Firearm suppressors, also (legally) known as silencers, have gotten a lot of attention lately. In part this is because of H.R. 367, or the Hearing Protection Act. Currently U.S. federal law requires a $200 tax be paid, along with submission of paperwork that takes months to process in order to buy a suppressor. This is all outlined in the National Firearms Act which was signed into law in 1934. Some other categories of firearms related items fall under the NFA such as Short Barreled Rifles and explosive devices. The HPA seeks to undo the restrictions on silencers.
Because of how they are portrayed in the media, silencers have been demonized and made out to seem like a dangerous addition to an assault rifle or handgun that has no purpose other than to kill people without others hearing you. In fact in many movies and t.v. shows they are shown to make a high powered rifle make only a pip when fired. Anyone who has shot a suppressed firearm knows this is garbage.
The reality is that suppressors lower the sound level of a gunshot between about 15-50 decibels. Thats a wide range and will vary from firearm to firearm, suppressor to suppressor, and bulled to bullet. The average reduction is about 30 dB. Something to note is that many hearing protection devices like these reduce the sound that makes it to your ears by about, you guessed it, 30 dB. Hence the common name of the bill, the Hearing Protection Act.
So why not just use regular ear protection?
- Hunting. When you’re hunting there are two reasons why you want to use a suppressor rather than just a set of ear plugs. The first is that you want to be able to hear what’s around you clearly. Whether its a deer you’re looking for, a bear you should know about, or a person who accidentally wandered into where you’re hunting you don’t want to dull any senses you have. The second is that guns scare off game. When you miss a shot a suppressor can mean the difference between your game running away and staying put.
- Your Neighbors. Now many people wont be shooting their firearms in their back yards, but some people with a little land will be. A suppressor can make a difference to those who otherwise would have to listen to your shooting party.
- Your Friends. Shooting is often a social sport, and because of this if you want to chit chat or get feedback on your shots, traditional ear protection makes this hard.
- Home Protection. If you ever have to defend yourself with a firearm it’s likely that you won’t have the time or thought to slap on some ear muffs. Shooting a firearm inside a building can, and to be honest will, permanently damage your hearing. So if you’re ever in the unfortunate situation of having to use a firearm to stop something from happening to your family, you don’t want to add to the situation and ruin your families hearing.
Do you have any other reasons you want to add? Comment below and let us know!