The Sound of Silence (er)

in The Pew: Guns & more2 months ago

I finally got to check off another bucket list item. A firearms suppressor. This has been on my want list since my pre-teen years, so let's be nice and call it over 40 (ish).

Why did I wait so long? Well, for one they are not cheap. But the biggest reason is that due to some idiotic lawmaker, they were classified as NFA (National Firearms Act) Regulated Firearms here in the U.S a few decades ago. How can a hollow tube with some inserted baffles be a firearm you may ask. Well, it can't be, it's really just an accessory, like the sights or grip, but laws are what they are, until they are changed.

Hence the wait. To obtain one of these threaded hollow tubes here, one must go through a Federal FBI background check, submit pictures, fingerprints, have no criminal record, etc. just like with a firearms purchase. However, for these hollow tubes, one must also submit paperwork for a permit, pay a $200 tax stamp (per tube), which are required to have serial numbers, and get added to a registration tracking list. One must then wait for the gov agencies to process the request which has a loooonnnnggg waiting period. My wait for the approval and required tax stamp was 346 days from when I paid for the tube and filed my paperwork, 270 days after they cashed my check. Bah! Do you think that the powers that be are intentionally trying to discourage people from protecting their hearing? I do. If only we could sue the federal government and win.

There is again this year like several other years proposed legislation pending for the "Hearing Protection Act" (HPA), to have these removed from the restricted list. This only makes sense, there is virtually zero historical criminal use of these tubes (except in the movies, where they are over course over-hyped as to both use and to sound reduction capabilities). Let the honest law-abiding citizens protect their hearing for goodness sake!


Often mistakenly called a "silencer" it does not make shooting a firearm silent. Nope, not even a pellet gun as you may have seen in some of my other video clips. What it does do is "Suppress" the noise to a reduced level. For most normal handguns and rifles, down to a level where hearing protection such as ear muffs are no longer required.

This has many benefits. The biggest benefit being that you don't need to wear hearing protection to shoot. While more pleasant for the shooter when target shooting or plinking, it's very valuable for hunting so it doesn't affect the shooter or guides / companions ears. It's also great for not disturbing the neighbors (unless you live 5 miles or more in the boonies, where full loud shots wouldn't matter).

While a suppressor can reduce the noise to a certain degree in nearly all firearms and ammunition, it is most frequently combined with "subsonic" ammunition. Subsonic means the projectile is traveling slower than the speed of sound. Breaking the sound barrier is what causes the loud "crack" associated with higher power rifles and handguns.

The speed of sound varies, it is faster through solids and water, and even the air temperature causes a variation (faster in hotter air). Generally speaking the Speed of sound is considered about 1,125 fps (feet per second), = 343 metres per second, = 767 mph = a kilometre in 2.9s, or a mile in 4.7 seconds.

Subsonic ammunition is generally manufactured to around 1,050 fps or below in order to account for temperature variations. Handloaders can tweak their ammunition to push it closer, or allow for even more leeway to ensure the sound barrier is not broken. The length of a barrel also affects the velocity. For example, very often .22 Rimfire ammunition designed to shoot 1,250fps (over the sound barrier) sounds the same as subsonic (800-1,050fps) ammo when shot through a pistol, because the shorter barrel never allow the projectile to actually reach the advertised 1,250 fps velocity. Measuring velocity over a chronograph is a great way to determine what your firearms actual velocity is.

For the curious technical folks, here is the suppressor specs:
SilencerCo Switchback .22
Calibers supported: 22LR, 17 WSM, 17 HMR, 22 MAG, 22 WMR, 22 HORNET, 5.7 X 28 MM
(Rated for full auto fire).
Convertible to 4 different modes:
Short, Medium, Long, and Long (Rifle Optimized)
The Rifle Optimized mode allows for some of the baffles to be reversed, and improve the sound reduction even more for longer rifles.

Pistol is a Ruger MKIV .22/45 with custom grips, Vortex Red Dot sight, Halo charging handle, Tandem Cross Trigger mods, and custom internal springs to reduce trigger pull. (Yes, this was also a bucket list item).

Rifle is a Ruger 10-22 with custom Volquartsen barrel, Boyds-AT One stock, Vortex 5-25x56 scope, Atlas Bipod, and also custom trigger work. See previous posts for reviews.

Anyway, lesson over. Here are some pics to show off the looks.

This is the Medium length configuration. I think this is my favorite looks wise, just need to test more to ensure that sound is reduced adequately.

This is the small config view. Not confident that this will quiet effectively to the level I am looking for. But could be useful on little "pocket" subcompact weapons.

This is a shot of the internal baffles, which can be adjusted for the super quiet rifle mode, or removed for easier cleaning.

Here is a view from the other side, with a picture of the spanners included with the suppressor. Sometimes the carbon buildup and residue can make the parts a little difficult to unscrew. A nice touch for them to include these in the package.

And not to be left out. Here's a couple pictures of it on the rifle. Just have simply unscrew from one and onto the other. (Unless switching the baffles into or out of "extra-quiet mode".



Now just need some time to get out to the range (or the yard!) and do some sound testing.



Congrats on getting it out of NFA jail! I haven't looked into suppressors much because I don't like the NFA process. But I had no idea there were ones with configurable size, a neat idea for .22LR.

Yes, this is a new model, was only out 2 months when I ordered it... I suppose old news now, lol. Not only configurable, but excellent performance, supposedly even better than the "Sparrow" model which has been a long term favorite.

I also very much not a fan of the process and tracking reqs. But I'm already in their system from past employment that required the fingerprints and BG checks, etc. so not as big a deal for me if I was off the grid. Still working to garner support for HPA!

It looks very small. The bigger the supressor case is, the easier it is to contain as much gas as possible, and with that the noise. Another problem comes with automatic pistols/rifles when the breach opens, that lets also some noise out. I have seen solutions - like a modified Beretta used by special forces - that use a breach lock to prevent this. Revolvers are not optimal, because they tend to leak gas out of the cylinder gap.
For rifles, the good old bolt action works best in that context. Well, other manual repetition systems as well, I guess. But bolt action is still the gold standard for hunting and such things.

And of course the long wait and high cost are deliberate. Perhaps also because they know that you have no choice. I mean what could you do - complain? They just laugh at you and put your file to very bottom of the stack again. Same with the fee. You don't want to pay as much? Fine, then don't buy a supressor. That's how burocrathy works.

lol, exactly right on the gov delays intentional. We only lost the HPA vote by a few percentage points last time. Not sure it will make it through this year either with the Dems in politics trying to push even stricter laws.

Cool looking rifle ..Being in NY only suppressors we have are the politicians ..

Sadness to you my friend. When do we impeach the politicians and those promoting the violations of our second amendment rights! Where is the media and social media that would support 1st amendment rights?

Our freedoms have gradually been undermined... all aspects of government compromised.. last resort is to sue.. and you know how long they can drag that out..ask Gen Flynn.. Military now a tool of the left.. Our second amendment last obstacle for total govt. control.. only recourse is a real insurrection.. And you know that ain't gonna happen..

Sad but true!

This suppressor isn't effective enough to supress my excitement of you having this suppressor. Nice work, great post and damn that's a shiny French-polished table!

Lol, yes very excited myself. The table does have a glass protector on top lol. But yes pretty shiny even without. Actually love the table, it's a circle cause that's all that would fit in our previous dining room, and cool cause it has circular expansion leaf's that allow it to be quite a bit larger. They just kind of clamp to the outside with sliding supports from underneath.

Here we are talking about tables on a gun post. #classyfellows

Legit suppressor man...If only were allowed to have them here...However, we can have legit tables and yours certainly is that! 😆

Wow! I had to do a scroll back for this! It is one of those enviable pieces of equipment that I could never even lift up to the proper height, but, darn, she looks beautiful.

Now I need to go back up and see those shiny barrels again, Congratulations! Hard-won piece. I hope you are going to write up a review once you use it a bit.

Well thanks for scrolling! It's not near as heavy as it looks. The suppressor actually adds a bit more front heavy balance, which I like. Still not sure preference on the full length or mid-length, more testing definitely in order. I played with them a bit last weekend, but just some short sound testing with different ammunition. It was really nice being able to not have to wear the ear muffs, but there was definitely a difference in the different velocity ammo, and of course still louder than my beloved PCP air rifles.