Just prior to the recent NRA show in Nashville, Tennessee, I stepped into a dream world at the Strategic Edge Gun Range. I felt like I was floating on air — except for the crunching gravel beneath my feet — as I moved toward the shooting bays at the range. The cracks of super-sonic bullets were sounding off all down the firing line, but something was missing. What was missing was the obnoxious boom of centerfire rifles from a .338 Lapua on down to the .223 Rem. That’s because every firearm on the line was outfitted with a suppressor.
The American Suppressor Association (ASA) is a lobby group that works with state lawmakers to pass laws making silencers legal to own and to use for hunting. The ASA has made great strides in their efforts, too. Here’s an excerpt directly from their website telling of the pro-suppressor laws that have come about since its inception.
For three years, the ASA has worked in conjunction with like-minded organizations to ensure and expedite the passage of pro-suppressor laws and regulations. Since the ASA’s formation in 2011, twenty pro-suppressor laws or regulations have been enacted. Twelve states have legalized suppressor hunting, six states have passed “Shall Sign” or “Shall Certify” legislation, and two states have amended their ownership laws. Eleven of these changes came in 2014. 2015 promises to be the most productive year yet.
The goal behind this media-day shoot outside of Nashville was to help spread the word about suppressor use and its benefits. For one, it lowers the noise pollution caused from firearms at a shooting range or in the field. Suppressors also help protect your ears from the dangerous muzzle blast that overtime can cause significant hearing loss. Suppressors also lower the human impact on hunting land, by significantly reducing the noise level during the shot. Suppressors also aid in accuracy. Often shooters flinch in anticipation of the shot because of the loud boom and the recoil. A suppressor not only lowers the sound signature by 35 decibels or so, but it helps tame recoil as well.
There were several well-known suppressor companies attending the shoot and showing off new product offerings: Thunder Beast Arms, SilencerCo and Gemtech. Daniel Defense was also on hand to showcase some of their suppressed rifles. I shot a Barrett .338 Lapua with a Thunder Beast 338BA suppressor. Not only did this silencer tame the recoil of this big gun, but also I could stand behind it without hearing protection while someone else was shooting it and I didn’t even flinch or blink from the blast. It was amazing.
I also had the opportunity to shoot sporting clays with a 12 gauge outfitted with a SilecerCo Salvo 12 shotgun suppressor. That was quite an experience firing a pounding 12 gauge and it not booming hot gas out of the muzzle. The Salvo is modular, meaning you can actually add or remove sections to reduce weight and length or add to it for more decibel reduction. The suppressor uses the shotgun’s existing choke threads to mount to the host weapon.
Gemtech had some cool products mounted on a .22 LR rifle and .45 handgun. The .22 LR was loaded with subsonic ammo for an almost silent shooting experience.
Besides wanting one of every suppressor at the event, I walked away with the mindset that every gun should come standard with a suppressor when it leaves the manufacturing facility. There’s no reason to deal with the obnoxious gun blast associated with shooting when there is a device designed to reduce the decibel readings to a manageable and comfortable level. These weapons aren’t silenced; they are merely muffled, which is a win-win for everyone. I’m going through the process of suppressor ownership now. Stay tuned for more coverage on the exploding popularity of shooting suppressed.