My better half and I were talking about gun stuff the other day, and the subject of suppressors came up. Somehow we came around to the topic of suppressors for home defense guns, and I asked her if she had ever considered one. Fortunately in Texas you can legally own a suppressor, provided you jump through the requisite hoops first.
But would you want one? She made a point about not having one for a home defense gun. She doesn’t think that suppressors should be banned. Let’s get that out of the way first. She thinks that if you want one, you should be able to get one. And she might use one for hunting whitetail does or something of that nature.
I explained to her that guns are loud, and in a confined space, like a car or a house, firing a gun in self-defense that isn’t suppressed might make your ears bleed (This is a figure of speech. Your ears won’t bleed, but they will be ringing.) She agreed that a suppressor would be good for mitigating that. So on that note we agree.
Our opinions differ though, and she makes some good points. If she is ever in a situation where she needs to use a firearm for self-defense, she wants everyone to know. Neighbors, bad guys, that woman down the street who sticks her nose in everyone’s business, the police…
Partially as psychological warfare against the bad guys. Instead of wondering what the unique sound was, they will most assuredly know that yes, they are being shot at, and would hopefully decide very quickly on an alternate career path that doesn’t include making you a victim.
She wants the neighbors to hear that shots are being fired and for them to call the authorities, since she may not have time to before an engagement. If you are a single mother living in an apartment, for example, you would likely want your neighbors to know. When the neighbors call 911 and tell them that someone is shooting, I would think that would typically get police to you quicker than if they call 911 and say “I heard something weird.” If it your gun is not suppressed, the chances of the neighbors hearing shots fired, and doing something about it like calling the police go up. So while some people might think that the sound of a pump-action shotgun being racked really scares bad guys, there is probably nothing more pants shittingly terrifying than the sound of a gun firing and knowing that bullets are flying, intended for you.
Suppressors have a purpose, and it’s not to be a James Bond wannabe like some people would try to have you believe. They protect your hearing (and coincidentally the bad guys’ hearing also), from the very loud sound of a gun firing, especially in confined spaces. Suppressors also change the sound profile. From the Wikipedia page on suppressors; “Aside from reductions in volume, suppressors also tend to alter the sound to something that is not identifiable as a gunshot.” Something to keep in mind though, is that suppressors don’t act like they do in Hollywood. They won’t change the sound of a 9mm pistol from “BANG!!!” to “pfft.” They will make the bang quieter, but not so quiet as to sound like a whisper. The distinct “pew” sound that you hear on television and in movies has no basis in reality (unless you are shooting some type of mouse fart ammo from a bolt-action or a revolver). Suppressors do bring the sound down to safe listening levels though, which is useful if you want to shout commands at the bad guys like Jodie Foster in the movie Panic Room.
When the police do show up, you need to be able to respond to their commands. If the only thing you can hear is Leontovych’s “Carol of the Bells” because your ears are ringing from the sound of gunfire, following a police command might prove difficult. It’s not like you are going take the time to put your ear protection on when there is an unwelcome intruder in your home.
So should you use a suppressor on a home defense firearm? I can’t recommend one way or the other, but before you decide to use one, weigh out the reasons why you would, and why you wouldn’t, and do what’s best for you.