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Disarming 3 Myths about Suppressors (AKA Silencers)

March, 30 2017
Suppressors, commonly known as “silencers” and sometimes called “cans,” have been used in the United States for more than 100 years. In many European countries, suppressors are considered a common courtesy among shooters; a way to politely protect the hearing of all those who enjoy the sport. Suppressors vary in size and efficiency, and are typically a hollow metal tube that attaches to the muzzle of a firearm and reduces gunshot noise to safe hearing levels.

The Hearing Protection Act (H.R. 367) – recently introduced in Congress – would remove suppressors from regulation under the National Firearms Act and treat them as ordinary firearms under the Gun Control Act of 1968. It would allow firearm owners to purchase and own suppressors through the same process as purchasing a handgun, which requires a background check.

Unfortunately, the Hearing Protection Act has been met with a great deal of opposition. There are numerous myths and false perceptions about suppressors that could negatively impact the future of the Hearing Protection Act. So we’re setting the record straight.

Myth 1: Suppressors “silence” gun noise.
Reality: Movies and television shows have created the false perception that suppressors completely eliminate gun noise, and it doesn’t help that they are commonly called “silencers.” In reality, most firearms create noise that is over 140 decibels and a suppressor can reduce that noise by 20-40 decibels – far from silent. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have both determined that a single noise over 140 decibels causes hearing loss.

Let’s say you’re on a hunting trip with your family and use a 12 gauge shotgun, which produces a noise level of 160 decibels. To put this in perspective, a jet take-off produces a noise level of 150 decibels. With a suppressor, you can reduce the noise level to about 137 decibels. This is still quite loud, but your ears will thank you.

Myth 2: Suppressors are mostly used by criminals.
Reality: Suppressors are used by anyone who is concerned about protecting his or her hearing and safety. In fact, many hunters use suppressors because they can eliminate the need for shooting earmuffs, allowing them to easily communicate with their hunting buddies. This helps reduce accidents.

Myth 3: Suppressors’ only purpose is to reduce noise.
Reality: Suppressors have several benefits in addition to hearing protection: recoil reduction, muzzle flash reduction and increased accuracy. Take a look at this infographic from SilencerCo for more interesting facts about suppressors.

Tell Congress to protect your health
It’s no surprise that tinnitus, which is caused by hearing damage, is the most common disability among our nation’s veterans. If you frequently shoot firearms, hearing damage is a very real possibility if you do not take proper precautions.

If you support the Hearing Protection Act, call your U.S. senators and congressional representatives to tell them to protect your health and your Second Amendment rights. Click here to find names and contact information for your elected officials.

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