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"suppressors" vs "silencers" terminology is everything

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by wlemay, May 10, 2012.

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  1. wlemay

    wlemay Member

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    This is just something I found amusing that I think some of you guys might like too. I was reading about suppressors and seeing what benefits they might add to shooting (I have never personally shot a suppressed firearm because they are not legal in my state), and I thought hmm I wonder how they affect recoil.

    So I typed "silencer reduce recoil" on google... yea I know I called it a silencer, and here is what I found:

    Nothing relevant to real life firearms: however I did find out that a lot of people like to play call of duty and like using silencers on their guns. literally all of the pages were call of duty related!

    I figured I must be doing something wrong so I typed in "suppressor reduce recoil" on google and found lots of answers to my question: but sadly nothing about call of duty or James Bond.

    My findings made it clear that there is no such thing as a silencer except in movies and video games! Try typing those terms in yourself on google, the differences in results you get is shocking!

    I tried to do the same thing by typing in "High capacity clips" on google and found out that google will automatically interpret "clip" as magazine in search results. I hope you guys got a good chuckle from this newbie mistake, I know I did!
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  2. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    Silencer = suppressor. Semantics. You can call them silencers if you want; the government does. True, they do not really "silence", but people use the term all the time, and have since they were originally made by Maxim in the old days. "Suppressor" is the newer, classier term, so if you want to impress others by being up-to-date, call them suppressors. If you want to be retro, call them silencers. I don't think it matters, everyone will know what you are talking about.
     
  3. wlemay

    wlemay Member

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    True that, but the night and day difference between the results I found were quite interesting. I think silencer has become somewhat of a slang term just like clip or "shotty" has, go to a gun show and you will not hear many serious gun enthusiasts asking dealers about their "silencers" for sporting rifles, but if you listen to the 13 year old looking at the same booth you will hear "all those machine guns have silencers on them, just like my gun in call of duty!".

    -I can thank the NRA gunshow in STL for that tid bit of insight...
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  4. MAKster

    MAKster Member

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    The National Firearms Act of 1934 calls them silencers. The ATF calls them silencers. Hiram Maxim the inventor called them silencers. In my opinion the term suppressor was adopted by some people because its sounded cooler.
     
  5. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    ^^^That is exactly why I think either term is correct. The politically correct crowd has pushed snobbish language even on us gunners and shottists.
     
  6. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

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    Mufflers

    You know, in certain Euro zones, a common term is "muffler" since that's the function it serves.

    I have always found it ironic that certain people who are functionally OCD about "safety" where guns are concerned nonetheless have no problem making hearing damage mandatory during self defense actions.

    I think the use of mufflers should be strongly encouraged.

    It's safety gear and should be regarded as such.


    Question on survey form:

    If you have firearms on premises shared by children, do you also have mufflers for them to reduce hearing damage?​

     
  7. Telekinesis

    Telekinesis Member

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    Another thought on how the term suppressor was adopted over "silencer" is that suppressing is actually closer to what it is doing. Its hard to call anything above 115db "silent" :D

    I also believe the Brits still call their car mufflers "silencers", so I guess its all relative.

    Edit: ArfinGreebly, I think that survey question should be asked (or discussed) in every basic pistol safety class. I'm not an old guy by any stretch of the imagination, but I still notice that I've lost a noticeable amount of hearing from constant shooting even with wearing ear pro. Ya know, I've been thinking bout getting my NRA pistol instructor certification, I might just want to add that in to any classes I do...
     
  8. cheeze

    cheeze Member

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    Silencers do exist, if you accept the term silencer for what it is. I have seen one on a .45 ACP at the range that when shot, the cycling of the action and the impact of the round hitting the dirt made probably as much or more noise than the actual round going off. I've also seen one on a rifle that made little to no difference that I could tell. It certainly wasn't quiet, but he was using factory ammo, which is supersonic. That means you will hear the crack of the sound barrier being broken twice, and a silencer won't silence that.
     
  9. Gato Montés

    Gato Montés Member

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    Kinda like how revolvers were at their conception pistols but somewhere down the line that changed to them being only revolvers, never pistols.

    Some people like to emulate the image that they are in the know. I see them all the time in all facets of life, not just the shop or range. If there is some way of communicating expertise through language, some way of differentiating themselves from the petty laymen, then by God they are going to do it. Problem is the people always trying to correct others are almost never the supreme experts of their chosen trade; no, the true experts usually keep to themselves unless asked for their assistance.

    Suppressor = Silencer = Muffler. Take your pick. If someone tries to correct you, stick your fingers in your ears and yell BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA till they go away.
     
  10. Vizsla

    Vizsla Member

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    Here in the UK suppressors/ silencers are called 'moderators'- not to be confused with mods on forums, of course.

    I have a T8 on the .243, and an SAK on the .22LR. Do what it says on the tin.

    And yup, we do call car mufflers silencers, beer is called lager (because we have REAL beer, and had to distinguish), pants go UNDER your trousers unless you are Superman, and let's not get started on the whole fanny business...;)
     
  11. Ranb

    Ranb Member

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    wlemay, you did do something wrong, you went to the wrong part of the internet. :)

    For you Americans, you all need to go to the big boy part of the internet for some of the important stuff on silencers. http://www.atf.gov/regulations-rulings/laws/

    Click on the Gun Control Act and you will find 48 references to "silencer", 20 for "muffler", 3 for (sound) "suppressor" and zero for moderator. Clearly silencer is the preferred choice of the feds in the USA with muffler a distant second.

    People that use English as a first language know that the word silencer is a noun and silenced or silencing are verbs. No one says I silencer my gun, they say they silenced it. I say that I suppress my firearms with silencers. I was lobbying my Representative for a change to the silencer use ban in WA a few years ago. When I started into my spiel about sound suppressors, she asked "do you mean silencers?" I smiled, said yes and continued to use the word silencer throughout the presentation.

    I use the word silencer for a few reasons. It is a legal term, and everyone knows I am speaking of a gun muffler and not a flash or recoil suppressor when I say it. It is time to take back the word silencer and make it an acceptable word for those who want to reduce noise.

    Ranb
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  12. Ragnar Danneskjold

    Ragnar Danneskjold Member

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    I think whether someone cares about using precise vs. lazy language says a lot about them in general.
     
  13. uspfan

    uspfan Member

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    I think this is exactly it. I think "cool" gun guys today think that "silencer" is the term used by newbies and people who watch too many movies, so by using the word "suppressor" it makes them sound more in-the-know and more correct. I'm surprised the OP's Call of Duty search test provided the results it did; I've found "silencer" is used more by older types and "suppressor" sounds much more military and tactical, something appealing to gamers.

    Both terms are exactly the same thing (it's not even analogous with clip vs magazine), and, personally, I prefer "silencer" just because I get sick of guys using "suppressor" exclusively for the aforementioned reasons.
     
  14. TurtlePhish

    TurtlePhish Member

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    I started using "suppressor" because I just got tired of how corny "silencer" sounded (at least to me) after so many movies and video games with silencers in them.
     
  15. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Member

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    The term 'suppressor' more accuratly describes the function. A full power centerfire rifle with a 'can' on it is far from silenced. There you go, I just threw in another term... And I'm not even wearing black cargo pants!

    In this case, using the term silencer makes more sense. Thanks for be active Ranb!
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  16. rajb123

    rajb123 member

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    ....the TV show with the gun shop in LA is often fitting "supressors" to various guns including shotguns. They use a conventional sound meter to measure the sound reduction and they claim supressors/silencers do work. Apparently, their customers believe them.

    Frankly, I wonder?

    Anyway, these devices are not lawful in my neck of the woods...

    Why do people want to reduce the sound of their guns? ...makes me wonder....
     
  17. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Just as a trivia item, the Maxim Silencer Co. is still in business, "Noise Control Since 1895." But not for firearms any more.
     
  18. Owen

    Owen Moderator Emeritus

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    So they don't go deaf.

    So they don't bother their neighbors.

    to reduce recoil without making muzzle blast ridiculously unpleasant
     
  19. Charles S

    Charles S Member

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    Really??? I guess you don't wear hearing protection either.

    I choose to reduce the sound to make shooting a more enjoyable experience. Especially for my kids, they enjoy shooting much more with a can/silencer/suppressor whatever term you choose to use.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  20. Telekinesis

    Telekinesis Member

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    Ever fire a pistol indoors or inside a vehicle? What about a rifle? Even with ear pro, those are going to be loud, and in some indoor ranges a rifle could be anywhere from annoying to painful. Now take off all your ear protection and try shooting those same weapons again. You will quickly come to realize that suppressors are very useful - or you'll eventually loose enough hearing that it won't matter :neener:

    Auditory exclusion is only your personal cognizance of the sound level. You don't notice the sound as much, but the sound levels still damage your hearing.

    Apart from that aspect, if a new shooter is a bit intimidated by the sound levels or the recoil (thinking mostly of children but sometimes adults as well) taking out the blast and some of the recoil can change a scary, fire-breathing gun into something that is quiet and manageable.

    And its just plain fun to be able to hear a bullet impacting a target :D
     
  21. Mk VII

    Mk VII Member

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    Most 'silencers' - aren't.
    They're not a big deal here and quite a few people have got them, for pest control.
     
  22. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    Worrying about using "precise" language makes me feel like I am being snobbish. Who gets to decide if the usage of suppressor or silencer is "more correct"?
     
  23. CountryUgly

    CountryUgly Member

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    And your Brit term/slang for cigarette got my English friend a whole lot of ribbing for using the term in the manner he did here in the states. Anything can be twisted to sound like or mean anything else by anyone who thinks they are more intelligent than the person they are talking to.
     
  24. Ranb

    Ranb Member

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    Same reason why I want to reduce the sound of my Harley, my truck, my lawnmower, etc. Using a silencer and single hearing protection (plugs or muffs) is much better than using double hearing protection. Not only does it protect me better, it protects bystanders.

    The above quoted statement sounds like the same kind of prejudice that anti-gun zealots use when they question why a person needs or wants a gun; "Why do people want to own guns? ...makes me wonder...."

    This cannibalistic attitude is why we have so many gun control laws. Even the gun owners are suspicious of each other.

    Ranb
     
  25. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    They two terms are interchangeable. The distinction in functionality between a "silencer" and "suppressor" is not precise because the same device might be under 1x0 dB in some cases but over 1x0 dB in other cases (depending on ammo, barrel length, etc). Thus under the "how quiet is it" criteria, a single item might not be clearly one or the other.

    As a shooter and class 2 manufacturer, I use the terms interchangeably, in addition to the slang term "cans."
     
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