The Myth of the Silencer

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

One of the many things that Hollywood regularly messes up on is their understanding of guns. I guess that shouldn’t be all that surprising, considering that most of Hollywood is made up of people who would never touch a gun that wasn’t a prop in a movie. I guess there’s just something different about using a gun in a movie, which is okay, even coming from people who are strongly anti-gun.

Of course, never having fired a gun for real means that these people have no idea what to really expect from the guns they are pretending to fire. All they know is what they’ve seen other actors and actresses do, so they just mimic that, perpetuating a lot of wrong ideas.

That’s actually starting to change, as actors and actresses are being sent to tactical gun ranges for realistic training, before starting on some movies. It’s somewhat gratifying to see how well some of these people do, but even more gratifying to hear their expressions of enjoyment of the sport of shooting. Wouldn’t it be nice to see a change in Hollywood’s attitude towards guns?

But as long as they have such a big misunderstanding about guns, they’re going to keep perpetuating that misunderstanding, not only amongst themselves, but also in the minds of the people who watch their movies.

Perhaps the biggest of these misconceptions is the idea of a one-shot kill that knocks the person backwards and to the ground. While such a shot is possible, it is highly unlikely. To start with, a one-shot kill is extremely rare, unless you happen to hit something vital, like their brain. Even shooting someone in the heart gives them several minutes to die and a head shot, even to the brain, is not guaranteed fatal, although the likelihood is extremely high.

Another place that Hollywood has perpetuated myths is with the device commonly referred to by the unknowing as silencers. In the movies, James Bond screws a silencer onto his Walther P38 and all you hear is a little swish as he shoots. Unfortunately, that’s a false representation, as there is no such device that can reduce the noise level of a gunshot that much.

In reality the device referred to as a “silencer” is actually known as a “suppressor” and it doesn’t have anywhere near the ability shown in the movies. Rather, it’s good for lowering the sound pressure of a gunshot by about 30 dB. Considering that a 9mm produces about 159.8 dB of sound pressure, dropping it down by 30 dB sounds like a good idea to me. That would put it at roughly the same amount of noise pressure as an outboard boat motor, lawn mower, motorcycle or jackhammer.

If that’s all it does, is it really worth having? The answer to that question is a qualified yes. If you were to use a suppressor out in the country somewhere, it probably wouldn’t do a thing to hide the sound of that gunshot. But if you were to use it in the city, it is possible that it would lower the sound level enough, that the sound would be mistaken for something else. That’s the whole idea of a suppressor.

At the same time, lowering the sound pressure by 30 dB is a good idea from a hearing safety point of view. While 130 dB is still loud enough that it’s a good idea to wear hearing protection, it’s not anywhere near as bad as 150 or 160 db. That’s why the “Hearing Protection Act” which didn’t pass in 2017, was such a good idea. It offered some protection to shooter’s hearing, while not affecting anyone else in any negative way.

Unfortunately, that’s not the way the bill was received by those on the political left. Since their only understanding of a suppressor is that of the movies, they connect the suppressor with sinister purpose. The propaganda about how they are used by criminals was outstanding, even if it was totally false. Criminals aren’t going to spend $600 to $800 for such a device.

So we’re still stuck with suppressors being listed as something for which we need to pay $200 to ATF for a tax stamp, in order to buy. But is it worth it?

That’s largely a matter of opinion. If I were ever to be forced to use my pistol in self-defense indoors, it would be nice if there was a suppressor attached to it. But then, if my carry pistol actually had a suppressor attached to it, there would be no way I could carry it concealed. So, the only way such a device would actually e useful to me is to have one attached to a gun in my home, that’s stored someplace where I could grab it in the case of a home invasion. That doesn’t seem very likely.

So, while this useful device is still being demonized by the left, at least it isn’t something I really need. I will continue to protect my home and family with what I have and just hope that nobody’s hearing gets damaged in the process.

I’ll just keep depending on keeping my powder dry and my survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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