoot, prior to knowing the threat?

    • After shooting, you could always take off the hearing protection and put it away somewhere and not tell them you even have it I would think, unless that would be illegal?

    • No more than grabbing the gun – or having one in the first place – the fact that it’s loaded at all and going to investigate rather than cowering.

      Neither does wearing a seatbelt constitute intent to crash.

      • Your seatbelt analogy might be the best argument yet for those interested in suppressing. It wouldn’t take away the emotional impact on ignorant jury members, but it might meet them on their own level of reasoning. Particularly if you have kids in the house…

        “I made the choice to protect my children by keeping a firearm in the house for defensive uses ONLY. It’s the same reason I bought a Volvo, to keep my kids safe. My gun having a silencer is just the same as making my kids wear a seatbelt, to PROTECT THEM. Why risk sending them through life with permanent hearing loss? Would that be FAIR TO MY KIDS??”

        When all else fails, remember: you did it for the CHILDREN.

  23. “Auditory exclusion” as referenced here is a myth that has taken on immortality. The phenomenon refers to the brain’s tendency under stress to “exclude” auditory signals, so one experiences “auditory tunneling” similar to “tunnel vision.” Your ears still suffer damage from the noise, even if your brain has shut down the signal. It’s simple physics, folks. What you’re dealing with is air pressure. Pressure is translated by the brain as noise. If you’re not wearing hearing protection when shooting, you have an iron-clad guarantee you will suffer hearing damage. You may not notice it the first time, but the damage is cumulative, and over time will seriously degrade your hearing. Google terms like “decibel levels of firearms,” “hearing loss,” and “tinnitus.” Go ahead, I dare you. All you tough guys who think you’re somehow immune to hearing damage will eventually be consulting with an audiologist, trying to find a way around profound hearing loss. And the solution, while only partial, will cost a helluva lot more than a good pair of muffs.

  24. Anyone thinking the sound of a gunfight drawing neighbors is a good thing, ask yourself-will said neighbors join the fight, or will they just call 911?

    If I call for backup in the middle of a gunfight, the chances of anyone getting there in time to help are slim. Add the delay inherent in the dispatch system, and I’m lucky to get there in five minutes for a 911 call about someone else’s fight.

    It’s not bad thinking, just remember the limitations of the system. And still call, if you end up with the bad guy prone at gunpoint, you have created the time for police to arrive. Just make sure you describe yourself to the dispatcher and listen close when we get there.

    • Depends on the neighbors, but you are generally correct.

      Happy I am to have armed neighbors – albeit they’re about a quarter mile away.

    • My situation may be rare but the last time I went out to investigate a commotion in the night I encountered my nearest neighbor with a flashlight and a pistol attempting to locate the same noise I was. Since then we’ve become pretty good friends.

  25. this is a stupid thread.

    adding a suppressor adds enough length to negate maneuverability gained with an SBR.

    gunfire will alert anyone sleeping inside and hopefully outside of your home to danger.

    • No, what’s stupid is firing a SBR unsuppressed inside your house without hearing protection. It’s akin to flash-banging yourself, you’ll be temporarily blind and deaf immediately. A few inches isn’t going to make a big difference to maneuverability.

  26. First, I live in Iowa where they couldn’t care less if you’ve got a 100o round magazine for your 50BMG (semi-auto), but class 3 and NFA items are strictly verboten. So no suppressors for me.

    That said, I once fired 2 shots from a .357 I owned and my ears rang for 2 hours. Later I traded it off for a Ruger P89. I once rapid fired 15 9mm rounds sans hearing protection with the Ruger and my ears didn’t ring at all. Revolvers are louder than autos, .357s are louder than 9mms. And I will never fire off a revolver without hearing protection again unless my life depends on it. Your mileage may vary.

    Personally, I can’t think of too many situations that you’re likely to get into in which the report from your defensive firearm won’t be your best friend.

  27. No, you do not. If you have a DGU with a silencer and you are convicted of anything along with it, you instantly get another 30 years on top of it in Federal prison. I would just get a pair of good electronic hearing protection and be done with it.

  28. A lawyer at another forum said that if you are justified in using lethal force, then you can use whatever you want, suppressor or no suppressor (so long as the suppressor is legally owned).

  29. I would be concerned about added length, giving a BG a handle to lever my handgun with, increased gunk blowback into my likely unprotected eyeballs, and reliability decrease of the recoil operated handgun with the can attached.

    On a piston driven rifle, maybe.

    • I would be concerned about added length, giving a BG a handle to lever my handgun with, increased gunk blowback into my likely unprotected eyeballs, and reliability decrease of the recoil operated handgun with the can attached. Also regarding the noise and flash, you know it’s coming, the BG doesn’t. Your advantage.

      On a piston driven rifle, maybe.

  30. A silencer adds to the overall length and profile of the gun. But it’s no worse than using a big shotgun or rifle for home defense. You can still use just one hand.

    And most 9mm defense rounds are the heavier 147gr loads, which are subsonic too. They penetrate deeper than +p/+p+ rounds. And they don’t create balls of fire at night like the high pressure rounds do.

  31. I’m not saying that one should not use hearing protection. Just that if ever one finds oneself in a situation where time and circumstances do not permit putting on hearing protection or a suppressor, it’s likely that under the effects of adrenalin you will not suffer temporary hearing loss. Permanent is another matter entirely. I’ve been shooting since I was a young boy, and I have had enough permanent hearing loss that the report of a .22LR rifle will no longer “hurt” my ears.
    All things considered, I always carry a pair of foam earplugs easily accessible in my purse, in case I need to use them. But I won’t always have time to put them on. And that does not make me a “tough girl” or anything of the sort.

  32. Do they make supressors for double barreled shotguns? If so wouldnt that kind of defeat the point of firing two warning shots?

  33. Nick, you aint been in SA long, but know that if you ever have to use your gun in a self defense situation, you most likely wont go downtown for manslaughter. maybe just for questioning, but thats it. SA is pretty defense friendly. hell, last year a guy shot a dude who was stealing a potted plant from his front door area. no charges filled. the gun confiscation thing though, the media never covers that.

  34. good lord…..guess i should get my zombiemax HP’s out of my home gun and switch to my range ammo where i not only nab the perp, but little suzy who happens to be outside at 4AM

    how these jury folk function is beyond me….

  35. Now I have to wonder if anyone in Kansas makes suppressors in 7.62mm.

    Also, it seems that here I’m now free to make my own.

    Thanks, Topeka!

  36. I am partially deaf and dealing with lack of hearing both before and during a home invasion has always been a great concern. The only way I have been able to combat this problem is by setting low directional night lights that cast shadows in certain areas of my house. For instance if I look down my hallway I will be able to tell if someone is on the other side of a particular wall.

  37. (there is a night version as well, oh and watch with annotations turned on)

    I whole heartedly agree! They are often overlooked as just as an important accessory as a weapon light. Anyone who says the adrenaline will keep your ears safe is high. Your brain might not register the deafening concussion of a gunshot fired indoors however your ear drum, your physical ear will still be irreversibly damaged! There are reports of people committing suicide over having tinnitus! You gain hiding your blinding muzzle flash, lessening recoil, reducing db’s.

    I could care less if I took out a threat with a suppressed 20mm cannon, THEY chose to break into my house. At least in my FREE state you aren’t penalized over defending your life in your own home.

  38. I think there is a serious tactical Vs practical issue at play here.

    First, without subsonic ammunition a suppressed 9mm fired in a hallway is going to ring your ears and tell everyone in the house where you are and that you’ve fired a gun. It will hurt less, but it’s not going to confuse anyone in the house with you about how many rounds have been fired or where it’s coming from unless either you have a 10,000 sq ft home or you happen to be hosting a rock concert when the shooting starts. (It’s not at all like a suppressed rifle with subsonic ammo fired outdoors in heavy cover from a couple of hundred yards.) The primary advantage to the suppressor in a home DGU isn’t the sound suppression at all, it’s light suppression. The question about shooting without ear pro (especially indoors, and I’ve done plenty of it) should be ‘have you ever fire your HD gun in the dark?’ (Question of the day?) The muzzle flash of most common handguns with most ammo is blinding to the shooter and anyone else looking at the gun. In fact, in low light and after the first shot just about all you can see is a purple after image and the only way to see the target is to fire again and again so that you can ‘strobe’ it with the muzzle flash. Obviously a very bright flashlight improves this considerably, but it’s still an issue. (One more reason to have a bright white light.) While I’m thinking about it, an AR-15 without a flash hider fired in the dark looks like it’s sprouting a flaming 2.5 foot Christmas tree out the barrel when it’s fired and is surely visible for miles.
    So a suppressor has some advantage in a HD situation, but not quite what intuition suggests. If you’re an operator and you don’t mind the length and screwy balance of a suppressed pistol I’d say go for it, especially in low light. The down side for a HD situation is that at some point the prosecutor is likely to show that suppressed weapon to a jury while telling them that you paid extra and jumped through hoops to possess a suppressor so that people couldn’t tell where you were firing from. I didn’t notice if any of our resident attorneys weighed in, but this is a question I asked my very gun friendly lawyer who is also a close personal friend since well before he went to law school. I’ll reiterate some of his advice, oft repeated to me; Don’t ever tell the police anything except your name and that you want a lawyer. Don’t ever consent to any search of any kind and keep repeating that you don’t consent if they don’t stop, and (as a civilian) never shoot anyone with anything tacti-cool.
    I’ve brought this up before, but a prosecutor is going to make a lot of everything you do and everything you have. Spare mags and a flashlight are virtually a must, however they are also points against you in the prosecutions eyes. Any custom work on the weapon is the same way. Also carry pepper spray or an impact device so that you have a less lethal option? Still points against you. Have a tactical folder? Again, points . . . If my lawyer had his way I’d have to replace my EDC equipment with a non-pocket clip non-locking Old Timer pocket knife, a .38 snub nose revolver, a yellow plastic safety light, a can of bug spray and a rubber mallet, since my knife, spray, gun, mags, light and baton look scary. Just food for thought. (Incidentally I was once asked by a police officer in a duty belt why I had holsters and cases for mags and lights and spray and a baton on my belt. I pointed to his and asked if he knew a better way to carry such things. This is the mindset you may be up against.)
    A final note: To claim self defense is to claim that your were in fear for your life. The language varies by state but in essence the question at hand is if a reasonable person in your situation, with your knowledge and only your knowledge of it, would have been sufficiently afraid of imminent death or serious injury as to justify killing or attempting to kill another person. If you’re an elderly, wheel chair bound woman you might be able to justify a self defense shooting in almost any situation with a bit of creative interpretation. If you’re a strong healthy man in his prime the risk level will need to be higher to justify use of lethal force. If you’re the latter, in a ballistic helmet with faceplate, hard side threat IV armor with crotch protector and shoulder panels, sporting a drop leg holster for a suppressed high cap wonder 9 with spare mags lined up around your belt, a well dressed AR slung in front with plenty of spares in pouches mollied to your armor and you’re in a bunker manning a fixed, crew served weapon. . . well, you think up the threat that would justify lethal force. Then take it a step further and try to convince 12 of your neighbors that you’re a ‘reasonable person’ in any sense of the phrase.
    Personally I’ve selected some low flash ammo for my HD pistols, learned to close one eye when firing in low light and I keep it simple so that I can remain free should push come to shove.
    P.S. If anyone has a bunker with a crew served weapon mounted in it, call me; we’ll play cards or something. . . .

    • Good point. Which is why i’ve always advised against using higher pressure +p and +p+ rounds for defense. Muzzle flash at night would be horrendous.

  39. Thought about this for a while since the pic literally mirrors what I have. A suppressed 9mm or 45acp (using subsonic ammo) is by no means silent. In an enclosed area like an indoor range or home, without hearing pro, it still sounds almost like an unsuppressed 22LR rifle. Now if the silencer is shot “wet”, then you start approaching the movie style sounds.

    Disorientation due to sound concussion is a very real worry for home defense. If the first shot doesn’t do its job, then your subsesquent shots can be affected by how you’ve reacted to your first shot (sound-wise, flash-wise). On the other hand, with how very strict NFA items are controlled in this country, I definitely would rather not have ATF involvement concerning a DGU. Guess I need to think some more…

  40. Great info and observations. After 8 months, I finally received an ATF permit for a Tundra SV suppressor for my Sig pistol, which I intended to use for home defense with HP 147 grain ammo. I received comments in some forums that this could cause me serious legal problems and I couldn’t believe it possible. But now that I’ve read and thought more about it, I’m not going to use my suppressor for home defense. I only wish I was aware of this issue before I spent $2,000 on a threaded barrel gun, suppressor and a bunch of magazines. Law and justice are very different sometimes. But as a combat vet, I’m glad I got them while I still could, just in case. A lot of people here in Vegas are packing weapons and it’s becoming a frenzy to buy scarce 9mm ammo. People seem more on edge and self-serving. Maybe it’s always that way and as I get older I’m more cautious and cynical. But I’ve seen firsthand how people with guns can rationalize and do anything. I don’t want to have to rely just on common decency.

  41. I signed up to comment just to say that, in technical aspects, this thread is COMPLETELY FULL OF TWITS.

    You fire an unsuppressed handgun in your house, in the dark… you will most likely “flash-bang” yourself. You’ll be blind for 5+ seconds or more and deaf longer after your first shot. With a shotgun you’ll cause permanent hearing damage for sure, and most likely will do the same with 9mm.

    Let’s talk real facts. The suppressor/silencer offers a serious advantage in this situation. Further, it’s better to be tried by 12 than carried by six and… YOU CAN UNSCREW THE SILENCER AND DENY YOU USED ONE! Quality cans leave no marks on bullets, and even if they did it would be destroyed on impact!

    Two reasons for this. 1) Cops are NOT going to assume you used a silencer unless you’re totally incompetent and this lead to a “Heat” style shootout and 2) The federal legality of them confiscating a legally obtained silencer is sketchy at best. YOU or your TRUST MEMBERS are the ONLY people legally allowed to possess it according to BATFE regs… that INCLUDES local LEOs!

    I have a can screwed on to my primary defense gun, and if some DA or ADA wants to play games because I used a silencer… the NRA will pay for that defense attorney that drives a Ferrari… and then I’ll sue the cops.

    Either way: unscrew the can, call your attorney and the ATF and forget about this nonsense. If they prosecute you, let them lose and the sue!

    • Yeah, I think people are forgetting that if you legally own the suppressor and firearm attached to it, and are legally allowed to shoot it, then using it in a justified defense of your life IS NOT ILLEGAL. Just because a DA thinks he can spin it, doesn’t mean he can. Any half competent defense lawyer could win a case like this with his hands tied behind his back, because the truth is on his side. As are all the SWAT members who would testify to the fact that suppressors are a common sense addition to a firearm that might have to be used indoors and at night to defend yourself.

  42. Also. I’m going to say this:

    Using a high quality can and .45ACP ammo, which is naturally subsonic the comments suggesting it’s loud when suppressed are NONSENSE.

    I own suppressed .45 and it sounds like you dropped a large book on the ground if you fire it at an indoor range. The loudest noise you actually hear in the action of the pistol racking back and forth.

    Or maybe I just bought a better suppressor from silencerco…

  43. I read the article, and then this entire thread from beginning to end. There is a solid debate here, and I’d say that there is good reasoning for both sides.

    Disclaimer: I’m a Canadian, and suppressors are a “no-go” under any circumstances here. I don’t think it affects my thoughts on the matter, but you may believe what you will.

    Firstly, I’ll start out by saying that so long as myself, my wife, and my daughter are safe, I don’t care what the thugs that break into my house get. I’m insured. The last thing that I want to do is shoot anyone, self defence or otherwise. But I honestly believe(because you never know until you’re there) that I could pull the trigger on anyone who I felt meant to harm my family or I.

    In the event of a home invasion, I have dogs. They react loudly to all manner of noises, and I have complete confidence that they will alert me to any break-in or break-in attempt. In the event that a break-in occurs, we have a family plan.

    1) The first person awake will wake the others(our bedroom doors are barely six feet apart).
    2) My wife will immediately call 911 and alert the police to a break-in. I will take that time to recover my home-defense shotgun. My wife knows to alert the police to the fact that I am armed, and to give them my general description.
    3) My wife will lock herself and my daughter in the master bedroom after I leave. She is armed with an additional shotgun.
    4) I will make a slow, careful sweep of my home. In the event that I come upon an intruder(or intruders), I will issue a command to stretch out on the floor with their hands clasped over the back of their head. If they comply, we’ll all wait for the police. If they bolt, I will try to retain as much information regarding their appearance, clothing, and getaway direction or vehicle as I can. If they make an attempt to attack, they’re hamburger. Regardless of the outcome of my search, I will wait outside the master bedroom until the police arrive.
    5) When the police arrive, I will immediately place my shotgun on the floor and respond to their instructions. They will be given free reign to search my person, my home, my vehicle, or anything else they need. I will give them any and all information I have regarding whatever happened in my home.

    My shotgun is, I suppose, a “tactic-cool” firearm. It’s a big black Benelli M4, it does have a light, and it’s clearly not a hunting shotgun. It is, however, perfectly legal.

    Anyway, that little bit was just to fill you in on my personal mindset toward these situations. We’ve made a plan. We’ve practiced it, and made adjustments based on worst-case scenarios like an attacker(or attackers) coming in through bedroom windows.

    However, my personal first priority is the protection of my family. I’m counting on my dogs as a deterrent, and I’m counting on home invaders hearing a shotgun pump. In the event that I have to fire, I’m counting on the sound being an additional deterrent in the event that I miss or that he brought friends. I’m counting on my neighbours jerking out of a dead sleep to the sound of a shotgun blast and frantically dialling 911. I’m counting on the sound and light of a shotgun blast being more damaging to him than me, on account of me being prepared for it. I work in heavy industry and am accustomed to loud, offensive sounds. I have no doubt that it will have some adverse effect on my hearing(I do have a set of safety glasses and ear defenders handy to my gun, for that reason). I’m only counting on firing that shotgun in the event I’m attacked. If I’m attacked, I’d rather suffer some hearing damage than the injuries that may result in a dust-up with a home invader. But if it alerts the neighbours to a dangerous situation and gets them reacting, that’s important too. Maybe the guy gets away. And maybe my neighbour, who woke up and peeked out his window because he heard my shotgun, gets his license plate number. Maybe the woman who’s coming out onto her front step in the middle of the night because of a gunshot sees a thug hiding in her front bushes, nursing an abdominal wound. Maybe one of my neighbours flies out of his house and tackles the guy trying to escape from the scene of the crime.

    In the event that I hit and kill an invader, my neighbours are equally aware that something has gone terribly awry in the neighbourhood. They show up when the police arrive to identify me as the homeowner, and not the gun-wielding thug who broke into someone’s house. They’re there to assist my wife and daughter while I head down to the police station.

    For all of these reasons and others(legal issues, shotgun compatibility, etc.), a suppressor has no place in my home-defense plan. Until I read this article and the resulting thread, I didn’t think it had a place in anyone’s home-defense plan. If I were sitting on a jury and a prosecutor tried to make a big deal out of a legally-owned suppressor in a home-defense shooting, I think I would have recognized it before now as blowing smoke, but it’s interesting to think about.

    Thanks to all who contributed for an interesting, thought-provoking read. If you choose to utilize a suppressor on a home-defense firearm, or you’re considering it, make sure you read this whole thread for the good info in here. There’s a case for both sides.


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