Pros and Cons of a Silencer

When lawfully possessed in any of the 42 approving states, any American citizen can use a silencer for any lawful purpose, such as home defense. You can legally use a silencer for hunting purposes in 34 states. A silencer is lawfully possessed when it is properly registered with the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record. You also have to be legally old enough to own a firearm (at least 21 years old) and you have to pass a BATFE background check. But just because you can legally own a silencer, does that mean it’s a practical option for everyone? To help you answer that question, here are some of the pros and cons of a silencer by gun type.

Silencers for Pistols

Pistol silencers, or suppressors, are generally lightweight (1 lb. or less in most cases). This means they won’t weigh down your firearm too much, but they may weigh it down just enough that your aim may be affected until you get used to the change in weight. Also, since the suppressor is installed at the far end of your barrel, it negatively affects the gun’s balance.

Still, for some people, it’s worth it to spend a few extra hours at the firing range getting used to the added weight of a suppressor. If you don’t particularly like to wear headphones while firing your weapon, a suppressor can remove the need to do so. Depending on the length of the barrel, the type of bullet used, the model of gun and other factors, a silencer may reduce the sound of a gunshot by up to 43 decibels. That doesn’t mean your firearm will be “silent,” but it does mean it may be suppressed enough to not damage your ears.

If you add a silencer to your gun’s barrel, you could double the length of the barrel. That might cause some issues for holstering your firearm or attempting to concealed carry. Most pistols aren’t compatible with compressors. That means you’ll likely need to add some type of adapter to your gun, which may require you to purchase a second barrel that is threaded. This may be too much hassle for your preferences.

For purposes of self-defense, though, a silencer may help save your life. When you fire a gun in an enclosed area, such as a bedroom or family room, the sound can be deafening to all who are present. If you’re stunned by the noise, you may not think clearly or may be hesitant to continue firing even if you need to in order to protect yourself and your family. A suppressor can help you maintain a clear head in this type of situation so you’re more likely to continue firing as needed to stop the threat.

Silencers for Rifles

If you like hunting, you’ll enjoy it even more if you fit your rifle with a silencer. In addition to reduce muzzle blast and sound, a rifle suppressor will also reduce recoil and may even help to boost bullet velocity slightly. Additionally, you’re less likely to scare off your prey when you use a suppressor.

As with a pistol silencer, any silencer you attach to your rifle will weigh it down and alter its balance. It will also add length to the barrel, which could make transporting your gun a bit more challenging.

If these drawbacks don’t outweigh the benefits for you, then you’ll probably enjoy shooting with a suppressor and will be able to keep your ears safe. There are many different types from which you can choose, so take your time to select the option that feels most comfortable to you, seems most effective at reducing noise, and fits within your budget.

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Floyd C. Stacey - November 1, 2020 Reply


Taylor Hansen - January 27, 2021 Reply

My brother and I want to get a silencer for our pistols since we’ve always wanted to try it out. I liked that you said how you don’t have to wear headphones when firing with a suppressor. I’ll look for one that isn’t too heavy so it doesn’t affect my aim.

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