It seems like the marketing for a lot of suppressors focus only on the decibel reduction and whether or not the can is “hearing safe.” However, the more reviews and videos ive been watching lately, both hunting, and training/tactical like Garand Thumb have seemed to start talking about Signature Reduction.
I think the focus on sound may be due to hollywood-quiet depictions, and the use of the name “silencer” as synonymous with suppressor, but the difference in connotation being evident in marketing.
But now with more and more suppressors i see going to K models, while also being damn near that “hearing safe” point, have we reached a good happy medium between silencer and signature reducer? And whats more important to y’all in your various models and uses?
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Signature and tonal quality can differ quite a bit maker to maker. You may have one that is hearing safe, but sounds like nails on a chalkboard. Finding something pleasing to your ears, well at least not unpleasant is the trick. There in is the rub, that kind of signature/tonal sound is subjective. Make no mistake these cans are not quiet out side of bolt action 22lr rifles. They are still loud. Shooting 1000k rounds with cqns in a day is still going to ring your bell.
Human beings did not evolve to be immune to the damage to our hearing caused by loud mechanical noises. When did such noises ever become part of the last 30-300 thousand years of our existence? Only in the past few hundred years. That’s an eyeblink of evolutionary time, and even today most of us aren’t exposed to them regularly and frequently.
I was exposed to many loud noises in a land far away, but following each event the ringing and deafness stopped after a day or so and my hearing seemed to be unaffected. Until one day 50+ years ago when the unrelenting tinnitus didn’t stop. Ever. And what’s worse, my hearing acuity has decreased dramatically in the past few years, no doubt due to some recent unprotected exposures that wouldn’t have bothered most people. I therefore believe the claim that all loud noises damage our hearing and that the damage is cumulative and irreversible.
I do not deliberately expose myself to suppressed gunshots even outdoors because for me at least, no loud noise is “hearing safe.” I know that we can seemingly recover from some (but not all) exposures, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to expose ourselves more than absolutely necessary.
“Caesar: Pardon him, Theodotus. He is a barbarian and thinks the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.”
— George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra
I'm no expert. But comparing my can to others. There are some cans that may have the same decimal level. But the tone of the can is more pleasant. Maybe a deeper "fump" sound versus just the "crack" on others.
But I think most manufacturers just like to toss out the quietest DB ever metered on their can. I don't get the modular cans or the K models. But I'm no operator. I've got one 8" can that fits all my rifle center-fire needs.
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Remember - Training is not sparring. Sparring is not fighting. Fighting is not combat.
If you're deployed and taking return fire, then maybe signature reduction is a worthy topic. Otherwise, for civilian firearm enthusiasts, it's just a marketing ploy.
Cans reduce noise levels. The more noise a can reduces, the less damage we have to our hearing. This ain't rocket science. But no can will reduce the sound of the supersonic crack -- assuming one is shooting supersonic loads. Unless one is in a complex set of canyons where sound is echoing all over the place, it pretty easy to determine the general source of a suppressed rifle shot.
Cans reduce recoil significantly. Not as much as an efficient muzzle brake, but still a dramatic difference in recoil. Less recoil increases a shooter's accuracy, and increases a shooter's ability to observe his own impacts.
Cans reduce muzzle flash and muzzle dust. IMO better than muzzle devices out there, such as flash hiders.
Bottom line, look at db reduction.
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This. I started cutting grass commercially when I was 9, and started wearing hearing protection immediately on my own initiative. I also have a wood shop, and now live on a farm. I have hearing protection on every piece of equipment. While I don't currently own a suppressor, I have shot a suppressed MP5. I took one shot without hearing protection, just to see how loud it was. It was painful, especially the supersonic crack. I put the protection back on. When I shoot rifles, I plug and muff.
There is no safe level for loud noises, and even with a suppressor, you should cover up. Preserve the hearing that you have, as it will wear out over time. I'm 53 and can't hear like I used to, both in detail, discrimination in loud environments like restaurants, and in direction locating.
Do everything you can to reduce noise in your environment, and your ears will thank you later. Db reduction, and pressure reduction if you can get it, is where it's at.
"We may consent to be governed, but we will not be ruled." - Kevin D. Williamson, 2012
"All the citizens of this land are of right freemen; they owe no allegiance to any class and should recognize no task-masters. Under the chart of their liberties, under the law of high heaven, they are free and without shackles on their limbs nor mortgages upon the fruits of their brain or muscles; they bow down before no prince, potentate, or sovereign, nor kiss the royal robes of any crowned head; they render homage only to their God and should pay tribute only to their Government. Such at least is the spirit of our institutions, the character of our written national compact."
Charles Triplett O’Ferrall of Virginia - In Congress, May 1, 1888
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