How Suppressors Work

Although the shooters and spinners are commonly seen in Hollywood movies, they have led some people to develop the desire to own firearms. You might have realized some guns don’t make any significant noise.  If you wonder what makes the firearm doesn’t make noise, then it uses suppressors.  In this article, we will understand what a suppressor is and how suppressors work.

What is a Suppressor?

A suppressor is a device that minimizes the sound and light intensity of the gun when shot. When a fire gun releases a gas, the suppressor controls it. It is also known as a silencer and sound moderator.

What are Suppressors Made of?

A suppressor is made from high-quality metal alloys, including steel, aluminum, and titanium. The materials withstand the force of the expanding gases and cool them hence suppressing the sound.  Let’s discuss the 3 main materials which are used in suppressor construction and cleaning process;

  • Titanium: Suppressors made from titanium are known to be lightweight and durable. The cleaning process is similar to that of stainless steel. Despite the titanium suppressors being expensive, they are worth it.
  • Aluminum: when cleaning aluminum suppressors, make sure you don’t use ultrasonic cleaners, harsh solvents, or steel picks. To avoid damage, use safe chemicals and brass or plastic tools.
  • Stainless steel: stainless suppressors are durable when firing and cleaning. They withstand more than aluminum, but when certain chemicals are used, they tread lightly.

How Suppressors Work

You may think suppressors silence a firearm when fired, but installing it can be challenging for a beginner. When you trigger a gun, it causes a significant release of gases and heat, which, when combined, results in a loud sound that comes from a gun. If you insert the suppressor in a firearm and pull it, the suppressor causes a slower release of heat and gas. Suppressor slows the gas released and reduces sound simultaneously; hence no loud bag is released. That’s why suppressors are referred to as silencers.

Suppressor Mounting Designs

The main suppressor’s mounting design are:

  • In this mounting design, a direct thread suppressor is attached to a barrel through threads directly. It is commonly used in rimfire and centerfire pistol suppressors. Besides, it can be used on multiple firearms.
  • Quick detach suppressors: quick detach is a faster attachment method compared to direct thread mounts. They are coupled to a semi-permanent barrel adapter like a muzzle brake or a flash hider without attaching directly to the firearm’s barrel. The suppressor is easy to connect, creating less accuracy error from the point of impact shifts. It can also be used on multiple guns.
  • Integral suppressors-They are constructed as a necessary part of the firearm’s fixed barrel. This design can’t be removed or used on another gun.

Types of Suppressors

how suppressors work

Suppressors are classified based on how they work because they tell you a bit about the different end uses. Here are different types of suppressors:

  • Types of suppressors by use case/host gun
  • Type of suppressors by function

Types of Suppressors by Use case/ Host gun

  • Rifle suppressors

These types of suppressors are constructed for the higher pressure and demands of centerfire rifle use. They can be used with good effect on rimfire rifles and some handguns. The rifle suppressors are mainly used on rifles.

  • Rimfire suppressors

They are the most affordable suppressors because they are made for the low-power and low-pressure rimfire rounds in use. Rimfire suppressors also designed to suppress .22 and .17 magnums and smaller. They are used for rimfire guns since they are smaller in size and weaker constructions than suppressors for centerfire rounds. Despite being cheaper, they can only be used on rimfire guns.

  • Pistol suppressors

The pistol suppressors are constructed for lower pressure handgun rounds and lower pressure subsonic. 300 Blackout round. They are ideal for handgun rounds and all rimfire rounds.

  • Shotgun suppressors

Despite the shotgun suppressor being bulky, it comes with superb technology making hunting, skeet shooting, and tactical shotgunning more comfortable and quiet.

Type of Suppressors by Function

There are two main types of suppressors by function, i.e., monocore and stacked baffles.

  • Stacked baffle Suppressors

A baffle stack suppressor is designed with a tube that is attached to your firearm. It reduces noise by creating more space for turbulence. The baffle tube is sealed with front and rear caps.

  • Monocore Suppressors

The monocore suppressor is made of baffle material and looks like a solid cylinder. The cylinder is inserted into a tube.

Advantages of Using Suppressors

If you want to buy a suppressor, you will enjoy the following benefits:

  • Easy to fire: Although the suppressor reduces the noise produced when the gun is fired, it also reduces the kickback. It makes the firearm easy to fire, especially for novice shooters.
  • Better accuracy: The suppressors reduce recoil by countering gas pressure hence making it easier to shoot.  Sometimes even the experienced shooters are not accurate when firing due to the recoil effect.  However, when your gun is installed with a suppressor, it becomes easier to shoot hence higher accuracy.
  • Reduced safety hazards: suppressors reduce a gun’s noise by 14-45 decibels, saving you from hearing problems. The noise reduction prevents high-frequency hearing loss and other related issues.  For instance, if you are firing a gun for home defense, shooting inside the home can result in hearing loss since the sound waves reach your ears in close quarters. The suppressors tend to reduce the hearing risk and allow you to defend yourself indoors.
  • Reduce noise complaints: when you keep shooting regularly on your property, your neighbors will keep complaining about the noise.  Even the pets in your home will be scared from the firearm noise. With the suppressors’ help, your neighbors will be happier and will not complain as the noise is reduced.
  • Easier and ethical hunting: when hunting property, people in the nearby homes get irritated because of the loud noise that scares them. The suppressors lower the noise leaving the residents at ease and save the hearing of the hunters.

Best Places to Buy a Suppressor

Let’s look at some various places to purchase a suppressor:

  1. Silencer Central

One of the best places to purchase a suppressor is Silencer Central. You need to log in to their website and choose the suppressor you want.  They also allow you to chat over the phone with them if you want advice on which suppressor will suit your needs and preferences.

2. S.I.D. Kiosks

Secure Identity Documentation Kiosk (S.I.D. Kiosk) will help you in the suppressor buying process. After you purchase a suppressor from Silencer Shop, you will head to an authorized Powered by Silencer Shop dealer. After that, all the other transactions take place through the S.I.D. Kiosk.

3. Online Retailers

You can also prefer buying the suppressors from online retailers, including Rainier Arms and Brownells. You are sure to find whatever type of suppressors you need.  Dealers with this ability to handle NFA items such as suppressors are known as Special Occupational Taxpayers. For online stores to get your suppressor to you, you need to find an FFL who is also a S.O.T. complete the transfer. It is advisable to grab a copy of the dealer’s FFL and S.O.T. to provide to the retailer before you buy online.

4. Local Gun Shops

Last and not least, you can purchase from the shops which are stocked with suppressors. If you want to buy from a gun owner, take care of that through a service or an attorney since most shops can help you.

How Hot Do Suppressors Get?

 When a suppressor is fired rapidly, the temperature increases about 300-500 degrees Fahrenheit. The suppressor can be as hot ad 800-1000 degrees. It could be due to many factors, including suppressor quality, ammunition used, weather conditions, and firing rate. It can get hot enough to create waves coming off the top.

Choosing the Right Suppressors

The various factors you need to consider when purchasing a suppressor that fits your firearm and its intended use. They include:

  • Material- you need to keep in mind the material used in construction. Most suppressors are made of steel, titanium, and stainless steel. You should consider suppressors designed from durable polymers to add stability, minimize heat transfer and increase noise reduction. Plus, suppressors constructed from hardier and lighter material don’t affect the gun’s balance and ensure better accuracy.
  • Compatibility– make sure the suppressor you are purchasing will fit your firearm and for the intended shooting. Some firearms are designed for a specific type of suppressor, while others are compatible with multiple gums.
  • Weight– the weight of the suppressor also matters.  Lighter suppressors will help you aim your gun when attached to the barrel. Heavier suppressors are challenging to use, and aiming becomes challenging.
  • Ease of attachment– while some suppressors are attached easily with screws on the firearm’s end, others require a technical attachment process. You should consider a suppressor that you can easily take off and replace with another easily.
  • Recoil reduction- when buying a suppressor, keep in mind if the suppressor helps balance the gun’s recoil. Although the suppressor reduces the recoil, it doesn’t reduce the same way the muzzle brake does. Suppressor tends to add some extra stability to your weapon.

Do Suppressors require Cleaning?

Although some suppressors require cleaning and serving, others don’t. For instance, lower caliber suppressors, including pistol and .22LR suppressors, require maintenance since when neglected, carbon and lead deposits build-up.

On the other hand, high-powered centerfire suppressors can “self-clean” even when small deposits of carbon build-up. A layer of carbon in the internal baffles helps in dissipating heat. The suppressors are self-cleaning by using pressure from behind the projectile to push the carbon deposit out, making cleaning easier for the shooter.

Maintaining Your Suppressors

It has become easy to maintain and keep the modern suppressor. You don’t have to clean them as you need to dunk the suppressor in a container with solvent, let it for some time, and then pour it out and dry.

What Qualifications are needed to purchase a Suppressor?

  • Citizenship of the U.S.A.
  • Passing a BATFE background check is essential.
  • If you live in one of the 42 states that allow civilians ownership
  • Be at least 21 years old to purchase from a dealer direct
  • Be eligible legally to buy a firearm
  • At least 18 years to purchase from another citizen

However, only 8 states don’t permit people to own suppressors. They include New York, California, Illinois, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Columbia.

Frequently asked Questions

Q: Can I use a suppressor for multiple firearms?

A: Yes, as long as the firearms accept suppressors.

Q: What is the difference between a suppressor and a silencer?

A: No, the terms are used interchangeably.

Q: Do you need a special license to own a suppressor?

A: No. There are just rumors that you need to have a “Class 3” license to own a suppressor.

Q: Can you use one suppressor for different calibers?

A: Yes, a larger suppressor can be used with the appropriate suppressor adapters for small caliber weapons.

Q: How will a suppressor attach to a firearm?

A: You can attach a suppressor in 3 ways:

  • Some are attached using a thread onto a threaded barrel
  • Some require a quick-detach tool like a piston, flash hider, or muzzle brake
  • Others are built into the firearm itself, making it an integral suppressor.

Q: How quiet is a suppressed firearm?

A: It depends on how the suppressor is inserted into the firearm. If inserted correctly, then the gun will be quieter.

Q: Is it legal to own a suppressor?

A: It is not illegal to own a suppressor in federal law. However, these are the basic requirements to own one:

  • You should be at least 21 years old
  • The state should allow suppressor ownership
  • You should not have any felony convictions


Although suppressors are effective and reduce noise levels, they still make sufficient noise that can damage hearing. If you are using or are planning to buy a suppressor, ensure you use it with hearing protection.