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LEOs and suppressors

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August 14, 2019, 07:12 AM
AllenInWV
LEOs and suppressors
I was watching some documentary series on cops in Flint, MI last night and the thought occurred to me....

Why don't LEOs use suppressors on their carbines? I get it that on a pistol it might be unwieldy (okay, DEFINITELY unwieldy) but seeing that;

1) They're going to be in a situation where shouted orders/radios need to be audible
2) They MIGHT be in a situation where firing is going to cause serious hearing damage

seems to me like a can might be handy to have.

Is it a cost thing? Or red tape due to NFA rules?


_______________________________

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
- Jim Elliot
August 14, 2019, 08:55 AM
sigfreund
quote:
Originally posted by AllenInWV:
1) They're going to be in a situation where shouted orders/radios need to be audible
2) They MIGHT be in a situation where firing is going to cause serious hearing damage?


You make a couple of good points, and some LEOs do. I have seen any number of photos of LEO rifles equipped with suppressors, but it’s most common for SWAT teams to have them.

As for why not, I can think of a few possible reasons.

One is expense and the whole NFA thing for individual officers. If most LEOs aren’t “gun” people, they certainly aren’t going to be knowledgeable about the acquisition and registration process for suppressors. In addition, as individuals many officers may not be able to legally own them or there may be department restrictions about using them.

NFA isn’t a big issue for departments, but the can itself costs money, and again there is a lot of ignorance even among instructors and others who might push the idea.

If a decision maker is aware of the advantages of suppressors, it’s also possible he will be aware of their disadvantages. The length they add to the rifle is significant, and shortening the barrel to compensate has its own drawbacks in ballistic effectiveness and increased muzzle blast despite the addition of a suppressor.* The most spectacular blast effects I’ve ever seen from an AR were from an SBR with fixed suppressor.

Although I haven’t seen any discussion of the issue, I would think that some suppressors would be much more subject to damage due to the rough handling LEOs give their guns, either due to carelessness or inadvertently due to not being able to baby them.

SWAT personnel or others who are able to use them have available combination radio headsets and hearing protection that work very well to reduce or eliminate the need for suppressors. They not only protect the hearing, but also amplify sounds such as voices. Also keep in mind that when firing normal 223/5.56 ammunition a suppressor may not reduce the noise to hearing safe levels, especially from an SBR. Yes, one might be concerned about hearing damage or temporary deafness, but if the suppressor doesn’t prevent those problems entirely, it might be difficult to justify the drawbacks of having one.

Last, it’s very rare for the average patrol officer to ever be involved in a shooting. It’s even rarer for them to use rifles in shootings, and then most shootings are over after a few rounds are fired. Even someone who might be aware of the potential advantages of having a suppressor and know how to obtain and maintain one properly might just decide that those potential advantages are so unlikely to ever be needed that they’re just not worth the expense and effort. After being involved in a few exercises in which I tried to use a suppressor on a rifle, I gave it up as not worth the hassle of going from a handy 20 inch barrel to a 28-inch beast.

* But what about military special operators, we might ask. Don’t they all use suppressors?
It may be that the loss of ballistic effectiveness from short barrels isn’t as significant as I perceive it to be, or perhaps it’s not as important in military operations. A three- or five-shot burst to the chest by a more highly skilled shooter than the average LEO may eliminate concerns about lessened wounding effects. Or it may be that being somewhat stealthier is the most important factor to consider. One thing we can be sure of, though, is that there are still significant differences between military and law enforcement operations and concerns.




“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
August 14, 2019, 04:15 PM
Chowser
Every time I try to score some M4-2000s on the milsurp program I get beat by seconds.

I gave up. I use my personally owned suppressor on my work rifle. I did an outdoor course last summer and the finish got beat to crap. I didn’t care. It did what it was supposed to. It’s a tool.

My car is setup with a 10.5” rifle. I share the car with one other officer. I mount and unmount my suppressor since he can’t have it. It’s a pain but if I need it, it’s already mounted and seconds count.



Not minority enough!
August 15, 2019, 11:41 AM
AllenInWV
So if a department gets the cans, is that handled sort of like a trust? Everyone in the department can use the can?

The more I learn about the NFA, the more ridiculous it seems.


_______________________________

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
- Jim Elliot
August 15, 2019, 09:31 PM
Chowser
Everything is transferred to the department on a Form 5. I assign a rifle per car and we keep a daily log of who is in what car. If we got cans, I would issue a can to a gun to make paperwork easier. I’m trying to get red dot scopes as well.



Not minority enough!
August 15, 2019, 11:33 PM
357fuzz
Our SRT guys are issued 11.5” Colts. Patrol guys are issued a 16” Colt. Chief is considering the paperwork/Form 5’s to make every one a 11.5” and putting cans on them. Spread out over time to help w/ the costs.
August 16, 2019, 06:39 AM
RHINOWSO
Probably money, admin, etc.

Lots of quality suppressors cost as much as patrol rifles do.

SRT / SWAT / etc it's a no brainer tho.
August 16, 2019, 08:58 PM
Chowser
It's all about the $$$. That's why we're still using modified milsurp M16s.

The chief said he's giving me a $10k budget next year to get all new rifles. I've priced select-fire FN ARs 14.5" at less than $800 each. So if I only get six instead of ten, I should have some $$ leftover for lights and optics. Still no money leftover for suppressors.



Not minority enough!
August 17, 2019, 10:13 AM
jljones
Cost is the big factor. The second biggest factor is most SWAT guys were electronic Earpro. Patrol guys don't but it is a statistically rare occasion that they dump someone nationwide. It's cheaper to pay out a hearing loss claim than to buy and upkeep cans.




www.opspectraining.com

"Make it a shooting, and not a gunfight" LSP552 02/19/2011



August 17, 2019, 10:14 AM
jljones
quote:
Originally posted by Chowser:
I've priced select-fire FN ARs 14.5" at less than $800 each. So if I only get six instead of ten, I should have


That's a helluva price. New? Mind if I ask where?




www.opspectraining.com

"Make it a shooting, and not a gunfight" LSP552 02/19/2011



August 17, 2019, 06:58 PM
gw3971
Many of our agencies here in SLC have suppressors on our rifles. All are moving in that way. My agency has dead air Sandman K on all of our swat guns.
August 17, 2019, 10:02 PM
Chowser
quote:
Originally posted by jljones:
quote:
Originally posted by Chowser:
I've priced select-fire FN ARs 14.5" at less than $800 each. So if I only get six instead of ten, I should have


That's a helluva price. New? Mind if I ask where?


I got the quote direct from FN LE.
LE@fnamerica.com



Not minority enough!
August 18, 2019, 12:58 AM
stylophiles
Just finished a week long patrol rifle instructors course, and almost half the guys were using suppressed rifles. Made the range a LOT more pleasant place to be if you ended up between two of those guys!

Bill R
August 18, 2019, 07:51 AM
sigfreund
Thanks for asking the question as it’s given me something to think about.

As usual positive responses are more likely to be posted than replies about agencies that don’t use suppressors, so now I’m wondering what the overall percentage is.
And for those whose agencies or individual officers do have suppressors on their patrol rifles, are they SBRs or non-NFA guns?




“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
August 18, 2019, 10:34 AM
jljones
quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:
Thanks for asking the question as it’s given me something to think about.

As usual positive responses are more likely to be posted than replies about agencies that don’t use suppressors, so now I’m wondering what the overall percentage is.
And for those whose agencies or individual officers do have suppressors on their patrol rifles, are they SBRs or non-NFA guns?


In Kentucky, I'd place a good wager on less than 1 percent of the patrol/SWAT rifles out there are suppressed. Much, much less than 1 percent. That's currently what I'm seeing right now. Tactical teams in the state usually mimic what KSP does, and they are still running unsuppressed.




www.opspectraining.com

"Make it a shooting, and not a gunfight" LSP552 02/19/2011



August 18, 2019, 11:38 AM
sigfreund
Okay, thanks.




“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
August 18, 2019, 11:41 AM
Chowser
I’ve trained with three different regional swat units in my area the past few years and no one has suppressors. Not even the rich cities. Our team all have 16” rifles.

Last class I let our swat commander use my suppressed 10.5” 5.56 sbr while I used my 9” 300blk sbr. He’s coming around.



Our work rifles are all 16” because the last range guy didn’t want to deal with NFA. I argued with him that our rifles are already form 5 machine guns and we could do what we wanted. He retired. Now my work rifle is a 10.5” with a personally owned suppressor. I’m slowly getting my chief on board with 300blk. He let me buy Hornady TAP ammo in 300blk this year.



Not minority enough!
August 18, 2019, 11:59 AM
sigfreund
quote:
Originally posted by Chowser:
Hornady TAP ammo in 300blk


Thanks for mentioning that. I was not aware of a TAP loading for 300 Blackout. I can see how a GMX load would be better for LE purposes than the V-MAX that I had settled on previously.




“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
August 18, 2019, 01:57 PM
AllenInWV
Not gonna lie, my question was a little selfish. Seems like it'd be easier to get Joe America behind deregulation of suppressors if we were seeing the LE using them (for all the same reasons we say they're beneficial) all the time.


_______________________________

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
- Jim Elliot
August 18, 2019, 02:54 PM
sigfreund
quote:
Originally posted by AllenInWV:
Not gonna lie, my question was a little selfish.


Nothing wrong with getting a stupid infringement of our rights off the books however we can. Exposure desensitizes people and it couldn’t hurt. How much good LE use of the devices would help, though, is hard to say. Most people probably won’t recognize suppressors on patrol rifles, especially SBRs, because they aren’t very distinctive.




“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”