Firearms suppressors — silencers to us laymen — are becoming legal in more and more states for both recreational shooting and hunting every year. They are a wonderful accessory, helping save your precious hearing, tame recoil, and generally make shooting and hunting more fun. If you’ve never shot a firearm with one, you are truly missing the boat.

During our long-range shooting school at Utah’s lovely Castle Valley Outdoors two representatives from SilencerCo — Darren Jones and Johnny Primiano — help us laymen gain a better understanding both of the company’s rapidly-expanding product line and how the use of a silencer can help you enjoy shooting more and become a better shooter in the process.

These two know their stuff. Primiano, a former member of 3rd Special Forces Group of the U.S. Army, left the Army as a sergeant first class, serving as an ODA weapons sergeant. Prior to his last assignment, he spent a year and a half on 3rd Group’s force modernization staff as the target engagement lead. He was a senior selection board member in Special Operation Command’s Family of Muzzle Brakes, Flash Hiders and Suppressors program — a program that resulted in the 2011 contract award and fielding of 5.56mm and 7.62mm silencers and muzzle devices across SOCOM. Jones is a former company commander in the U.S. Marine Corps who spent a lot of time in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters of operation both as a Marine and a security contractor. So, when they talk about shooting and silencers, a wise man listens.

SilencerCo was formed in 2008 with the intent to create the best silencers by thinking outside the box and solving problems in unconventional ways. The founders thought the only way to make a foothold in this competitive industry was to bring new products to the market only if they were a significant improvement over what was already available in competitors’ products. From what I saw in Utah, this mark is being center-punched.

How do silencers work? Generally speaking, they slow and cool the expanding gases that propel bullets. This hot, high velocity expanding gas is what causes the “boom” of a gunshot. Slowing and cooling this gas before it exits the muzzle greatly reduces the muzzle report of a gunshot.

Also, accuracy is not affected enough to matter. If your firearm shot well before it was suppressed, it will shoot just as well if not better with the silencer attached. If your gun shoots poorly, it will still shoot poorly. Barrel threading and the quality of those threads will affect the shot. If not threaded concentrically, the bullets can strike the baffles and cause accuracy problems and damage to the silencer. Care and maintenance is a snap as well.

In the real world, a firearm with a silencer does make noise, so it is not completely “silent.” However, the silencer will greatly reduce the muzzle report of a gunshot. An example of this was the .300 Win. Mag. that Primiano brought to the event. With one of the company’s suppressors attached, we were able to shoot it all day long without wearing additional ear protection. That’s quiet!

Castle Valley Outdoors

Our shoot was held at Castle Valley Outdoors, an Orvis-endorsed wingshooting lodge located in beautiful high-desert country about 2½ hours from the Salty Lake City, Utah airport. In addition to the pheasant and chukar hunting, there are also a limited number of mule deer and elk hunts held on the property each fall, as well as fly fishing, horseback riding and more. Best of all, it is a massive piece of land that has also been set up as a long-range shooting course where guests can try their skills on targets ranging from point blank to well over 1,000 yards.

Everything about the lodge is first-class, from the lodging to the gourmet food to the shooting facilities to the friendliest staff you’ll ever meet. Manager Jim Fauver is a Westerner through and through, and he and his staff go out of their way to ensure that all your needs are met.

For shooters, there are solid benches for sighting in rifles that can also be used as a rest for banging away at life-sized metal animal silhouette targets at distances out to 800 meters. Scattered around the property are other challenging long-range shooting courses, as well as courses for tactical shooting.