THE TRUTH ABOUT SILENCERS
Most people believe that silencers do not have any practical purpose. Hollywood has done a fantastic job of demonizing silencers by mostly putting them into the hands of the villains who silently kill and terrorize on the silver screen. The general public is under the impression that a person who owns a silencer would be more likely to commit a crime or, more dramatically, even to enter the realm of contract killing. SWR wants to educate citizens about how silencers save hearing, increase situational awareness, improve accuracy, but most importantly, save lives.
SWR welcomes your questions or insight regarding the operational use of firearm sound suppressors. We are always looking to increase our awareness of their use and application in the field.
Firearm suppressors (or silencers, as they are often called) are not only useful for the field of professional law enforcement, but they also have many practical benefits for civilians as well. One of the most common problems for shooters is poor accuracy due to the shooter’s anticipation of the gun’s loud report and recoil. This anticipation causes shooters to “flinch” before the gun even goes off, to experience slight tremors in the hand from nervousness, and even to close their eyes or blink right before they pull the trigger. All of these issues cause the gun to move from the intended target area. The use of silencers will dramatically increase accuracy because of the reduced muzzle report, reduced recoil, and decreased muzzle flip.
Another practical purpose for silencers is hearing protection. Any shooter knows that even with earmuffs or plugs, guns are still loud enough to hurt your ears and cause ringing in your ears long after you are finished shooting—and sometimes permanently. Besides the ringing, earmuffs and plugs can be very uncomfortable and can give you headaches. When shooting with earmuffs or plugs, you are required to speak very loudly to be able to communicate with friends. This type of hearing protection also mutes your surroundings so that you are less aware of your environment. SWR silencers lower the sound signature of your firearm to the point where it is safe and comfortable to the ear to shoot without the need of hearing protection, making your shooting experience safer and more enjoyable.
Noise Induced Hearing Loss is a serious threat to our men and women in the military and law enforcement communities. The ability to hear is crucial to the performance of their duties. Many people have received medical retirement because of Noise Induced Hearing Loss. Much of this hearing loss occurs due to repeated exposure to gunfire, both operationally and in the training environment. Gunfire noise is a “preventable” occupational risk and an unnecessary liability. A silencer can protect against hearing loss.
When shooting in close quarters, such as a room or hallway, gun fire is loud enough to cause permanent hearing loss. If you are in the unfortunate position that you must use deadly force in order to protect yourself or your family in your home, there will not be enough time to apply hearing protection. Even if there was enough time, hearing protection would make it difficult to hear the position of the perpetrator, which would give him the upper hand in the situation. Home protection weapons that use silencers will save your hearing and increase your situational awareness.
The use of unsuppressed firearms or the use of hearing protection to counter the effects of unsuppressed firearms is a serious impediment to operational effectiveness, situational awareness, and effective communications. Communicating while shooting is easier to accomplish with the employment of firearms with sound suppressors. Using a silencer can increase operational success.
Recognizing the difference in the sound of a gunshot can make a significant difference operationally. The universal use of sound suppressors within a group or team can make it easy to recognize incoming and outgoing fire and make it easier to ascertain enemy positions and locations.
Silencers greatly reduce the sound signature of a gunshot. As a result, muzzle report is greatly reduced, making it more difficult to determine its origin point. Also, "ballistic crack," or the noise that a bullet makes while airborne at supersonic speeds, is an "omnidirectional" sound that makes its origin point difficult to determine. These two effects create great confusion about the origination point of the gunfire, inhibiting effective return fire. Sound suppressors also have the added benefit of virtually eliminating muzzle flash, which benefits the user by maintaining a good sight picture in low light conditions and robbing the enemy of his most obvious aiming point. The blast pressure wave, or muzzle blast, generated from a gunshot is also significantly reduced with the use of a sound suppressor. There is much less "kick up" of dust and movement of foliage from the blast when a sound suppressor is deployed.
There are several benefits to hunting with suppressed firearms. Because listening to your surroundings is an important strategy in tracking prey, hunters very rarely if ever use hearing protection. Again, unsuppressed gunfire is loud enough to cause permanent hearing loss. Using a silencer will suppress the gunfire enough to protect your hearing without the use of hearing protection, thus allowing you to effectively track your prey and quickly take your shot without having to first apply hearing protection.
If you have a silencer attached to your muzzle while hunting, there are benefits other than hearing protection. Because the silencer reduces recoil and muzzle rise, you are able to get into position for a follow-up shot more quickly because there is a lot less movement and your crosshairs stay closer to the target. Sometimes, it is possible to get your crosshairs back on target before the first bullet strikes. This quick strategy also allows you to “call” your hits or misses and make quick corrections in the field.
Hunting with silencers is legal in several states. Whether you are hunting big game, small game, or predators and varmints, a silencer will add enjoyment by removing the risk to your hearing and to the hearing of those around you. Remember to check if hunting with a suppressor is legal in your state.
It is still your right under the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America to keep and bear arms. Unexercised rights have a way of becoming “privileges.” The second amendment of the U.S. Constitution was not designed just to help hunters keep their weapons. It was designed to allow its citizens to hold the ultimate “check and balance” and to defend against an overreaching and tyrannical government. After all, George Washington did not use freedom of the press to win our independence from Great Britain.
Silencers are legal but they are regulated on a per-state basis. It is legal to purchase and possess silencers in 38 states. However, for dealers, manufacturers, peace officers, or a law enforcement or government agency, there are additional states where you can own a silencer.
YES, SILENCERS ARE LEGAL.
No, you do not need a license to purchase a silencer but you do have to pay a one-time $200 tax for each silencer you purchase. You also have to live in a state where silencers are legal and have to meet certain criteria to be eligible to own one. Check out the qualifications below.
To legally purchase or possess a silencer:
You must be a citizen of the United States
You must be at least 21 years of age to purchase a silencer from a dealer
You must be at least 18 years of age to purchase a silencer from an individual on a Form 4 to Form 4 transfer (contingent on state laws)
You must be at least 18 years of age to possess a silencer as a beneficiary of a trust or as a member of a corporation (contingent on state laws)
You cannot be a felon
You must meet all three requirements in order to legally purchase a silencer.
If the dealer does not have the SWR product that interests you, it is possible to order through the dealer. Once purchasing arrangements have been made it can take one to five months for the paperwork to be approved.
Once you have chosen your product and have the product serial number, you must fill out the ATF Form 4 (5320.4), an Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of a Firearm. You will send the completed form in with a $200 check or money order, a recent photo and fingerprint cards.
Acquiring a silencer for a government agency is easy. The individual that has the authority to purchase can contact us. We will fill out the paperwork needed and submit it in your behalf. When we get an approval to transfer the items, we will ship them to the agency. Please ask us about our testing and evaluation program. If you would like to know how silencers can benefit your agency, click here to contact us for more information.