As many readers may know, I own a suppressor. I’d love to own more NFA items, but my wallet is a bit thin to be contemplating such things at the moment. But I digress…
One of the most common questions (after “Is it legal?”) I’m asked about my suppressor is “Why?” Specifically, people want to know why I own it.
There’s all sorts of reasons. The primary ones are pratcial:
- Guns are noisy. While earmuffs can help reduce noise (and thus reduce hearing damage), they’re not perfect. Reducing noise at the source (i.e. with a suppressor) helps to considerably lessen the risk of hearing damage. The suppressor is even more effective at noise reduction than earmuffs, so I can shoot comfortably without muffs. If I’m going to be shooting for a while, I’ll usually wear muffs in addition to the suppressor. For shorter shooting sessions, I often use only the suppressor.
- Guns are noisy. While the ranges where I shoot are far away from populated areas, and so free from complaints from noise-sensitive neighbors, I see no reason to purposely create noise pollution that I don’t have to.
- Arizona is hot. Earmuffs cause one to sweat heavily around the ears. This is uncomfortable. Earplugs are uncomfortable, but not terribly hot.
- Earmuffs interfere with a good cheek weld. Not having to worry about earmuffs is handy and more comfortable.
- It assists greatly with new shooters. Introducing new shooters to shooting with a suppressed gun helps them be more comfortable, as there’s no loud, surprising noise to alarm them. It also means that they can ask questions and get feedback in a normal voice, rather than having to speak loudly to get through the muffs.
There’s all sorts of secondary reasons too…it’s a bit of a conversation starter, chicks dig it, etc. If it weren’t illegal to use it while hunting in Arizona, that’d be a useful reason as well.
I seem to have a very European mindset when it comes to suppressors. That is, I consider their use to be “polite” and “neighborly”, rather than the “ZOMG! Assassin!” mindset that seems to common with Americans.
Suppressors aren’t all that expensive. My Gem-Tech Outback II cost about $500…that’s including the $200 NFA tax, fingerprint fees, postage, and a $50 tip to my dealer (he spent quite some time on the phone with me working out exactly what NFA item to buy, so I figured I’d compensate him for his time and knowledge). Suppressors that are rated for more powerful cartridges or full-auto fire are more expensive, but still not terribly unreasonable.
If you live in a suppressor-friendly state, consider getting one. They’re well worth it.