• How suppressors affect accuracy is one of the biggest questions asked by veterans and inquiring suppressor owners, so we tested it.  
  • The first test was to see how suppressors affect accuracy when shooting groups from a supported prone position. The goal was to see how the silencer changed the rifle's mechanical accuracy or dispersion.   
  • The second test was to see how silencers make YOU, the shooter, more accurate by increasing the rifle's "shootability." 

Table of Contents

Do Suppressors Affect Accuracy? 

Yes. In both of our tests, we found that suppressors positively affected our accuracy. 

  

Test one was designed to determine how a silencer would affect a rifle's group size, also known as its dispersion. 

To test this, we set up our Aero Precision Solus (chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor), grabbed some precision ammo (140 grain Hornady ELDM), and shot five-round groups at 100 yards from a prone position. 

The first group was shot unsuppressed and had a respectable group at just over an inch. 

We repeated the test after attaching a SilencerCo Scythe Ti, a high-quality, precision-focused silencer. We noticed the group tightened up considerably to sub-MOA (less than 1" at 100 yards) performance. It is possible that the silencer did not change the mechanical accuracy but made the group easier to shoot by: 

  • Reducing the recoil 
  • Limiting scope movement 
  • Reducing any flinching 

This test resulted in an improved group. 

  

Test two was designed to see if the suppressor improved follow-up shots. 

For this test, we used a Daniel Defense MK18 and M193 55-grain ammo and ran a Bill Drill (six shots as fast as possible) at 10 yards. 

We shot the first group with a bare muzzle. All six rounds landed on paper while shooting quickly.  

Then, we tossed on a CAT WB Ti and repeated the test. The grouping was much better. Garrett noted that the reduced recoil and limited reticle movement were the primary factors in the better group. 

Do Suppressors Reduce Range? 

If you've ever played a first-person shooter video game such as Call of Duty, it is very common for the range stat to decrease when you equip a silencer to your firearm. 

In reality, this couldn't be further from the truth. 

A bullet's effective range is tied closely to its muzzle velocity. Generally, a bullet moving faster will be able to make impacts further out than a slow-moving round. 

Silencers tend to increase muzzle velocity, speeding up the bullet slightly and extending your range. This makes a suppressor a great accessory for your precision rifle: it tightens up your groups and gives you a bit more oomph to shoot further. 

The Science of Suppressors

While silencers might look simple from the outside, what's happening inside is complex. 

Suppressors work by using baffles, or a series of expansion chambers, to trap the combustion gases of a gunshot and allow them to cool and expand before venting into the atmosphere. This process drastically reduces gunshot noise and can influence accuracy.  

Because modern silencers are well made and have such tight tolerances, they behave very similarly shot-to-shot, and all great long-range shooters know that consistency is the key to accuracy. 

The baffles trap the gas the same way, and the bullet's flight path remains the same. This consistency translates to better dispersion and more hits at distance. 

Some folks have also speculated that silencer designs create less turbulence in the bore line, which could result in less influence on the bullet in flight and help accuracy. 

Sighting in Your Rifle with a Suppressor

Silencers will often change your point of impact; they change the projectile's speed, and you're adding weight to the end of your barrel, so it is essential to re-zero your gun after attaching a suppressor. 

Ammo Selection

If you want to achieve good accuracy, you need to use good ammo. 

Modern cartridges and technologically advanced projectile designs have helped shooters be more accurate now than ever. You can buy an off-the-shelf rifle, pick up some match-grade factory ammo, and hit consistently at 1000 yards. 

Most match ammo uses a tangent or hybrid ogive bullet with a high ballistic coefficient (BC) that aids in dispersion. These types of bullets work great in a silencer because they are very consistent and stable, so the chance of a baffle strike or damage from jacket separation is low.  

Suppressor Accuracy FAQ’s 

How much does a suppressor reduce accuracy?  

Due to reduced recoil and increased velocity, suppressors tend to increase the accuracy, not reduce it, of most firearms. 

Do suppressors make pistols more accurate?  

Yes, suppressors can help make pistols more accurate when using proper ammunition. For the best results, you will need to sight in your pistol with the silencer attached. 

Why don't snipers use silencers?  

They do! Military snipers have used fielded suppressed rifles for years to reduce their signature and increase performance. SureFire, AAC, and Knight's Armament silencers are the most common suppressors on military sniper rifles. 

Conclusion

We've rigorously tested and confirmed that suppressors don't just reduce noise—they enhance shooting accuracy by improving the performance of rifles and making them easier to shoot effectively. Suppressors help shooters achieve tighter groupings and more consistent performance by reducing recoil. 

Our findings debunk myths about suppressors reducing range; instead, they can increase muzzle velocity and extend shooting distances while staying accurate. 

Always adjust your sights when attaching a suppressor, and use high-quality ammunition to maximize your firearm's potential. Whether for tactical applications, hunting opportunities, or precision shooting, a suppressor is a valuable addition for any shooter aiming to improve their accuracy and overall shooting experience.