Suppressor Vs Silencer

Suppressors or silencers reduce a gunshot’s sound by slowing down propellant gases’ into the open air. For that reason, the barrel’s diameter is usually smaller than the size of the chamber. The bigger size of the chamber creates turbulence as the gases hurriedly pass through the silencer. The suppressors transform some of the noise to heat energy. What happens is that the chambers or baffles in the silencer direct the noise and, in so doing, convert it to heat. Let’s learn about the differences and similarities of suppressor vs silencer.

What is the difference between suppressor and silencer?

Some people believe that the suppressor eliminates the muzzle flash while the silencer reduces a gunshot’s sound. The only problem is that you cannot silence a gun completely. You can only reduce the sound to a certain degree, which in most cases is about 30dB. That may depend on the length of your silencer or barrel or whether the bullet is subsonic or not.

Hiram Maxim invented the silencer. He got a patent in 1909 for his product. He was able to market it very well, and the name silencer became widespread. The fact that it was common in television shows made the name stick. Later on, people realized that you could not silence a gun; you can only suppress its sound. The suppressor is, therefore, the more accurate name.

Though silencers are suppressors, silencers are not flash suppressors. The flash suppressors or flash hiders reduce the propellant gases’ visibility coming from a gun when a person shoots. When the suppressor or silencer contains the gas, it reduces some of the muzzle flashes. A flash hider does not reduce sound. It instead makes it easier to see. It is effective for hunting in places with low light and for self-defense.

Similarities between suppressor and silencer.

suppressor vs silencer refer to the same thing. You can interchange the two words. The law regards the gun accessory as a silencer, although the manufacturing industry people prefer to call it a suppressor.

What you need to know about suppressor vs silencer

The media makes us believe that silencers make guns silent. The truth is that the people in the surrounding area can hear the sound when there is a gunshot. This article will shed some light on what is true in regards to suppressor vs silencer. Below are some facts:

  • Suppressors reduce or diminish the signature sound of a particular firearm. When you fire a shot, propellant gases from the firearm expand from a small chamber and enter the open air. The rapid temperature and pressure changes create the blast.

The suppressors reduce that sound by creating more room for the gases to cool and dissipate before getting to the open air.

The silencers increase accuracy, reduce the felt recoil as well as the gunshot sound. With a suppressor, an unsuppressed gun can move from 165dB to a sound of 134dB.

  • Suppressors protect a person’s hearing. Exposure to constant sounds of 85 dB can lead to hearing loss. Firearms can produce sounds as loud as 165dB. Hearing disability is common amongst veterans. Earmuffs and earplugs reduce sound up to 35dB, meaning shooting enthusiasts are vulnerable. Adding suppressors to the earplugs could go a long way in protecting the ears.
  • It is legal to own a suppressor in most states in the U.S. The National Firearms Act of 1934 makes it legal to own one. It usually takes a while to own them because of all the procedures the law requires you to take. It is illegal to possess or own the suppressor in Massachusetts, Illinois, California, New York, and New Jersey.

Considerations whenbuying a suppressor or a silencer

  • Acquire the proper caliber suppressor. When it comes to rifles, you can buy a single suppressor or silencer and use it on all your rifles. You do not have to buy one for each of the rifles. You use the diameter of your largest bullet to figure out the suppressor to pick. The largest bullet’s diameter and the diameter of the rifle should be the same

Add a connect brake to your rifle barrels if you want to swap the suppressor between the rifles you own. That ensures that the swap of the suppressor between the rifles is fast and prevents damage to the barrel threads.

  • Find out your purpose for owning the suppressor. Your gun should determine the kind of suppressor you will purchase. If you want a suppressor for long-range rifles, choose a suppressor with a direct thread design. If you usually run the AR hard and fast, get a heavy can made to stand a large amount of heat created by sending lots of bullets downrange.

The semi-auto centerfire pistol suppressor has a spring-piston that balances the backward movement of the slide. That prevents the handgun from jamming whenever you use it. It would be best if you did not use such a suppressor for a fixed barrel gun.

  • Look at the suppressor’s build and weight. If you only want to use your suppressor on a long-range bolt-action rifle, then choose one with a thread-on attachment system and a heavy model. Steel suppressors can handle punishment from big centerfire calibers because they are heavy and tough. It is important to note that the heavy suppressors add extra weight to the rifle’s barrel. That means that the gun’s zero can shift while shooting without or with the suppressor. However, that will not be an issue if you install the proper suppressor and keep it on that particular gun.
  • The point of impact shift. A sighted rifle in an unsuppressed state and suppressed state hit different spots on the same target. However, the impact will group around the same spot on the target. To avoid that, you could sight your rifle with the same bullet you will be using while the gun is in a suppressed state.
  • The threaded barrel. Threading a barrel makes a bullet spin. That spin makes the bullet stable. The threaded barrel also makes it easy for the bullet to cut through the air seemingly. It also stabilizes the trajectory or Minute Of Arc, which refers to the amount of angle the bullet loses because of gravity, air resistance, and the earth’s rotation.

To outfit your boltrifle with a silencer or suppressor, you need a threaded barrel. Ensure the thread specs match those on your rifle.

  • Subsonic shooting. The minute you remove the sonic crack from the equation, you can shoot quietly. The 300 BLK is one of the most common subsonic chamberings.
  • Gun trust. A suppressor is a Class III firearm. To possess or use it, you must be a registered tax stamp holder. Having an NFA Gun Trust can give you the liberty to legally pass the suppressor down to your children or other family members. You can also remove or add trustees any time you like. Failure to do so means whoever desires to inherit it will have to pay some money to the Government for the transfer to happen.


We could argue that silencer is the legal term for the gun accessory that reduces a gunshot’s sound, while suppressor is the same device’s technical term. It is important to note that you cannot eliminate a gun’s sound and that it is legal to own or possess a suppressor in most parts of the U.S.