Help! I'm Being Suppressed!

by
posted on December 11, 2014
beingsuppressed.jpg

I recently returned from Gunsite, where I had the opportunity to shoot a bunch of excellent firearms. I've done that before, and always enjoyed myself. Likewise, I've shot suppressed guns before, but never for extended periods and never while shooting a course of fire like those presented in Gunsite's Scrambler and Military Ridge. Nor had I previously shot suppressed .338 Lapua Mag. rifles. After a few days of these types of suppression, however, I don't think I can go back to shooting can-free rifles.

Owning a suppressor is actually a lot easier than people think. Yes, you must get a CLEO signature, fingerprints, etc. and pay a $200 tax for each unit, but they are legal in 39 states and the ATF has added personnel to the division that examines Form 4s (the form required to own an NFA-restricted item), cutting down wait times significantly. This is good news, because I need a bunch of cans now.

Why, you ask? It's simple: comfort. Not only do suppressors reduce the audible signature of a firearm to a level that won't damage your hearing (but still quite loud in the case of rifles firing supersonic ammunition), but they also drastically reduce felt recoil and muzzle flip. Normally, shooting a .338 Lapua Mag. is fun for about three rounds or so. Then, it hurts—not just the shoulder, but also the chest from the obscene concussion produced by the big round. With a suppressor on the rifle, however, all that disappears, and it becomes as pleasant to shoot as a 5.56 NATO AR (but quieter).

ARs also benefit from the addition of a can. Follow-up shots and transitions are much easier thanks to the muzzle basically not moving, and with normal ammo hearing protection becomes decidedly optional (provided you're outside).

Of course, if you really want to giggle, try shooting subsonic loads from a suppressed bolt gun at a steel target placed 100 yards downrange. You'll hear a muffled pffft followed by a significantly louder ting when the bullet impacts. We conducted an experiment, just for fun, to see the difference between supersonic and subsonic loads out of a suppressed .300 AAC Blackout bolt gun. The most amazing difference was less in the noise produced—which was significantly louder with the supersonic fodder—but in the drastic zero shift between the two loads. The scope was zeroed for the subsonic stuff, so holding center mass delivered constant hits. To ring the steel with the supersonic fodder, you had to hold at the "feet" of the popper target, or about 2 full feet below center mass.

No matter the ammunition, shooting suppressed rifles is both incredibly enjoyable and safer than shooting barbarically loud, unsuppressed guns. Now I need some cash so I can afford suppressors for my rifles and act civilized at the range.

Latest

Mesa tactical shotshell holder
Mesa tactical shotshell holder

First Look: Mesa Tactical Sureshell Carrier with RMR Mount

Mount a red dot to your shotgun and keep your spare shotgun ammo close at hand.

The Best of the Blowbacks: Mauser HSc and the Heckler & Koch Model 4

In the April 2022 issue of Shooting Illustrated, this column looked at my all-time favorite carry gun, the Colt Model M or 1903/1908. This month we look at my favorite European semi-automatic, the Mauser HSc and its cousin, the Heckler & Koch Model 4.

Wilson Acquires New Ultralight Arms

The bolt-action rifle manufacturer joins other companies such as Lehigh Defense and Chip McCormick Customs.

First Look: New FN 15 DMR Rifles from FN America

New Geissele triggers, SureFire muzzle devices and hybrid barrel profies are just some of the upgrades.

First Look: Bond Arms Grizzly

Packing the power of either .45 Colt or .410-bore shotshells in a pint-sized package.

Developing Good Shooting Habits

Consistency and repetition are the keys to building on-demand skills.

Interests



Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.