Is a Suppressor the Same as a Silencer?

A silencer and a suppressor are synonyms. In other words, silencers are identical to suppressors. The reason that people think silencers and suppressors are different is due to technical and controversial nuances. The word “silencer” is legally defined as a device used to suppress sounds emanating from firearms. Similarly, the word “suppressor” is used as a technical description of a device used to suppress sounds emanating from firearms.

Many firearm owners are confused about the difference between silencers and suppressors.

History shows that the words are simply different ways of explaining the same device. Hiram Percy Maxim, the inventor who came up with the concept of a suppressor, called his device the “Maxim Silencer.” These were the official words Maxim used on his 1909 patent.

People were eager to buy Maxim Silencers because these devices offered the following benefits:

  • Shooters could shoot in a more precise manner.
  • The device made shooting a safer activity.
  • Sound levels were lower.
  • The device made muzzle blasts a thing of the past.

People living during the early 1900s preferred to call these devices “silencers.” Plus, consumers found it easy to order the devices via the United States Postal Service. But New York City’s Sullivan Act of 1911 made it difficult for people to buy firearms.

The Official ATF form calls the Devices Silencers Rather than Suppressors.

However, it is worthy to note that the device is not completely devoid of any sound. Accordingly, some gun owners prefer to call them suppressors because the devices do not make all sounds disappear. Instead, these devices suppress sounds. Whether calling them silencers or suppressors, the terminology has its share of controversy.

You may want to blame Hollywood for the confusion.

In movies, firearms were often depicted as devices without noise. Moviegoers may have wanted to own pistols or shotguns resembling the silent firearms viewed in their favorite films. Marketers are always on the lookout for ways to convince consumers about the products they sell. So, entrepreneurs began to call the devices “silencers” rather than “suppressors” as a way to sell more firearms.

Silencers can only do so Much to Muffle loud Sounds.

Manufacturers cannot manufacture noiseless firearms. A firearm is always going to make a sound when it is in the cycling process. Plus, bullets emit loud sounds because they break the sound barrier. Breaking the sound barrier is a noisy event.

Silencers are Never Truly Silent.

In fact, those enlisted in the military need to protect their ears so that the thunderous sounds do not cause them to go deaf. Now, if a manufacturer were to design a device with bullets that did not break the sound barrier, then gun owners might own firearms featuring true silencers. But this type of invention is not likely to happen today or in any future generation.

The upshot is that the specific definitions must comply with federal and state regulations. If you want to approach the topic in a legal way, call the devices silencers. If you want to get technical, call them suppressors. At Waymore Silencers, you can find silencers that include pistols and shotguns. Plus, you can buy silencers via our website or by visiting our physical store in Houston, Texas. Our staff will provide you with answers to your questions.