Firearm Silencers: Investment in your Health
Suppressors: Investment in your Health
One of the products that we carry at Oakland Tactical that is the most misunderstood and as a result illicit the most questions from customers are suppressors or as they are sometimes referred to silencers. By definition the technical name for this product in the United States is silencer. This is the term used by both the ATF in their regulation of the device under the National Firearms Act (NFA) and by the original 1909 patent from Miram Percy Maxim who is credited for the device’s invention. While silencer is the correct term it is a misnomer for a name. Suppressors reduce the sound of a gunshot but do not silence it, notably even with a suppressor some rifles will still require hearing protection when fired. As silencers have become more ubiquitous, the firearm industry has shifted its perspective and begun using the terminology of suppressor for several reasons including it more accurately reflects the product and to move away from the term silencer due to its negative stigma. Over the last tens years there has been a substantial acceptance in the firearms industry and to some degree with the general public regarding the use and purpose of suppressors. Until recently, mostly due to Hollywood’s depictions, suppressors were often associated with espionage and criminal activities such as organized crime.
A suppressor is a fairly simple device consisting of a stack of baffles or crevices that allow for the gas from a gunshot to expand slower than if they had simply exited the barrel and then an outer casing or can (Suppressors are sometimes commonly referred to as “cans” due to this). Suppressors have several advantages, which is why any shooter should consider one. The first reason and probably the most important reason to purchase and use a suppressor is to maintain the health of your hearing. Generally among hearing professionals the rule of thumb is that immediate hearing damage and therefore haring loss can occur from short exposure to a noise above 140 decibels. A typical report of a rifle is in the 160 decibels range. While 20 decibels may not seem like a substantial difference, decibels are a logarithmic set of units. This means that a 3-decibel increase is roughly a doubling of noise. Because of this 20 decibels is a significant increase in sound. Unfortunately hearing loss is cumulative meaning that every loss is permanent and irreparable. Taking precautions early can ensure your hearing in the long term. A quality suppressor will typically reduce a rifle report to between 135-140 decibels, which is hearing safe (I still recommend hearing protection though). Most shooters will take the time to invest in quality hearing protection and a suppressor aides in that goal.
While most shooters will use hearing protection on the range, many do not when out hunting. Any hunter will tell you that keen hearing is a priceless tool when out on the trail or up in the blind. Not being able to hear because you have your hearing protection on can be the difference between the taking the trophy photo with a nice buck and going home empty handed. For years hunters in Michigan and many other states have had to decide between hearing loss or a sever handicap while hunting. Now hunters need not make that decision. In February of 2016 the Michigan Natural Resource Commission, which has the sole authority in regulating the taking of game, legalized the use of suppressors for Michigan hunters. With that policy change Michigan joins many other states, which permit suppressor use when hunting. Suppressors are also a useful tool to maintain quality relations with your neighbors. Not everyone has the luck of having a large property that you can step out your front door to send some rounds downrange with no neighbors in close proximity to bother. If your like me and live in a suburban area, your only opportunity to fire your guns are at a local range or gun club. Reducing the noise that leaves the range helps the range to manage the relations with its neighbors, who can become significant problems even for a long established range.
Suppressors also can play a role in recoil mitigation. By slowing the expansion of gas the recoil impulse of a suppressor equipped rifle is spread out producing a more pleasant overall shooting experience especially when considering a smaller statured shooter. Suppressors also lessen the overall concussion of a gun, which can help new shooters to enjoy their first range visit. While a suppressor doesn’t produce as much recoil mitigation like a quality designed muzzle break, muzzle breaks create a significant amount of concussion even for the shooter.
At Oakland Tactical we have been selling suppressors for years and carry many makes and models from the top manufactures for everything from 22lr to 338 Lapua Magnum to 50BMG rifles. We also just recently installed a new Integrated electronic finger print and photo system that allows one stop shopping for your next suppressor, meaning that you don’t have to take a full day off of work to complete the process. We are versed in the regulations through the ATF and take anyone step by step through the process.
Check out our current inventory of suppressors