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Salon’s Alexander Zaitchik has just uncovered the latest NRA infamnia: promotion of the silencer business. Seriously! “Under the trade banner of the American Silencer Association, manufacturers have come together with the support of the NRA to rebrand the silencer as a safety device belonging in every all-American gun closet.” Closet? Nevermind. So what’s the problem with an accessory that could save the hearing of thousands of shooters (and make shooting range neighbors a lot happier)? Seems Zaitchik’s been watching a few too many Homeland episodes. “The history of the silencer is a twentieth century tale populated by Mafiosi hits, hidden snipers, and special ops ambush teams.” Oh noes! Worse still . . .

Wide use of suppressors would mean more Sandy Hooks, too!

By muffling the noise generated with every shot by sonic booms and gas release, a silencer would provide a new degree of intimacy for public mass murder, delaying by crucial seconds or minutes the moment when someone calls the police after overhearing strange bangs coming from Theater 4 or Classroom D. The same qualities that make silencers the accessory of choice for targeted assassination offer advantages to the armed psychopath set on indiscriminate mass murder.

But wait, there’s still more. Silencers are kinda like weed. They’re a gateway accessory. If you use them enough, they’ll only lead to legalization of some of the really scary stuff.

If the current campaign succeeds in delisting silencers from NFA regulation, the gun lobby likely won’t wait long before targeting the remaining regulatory regimes limiting the circulation of fully automatic machine guns and even hand grenades. Do not be surprised when you see a 2014 Gun World feature extolling freshwater blast fishing as a great way to connect kids and nature, while reducing the risks of fishing with sharp steel hooks, some of which have dangerous double jags. If you can’t see the safety rationale here, or the Freedom Logic that undergirds it, then you obviously do not care about America’s children and their millions of young tender fingers.

What, no Claymores or cruise missiles, Alexander? Come on, use your imagination, man. I’m actually holding out for a mortar since I can’t quite reach out and touch the far side of the next subdivision over with our current potato gun. Maybe I need to try a different brand of hair spray.

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  1. I’ve always bee astonished that almost every consumer or industrial device, that exposes users to >85 db, includes noise suppression; sometimes, by OSHA regulation. On firearms, noise suppression is prohibited.

    I think the best suppressors reduce sound pressures only about 20-30 db. People are generally under the Hollywood impression that a gun with a “silencer” (misnomer) sounds like “(thp … thp)“.

    • Yes, the Suppressors, do keep the noise down, if, you want this!..[personally, i like to hear the Noise, warning an intruder, of the consequence, that Will Follow!… ]. Also, i believe you need, a “Class 3”
      License to possess, one!… [Leaving you Wide Open, for the Police, to enter, at Any Time!]. Nothing, here for me to hide; I just Don’t Care, to give up this option!…

        • We don’t want just anybody having these things. Imagine your ex stalking you ’cause you agreed to maintain a life insurance policy on yourself with Tara named the beneficiary. She always was a good shot. Now all she needs is time to slip away before anyone sees ya sprawled out on the driveway. Yep, I can see her now, placing her order…..

      • No such thing as a “class 3 license” .
        Owning Title 2 firearms does no such thing as “leaving you wide open, for the Police, to enter, at Any Time!”

        Also, you would fire a warning shot at an intruder? I don’t think a lot of folks who own suppressors keep them on their ‘nightstand gun’.

    • Police departments are currently installing gunfire location devices to help determine where the latest drive-by shooting is occurring. These devices work by using arrays of microphones plus computerized acoustic analysis to quickly determine the location of gunfire.

      The less sound a firearm generates when fired, the more microphones are needed – and the device’s usefulness to law enforcement is decreased. So, silencers in the hands of “bad guys” make it harder to determine where they’re shooting people using these devices. (A microphone has to be within 50-100 yards to detect the crack of a faster-than-sound bullet – muzzle blast is louder and easier to detect.)

      Plus – anyone that wants one can obtain the necessary license and get one. This helps keep them out of the hands of the criminals. Does this add to the expense? Yes, of course – but there’s also the benefit of making it harder for the bad guys to obtain them.

      Cost-benefit, people: the benefit of silencers for all is that the bad guys will all have them as well – harder to hear that “pop-pop-pop” of illegal weapons fire. Wouldn’t it be better to keep them tightly regulated, so that only the good guys have easy access to these devices?

      • Once again let’s blame the item instead of the ner’ do well using it. Quit trying to solve the gang problem by forcing others to do without.


    • The one time I’ve seen a guy use a silencer, you could still definitely tell a gun went off. It was some variety of .45 ACP (I asked but just can’t remember the gun, only the caliber). It’s just…you could maybe tell a gun went off for a hundred or two hundred yards, rather than hearing the report a mile away. But it wasn’t like it didn’t sound like a gun.

      • Yup. For most calibers, all a silencer does is reduce the noise to levels that might not permanently damage your hearing. It’s still plenty loud, and it still sounds like a gunshot.

        Real suppressors aren’t nearly as effective as Hollywood suppressors.

    • With a bolt action .22, a silencer does sound a bit like in the movies. There is hardly any noise especially when shooting CB caps. On a centerfire rifle no. However, the noise reduction is great. 30 db is a lot. I have a Thunder Beast 30-P1 that I use on a .300 Win Mag. It reduces the noise so much you do not need hearing protection. I was shooting it with an ENT doctor and he agreed. Most of the noise is the sonic crack. In addition to nosie it reduces the recoil down to the level of about .243 or so.

      Silencers are great! They should be an over the counter item like they are in many countries. They were added to the list of restricted items at the behest of different wildlife departments because we were in the depths of the Great Depression and there was a lot of poaching going on. The economy isn’t so great now but most people don’t know how to hunt. They simply go to the local food bank. There are not a lot of people poaching to feed their families. There is no longer a need for that and thus no longer a need to restrict silencers.

  2. Now that’s some NRA action I can really get behind. There is no reason for silencers to be NFA regulated. I hope in 4 years I can walk into the LGS and walk out with a can. How about SBRs while we’re at it. A 300blk upper and a can, with just an NICS check, I’d be in heaven.

    • Oh how I would love to get my hands on a Draco SBR…I’ve totaled up the cost for how I want it configured and the tax stamp and all, comes out to about $1000. It will have to wait. 🙁

    • SBR’s and SBS’s are the absolute dumbest thing in the NFA. There is nothing stopping a criminal from just using a hacksaw to shorten the barrel or stock.

      • No law stops a criminal from doing anything, so no, the NFA won’t stop a criminal from chopping a rifle or shotgun. What it does is add a crime that can be proven with an inexpensive ruler, instead of requiring an expensive mass spectrometer or electron microscope.

    • I’d love some silencers, particularly for my handguns (I’m under the impression they’re not terribly practical for rifles).

        • What sort of ballistics trade offs are you looking at with subsonic ammo? I’d assume you’d have to sacrifice a lot of power since it can’t reach a high velocity.

        • You dont have to use subsonic, the suppressor is still effectiveat reducing sound from the gun just not the sound of the bullet.

      • Paul,
        Suppressors are useful on rifles for a couple of reasons.
        1. They prevent hearing damage by cutting down on the muzzle report by dispersing the expanding gasses from the fired round. Even in the case of supersonic ammunition (very common in full power rifle rounds) where the rounds passing of the sound barrier will still create a “crack”, any reduction of noise is good.
        2. In a hunting scenario they decrease the chance of scaring off local game for yourself and other hunters after the gun has been fired.
        3. With sub-sonic ammunition hearing protection isn’t required, providing a degree of comfort and safety.
        4. A suppressor eliminates muzzle rise and recoil impulse by evenly dispersing the expanding gasses adding to repeatable accuracy.
        5. Hearing damage is cumulative. For those of us who shoot a lot and who spend a lot of time at the range with other people shooting a lot, easy access to suppressors would be a really good thing.

        In the EU, suppressors are no big deal. I’d own one for all of my guns, save I don’t want to be bothered with the paperwork and inconvenience of telling the government when and where I’m moving my property

    • A 300blk upper and a can, with just an NICS check, I’d be in heaven.

      I wouldn’t- my bank account would be empty. 🙁

  3. Second Amendment rights that the people can not afford are rights denied! Surplus ammunition and magazines as well as semi auto firearms should be sold to the people at reduced prices through the existing Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP).
    Obama wants action on gun legislation? How about for a start, we implement National Concealed Carry, 50 state reciprocity. Then, we loosen up the regulations on sound suppressors, an environmental plus because it will reduce noise. Next, mandate federal funds for range construction. This will be a start, along with federal funding to assist local schools with training and hiring security for each and every school in the nation, the funds can come out of the TSA budget.

    • How about the government giving each sane non criminal male over the age of 18 an assault rifle like in Switzerland. Then we won’t need to hear the brady bitching anymore, Randy

  4. If you can’t see the safety rationale here, or the Freedom Logic that undergirds it, then you obviously do not care about America’s children and their millions of young tender fingers.

    oh, that pesky Freedom Logic. Hurting children since 1775.

  5. I am not sure I have met a more closed minded set of people than Gun Control advocates. Their methods, ideologies, and ignorance resemble deep-seeded racial hatred.

  6. I only skimmed the article. The best part is the comments section. Scroll down and read the comments of the original article. There is even a quote from a Foghorn review on an AAC suppressor rom this website.

  7. Wow, just finished reading the article and some of his others, I wonder if he urinates all over his pants everytime he sees his own shadow.

  8. If we allow suppressors to be allowed based on their benefits, eventually they will become mandatory.

    Just seems to be the way it works.

  9. just throwing this out there, because I know some live-music clubs who have gone to expensive lengths to comply with the idiotic NIMBY-neighbor Houston noise ordinance – in effect, they have converted entire rooms to silencers… is it a violation of the NFA to install accoustic insulation at a shooting range? I know a guy who has a pistol range on his land which has insulated walls and celing on the shooting booth out of respect for his neighbors… but someone could argue that it is actually a 4 ft x 8 ft “silencer” the shooter stands in.

  10. You may have to ask Piers Morgan for confirmation – since he is a British firearms expert – but I believe that silencers (more accurately “suppressors”) are legal in Britain. In fact, I think you can buy them there without any government paperwork, as long as you are one of the elite who can actually own a gun that needs a suppressor. But don’t count on my recollection, contact the true expert – Piers.

    Or contact Jackson Rifles, Parton, Castle Douglas, Scotland DG7 3NL – the British distributor of Reflex Suppressors. They are guaranteed to meet British government noise reduction standards for high power hunting rilfes, to protect the hearing of hunters.

    As recommended by the NRA.

    • “…that silencers (more accurately “suppressors”) ”

      Don’t be a gun snob! Some gun writer said years ago (it may have been Jeff Cooper) that they should be called suppressors not silencers because they are not actually silent. Duh! Ever since there is always someone correcting the use of the word silencer despite the fact that the guy that invented them called them silencers. If you buy one and apply for the stamp you will not see the word suppressor anywhere on the application. Only the word silencer. The trade group representing the products calls them silencers. There is even a company called Silencerco. Are all these people wrong?

      Really if you want to be snobbish about you should call them “noise suppressors” so they will not be confused with flash suppressors. Me? I call them anything I feel like at the moment. However, suppressor is not more accurate a name than silencer. It is just another name.

  11. What does Alexander Zaitchik know about “targeted assassination “? Did he watch all the James Bond films and confuse them with reality?

    Take the time to know what you’re talking about or STFU.

    The first question we need to ask anyone who offers a public opinion on anything is simply, why are you qualified to discus this topic?

    • “The first question we need to ask anyone who offers a public opinion on anything is simply, why are you qualified to discus this topic?”

      This question came to mind when the Florida doctors were asking patients about guns in the house and advising them. As an engineer, I can lose my license if I practice outside my area of expertise. I guess doctors and journalists aren’t held to the same high standards.

  12. The use of silencers will help reduce skyrocketing health care costs for consumers since government employees get it free by stealing money from the people. Therefore it is patriotic to legalize and promote the use of silencers. President Obama and Congress should offer a tax break to all Americans who buy silencers.

  13. I like it when smarmy philosophy or english lit students confuse “psychopathic” with “psychotic” because, you know, having an opinion (however misinformed, misguided and driven buy touchy-feely hippie sentiments lacking any connection to reality) always trumps knowing what yourr’e talking about. Always….

  14. If you really want to cut down on environmental pollution and noise pollution you should build a silencer for everyones assholes. Cut out all the noise and smell from cheap beer and pickled egg farts, both at home and in Wal Mart. Next step will be legal silencers for guns since they are proven to be an ASSet to the environment!!!
    Think Of The Children!!!!


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