Pistol Suppressors make no sense. There, I said it. You can hate me if you want but you know I’m right.
If you’re part of the growing number of gun enthusiasts who have tried a pistol suppressor or are lucky enough to actually own one, there are some things that should have stood out to you as you squeezed the trigger with that childish grin on your face.
The first thing you should have noticed is that the balance and weight of the gun are completely different than what a handgun normally feels like without a 6 to 9 inch steel and aluminum contraption hanging off the barrel. Is it more than your hand strength could handle? Probably not. Is it comfortable? If we are being totally honest then the answer is, “No.” Handguns were not designed to hold that kind of weight out at the end of the barrel. In fact, pistol suppressors had to be designed around the recoil mechanisms built into the handgun because a suppressor completely alters the physics of the firearm. The primary reason for using a pistol instead of a rifle is it’s size and portability. That reason is completely defeated when you double the length of the gun and change the ergonomics of the design.
The second thing you probably notice when you fire a handgun with a suppressor is that it’s not really as quiet as you thought it was going to be. Now this will vary on many things including environment, caliber, ammunition type, suppressor type and various other factors. But it’s generally understood that suppressors are never as quiet as what you see in the movies. In fact, in many circumstances the noise is not even hearing safe by OSHA standards. Is it quieter? Absolutely. Is it what you expected? If it’s your first time, probably not.
The other factor when it comes to noise is that much of the time when we are shooting, we are not surrounded by people who are also shooting suppressed. Despite the fun factor of shooting a suppressed handgun, we very rarely get to enjoy the peace and quiet we hoped for when we bent over and paid that $200 infringement. While you quietly plink away on the firing line, you are surrounded by people who don’t have the goddamn common courtesy to also spend $600 to $1500 to hush their obnoxiously loud boom sticks. You still have to wear ear protection, and you are still exposed to the concussive blasts of the guy 2 lanes down trying out his new AK pistol.
But Mr. Blogger Man, I bought mine for home defense! Let’s cut the crap right now, people have been shooting bad guys unsuppressed indoors for a long time and I never hear any bitching about how loud the gun was. It’s a hazard of the job, so to speak. Not to mention the fact that if and when you ever have the opportunity to use your $1100 FNX-45 Tactical with a $200 Surefire light, $500 RMR and $700 suppressor to actually shoot a bad guy in the face, you can at least temporarily kiss that setup goodbye while the police and DA investigate the shooting. Until you are cleared of any criminal wrongdoing, the shooting is criminal investigation and your super tactical ninja setup will sit in an evidence locker. Is that a reason not to use a quality gun to defend yourself? No. Do you really want an NFA item sitting unsupervised indefinitely while the police try to figure out if your shooting was justified? Not me amigo.
That brings me to another point, it’s hard to train with a suppressed handgun. You can’t effectively holster it without making some serious fashion concessions. Let’s also not forget that after putting a couple magazines through a suppressor, it is HOT! If you try to holster it, there is a high probability that you will hear the sizzle of gear and flesh being melted. Ask me how I know. I’m not a fan of training with tools that are impractical. Yes, it is a ton of fun to screw around with your friends in the backyard quietly shooting grapefruits with subsonic 230 gr .45 acp. But that isn’t enough of a reason to invest the time and money into a pistol suppressor. I’d rather spend that money on gear that will actually help improve my shooting, or on rifle suppressors which really are worth every penny.
All of the above is absolute fact and you can’t deny it. But there are two exceptions.
The first exception is a .22 caliber suppressor. .22 suppressors really are stupid quiet. The first time I fired my Ruger SR22 with an AAC Pilot 2 suppressor, I was in shock at how quiet it was. As far as sharing the firing line with a-holes who don’t own such necessary equipment, don’t forget that with a suppressed .22 pistol, you can just set up a shooting range in your living room. Building a backstop will be no sweat, just use all those children’s books that your wife keeps around but no one ever reads. Holster options are far more available because of the generally small size of .22 cans. And if you ever shoot a bad guy with a suppressed .22, no one will need to know. There shouldn’t be any blood stains to speak of and you can just bury the bad guy in the backyard. No cops, no problems.
The second exception is subguns. A suppressed subgun is such a boner machine that all of the above reasons for not needing a pistol suppressor are rendered instantly irrelevant. Period.