Determining the quietest silencer is difficult without laying out specific parameters. For example, if we asked, "What is the fastest car in the world?" You might say the Bugatti Chiron, as it's been deemed the fastest production car.
But would the Bugatti beat a drag-racing car in a straight line? Does that make the drag car the fastest?
What if it was racing around the Circuit of the Americas? Then maybe a Formula 1 car would be the fastest car in the world.
Typically, suppressors are designed for specific tasks. Keeping sound suppression at a maximum is a major goal, but manufacturers also focus on other important silencer features such as versatility, back pressure, size, and weight.
What is the Quietest Decibel Silencer?
The lowest dB rating silencer is likely a rimfire silencer like the Rugged Oculus in its long configuration.
However, if you need a suppressor for hunting brown bears in Alaska, a rimfire silencer won't help you.
We recognize that folks need to be able to protect their hearing when shooting multiple firearms, not just rimfires, when plinking or hunting. So, we've broken down the quietest silencers in different calibers, applications, and price points.
What round you're shooting plays a massive role in the suppression level of your weapon system.
Lower-pressure, slower-moving cartridges like .22lr or subsonic 300BLK will be quieter than fast-moving high-pressure rounds like .300 WinMag or 5.56.
There are a few reasons for this.
The first is eliminating the supersonic crack; anytime a bullet breaks the sound barrier (usually around 1100 feet per second), it goes supersonic and emits a supersonic boom. Because physics is fickle, silencers can't eliminate the noise of the sound barrier breaking; therefore, supersonic bullets will be louder than subsonics.
Secondly is the powder charge. As we know, a bullet is fired by a primer detonating, which ignites the gunpowder in the cartridge, which builds pressure and propels the bullet down range.
Smaller, slower bullets require less powder. For example, a .22lr standard velocity round uses about 1 grain, and a 5.56 cartridge uses about 25 grains. As you can imagine, the larger powder charge produces much more sound and energy.
Barrel Length & Suppressor Size
Barrel length can largely affect how a silencer sounds.
The primary reason is that longer barrels allow for muzzle pressure to be lower. This is the same reason we see barrel length restrictions on silencers.
Lower pressures mean there is less energy (which translates to sound) for the silencer to manage, so it sounds better.
Another often-overlooked factor is that a larger barrel moves the muzzle further from your head and ears. This added distance can make a silencer sound significantly quieter.
Imagine popping a balloon right in front of your face and then another balloon 2 feet away; the sound difference is staggering, even though the two balloons produced the same sound.
Silencer Size is also important to consider.
Silencers work by trapping combustion gases and allowing them to cool, slow, and expand before exiting into the atmosphere. Added volume often translates into more gas trapped and lower sound.
A longer or larger diameter suppressor will usually have more volume and better sound performance.
There are now two primary ways to build suppressors: Traditional subtractive manufacturing and additive manufacturing (known as Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) or 3D printing).
Most silencers are made via CNC mills, removing material from a solid metal block to create a baffle. Then, multiple baffles are welded together, or are pressed into a tube to form the main suppressor body.
3D printing technology allows for additive manufacturing. Instead of removing material from a metal block to create the desired baffle shape, DMLS silencers are made of thin layers of metal powder, which are laser welded together, creating one solid piece.
Neither of these methods inherently creates quieter suppressors. If you had two silencers, both of the same design, one made from CNC baffles and the other 3D printed, they would sound the same.
The difference is that 3D printing allows for complex designs that CNC machining does not.
Due to the freedom of 3D printing architecture, this technology produces some incredibly high-performing suppressors.
Bolt Action vs Semi-Auto
We typically get asked, are bolt actions quieter? Yes, bolt action rifles generally sound quieter than semi-auto guns like an AR15. This is because the action on a bolt gun is locked; this is also true of lever action rifles.
The locked action eliminates port noise. All of the gas travels out of the barrel instead of back into the action and out of the ejection port when the bolt unlocks like a reciprocating firearm.
The ejection port is right next to your head, so port noise greatly increases the sound you hear as the shooter.
What are the Quietest Silencers?
Rimfire silencers are the quietest silencers in the world.
Usually, pistol caliber silencers like 9mm and 45 come in just behind rimfire.
Then centerfire rifle and specialty silencers, like those for 50BMG or 12GA shotguns, round out the pack.
Top 3 Quietest Suppressors for Beginners
This group of silencers represents incredible value because of their price point or versatility to be used on multiple hosts -- including rifles and pistols.
These suppressors are often great starting points for the budding suppressor enthusiast, as they have a lower barrier to entry but maintain excellent performance.
The Obsidian is a high-performing, modular 9mm suppressor designed to provide excellent signature reduction in both sound and flash.
Rugged is known for its durable suppressors, and the Obsidian follows suit. It is belt-fed rated for 9mm and can also suppress 300BLK, 9x39, and 350 Legend rifles.
This modular silencer has a short configuration when compactness is essential and a long configuration when sound suppression is paramount.
Top-tier sound suppression
Modularity and versatility
If you want to suppress a handgun or PCC, the Rugged Obsidian 9 is the go-to option for many folks.
Top 3 Quietest Suppressors for Connoisseurs
Silencer connoisseurs, or "Cannosseurs" as we like to call them, aim to get a specific silencer for a specific host weapon.
Dedicating a silencer to a gun allows you to create an ultra-high-performing weapon system dialed in for your use case.
These silencers are purpose-built for certain types of rounds and employ advanced technologies and designs not often found in other suppressors.
HUXWRX FLOW 762Ti
HUXWRX developed the FLOW 762Ti to be the no-compromise .30 caliber silencer.
The FLOW 762Ti is a low back pressure 7.62 silencer utilizing Flow-Through ™ Tech to effectively suppress sound and flash and eliminate blowback to the shooter.
If you have any .30 cal cartridge, the FLOW will suppress it, and there are no barrel length or caliber restrictions.
The FLOW allows you to shoot all day on your favorite hard-use, bolt-action, or hunting rig without tuning your weapon or any gas in your face.
Flow-Through ™ Technology
No tuning or blowback
Gas-operated .30 caliber rifles and high-pressure magnum cartridges. The FLOW is incredibly effective on everything from .223 to .300 WinMag.
SureFire is known for its legendary silencers adopted by the military, and the SOCOM556-RC3 is the next generation of SureFire pedigree.
The RC3 is DMLS printed from Inconel alloy and achieves incredible noise reduction, flash suppression, and minimal back pressure.
Designed with the shooter's safety in mind and exposed to SOCOM testing, the RC3 was built to save the shooter's ears and reduce exposure to carcinogens and toxic gases.
The SOCOM556-RC3 is ideal for semi-auto 5.56 rifles.
60% back pressure reduction
Top-tier signature suppression
Extensive military testing
Tactical training, using hard-use semi-auto and full auto host platforms. Avid shooters looking to reduce hearing damage risk and carcinogen exposure.
CGS designed the Hyperion to be the quietest .30 caliber suppressor in the world.
The 3D-printed titanium Hyperion design creates highly effective gas paths that trap as much of the combustion gases as possible, resulting in incredible sound performance on both subsonic and supersonic cartridges.
The Hyperion delivers best-in-class performance for suppressing 300 Black Out, .308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, .300 RUM, and more.
The Hyperion also uses swappable endcaps, allowing you to tune the silencer to maximum gas trapping and sound suppression or high flow rate and low back pressure.
At 9.5" long and 1.75" in diameter, the Hyperion has increased volume to maximize its suppression and weighs just 15.1 oz to maintain the maneuverability of your rifle.
If you want the quietest tactical or hunting rifle possible, you'll want to check out the the CGS Hyperion is the suppressor for you.
Class-leading sound suppression
Lightweight titanium construction
Tunable back pressure
Maximum sound suppression on .30 caliber rifles. The Hyperion is a top contender if sound performance is your #1 priority.
There are a ton of great silencers available today, and there has never been a better time to be interested in suppressors.
Now that you understand how different factors about your host weapon and silencer attributes interact to aid in suppression and a few of the best options in different categories, you are well-armed to make an educated decision about your next suppressor.
Feel free to reach out if you want more information or need help deciding which silencer would be best for you and your specific application. We have a dedicated staff available to answer all of your questions. Give us a call at 512-931-4556 or shoot us an email.