Previous Post
Next Post

Ironically, three shots from a suppressed Remington 700 damaged my hearing. So those of you seeking an “ear safe” firearm (as the Remmy was described to me) best file that term away with the phrase “it’s not loaded.” ALWAYS wear ear plugs when shooting a gun. Any gun. Ever. Unless, of course, you’re firing a gun in self-defense and you don’t have the time or the equipment handy. But if you do have the time and ear pro — say, you stash some electronic ear muffs next to your home defense shotgun — wear it. A shotgun blast generates up to 165 dBA (an air raid siren generates 135 dBA). The shotgun’s sonic wave penetrates the ears’ cochlea to break, bend of shear off thousands of hair cells. That’s permanent damage – unless you fork out $60k for a cochlear implant. Which makes me wonder: why aren’t suppressors – such as they are – mandatory? Or, better yet, freely available?

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. First, blame the criminals of the 1930’s. Second, blame Hollywood for how they portrayed silencers ever since the 1930’s.

    • No, blame the feds that thought it was a good idea to do so. THEY did created the monsters of Al Capone and such through prohibition…Another BAN! The real reason they were banned was the irrational fear of poaching cattle during the Depression…I guess snares, bow and arrows, spears, knives and cliffs are a new invention and wasn’t thought of until after the new monster (NFA1934) had been created.

  2. “You don’t need a silencer. Silencers are for criminals, [law abiding gun owners] never really use guns for self defense anyway, so you can just wear hearing protection at the range.”

    Actual response from a gun grabber. No amount of logic dissuaded him from this position. He was for banning handguns too. Of course, he was a former resident of NYC, so I felt getting him to acknowledge I had a right to long arms was as much of a victory as I was going to get.

    Same planet, different worlds.

    • That’s an accurate description of what the leftists think of suppressors. I’ve had conversations with people who (mostly thanks to Hollywood) were convinced that the only reason to have a suppressor is to sneak up on somebody and kill them without being detected. That’s it, that’s all they are used for, by criminals, thus they should be illegal. Trying to convince them otherwise is an exercise in futility.

      • Actually that is true. You can see proof of how effective suppressors are in assassinations here in Norway. The only reason we have a low crime rate is because everybody is assassinating everyone else and thus there is nobody left to investigate events.

        Luckily we banned crossbows though, biker gangs were using them all the time since they can’t get suppressors (only legal gun owners have suppressors).

    • And yet police departments are complaining that they need suppresses for their weapons to protect their hearing, and in some places they are allowed to use them.

      That kind of shows the lie to the claim that they are purely for committing crimes.

      • I make friends with cops, and know of a few whose department just got a batch of 8″ barreled ARs with suppressors. Do I think they NEED them? I don’t really think so. Or at least I hope they never do. My issue is with the “And YOU aren’t allowed to have them” attitude of lawmakers and some other cops which means that it’s difficult, if not impossible, for me to have a suppressor on hand in case *I* ever need one.

    • We often conflate what’s suggested for firearms with what is the law for cars, and it seems to me this is an ideal spot to do so! You don’t need a muffler on your car, either, you can just wear hearing protection. Neither silencers nor auto mufflers does anything whatsoever except decrease sound levels from unsafe to safe. Why are mufflers even legal, if silencers are not?

      Imagine how wonderful a world free of mufflers would be!! Just imagine, for a moment!

  3. Supressors are much more common in large measure because they are far more effective now than thy were in 1934. So we are stuck with a law that was put in place so they would not have to put a bunch of ATF agents out of work when Prohibition ended. Yet another Federal jobs boondoggle, hardly unique in that.

    • The 200 dollar tax on suppressors was a complete ban on them (and every other NFA item) in 1934. Inflation translates it to $3556 in 2014 money.

        • Not entirely true. In the 30s, both light and sound were only in black&white (black&white sound sounds tinny, scratchy, and crackly to our ears raised on a lifetime of color sound). It wasn’t until Global Coloring changed the world’s sights and sounds into color that muzzle blasts had enough acoustic power to damage hearing. A gunshot heard in black&white is a modest bang followed by a ricochet sound that seems odd to our modern ears.

  4. Point taken about hearing safety, though I’m curious about the caliber and silencer used when your hearing was damaged.

  5. If suppressors were mandatory, what would happen to revolvers? I can only think of one outdated design that allowed the use of a suppressor.

    • I believe that if the cylinder gap is tight enough that suppressors are fairly effective, though not as effective as they are on pistols. They would only be effective with subsonic rounds anyway, so I doubt too many people would want to carry a 14″ long .38 special for self defense anyway.

      • You don’t need to add a big tube to make a revolver quieter. You just need to shroud the cylinder and make an integral suppressor. You could have a suppressor that goes 3 inches behind the muzzle and 3 inches in front of the muzzle, have that built in on a 3 inch barrel and you have a quiet gun that essentially has a 6 inch barrel.

        Would be a good argument for modern top-break revolvers.

        • Now that is a really interesting approach.

          And to address the traditional limited capacity of revolvers, chamber the revolver in something like .327 and create a 9-shot cylinder.

        • A quick check of Ruger’s website reveals that a 6″ GP100 measures 11.5″ in length, so that’s still a bit of a stretch. Then again it wouldn’t be any different with a semi-auto pistol.

          And UC, the .327 is a greatly under appreciated round, but a 9 shot would take a pretty fat cylinder. My philosophy is that if 6 shots of .357 won’t do the job I’ll probably be dead anyway, so it’s just a matter of how many bad guys I take with me.

        • Not really an issue, there are 8 shot .357 cylinders. Flatten out the sides like the Mateba and Rhino does and 9 shots of .327 should be all okay in regards to concealing.

        • The 8 shots are large frame revolvers that would use the same diameter cylinder as the 6 shot .44 mags – about 1.75″. You could get a 9 shot in .327 with that. Bear in mind that wouldn’t include the shroud per your idea. The 6 shot .357s run about 1.5″ and you can fit 7 rounds of .327 with that. Flattening the cylinder only really works with a 6 shot. With 8 rounds there are 2 rounds sticking straight out horizontally anyway, so it would be the points of the octagon sticking out instead of the flat sides, and with 9 it wouldn’t be any less round than a regular fluted cylinder.

          That said, I did conceal carry my .44 mag Blackhawk with it’s 6.5″ barrel once, but it was winter and I don’t think I could pull it off in summer.

  6. I’ve fired several hundred rounds without hearing protection, with a bit of hearing loss that comes with it. Those rounds were mostly during shotgun, handgun, and rifle hunting. My hearing loss is roughly at the same pitch as my wife’s voice. Not so bad, all things considered.

  7. Give me a break! All of my ancestors (including my dad in WW2 while shooting a BAR), fired weapons without silencers, as have I for 40 plus years and none them went deaf… nor have I. Silencers have their place for indoor or enclosed target or game hunting (blinds), but silencers absolutely are not a necessity otherwise. Protective eye-wear, hearing protection devices, and now silencers, are a hugely profitable business and the manufactures of those “safety products” have nearly brainwashed an entire generation (or two) into believing their sales propaganda. I wear protective eye-ware and ear protection while shooting in indoor ranges only. Only then because most of the ranges have zero sound deadening materials added to their facilities. While donning the protective products, don’t forget to slather on a pound or two of sun block while you’re at it. Seeing as how all of our ancestors died from getting some sun, we need to be extra careful in our new age of wimps and hypochondriacs.

    • I challenge you to shoot an AR with a modern suppressor of high quality. Blast away 100 rounds or so without plugs, and you’ll realize just how awesome they are. The applications to hunting, military communications, and self defense are flippin awesome. I’ll order a suppressor the very hour I establish residency in a non-communist state.

      • Stealth is not in the same category as hearing protection. I CC a silenced Beretta 380, and it’s not for ear protection.

    • Sure, tell that to my constantly ringing ears that hearing protection isn’t needed. 5.56 fired by 30-40 people in close proximity without plugs is not a good time.

      • Where are you when you’re among 30 to 40 people shooting 5.56 at the same time, in a gun range? yeah, as I said in my early comment, I wear hearing protection in guns ranges too. I also wear ceramic plates just in case there’s an idiot flagging me some where down the firing line.

      • My dad could hear a deer walking in leaves at 50 yards. I can hear a fly buzzing on my 25-foot ceilings and I bow hunt with great success while depending upon my hearing.Yes, I’m saying we suffered no hearing loss. I’m from an extended family of hunters and soldiers, none of them ever wore hearing aids because they did not need them, nor did they walk around going “What?”.

        • Well congratulations on being ….

          1) a freak of nature
          2) full of crap

          I’m betting on #2 until I see an auditory sweep of your ears posted.

          • A freak of nature because I can hear well? Full of crap because I speak the truth instead following the unspoken “rule of law’ to not dare disagree with the prevailing “belief” on this forum? I don’t see that rule posted on here, what I do see is a pompous ass who want’s to force his opinion on others through insults. Can you hear what I hear? Do you live my life? Do you know the difference in truth by experience, and someone’s unfounded opinions? I am speaking from what I know relative to my personal life and the lives of many of my relatives and friends. You speak from nothing more than an opinion of someone else’ life and life experiences. Keep your insults to yourself.

          • I already have a medal, several in fact. Plus I can hear very well. Life is good when you don’t kiss people’ asses just to get along.

    • I suppose that technically tinnitus is not actually the same as being deaf, but I don’t know anyone who would want to spend the rest of their lives listening to a constant ringing in their ears.

      I am with you on the sunscreen though. Our bodies were made to be out in the sun and we have an excellent defense called a ‘suntan’. Our ears however were not designed for very loud noises.

      • I had one time I wished I’d had my ear protection in place, or the other shooter had had a silencer. In an enclosed homemade metal raised deer stand my hunting partner got buck fever and didn’t extend the barrel of his rifle outside the window of the stand. He fired with the barrel about a foot inside the 5 foot square room, and of course he had a flash suppressor on the damned thing. I was just getting ready to put my plugs in, but only managed to get one hand over one ear and the other ear pressed down on my shoulder before he let go. I did have the sense to open my mouth to help equalize the pressure. I made him walk home.

      • The problem is when the tinnitus is louder than the sounds you want to hear.

        It can’t push through the noise floor, so to speak.

        I have a mild case of it thanks to me being stupid and cranking up the volume on Walkman type players as a kid, this was when Walkman devices were brand new.

        • I’ve got a little bit of it, but it has to be pretty quiet to hear it. Loud music, loud tools, loud guns. I’m trying to keep it from getting worse, so I frequently wear plugs at work and even usually wear them when I mow the lawn. Plugs and muffs at the range. You can buy a lot of earplugs for $60k.

        • geof, some people are way too quick to lay the cause of tinnitus on loud noises, when in fact, there are numerous other (different) potential causes of tinnitus. Here’s a list:
          A buildup of earwax.
          Medicines, especially antibiotics or large amounts of aspirin.
          Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol or caffeinated beverages.
          Ear infections or eardrum rupture due to accident.
          Dental or other problems affecting the mouth, such as temporomandibular (TM) problems.
          Injuries, such as whiplash or a direct blow to the ear or head.
          Injury to the inner ear following surgery or radiation therapy to the head or neck.
          A rapid change in environmental pressure (barotrauma).e.g scuba diving
          Severe weight loss from malnutrition or excessive dieting.
          Repeated exercise with the neck in a hyperextended position, such as when bicycle riding.
          Blood flow (vascular) problems, such as carotid atherosclerosis, arteriovenous (AV) malformations, and high blood pressure (hypertension).
          Nerve problems (neurologic disorders), such as multiple sclerosis or migraine headache.
          Other diseases. These may include:
          Acoustic neuroma.
          Ménière’s disease.
          Thyroid disease.

    • You’re so right. I guess the two days of ringing in my ears that I got the last time I fired my shotgun without ear protection was purely in my mind. And as a professional musician, I don’t need to protect my hearing, I’m just a pussy.


      • I know of a lot of musicians who are pussies… don’t just take my word for it, look on,. Try another example, that one failed.

    • You do have a point I hate do admit but not everyone is you… your breed is rare. One of my neighbours is like you, never fired a gun with hearing protection (FA AKs, Tokarevs, blank guns and he got bombed regularily for 4 years) and he doesn’t have tinnitus (he is over 60 now). Me? Not so much, one celebratory mag dump from an M16 fired from 5-10 meters away from me some years ago and my ears occasionally ring because of that.

      Also, you will get sunburned if you don’t either water yourself or apply sunblock. At least that happens if you work shirtless during a hot summer for 4-5 hours. Wouldn’t recommend doing that (the working shirtless part)… those old ladies were peeking awfully often.

      Also, why do you CC a suppressed pistol if you aren’t worried about hearing damage? It is a pretty stupid thing to admit online considering that it can be used against you later.

      Regarding suppressors: It is really nice to have one, makes everything way more comfortable.

      • My paternal grandmother was Chiricahua Apache, I sunburn after several hours of direct sun, but just go brown the next day. I live in Jalisco, Mexico right now and I work in Michoacon, Mexico, which is currently over run by Los Zetas. I’ve lost three neighbors and 4 acquaintances to the damned Cartel here within the last two years.The pistol and the suppressor are totally illegal here, and I would receive a mandatory 3 year sentence in a Mexican federal prison if I’m caught with it. It is strapped in my left boot as I type this because I’ve got to bribe my way through another mountain road block manned by thieving locals today. Have I had to use it before? Yes. I’m coming home, back to the USA, soon. I’ve had enough of this hell hole, no matter how good the export money is.

      • You guys are all weenies. Hearing loss can be a GOOD thing, which is what Brum is celebrating. In late ’71, I was on a firebase with some Marines, woke up early and was sitting on sandbags at sunrise when I heard somebody scream something I didn’t understand, as I swiveled to look where the sound was coming from I was blown off the sandbags by the concussion of an 8″ howitzer firing directly over my head from about 30-50 yards away. What was yelled was “hold your ears”, I got it the next time. Lots of shooting without plugs before that, followed by flying the noisiest jets in the world for a few months in pilot training, and I recovered quickly enough to grab my camera and out of a whole roll of film shot, got one 1/1000 sec exposure of the thing firing with the projectile in the photo. I impressed myself. But, I have seen, since, that graph of my ability to hear different frequencies, which Brum has not if he believes his hearing is undamaged, and it was rather shocking. I still expect to defend myself, if necessary, without plugs, but other shooting is done with plugs, suppressor, or both.

    • Are you serious, you ever talk to the old war war 2 guys, you notice how they all talk extremely loud and wear hearing aids. Yeah you probably won’t go deaf, but you are going to lose hearing, saying otherwise makes you sound like a idiot. Go look at the military hearing conservation program, those guys will be the first to tell you people lose hearing due to gunshots. Yeah you might not go deaf, but you will be turning up the volume on your tv.

      • World War 2 soldiers are all in their seventies and eighties today and some have experienced normal hearing loss due to age, not due to damage by exposure to extreme decibel levels. I know a retired Navy officer who is deaf as a bolt but never fired a shot during the war from his desk, and another who plays violin today and worked as a gunner in the Korean war. I’ve fired shotguns since I was 11, am 62 today, and I have excellent hearing. Should I deny that which I am experiencing because others have had a different outcome? Or because a rude asshole online wants to get personal in their remarks. Not gonna happen.

    • Total and complete lie, Brum. Now, run along and get an audiogram and then post the results for us here. Wait, lemme guess…a nice deep 4kHz “noise notch” taken out of your hearing. Ears don’t get tough. They get deaf.

      But then again, you’re only hurting yourself. Just don’t try to foist that nonsense on the rest of us who actually know something about noise-induced hearing loss.

      • Ah, yes of course all humans’ life experience and physical attributes are exactly the same… according to your comprehension. I base my understanding upon what I see within my own life, among friends, family, fellow hunters, and many others. Enjoy your graphs.

        • “You can’t HANDLE the truth!” Don’t want to see that audiogram, huh? Wonder why not? If you thrust your arm into a wood chipper, your experience will be precisely the same as everyone else who thrusts his arm into a wood chipper, regardless if afterwards you shout about how your arm still works fine, everyone else is mistaken about the effects of a wood chipper on a human arm. The change is physical, and you cannot detect it in yourself as it is gradual.

    • Did you pay for it? I am interested in how the American health system works since I often hear/read about people being denied insurance due to having a relative with a higher probability of disease. Or having to pay high fees since their insurance doesn’t cover specific types of animal poisons/attacks.

        • You guys do know how Theodore (or T-Dawg as we call him affectionately) won the elections? He assassinated all competitors that could beat him. He often went on these “assassinaton safaris” under the guise of going exploring or hunting in foreign continents.

        • I know that. One of the few politicians I like.

          I had a PowerPoint presentation about him. I wonder if I can send it to you?

          I also had a PowerPoint about American history, society and culture… all that in 10 minutes for my exam (fancy last test, don’t know if you use that term in English). Got the best grade on that one. Would love to share it with the world. What struck me was one of the teachers grading me said that I should do the presentation again, film it and then put it out on Youtube as “America in 10 minutes”, could probably make a decent channel but I don’t really like to talk due to having a lisp (which my family denied me having for my entire life). If I could get rid of that lisp I would be more than game.

          Sorry for derailing a bit, I just like talking to strangers (that came out a bit wrong).

  8. Yes, suppressors should be freely available … and mandatory for target shooting on private property in close proximity to neighbors.

    The reason that suppressors are suppressed is because that drives people against being involved with firearms.

    • “Disturbing the peace” even sounds like shooting without a suppressor where the noise bothers anyone.

  9. I’ve never understood why I have to pay the Government $200 to make my .308 sound like a .38…..

    • If they don’t get you for that, they’ll get you for something else! Taxation is often assessed not because it is fair, but because they can get away with it!

  10. Taking suppressors off of the NFA is a pet cause of mine in the firearms world. I finally “did the deed” and purchased my first can last week – a Silencerco Specwar 7.62

    The dealer I got it from has a range as well so I get visitation. I ran it through it’s paces last week. I had ear and eyepro, of course, but shooting my LE6920/M4 with a can was an almost magical experience. I went on a weekday afternoon, so I had the rifle bay to myself. To me, it sounded like a giant rubber band being snapped. Recognizable as gunfire, of course, but so much quieter. I can’t wait to take it home next year.

    I’m a new-to-intermediate shooter, so it also helped with the occasional flinch. Less nose, more accuracy – more fun.

    I’d be willing to take it in steps. If the ATF takes cans off the NFA and still wants to collect the tax, that’s a step in the right direction.

    Taking cans off the NFA would create a massive amount of business and innovation in the firearms world.

    • Sad to say but it is the other way around. Due to all the hoops manufacturers try to make the best can they can make.

      Also, even with the suppressor try to use ear pro if you are shooting much.

      • I had earpro in of course. 130 dB and change is still damaging over time, especially indoors.

        That being said, one of the realistic goals of the American Suppressor Association is to do away with the wait time for suppressor purchase.

        I doubt we’ll ever see the tax go away though. The tax is like a toll on the highway – a lot of toll systems were put in place to pay for the highway construction, with the stated intent of dismantling the tolls when the road was paid for. Doesn’t really work out that way. The government will never leave money on the table like that.

    • Damn, what a plan, I have to b1tch at the Silencer Shop to get a place with a range, I could have had conjugal visits with my SBR and can for 6 months, instead of just sitting home waiting. Tried different sights, tried different ammo, been set to go when I picked it up. DAMN!

  11. Just look at how many older people have hearing aides at gun shows.
    Many hunting rifles in England come with suppressors .
    Maybe we need to sue someone for hearing loss, but who? The gun manufacturer? Can we sue the ATF, or LEO if they don’t sign for a suppressor.
    We need suppressors on health and safety grounds.
    Anyone one know of the quietest center fire rifle and pistol? Is there any real difference between 9mm and 45? Or 5.56, 7.62×39 and 300 Blackout when not suppressed?

    • Longer barrels are quieter due to more powder burn and the sound being farther away.

      Smaller calibers are quieter in subsonic format. X39 and 300 BLK are pretty much the same, except for magazine and bolt compatibility.

  12. Any suppressor manufacturer who claims they can make supersonic projectiles “hearing safe” is either lying or ignorant.

      • The MP5SD was manufactured with an integral suppressor around an aggressively ported barrel. The barrel ports reduced the velocity of standard 9mm ammo to subsonic levels.

    • I don’t think that is completely true. Outdoors, the sound from a supersonic projectile starts in front of the shooter and moves away, where the blast is omnidirectional. At the indoor range I use, I expected almost no decrease in sound level, was pleasantly surprised, I believe because the sound had to travel to the back of the 100-yd range and reflect back to me, like someone shooting it 200 yards away. Saying there can be no difference is not correct. My 5.56 AR with a 16″ bbl was significantly quieter even using the 7.62 can, as opposed to a 5.56 one.

      Plus, with such a definitive, positive statement, just which suppressors are you regularly testing?

  13. In one sense, suppressors ARE mandatory. Every car sold in America – new – is REQUIRED to have one.Maxim was working on firearms, but his biggest success has been on the internal combustion engine.

    Can America send every child to college – free? We’ve seen good arguments we can collectively pay for it as a country – with Pell grants, etc, many do. Point being, if we diverted some of the extremely expensive funding for health care after the fact into preventative measure, it would mean underwriting the cost of suppressors. Korea has, it issues one per soldier across the board, And yet our Armed Forces don’t get them unless they are in special units, and certainly can and have failed our soldiers in seeing they get prevention of the problem as high a priority as they do after – except for those stuck with the VA, until lately . . .

    If common sense tells you that you should wear full pads and a helmet playing Pro Football, or wear a batting helmet in Pro Baseball, and that policy extends right down to the kids at age 6, why is there no push to make suppressors as common on the shelf as those in a European country as here? The stupidity of politics, is why.

  14. 2012 to current, 3 NFA items approved 3 pending…..some not expected to be approved till 2015.

    I do not agree with NFA but I comply but why are they running the same checks 6 times over? Why does it take 6-14 months when they just gave me a stamp. This is inefficiency at its finest and needs to be rectified. I am already a registered gun owner so give me my card and call it a day, I’ll continue to pay the 200 bucks, but no reason to run the paperwork over and over and make me wait.

    • Excellent question, I had wondered the same myself. Unfortunately, the answer (and everything else that has to do with ATF), is classified top secret/burn before reading, so they can’t tell us despite their eagerness to do so. Translation=nobody actually knows. And if you have 5 or 10, how about giving you one Form 4 with all items listed?

  15. Think I said this a couple of weeks ago. A Suppressor works like a lawn mower muffler works on a lawn mower. The only thing is a gun is a lot louder than a lawn mower when the muffler is removed. So don’t expect a pistol to be all that quiet when the muffler is on.

  16. Since the ATF and Government probably will never make cans cheaply available and non-taxed. Here’s a compromise:

    ATF drops all paperwork for cans and all Forms 1-3 for manufacturing and dealer transfers, dealer can run the standard NICS check, and a $200 excise tax payable to the ATF so they get there $$ and we get to walk out the door in about 15 minutes with our can.

  17. So it has been well established that Brum is a fud, that thinks suppressors have no use in civilian hands. I wonder how he feels about MSRs?

    • And how has that been established? I have not said “suppressors have no use in civilian hands”. Is that how you face all of life, by making up shit? Read my comments thoroughly instead of skimming over them looking for only what you want to see and ignoring or rejecting the rest because it doesn’t agree with your opinion. I CC a suppressed Beretta here in Mexico, it keeps me alive, it’s not merely a conversation piece sitting in a safe somewhere until it’s pulled out and waved around at the firing range with much bravado. If you want to wear ear protection while shooting in the open field, then go for it. I don’t and never have. As I said in my first post, I only wear ear protection in enclosed ranges and blinds. In WW2, Korea, and Vietnam no one was taught to read lips. Other than hand signals, everyone was required to HEAR the orders given. Would have been hard to do with ear plugs or headsets. Regarding an MSR, I had a Remington Model 700 back in the 60s and liked it a lot, probably one of the best bolt actions ever made. The Remington MSR caught my attention when it won the Precision Sniper Rifle competition back in 2013. Last year I was in the market for buying a “reach out and touch someone” weapon to protect my farm and harvest my deer. I considered the MSR, but knowing I had to register a new purchase, and not wanting the “sniper rifle” stigma attached to my gun registration, I instead went with a Anchutz 1780 Black, in a .308, with a Schmidt Bender PMII. Due to the Anshutz, being sold as a “hunting rifle”, as well as Anchutz’s international acceptance by recognition as the winner of most Olympic shooting matches, I’ll have less worry about possible confiscation in the future. We use other brands/types of close compact weapons.

Comments are closed.