Disadvantages to shooting guns suppressed

by Erik  

Shooting with a silencer sounds cool (pun intended). However, there are some disadvantages. Let's remember what suppression does, it helps contain expanding gas that released once the weapon is fired. The baffles inside a suppressor create a slight reverse pressure needed to suppress the gases leaving the barrel. This causes a few different things to happen.

  1. Extra carbon build up (the gun gets really dirty)
  2. Gas blow back
  3. Poor sight picture

All guns will get very dirty when you shoot them suppressed. Some more than others, but expect to see the internals become about twice as dirty as usual. Even using quality ammo, you may also see an increased amount of nitrocellulose. Especially if shooting "wet." It's easily fixed with a good cleaning.

The bigger problem is the gas blow back. Suppressing an AR-15 will result in significant gas in your face. A short barreled AR makes matters even worse. There are several techniques and parts which can help reduce this, but don't be shocked when you fire off the first few rounds and see a small cloud of while smoke.

It is less noticeable on pistols, but you will see smoke escaping from the rear of the gun. It usually starts to come out from the cracks around the hammer or between the slide and frame. Once the slide locks back on the last round fired you will usually see a small amount of white smoke escape from the breech. If you are shooting outdoors, the blow back from any guns is less noticeable. However, indoors it can create quite a disturbance to other shooters around you.

One of the last disadvantages to shooting a pistol with a suppressor is sight picture. Without raised or "tactical" sights, the top of the silencer will usually cover the sight posts. That will make shooting at a distance a little harder. Rifles are usually not affected as their sight systems are generally much higher over the bore, or use a scope.

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