The Sound of Silence

Senator John Bulloch (R-Ochlocknee) has introduced Senate Bill 301, which would lift the state’s restrictions on using silencers while hunting. Co-sponsors include Senators Ross Tolleson, David Shafer, Chip Rogers, Jeff Mullis and Greg Goggans. Currently such use is prohibited.

I have to believe that given federal restrictions on the possession and transfer of silencers, their use in crimes approaches zero. Once you are registered as the owner of a silencer, you have given BATFE the right to perform involuntary colonoscopy on you at any time they choose. Also, if a report is filed of a silencer being used in a crime, they start visiting registered silencer owners, I suspect. Because of this restriction, there are also likely very few legal silencers that make their way into the black market.

You mean silencers are legal, but I just can’t hunt with them?

Silencers are legal for civilians in Georgia and 33 other states to own. They must be purchased from a dealer that owns a Class 3 Firearms License, and you must be 21 years old without any felonies on your record. You must fill out the BATFE Form 4, provide photos and fingerprints, and your Form 4 must be signed by the chief law enforcement officer in your jurisdiction indicating your lack of a criminal record and no outstanding warrants. When you send in your Form 4, you pay a $200 transfer tax. There are some other requirements, but the main idea is that it is a PITA to get one, but you can do it. And in Georgia, you can’t hunt with it.

But why would you want to use a silencer for hunting?

In order to prevent hearing damage. A .308, which is a popular hunting load, peaks around 160 db and the sound can carry several miles. Even a silenced .308 will peak in excess of 120 db, still loud enough to hurt and cause damage. My own poor hearing is a testament to a youth spent with unsilenced firearms, unmuffled V8s and rock and roll. Silencers also attenuate recoil and help with a more accurate follow-up shot. They reduce the hearing damage to any dogs that may be in your company or nearby.

People really use silencers to hunt?

Yes. Check it out here. If you hate hunting or dead animals, you don’t want to hit that link.

Are there any benefits to society of silencers?

In addition to making people like the late Hunter S. Thompson better neighbors by causing less disturbance when shooting late at night, Georgia is home to Advanced Armament, a silencer manufacturer. This company, now owned by Remington, does its own R&D, provides equipment to the United States military, and provides a number of manufacturing jobs in Gwinnett County. They also use sophisticated manufacturing equipment that costs a pretty penny.

They work just like in the movies, right?

Wrong. A silenced firearm is still very loud. Like rock concert or jet engine loud. Just not as loud as it would be without the silencer. A silenced .22 approaches being hearing-safe, but nothing like the movies. It doesn’t make a sound like a Star Wars laser blaster.

40 comments

  1. Calypso says:

    “Even a silenced .308 will peak in excess of 120 db, still loud enough to hurt and cause damage. My own poor hearing is a testament to a youth spent with unsilenced firearms, unmuffled V8s and rock and roll.”

    TODD, YOU SHOULD’VE TYPED YOUR POST IN ALL CAPS. 🙂

  2. Max Power says:

    The effectiveness of silencers depends on their design. I’ve seen very good homemade silencers that make a 22LR quieter than a 22 short. But quiet frankly there’s no legitimate use for them. Guns are loud, they should be loud. If you want to kill something quietly I recommend a mission Craze.

  3. L. Max Lehmann says:

    Really?!??!

    People in every County in Georgia are experiencing financial pain and sometimes ruination due to the unbelievably high costs of disease modifying drug therapy. Some of drug costs result from pure profiteering, others a result of how research and development is financed in the US, but not paid for by the rest of the World.

    I remain hopeful that our lawmakers will find time to discuss the use of silenced weaponry for sport hunting AND review pertinent healthcare issues. One issue is fun, the other, not so much.

    “This is my rifle, this is my gun.” http://youtu.be/4kU0XCVey_U

  4. sunkawakan says:

    This is just stupid. I wonder how many of them will end up in the hands of criminals. Keep in mind that Georgia is one of the biggest sources of crime weapons to other areas of the country.

    Sounds like our legislators are hyper-focused on the economy and jobs? NOT!!!

    • Calypso says:

      I think you’re missing a pertinent point, sunkawakan.

      As Todd noted, there is a rigorous procedure currently in place to obtain a silencer. That will not change. There is currently a law which prohibits the use of silencers while hunting. The proposed legislation merely allows hunters to use silencers, silencers which must be procured in the same rigorous manner in place now.

      • sunkawakan says:

        Understood that it’s federal checks for silencers. However, pair that one with HB 679 “Constitutional Carry Act,” HR 1095, “Call a Constitutional Convention,” and HB 670, “Constitutional Guardian Advisory Council,” no telling what you’ll get.

    • Paul Srch says:

      I’m willing to wager that no matter “how many end up in the hands of criminals,” the number would be within the statistical margin of error for the number of silencers that would wind up in the hands of criminals even if you could not legally buy one.

      Wanna know why? It’s because criminals don’t bother with laws anyway – breaking one more would make no difference to someone already liable for jail time for using a weapon in the commission of a crime in the first place.

  5. Engineer says:

    Eh, sure, why not? When hunting, you can’t really wear ear protection, otherwise you might not hear the deer coming, so it sounds ok to me. Not to mention I know some horse owners that would appreciate the loud noises not spooking their horses.

  6. ChuckEaton says:

    I think people freak-out when they hear the words “silencer” and “guns,” but the reality is different than what we see in the movies. There really aren’t that many out-of-work “Mission Impossible” assassins, waiting for this law to change, so they can start dropping into warehouses, by cable, to kill people with silencer attached hunting rifles.

    Silencers are already available, but your typical street criminal wouldn’t want to use one, because it doubles the length of a previously concealable handgun.

  7. griftdrift says:

    That’s a good point.

    But it also clarifies a larger point I made elsewhere. Look how many rat holes we’ve already ventured down to justify (or not justify) this thing. Any time you’re scrambling all over the place to find a reason for something, you should step back and ask, “is this really necessary?”

    • Charlie says:

      I think the really important question we must ask ourselves is “What are our neighboring states doing with regard to silencers used during deer hunting?”

      We do want to maintain competitiveness, after all.

  8. saltycracker says:

    Empirically it seems that violent crimes are on the decline where gun ownership increases with non-violent citizens. Except in areas where permitted guns are not permitted.

    Silencers would have little play on that but might deter shots being reported, but then few bad guys would buy silencers.

      • sunkawakan says:

        I keep hearing that as well, but haven’t seen the proof, either. It’d also be interesting to see if an increase in gun ownership reduces population in an area. (I say that somewhat tongue in cheek, but not entirely).

  9. slyram says:

    First, I don’t appreciate the geniuses who made the video with Rambo-like music that contain beats. Half the time I couldn’t hear the silenced weapon from the drum track. Secondly, research and committee hearings might discover that gun noise has a safety benefit. On a related note, I have talked with local law enforcement about the listening aspect of neighborhood watch or shall I say neighborhood listen.

    In my neighborhood, neighborhood watch generally means folks watch as your place gets jacked. However, there are seniors on the block and I am constantly listening for wrongful sounds. But, these kids with the booming systems (who actually put speakers in the grill of their cars) are messing up my sound policing. Think about it: if kids wanted to break in a house, they could simply briefly turn up the music to hide the sound of breaking glass.

    While hunting is one thing, I love the idea of loud firearms for home protection. I think my county is Georgia’s biggest so a wife alone is in trouble if there is a home invasion while the two patrolling deputies are 20 miles away. A wife or anyone should put down a shotgun blast or let a clip sing so the villains will move on the next place. Also, country neighbors should have agreements that state “if you hear my weapons, come with yours and I will do the same.”

  10. bowersville says:

    Oh my.

    Off the top of my head I could write a dissertation/thesis/essay on silencers/suppressors to include topics such as an overview of purpose, sub-sonic versus super sonic ammo, intent/uses of directional concealment, and on and on…but like most fishing lures are designed to catch more fisherman this bill’s about something besides shooting more game without damaging your ears or disturbing your neighbors. Go figure.

    Battery powered earmuffs have come a long way. For those of you that might wish to carry on a conversation over a dove field, at the shooting range or hunting, or not damage your hearing while shooting in general try some of the latest models. A hundred dollar bill will buy a pair that instantly mutes gunfire, enhances hearing by magnification so you can hear that deer walking through dried leaves while sitting in a stand in the next county over. And with a little more cash you can purchase light weight muffs compatible with two way electronic communications. So when the wife says it’s too cold and time to go, you can promptly reply…yes dear.

    • L. Max Lehmann says:

      And the winner is ….. bowersville!

      “…but like most fishing lures are designed to catch more fisherman this bill’s about something besides shooting more game without damaging your ears or disturbing your neighbors. …”

      I had lunch with an avid, self-described ethical hunter who was puzzled why any hunter would consider using a silencer — His conclusion, it makes it harder for DNR to find an illegal hunter or maybe Advanced Armament is trying to legislate sales….

      My guess is much time will be spent on Sine Die discussing some intriguing Bills.

    • bowersville says:

      I apologize. I should have been more clear.

      I consider myself proficient at hunting and fishing and there’s nothing I like better than needling those using the latest and best technology to increase their proficiency. Be it shooting, fishing or hunting. I’ve used all this technology and was proficient with it in another life. Now I prefer the old fashioned way. As an example: a single shot rifle, iron peep sights, double set trigger with one shot and the first time every time. You bring your fly rod and flys, I’ll bring the Zebco 33 and niblets corn and I’ll out trout you every time.

  11. mountainpass says:

    Don’t get trapped in the “gun control” box.

    We have background checks yet criminals get guns without going through them.
    We have licensing yet criminals carry firearms without them.
    We have the ATF Tax Stamp($200+ cost of surpressor…not cheap) and like Mr Rehm pointed out an inspection of your home at anytime yet criminals can find plans online to easily make one(which without the stamp is illegal).

    Gun Control does not affect criminals, as pointed out above, as criminals do not follow laws.
    Gun Control is simply the way the government controls the law abiding.

    • benevolus says:

      Gun control does control criminals. I guess it is arguable whether it controls crime, but once a crime is committed, using a gun adds to the penalty, supposedly keeping that criminal off the streets for a while longer.

  12. Noway says:

    You’re incorrect about the noise of a silencer, Todd. Back in my Fed days we used to use them in firearms training. a silenced MP-5 submachine gun sounds no louder than a baseball being caught in a glove. No need for any ear protection.

          • bowersville says:

            About the best, IMHO, is the Heckler & Koch MP5-SD and from the factory….128 dB. The weapon in the video is an MP5 with an after market product.

            http://www.tactical-life.com/online/special-weapons/gemtech-blackside-45acp/

            At the bottom of the article you’ll see a heading: Final Notes
            Two paragraphs above that you’ll see the article describes the MP5SD at 128 dB as the benchmark. It doesn’t bother me that folks want to hunt using the tactics of a Carlos Hathcock, to each their own just not me. It bothers me that this is being sold as “silent.” It’s not. I think by using the word “silent” and all the misconceptions of silencers/suppressors in the eyes of the public, the public will start to believe shooting should be silent. Suits have been brought against shooting ranges and clubs, even in an area as rural as mine for noise nuisance. Shooting “silence” doesn’t exist.

            • Todd Rehm says:

              The best you’ll find for a .45 with subsonic ammunition is in the neighborhood of 125 db. That’s just under the pain threshold and nowhere near the claim made above.

              • Noway says:

                I suppose you were the tech that did the audio analysis for the Warren Commission, too, huh? I do not know or care what decibels you’re speaking about. When we were doing our training, we did not have a measuring device for the decibels made. All I know is that it wasn’t loud in the least bit and all of the agents had no ear protection when firing that particular weapon in suppressed mode. I can’t speak for another weapon.

      • Noway says:

        Todd, are you saying that I am deliberately lying when I speak of my personal experience with a suppressed MP-5? “BS?” What is that? The truth is the truth, Todd. But go ahead with your knee-jerk answer to support your position, which is not supported with facts.

        • Todd Rehm says:

          Yes, that is what I am saying. I do not believe you. You are either deliberately lying, or you are misremembering. I do not believe you have any personal experience with an MP5. I do not believe you have any Federal law enforcement experience unless you count being felt up by TSA. You are an anonymous coward with all the credibility that carries with it.

          There is no suppressor that can take the volume of a .45 round down below 120 db. Period.

          • Noway says:

            Well, Todd, the MP-5 I fired used a 9mm and not a .45. Oops!! Strike one for Todd! I don’t give a rats-backside the decibels you’re talking about. I truly do not know what level of sound came from the weapon I used. All I did was point out that when I used it, the sound wasn’t at all loud and hearing protection was not required by our range master.

            I bet Erick is proud to have one of his Page One topic posters calling a respondent a liar, coward and other choice words simply because that poster disagreed with a incorrect blanket statement you made about all silencers being loud.

            But, hey, keep it up Todd. Everyone here is having fun seeing you show your ass! You’re first class! LMAO!

            • Todd Rehm says:

              You’re right that the MP5 is chambered in 9mm. I was thinking of the UMP, it’s successor, because there was one at the range Friday afternoon.

              Go ahead and whine to Erick. I’m sure he’ll apologize to you.

              The best you can do with a suppressed MP5 is about 125db. That’s undeniably loud.

              • saltycracker says:

                Memo: don’t mess with Todd when he gets on
                the solid ground of right..eous.
                Bowersville settled it way back.

                Settle by a silenced duel ?

  13. saltycracker says:

    yahoo answers

    Silencers can be very effective at reducing noise. A typical good quality silencer will reduce noise intensity by 30 decibels, or a factor of 1000 times. This is a reduction in perceived loudness of 8 times. Despite the effectiveness of silencers, this does not always mean they will make a gun safe to shoot without ear plugs. Even the small 22 rim fire rifles are over 100 decibels impulse noise. Anything over 140 decibels impulse noise will damage your hearing even if it is not painful. A suppressed 22 rim fire rifle will be 110-115 decibels, a 5.56 rifle about 130 decibels, 308 about 135 decibels.

    sportales report:

    Vacuum Cleaner – 80 dB
    Large Orchestra – 98 dB
    Walkman at Maximum Level – 100 dB
    Front Rows of Rock Concert – 110 dB

    Threshold of Pain – 130 dB
    Military Jet Takeoff – 140 dB
    Instant Perforation of Eardrum – 160 dB

    Read more: http://sportales.com/sports/decibel-levels/#ixzz1jUovArTI

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