Benefits of Firearm Suppressors: Suppressors enhance firearm performance and shooter safety by reducing gunshot noise, recoil, and muzzle flash. They're available for various firearms, including rifles, pistols, and shotguns, and once used, shooters often prefer not to return to unsuppressed shooting.
Functioning of Suppressors: All suppressors operate on a fundamental principle of trapping and cooling combustion gases from the barrel. Though they share a common goal of sound reduction and performance enhancement, they differ in design and attributes, making them suitable for specific firearm types.
Rifle Suppressors: The most common type, designed for high-pressure cartridges, made from robust materials like stainless steel, titanium, or superalloys. They are often full-auto rated and can be attached via direct thread or quick detach (QD) systems.
Pistol Suppressors: Generally lighter and made from materials like aluminum due to lower pressure and heat from pistol rounds. Mounting on pistols involves special considerations due to moving barrels, often requiring booster assemblies.
SBR (Short Barreled Rifle) Suppressors: Designed to handle higher pressures due to shorter barrels, these suppressors need enhanced durability. Mounting systems are similar to standard rifles.
Shotgun Suppressors: Relatively new, these suppressors are suitable for tactical and hunting shotguns, usually rated for standard shotgun ammunition types. Mounting often involves special threaded chokes.
Firearm Silencers: The Complete Guide to Suppressing Your Rifles, SBRs, Pistols, and Shotguns
Suppressing your firearms is one of the best improvements you can make in your firearm's performance and shooting safety.
Silencers effectively reduce the ear-shattering sound of a gunshot to a more manageable, often hearing-safe, level. These devices also reduce felt recoil, reduce muzzle flash, and increase your shooting experience.
Most shooters who have experienced shooting suppressed say the same thing, they'll never go back to shooting guns without silencers.
There are suppressors available for all different types of firearms, from pistols to rifles and even shotguns, so no matter which types of guns you enjoy or which style of shooting you do the most, there are suppressors that will work for your setup.
All suppressors, regardless of your firearms, are designed to help silence and work in the same basic way: trapping combustion gases leaving the barrel and allowing them to cool and expand.
While suppressors all have a similar goal, to decrease sound and increase performance, they accomplish those goals differently and have different attributes that make them ideal for specific firearms.
Let's cover the different types of silencers, how they work for specific types of guns, how to attach a silencer to your firearm, and some of our favorite picks in each category.
Mounting a silencer to a rifle is the most straightforward, as rifles do not have reciprocating barrels, and many modern rifles come with threaded barrels from the factory.
As a rule of thumb, a silencer can be easily mounted to any rifle with a threaded barrel, and there are two primary methods to attach a suppressor: direct thread or quick detach (QD) adapter.
Direct thread is the simplest option to attach a rifle silencer, the threads on the barrel correspond to a threaded adapter on the silencer, and you can simply screw the device to your gun and enjoy the benefits of shooting suppressed.
QD systems use a muzzle device, like a muzzle brake or flash hider, that threads onto the rifle's barrel. The suppressor locks onto that device to ensure a secure connection between the firearm and your silencer.
Best Rifle Suppressor
When picking a rifle silencer, a few features are often important, including durability, size (weight and length), and versatility.
These factors will change depending on what type of rifle you're shooting and the activities and types of shooting you'll be doing. Because there are so many rifle silencers for different roles, we'll list a few of our favorites and what they might be best for.
The CAT WB is a dedicated 5.56 silencer with low backpressure, which can be essential for certain types of gas-operated rifles.
This low backpressure will keep your AR running smoothly without requiring tuning. The WB is available in titanium for weight savings or Inconel for extremely hard use. It also comes in either QD or HUB mount, allowing you to set the silencer up however you prefer.
This suppressor is excellent for 5.56 AR15s or other semi-auto rifles and provides top-tier sound performance. It also has a larger 7.62 sibling, the CAT ODB, with similar features if you fancy 30cal rifles.
Rugged Alaskan 360 Ti:
The Rugged Alaskan 360 Ti is an incredibly lightweight (5.6oz) silencer that is designed for hunting rifles, rated for pressures up to .338 Lapua, and can handle common hunting rounds like 5.56, 6mm, 6.5Creedmoor, .308, 8.6BLK, 350 Legend, and more (it can even work with your 9mm carbines and handguns).
The Alaskan aims to add minimal weight and length to your rifle while trekking out into the wilderness, providing excellent sound reduction to keep your ears safe when taking a trophy elk or whichever game animals you're after.
The Alaskan 360 also comes in a steel model for use on higher fire rate weapons.
Dead Air Sandman – S:
As one of the most popular rifle suppressors of all time, the Dead Air Sandman-S has a place in the pantheon of all-time great suppressors.
Dead Air used Cobalt-6 Stellite baffles to make the Sandman a bombproof 30 caliber silencer that can handle any rate of fire, from any length barrel, with any rifle caliber 30 caliber or smaller.
The Sandman also uses Dead Air's renowned QD mounting system, Keymo, which has been a silencer enthusiast favorite for years.
Perhaps the coolest portrayals of firearms in films are those of pistols with silencers. As made famous by James Bond, John Wick, and Tyler Rake, silenced pistols are becoming increasingly popular for 2A enthusiasts.
Pistol rounds have lower pressure than rifle rounds and generate less heat, so they are often lighter-weight and more compact. Pistol silencers can also use less robust materials such as aluminum.
Most modern pistols like Glocks, Sig Sauers, FNs, and others use tilting barrel designs -- the barrel of the firearm unlocks, tilts upwards, and allows the slide to reciprocate. Because silencers add weight to the end of the barrel, this tilting motion can't occur, and the pistol cannot function.
Enter pistol boosters or Neilsen devices. These booster assemblies feature a spring that decouples the mass of the silencer from the pistol barrel, allowing it to cycle as usual.
Pistol suppressors require a threaded barrel, just like rifles, and threaded barrels can be easily installed without any special tools or equipment right at home.
Suppressor Ready Pistols
If you want a silenced pistol, the easiest way is to get a suppressor-ready pistol.
These guns are set up to accept a silencer right out of the box without having to swap out or fiddle with any parts. Some of our favorite suppressor-ready pistols are listed below.
Ruger MKIV SSH:
Silencer Shop designed the SSH, or Silencer Shop Host, with Ruger to be the ultimate silenced .22lr pistol.
The SSH Mark IV is ready to rock and roll with any .22l suppressor, thanks to its 3" threaded cold hammer forged barrel, which is ideal for rimfire silencers. The compact barrel increases sound performance and is incredibly accurate for such a small firearm. It's available in black, FDE, or ODG -- pick your preferred flavor exclusively at Silencer Shop!
FN 509 Tactical:
FN's 509 series has been popular for years, and the tactical line makes it even better.
The 509 Tactical uses a 4.5" threaded barrel to install your favorite 9mm suppressor easily. The FN has a clean breaking trigger with a short reset and smooth recoil when being suppressed.
Sig Sauer P320 XCarry:
Sig made the P320 fully customizable and adaptable to any situation, including running it suppressed.
The XCarry variant comes from the factory with a threaded barrel to accept any 9mm silencer. You can make this pistol ideal for you by swapping out grip modules, triggers, sights, and more, giving you an ultra-modular pistol suppressor.
Best Pistol Suppressor
Pistol suppressorare some of the most fun silencers to shoot due to their extremely quiet report and lack of recoil. These are a few of the pistol cans that we find ourselves recommending most often.
JK Armament CCX:
The JK Armament CCX is the smallest 9mm pistol suppressor ever made. It was designed for CCW handguns, to protect your ears when carrying concealed.
The CCX 9 has a modular design, which allows it to become as small as 1.9" to add minimal length to your EDC handgun. It is so small and light that it does not need a booster, just screw it onto your favorite handgun and have fun shooting suppressed. And if you're looking for a pistol suppressor holster, check out our friends at Trex Arms.
Q Erector 9:
Q's Erector 9 is a fully modular pistol silencer, which allows you to customize the weight and length to be ideal for your application.
You can make it short and light to minimize the size of your pistol or go longer for more sound suppression. It has 10 baffles, so you can dial in the perfect configuration for your unique scenario.
Rugged Obsidian 45:
If you're shooting a full-sized 45 ACP, you need a silencer to tame it. The Rugged Obsidian 45 has been a customer favorite for years thanks to its robust build quality, top-tier sound performance, and modular design.
The Obsidian uses a booster and piston assembly that works with a variety of thread 45ACP and 10mm barrels, and additional pistons can be ordered for use on smaller handguns like 9mm.
SBRs or short-barreled rifles differ slightly from full-length 16"+ barreled rifles. Shorter barrels create much more pressure within the silencer, so they need even more durability to withstand the forces and heat generated by SBRs.
Some suppressors have barrel length restrictions, so be mindful of those guidelines when picking a suppressor for your shorty. Because SBRs have higher pressures, low back pressure suppressors also thrive on these platforms to keep the rifles running great while keeping gas out of your face.
SBRs with suppressors use the same mounting systems as standard rifles, so your favorite QD system or direct thread adapters will work on your compact carbines.
Best SBR Suppressor
One of the most important things to remember when shopping for an SBR suppressor is barrel length restrictions; you need a silencer that will handle the pressure of your short-barreled build.
Low backpressure or high-flow silencers are a bonus for lowering system pressures and reducing noise, parts wear, and gas in your eyes. Check out our go-to suppressors for SBRS.
HUXWRX Flow 556K:
HUXWRX pioneered low back pressure technology that they call Flow-Through Tech. This type of design is made to minimize changes to the weapon system's operation while keeping the shooter as safe as possible with hearing protection and removing harmful gases.
The Flow 556K is a very compact 556 suppressor that punches way above its size regarding sound performance. It comes with a HUXWRX muzzle device in the box and features a built-in left-hand threaded QD system that ensures super secure lock-up and accuracy.
The FLOW Series is also available in 6mm, for use on 6ARC or other 6mm rifles, or the Flow 762 Ti for use on your 30cal firearms.
Q Thunder Chicken:
If you're shooting a 300BLK SBR, who better to get a silencer from than the folks who designed the round.
The Thunder Chicken is a full-sized (8.13") silencer with a large diameter (1.75") to maximize volume to get insane sound reduction. The Thunder Chicken also ships with two muzzle devices for 30cal and .223 rifles so you can use it on nearly any SBR in your collection.
The SureFire SOCOM556-RC2 was the quintessential SBR can. It was the silencer the US military selected for use on MK18 rifles, which use a 10.3" barrel. The MK18 + RC2 combination served shooters very well, but now the SOCOM556-RC3 is here and brings a decade's worth of improvements over its predecessor.
The SureFire RC3 uses DMLS 3D Printed Inconel, which gives it incredible strength, and the laser printing allows the RC3 to use complex gas paths that were impossible when the RC2 was designed. These features combine to allow the RC3 to have 60% reduced back pressure and less decibels at the shooter's ear. For a hard-use 5.56 SBR, the SureFire Socom556-RC3 is tough to beat.
Since the early 1900s, there have been commercially available pistol and rifle silencers, but it wasn't until recently that the benefits of shooting suppressed extended to shotgun shooters.
Yes, you can mount a silencer on a shotgun and experience less ringing in your ears and less bruised shoulders.
Shotgun silencers are ideal for use on tactical shotguns or short barreled shotguns (SBS) and are great additions to any shotguns you might use for hunting.
Shotgun suppressors are usually rated for birdshot, buckshot, and solid slugs but not for specialty rounds. Be sure that the shotgun silencer you choose is rated for your preferred hunting loads.
Most shotguns do not use external threaded barrels, so customers often ask, how do shotgun suppressors work? The most common mounting solution is a special threaded choke that threads into your shotgun's barrel and has mounting provisions for the shotgun silencer.
Best Shotgun Suppressor
Since the shotgun suppressors are still new, there are only two main shotgun suppressors.
SilencerCo Salvo 12:
The Salvo uses a modular baffle design that aligns using a series of rods, creating an internal bore guide to keep the shot cap together and ensure accuracy.
The Salvo can be arranged in segments from 6" -12" to allow for customization for different applications.
JK Armament 195 SGX 12:
JK's SGX 12 is newly designed to quiet down the blast of a 12ga shotgun, primarily for hunting use. The SGX is lightweight and uses trumpet-shaped baffles to keep the load and wad compacted to maximize accuracy.
The JK Armament shotgun suppressors have swappable endcaps that act as chock tubes, allowing you to customize the shot pattern to best fit your needs.
JK also makes the SBSX 12GA Breacher, which uses a similar baffle design but features a vented endcap to create a lower back pressure shooting experience, which may be beneficial on semi-auto shotguns.
Yes! There are a variety of suppressors available for both pistols and carbines.
Does a suppressor count as barrel length for SBR?
Suppressors can count as barrel length, if they are permanently attached with a welded pin. If the supressor is removable, it does not count as barrel length.
Firearm suppressors significantly improve your shooting experience, enhance safety and performance, and increase enjoyment across various types of firearms.
From the ubiquitous rifle suppressor designed for high-pressure cartridges to the lightweight and versatile pistol suppressors and the durable suppressors made for SBRs and shotguns, there is a silencer for every shooter or hunter's needs. The technology behind suppressors is fascinating, utilizing innprinciples to achieve significant reductions in noise, recoil, and muzzle flash.
Whether you are a seasoned shooter or new to the world of firearms, the benefits of using suppressors are undeniable, making them a worthy addition to your shooting arsenal.