How Do Silencers Work And Why They Are Nowhere Near ‘Silent’

I’ve always found it rather fascinating that just a small tube attached at the end of the gun can reduce its noise levels that much. I mean, how this thing works? I just couldn’t get it. So i decided to have a look and as it turns out, silencers work on a very simple principle.

To better understand how they work though, we need to understand what actually produces the noise when firing a weapon.

When guns fire, they produce high-pressure gases that push the bullet out of the barrel. Following the bullet, when these gases escape into the open, the sudden change in the environment produces that distinctive, loud gun blast. So, how do silencers work? (the article continues after the ad)

When we attach a silencer at a weapon, we basically increase the distance these gases have to travel in order to exit the barrel. This significant increase in distance, along with the fact that silencers have internal baffles, give the gases a larger, contained space to dissipate and cool before exiting which reduces the noise. Here’s how it works in this GIF created by an infographic posted by silencers manufacturer, SilencerCo:

GIF made from Infographic by SilencerCo

But it’s important to note here that silencers do not, in any way, completely silent the weapon, they only reduce a gunshot to “safe hearing levels” which is in fact, nowhere near silent and definitely not near as the levels we are presented in movies. That’s why it makes much more sense to call them suppressors, not silencers (suppressors and silencers are the exact same thing, they have no difference whatsoever).

Here’s an example: A 9mm pistol makes a sound of around 160-165dB. By using a suppressor on that very weapon the sound is reduced to 120-125dB which is impressive but, not silent at all. To better understand how loud this noise is, a lawn mower is at 90dB and a chainsaw at 100dB.

To completely silence a gunshot you would need a very, very long tube but even in that case, even though you will be able to theoretically eliminate the sound made by gases, you would still have some noise form the bullet exiting the barrel (just like when you uncork a bottle of wine).

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: How Do Cats Always Land On Their Feet? 

Main Article Photo: SilencerCo
Sources: Silencers, how do they work?This Awesome Infographic Shows How Silencers Actually Work | How much noise does it makes? | This Awesome Infographic Shows How Silencers Actually Work

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