• Silencers vs. Hollywood: Explore how silencers in real life differ from their often silent movie portrayals.
  • The Science of Sound: Delve into the physics of gun recoil, the role of suppressors in managing it, and how they enhance shooting accuracy and safety.
  • Real vs. Reel: Compare the realistic use of suppressors to media and video games and debunking common misconceptions.
  • Featured in Action: Discover how suppressors are featured in popular media, from Call of Duty to The Terminal List to Extraction.

Table of Contents

Are Silencers Real? Suppressors in Media Fact vs Fiction

A gun in fiction is as loud as the plot demands. A handgun's booms can be as loud as an artillery piece or whisper as soft as a chinchilla's sneeze. It all comes down to the needs of the story.

However, in the real world, guns are loud. The average gunshot exceeds 160 decibels, which is enough to permanently damage your hearing in just a single shot without proper hearing protection.

In the movies, when a gunshot needs to be completely imperceivable, they screw on a silencer, and magically, it makes the gun silent. While silencers are very real and drastically reduce the sound of a firearm, they do not make the gun as silent as you may have seen in your favorite action film. 

The firearm still has an audible sound, and the gunshot is more accurately described as suppressed rather than silenced -- hence the colloquial term "suppressor" being more common.

Are Silencers Real?

Yes, silencers are real, and they really make gunshots quiet.

In real life, the volume of a gunshot is determined by numerous factors, including:

  • Barrel Length
  • Ammo Type
  • Cartridge

These aspects contribute to the sound a rifle and pistol's shot makes. And suppressors are designed to bring a gunshot volume down to a hearing-safe level.

Silent Gunshots: Movie Quiet vs Real World Suppressor Quiet

Usually, when a movie's prop department takes the time to procure a gun with a silencer, the scene is likely to revolve around a sneaky character, meaning their gunshots are nearly whisper-quiet.

And some silencers can achieve this Hollywood quiet level!

Using subsonic ammo with a caliber specific suppressor is a good place to start. Bolt actions perform better than gas-operated weapons. For the quietest shooting experience, a suppressed subsonic .22LR will have you feeling like John Wick.

Are Silencers Realistic in Any Media?

Creators have improved their accuracy in portraying silencers in media. Movies, TV shows, and video games have even enlisted the help of firearms experts to help make their products as realistic as possible. 

We've come a long way from the iconic high-pitched "pew" sound effect popularized by classic James Bond films.

Call of Duty Suppressors

Many modern gun enthusiasts got their first taste of suppressed firearm fun through the Call of Duty, particularly the Modern Warfare trilogy.

In these games, the suppressor is the hallmark of the SAS division, emphasizing their clean, covert, and classy mindset. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the famous "All Ghillied Up," which sees two SAS operatives sneak past a literal army of enemies while kitted out with silenced weapons. The player character's spotter even calls out when to employ the silenced weapons.

COD has done a massive amount of work popularizing suppressors and does a great job of depicting suppressors and their attributes. However, they get one thing wrong.

When you attach a silencer to your weapon, its attributes change: accuracy increases and range decreases. Suppressors aid in both. Silencers typically add velocity, increasing effective range.

If portrayed accurately, they might make your loadout too OP.

Suppressors Of The Terminal List

The set armorers struck it out of the park with their selection of weapons for The Terminal List, giving audiences a wide range of elegant weapons to facilitate the highly-praised series' action scenes.

Interestingly, the first weapon Reece uses in the show is a silenced rifle, an HK 416 with a Rugged Micro 30 silencer.

Reece and his team deploy suppressed weapons periodically throughout the series, perhaps most notably in the season finale when James raids a compound.

Extraction Silencers

The weapons in Extraction show a clear divide between the criminals with their Eastern Bloc AKs and the Mercenaries' modern AR-style rifles. In almost every instance where the lead character, Tyler Rake, can choose his weapon, he selects one with a suppressor!

The guns of Extraction 2 continue this trend by having Rake's team prefer silenced weapons.


Silencers offer a real-world solution to the loud report of gunshots while enhancing the shooting experience.

As our journey from the silver screen to the shooting range has shown, these devices do more than just muffle sound; they also manage recoil and can even improve accuracy and range.

Hollywood and video games have played a pivotal role in popularizing silencers in media and modern gun culture.

Whether you're navigating the silent missions in "Call of Duty" or the tense moments in "The Terminal List" and "Extraction," it's clear that silencers have carved out their niche in both fiction and reality.

Ultimately, whether for hearing protection or simply the cool factor, the fascination with silencers transcends media, marking them as essential tools for firearms enthusiasts.