Silencers have unique characteristics that make them ideal for certain shooting scenarios.
Selecting the best suppressor for your use case will provide a better overall suppressed shooting experience.
Cover the 4 primary considerations for selecting a new suppressor: Caliber, Firearm Type, Shooting Style, and Suppressor Features.
Top recommendations for rifle and pistol silencers.
Silencer Shop makes selecting and buying a suppressor online easier than ever.
How to Choose the Best Suppressor for Your Rifle and Pistol
Silencers make shooting better, plain and simple. A silencer is the best accessory you can get for your firearm; they save your ears, reduce recoil and flash, and put a smile on your face every time you pull the trigger. We’re often asked what the difference is between a silencer vs suppressor; these are different terms for the same device. Most folks define suppressors or silencers as any device designed to reduce the signature of a firearm, you might also see them referred to as “cans” or “mufflers” (muffler is often used in legal definitions of suppressors).To get the most out of your suppressed shooting experience,you’ll want to pair your rifle or pistol with the best suppressor for your use case. For example, the best hunting suppressor likely isn't the best silencer for doing magdumps with a machine gun. Each suppressor has unique attributes that allow them to shine in different ways, and we’ll help you figure out which suppressor is best for you.
To maximize your enjoyment from shooting suppressed and to optimize the performance of your firearm and suppressor, you have to pick the right tool for the job. You wouldn't take a work truck to the racetrack, and you likely wouldn't use an Aston Martin for hauling hay around the ranch; silencers for guns aren't any different. We recommend figuring out what capabilities and features take priority for how you intend to use your firearms and silencers. If you have an extensive collection of firearms, you may want a multi-caliber silencer that can accommodate many different guns; if you only go hunting a few times a year, weight and sound are probably the most critical features, and if you're shooting thousands of rounds every month at training events or shooting competitions, you'll likely prioritize durability.
Suppressing Based on Caliber
Suppressors are rated by cartridge, so buying a suppressor that is rated for the firearms you intend to suppress is essential. Silencers are usually categorized by bore size but can work on multiple calibers. You will commonly see suppressors labeled .22LR, 556, 308, 9mm, and .45, and then there are some specialty suppressors for large bore rounds like 50BMG or 12 gauge shotguns. Generally, a larger bore suppressor will work for smaller caliber rounds IE: a .30-caliber suppressor will often work on 223/556 rifles as the bullet is smaller than the bore of the silencer. Check the product descriptions of any suppressor on the site to see which calibers it is rated for. Take a look at the firearms in your safe that you shoot the most and need suppressors for any that will help narrow down the perfect silencer for you.
Type of Firearm
After you've determined which calibers your suppressors need to be able to handle, it's important to think about which kind of firearm you're shooting. Some suppressors may be better suited for a bolt action rifle than a semi-auto AR15, or a pistol caliber carbine (PCC) vs a handgun.
Bolt Action Rifles:
Bolt action rifles have lower rates of fire, locked actions, and usually long barrels; this makes them more apt to use lighter, longer suppressors that focus on sound suppression. Titanium silencers work well on bolt action rifles as they save weight while remaining plenty durable for most high-powered, long-range, and hunting cartridges. These make excellent suppressor hosts as the locked action eliminates any port noise at the shooter's ear.
AR15s and other carbines have pretty high rates of fire, or you may be lucky enough to have access to a machine gun. For these applications where the firearm has high rates of fire and uses a gas operating system, durability, and backpressure become more important. Silencers on AR or AK-style rifles tend to get hot, so stainless steel, Inconel, and other incredibly durable materials are usually preferred. These platforms also have a higher probability of causing hearing damage due to the firing schedule and operation system, so using a silencer is incredibly important.
Pistol calibers are some of the best calibers to suppress as they are large in diameter, slow-moving, and use small powder charges. Suppressors for handguns tend to be thinner in diameter than rifle silencers; this is so that pistol sights can still see over the suppressor when it's attached. Handguns also usually require the use of a booster, which allows tilting barrel pistols to function with the additional weight of the silencer.
PCCs are great silencer hosts as they can heavy 9mm rounds, which is one of the best subsonic calibers for sound reduction. Silencers optimized for PCCs are often larger in diameter than pistol cans, as sight picture is not an issue. A larger diameter allows for more volume, which can help with sound suppression. PCCs also use fixed barrels, so there are a plethora of mounting options available such as Quick Detach (QD) systems or 3lug mounts.
Suppressed Shooting Styles
What type of shooting do you do? How many rounds per year do you shoot? These can be important in determining the ideal suppressor for your gun. Silenced guns are fantastic for a variety of tasks like hunting, tactical shooting, home defense, and competition shooting. Each of these applications lends itself to different styles of suppressors. Determining the appropriate balance of weight, length, and durability for your shooting style will maximize your enjoyment when shooting suppressed. These considerations will likely differ for your unique use case, but these are a few general rules of thumb that can help get you started.
In most hunting locations, you're going to be hiking into the woods or out into a field to set up your stand; in the most extreme cases, you may be climbing mountains or traversing extreme terrain. In any case, weight matters a lot in these scenarios; you're lugging all of your hunting gear around, and ounces can add up. Secondly, you're likely only taking a few shots. Often the best suppressor for hunting is a titanium can, which remains very light but is extremely quiet. These will replace the need for bulky hearing protection and reduce recoil when it's time to pull the trigger.
Tactical training is becoming more and more popular every year, and instructors and students are utilizing suppressors to protect their ears as they are exposed to so many gunshots over time. Silencers in tactical applications should focus on keeping the weapon system reliable and durable. Low backpressure suppressors have gained popularity in this crowd for their sound performance at the shooter's ear and lack of required tuning.
We hope that no one ever has to use a weapon inside of their home, but in the incredibly unfortunate event that you do, we want you to be equipped with the right silencer for the job. In this scenario, you will not have time to get ear pro, so the silencer needs to be quiet enough to save your hearing and the hearing of those around you. Subsonic ammo is a popular choice for defense rounds; this ammo is more quiet when suppressed than supersonic ammo. Mobility and maneuverability take precedence here to make moving through a confined space as easy as possible. Modular silencers that can become smaller and more maneuverable can be great options for home defense weapons.
Serious competitors look to gain any edge they can over their competitors, and they need their suppressed guns to perform very specific tasks. This often leads competition shooters to look for different things in silencers than most consumers. Accuracy and recoil reduction are the main attributes important for a competition precision rifle or pistol. Competitive shooters also shoot a lot; USPSA GM Hunter Constantine told us he shoots about 50,000 rounds per year, he trains and competes with silencers to reduce any hearing damage he might encounter with that heavy firing schedule.
While many suppressors look similar at first glance, they actually have many features that separate them from each other. Things like mounting solutions, aftermarket attachments, serviceability, and modularity can make significant differences in choosing the best silencer.
Some suppressors are direct thread only, others use the HUB "universal" mounting threads, and some use proprietary mounts. This can be very important if you plan to use the suppressor on different rifles or pistols, you need to be able to adapt the silencer to different weapon threads.
Silencers either use welded endcaps or interchangeable endcaps, attachments such as flash-hiding endcaps or E-brakes can help customize a suppressor to be ideal for your situation.
User serviceability refers to the silencer's ability to be taken apart for cleaning or maintenance. This is very important for rimfire silencers, but should also be prioritized for any cartridges that use bare lead projectiles.
We touched on modularity earlier in this blog, what this means is that the suppressor uses one or more removable modules that allow you to use the suppressor in different lengths. This can be very useful for tuning the gun silencer to your needs.
Our Best Pistol Suppressors
If you're looking for a pistol suppressor and you need help figuring out where to start, we recommend checking out our top 9mm suppressor list and our favorite 45 ACP silencer blog; these highlight the best silencers in these categories based on hundreds of customer reviews. One of the best silencers for pistols is the Rugged Obsidian 9, it uses a modular design and is made of 17-4 stainless steel giving it awesome durability, it can even handle some rifle rounds like subsonic 300blk and 350 legend. If you're looking for a silencer for a 9mm PCC, the Dead Air Wolfman is a great place to start. The Wolfman has a larger diameter than most pistol silencers for 9mm, giving it more volume, which helps with sound reduction. It is also modular and made from high-strength steel, allowing you to use this silencer on 556 and 300blk rifles. If you need the best 45acp suppressor, our customers agree that the Rugged Obsidian 45 is at the top of the list. It shares many features with its 9mm sibling, but is bored to handle larger calibers, including 450 Bushmaster.
Shooting a pistol with a silencer is excellent, they're very fun and sound amazing. Most modern pistols can be used with silencers with the addition of a threaded barrel, but there are some suppressor ready pistols that are optimized for using the gun with a silencer. The FN 509 and Sig Sauer P320 XCarry Legion are some of the best threaded barrel pistols and are fantastic pistol suppressor hosts out of the box. If you want to upgrade your EDC and use your Beretta or Glock with a suppressor, drop-in threaded barrels will allow you to attach a silencer to nearly any handgun you have in your safe.
Our Best Rifles Suppressors
Rifle silencers are the most popular suppressors on the market, they reduce recoil, noise, and can really improve your time on the range or in the field. The main categories for rifle suppressors are 223, 30-caliber, and multi-cal/big bore silencers. The best 223 silencer for 2023 is the SureFire SOCOM 556 RC2, it has a proven track record of years of military service, it is supremely durable, and does an excellent job of suppressing 223/556 rifles, making it one of the best AR 15 suppressors available. The Dead Air Sandman S took the top spot for the best 30 caliber silencer according to our customers; it uses the famed Keymo mounting system, and is full auto rated for incredibly hard use. It will work as a great 308 and 300blk AR15 suppressor and can also tame your 223 rifles, making it very versatile. If you need a multi-caliber can to work on multiple rifles and even pistols, the SilencerCo Omega 36M is an incredible choice. The 36M can suppress rifles up to .338 Lapua, and will run on 9mm handguns and PCCs as well. The modular Omega can be adjusted to optimize sound suppression or weight and length.
Learn more about our best suppressors for 5.56mm, 7.62, and Multi-Caliber:
Luckily most rifles these days can be suppressed without much work, AR15s and AK platform rifles are often threaded in common threads directly from the factory and even many hunting rifles are threaded for barrel attachments. Suppressors for rifles can easily be attached to nearly any threaded barrel, either with direct thread or quick detach mounts. Bolt action and lever action rifles are some of the best rifles to suppress as their locking actions make them incredibly quiet.
How to Buy a Silencer Online in 6 Simple Steps
Yes, suppressors are legal and they are easy to get! You can even shop for silencers online. If you are looking for the best place to buy a suppressor, look no further than Silencer Shop. We make the silencer buying process as simple as possible; check out the 6 easy steps to buy a suppressor online:
Purchase a Silencer from SilencerShop.com
Visit a Silencer Shop Kiosk
Add a Photo to Your Silencer Shop Profile
Sign the DocuSign
Create an ATF eForms Account
Certify and Submit to the ATF
Check out our full blog on how to purchase a silencer, or give us a call ( 512-931-4556 ), email, or stop by our socials to talk about getting started with NFA items.
Outfitting your favorite rifles and pistols with silencers will help protect your hearing while also putting a smile on your face after every shot. Whether you're looking for a do-it-all multi-caliber silencer to suppress every gun in your safe or an ultra-light hunting silencer for your favorite bolt action, we can help you get the perfect suppressor for your firearms. Buying your next silencer can be done quickly and easily, from the comfort of your own home.