Whether using a baking potato or a sweet potato, no, you cannot use a potato as an effective gun silencer or suppressor. It doesn’t really change the sound at all except perhaps provide a different pitch to the way the gun sounds when fired. This is merely an urban legend that’s quickly developing into an old wives’ tale.
If you want a silencer for a gun, it’s best to get equipment designed for this purpose. Using something like a potato will not only NOT work, but it can also destroy the gun while providing an interesting smell that combines a slightly toasted potato with gun powder.
Origins Of The Potato Silencer Myth
Apparently, at some point, the Miami Herald reported on a man who used a potato silencer on his gun in an effort to threaten the mother of his child. He never actually fired the gun but told the woman how the potato would silence it. This was to suggest that no one would hear her or what happened to her.
But, the original myth dates back to the old school mobsters of the 1920s and 30s, where it was common gossip that they would use a potato as a gun silencer. They did this when they murdered people. The idea of a potato silencer perpetuates in Hollywood movies, such as Dick Tracy, and through the grapevine. But this has no basis in fact whatsoever.
Exploring the Possibilities of a Potato Silencer
The only time something like this could even remotely work is that the gun would have to be an incredibly low caliber that has a weak cartridge. But, in this case, it would destroy the gun itself and make a huge mess in the process.
There are a couple of videos on YouTube where people attempted to see if this theory works. In all cases, it failed miserably with potato shrapnel stuck to the nose, mouth and clothing. By all accounts, it leaves behind a strange and interesting smell of slightly roasted potato combined with that of gun powder.
If you were to attach the potato at the end of something like a rifle, the bullet may not even make it out of the bore. Indeed, it may clog it or simply stop dead inside the potato. While this will greatly depend on how large the potato is, it will make the gun defunct for future use.
Some Claim Potatoes Work as a Silencer
If you peruse the forums online discussing how to use a potato as a silencer, there are a small handful of people who say it works. While we don’t have any video evidence of these Einsteins attempting the feat to show people how it works, they say you should use a hot potato.
But, there’s no evidence to support this and it would seem like the potato would simply fall apart upon placing it over the barrel. Alternatively, if you put it just in front of the exit chamber, all it would do is explode. It’s a matter of basic high school physics.
How Silencers Really Sound When Firing a Gun
Due to Hollywood movie magic tricks, far too many think any old makeshift item can become an effective gun silencer and it isn’t true. Hollywood tends to exaggerate and dramatize certain aspects for added effect. Therefore, everything used in movies as a gun silencer appears to keep the gun quiet and that no one will hear it go off.
This too is also untrue. A silencer doesn’t quiet the sound a gun makes. It only reduces the loudness of a gun by about three decibels. So, people will still hear it go off but the sound won’t be nearly as loud. It’s good for the gun range and other practice shooting scenarios when you don’t want to disturb others around you.
Unfortunately, Hollywood and other movie-type features do a terrible job at depicting the reality of guns and how they work. As a matter of fact, they do it in a very unrealistic and irresponsible way for the most part.
In general, using a potato as a silencer will not work. It doesn’t actually quiet the sound of a gun, it would only change the tone of it.
Besides, there’s enough video evidence on places like YouTube to show once and for all that it’s not really effective. This is simply a modern, urban myth with no basis in fact or reality.