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How much sound can a gun silencer “silence?”

First, it is important to know that silencers are somehow a misnomer. Silencers threaded at the tip of the barrel don’t actually silence a gun, as opposed to what most action films try to depict. These accessories only suppress the sound of the gunshot. In the real world, there is no possible way to actually silence a gun completely.

However, silencers can significantly decrease gunshot noise by an average of 30 decibels. So, if a gunshot’s dB level is 140, a reduction to 1,100 dB means 8 times less noise or 1,000 times less intensity, which is a great deal since dB is measured in logarithmic scale. Some may even go higher than that. According to , rifles equipped with a barrel integrated with a suppressor fire quieter. They are also stronger and better in reducing recoil and baffle strikes.

But what does a 30 dB reduction really mean? A 30dB reduction is comparable to wearing an ear protection when firing a gun. In such cases, equipping your barrel with a quality-manufactured suppressor could mean not needing to wear an ear muff anymore. However, to keep injuries at bay, it is better to veer on the side of caution and wear hearing protection when shooting with suppressors.

There are a variety of reasons why a gun can never be totally noise-free. The sound of the hammer hitting the primer, for instance, can create a metallic “clang” noise that can never be filtered out by suppressors. A bullet piercing through the air can also create a mini-sonic boom called a bullet crack. So, ideally, a person shooting a gun would hear a metallic “clang” sound coming from the hammer hitting the primer, and a suppressed “bang” sound created by the hot gasses that go out of the muzzle. Meanwhile, a person being targeted could hear a “crack” sound, produced by the shock wave coming from the speeding bullets.