Suppressor Vs Silencer

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Gun enthusiasts and experienced users have grasped the nuances of firearms and gun accessories.

However, many new gun owners are still confused while addressing the topic of gun accessories. One such accessory that always starts a heated debate is the ‘silencer.’

Thus, this article sheds light on the subject while helping you understand the nuances of Suppressors Vs. Silencers, along with their correct use.

We will also cover the right way of using these words, so any new pro-gun owner feels confident while explaining and informing others.

Suppressor Vs Silencer

How Do They Work

Before we move to the main question, one must apprehend the exact mechanism of this accessory to learn the difference between both words.

A classic silencer consists of a metallic body constructed using stainless steel or titanium. The tube is carved straight to allow the projectile to pass through the silencer without touching any inner corner.

As soon as a bullet gets fired, this long silencer tube holds the propellant gases and expands them. This slowed-down gas starts to dissipate its loud kinetic energy, ultimately lowering the loud bang of the projectile.

Many leading silencer companies also try to eliminate the sonic crack by reflecting the sound, thus canceling it or simply moving it out of the human range. However, neither of these techniques is exceptionally efficient.

Therefore you always hear the acoustic waves even though the manufacturers claim their products have 100% practical phase cancellation.

Do Suppressors Reduce Sound?

Many gun owners decide to skip on this accessory to avoid the whole debate of Suppressors Vs. Silencers.

However, we feel that not knowing the potential of a silencer can highly affect one’s hunting experience, not to forget several hearing issues in later years. Most standard firearms produce an approximate sound of 140 decibels after firing.

Moreover, you can expect an even higher loud boom depending on the bullet, weather, angle, and firearm model. Commercially available silencers can quickly dial this noise level to approximately 30 decibels.

The noise after mounting this accessory is highly safe for your ears without damaging the hearing.

What’s The Difference Between Suppressor And Silencer

Are suppressor and silencer same thing

We are happy to unveil that suppressors and silencers are the same things.

There is virtually no superior or trifling difference in their mechanics, looks, shape, or size that can help them differentiate. Moreover, this word is often used interchangeably to address suppressors or silencers.

The word ‘suppressor’ is a reasonably technical term for a device that reduces the sound of a gunshot. Since it suppresses the sound, the phrase suppressor originated. On the other hand, ‘Silencer’ is a purely patent name that, in all fairness, exaggerates the feature (more on this later).

The name itself is the only palpable difference between a suppressor and a silencer. The final purpose of this accessory is the same, i.e., to suppress and reduce the sound. Many suppressors also function well to reduce the muzzle flash of a shot.

Origin Of Silencer And Suppressor

Origin Of Silencer And Suppressor

The origin of the word silencer dates back to 1902, when an American inventor named Hiram Percy Maxim invented the very first commercially successful silencer.

This gun accessory was called the Maxim Silencer, patented on March 30, 1909. This highly influential name- the Maxim Silencer, became an industry standard, and people started using the word ‘silencer’ first.

At that time, the advertisement laws were quite lenient and lax, so authorities or the general audience didn’t double-check any claims made by the companies.

Similarly, when Maxim Silencer advertised their device as a completely silent accessory, people were on board with the idea without testing its efficacy. In reality, the device was not a silencer but a muffler or Suppressor since it only reduced the noise and did not entirely cancel it.

With years passing by, this accessory took the fire gun market by storm, and the name ‘silencer’ got stuck.

Later on, as the advertisement laws started becoming stringent and a new army of well-informed firearms fans came into the limelight, most people began using the word ‘suppressor’ to honor the exact accurate function of the silencer.

Most firearms supplies, manufacturers, accessory intermediaries, and hardcore firearm enthusiasts prefer using the term ‘suppressor’ instead of a ‘silencer.’

However, the US Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) use ‘silencer’ in legal documents, forms, and application papers.

The Common Misapprehension

The term ‘silencer’ partially led to the public misunderstanding of the function of the accessory.

Thus, many new owners are under the impression that silencers can make a gunshot completely silent even today.

Contrary to this, many seasoned firearm dealers and owners know that silencers do not have the potential to make any gunshot completely silent.

Why Did The Term ‘Silencer’ Stick More

The reason for this word’s popularity has to be that it was called a silencer soon after its invention.

With robust marketing and heavy advertisement in the media, people started associating the accessory with a silencer. Furthermore, sports magazines covered this topic and often used the word silencer to advertise this accessory.

To top off, Hollywood also has the lion’s share in making the word genuinely classic. Films and commercials always used the term ‘silencer,’ which never left the population’s tongues.

Most people consider silencer as a standard term now, while many newly emerging pro-gun bodies prefer using the term suppressors.


To wrap up this debate, we would like to say that there is zero difference between a suppressor and a silencer, so much so that it is acceptable to use the word interchangeably.

Whether a person refers to this accessory as a silencer/suppressor, the core meaning and product remain the same. However, many governmental bodies and firearm subculture groups prefer to use different words.

For instance, any informed firearm enthusiast or military personnel often use the term suppressor, while casual hunters and range visitors usually call them by their legacy name – silencer.

We hope our Suppressor Vs. Silencer article helped in clearing the confusion between these two terms. Lastly, we highly recommend using a suppressor for accurate shots and a healthy hearing for years to come.

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