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Silencers Aren’t Silent! Proof Hollywood Lied to You

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In this episode of TFBTV, James talks about a myth that has been spreading lately, due to a number of highly publicized political stories: that silencers are silent. He begins by saying that their motto is, “Guns, not politics,” so they try to stay out of politics. But every now and again, a politically charged incident or event happens that gives birth to gun myths. And as viewers of the channel know, TFB TV likes addressing them.

This particular myth is, “The Legend of the Silencer.” James says even this is contentious, as some people would argue if the device is called a silencer or a suppressor. The inventor called it a “silencer,” so for many people, that’s the correct term. However, for others, they don’t like the term “silencer” and feel that “suppressor” is more accurate, because these only partially suppress the noise a gun makes. It is not possible to completely silence them.

He answers the questions: Is the silencer truly silent? Or does it just suppress noise? Does it really make that “pew pew” sound like in the movies? This video specifically addresses use in a higher-powered centerfire rifle – in this video, the AR15, which is similar to the M4 or M16 rifle used by the US military. James breaks out the decibel meter and compares a silenced rifle to a truck horn: Which is quieter? Note that this is an informal test done with entry-level audio equipment, but the general conclusion would be the same regardless.

James discusses supersonic bullets, and the speed at which bullets travel when fired from rifles or handguns. He sets the decibel meter about 10 yards away from the target, and fires from 100 yards away with a .223 caliber round. The results are 102-110 decibels with the “silenced” AR-15. For comparison, he lays on the horn of his car from the same distance of 100 yards, and it only clocks in at around 70 decibels.

He moves to 300 yards away, does the same thing, and the rounds clock in at 105-108 decibels. The car horn, pressed from 290 yards away, measures 60 decibels. James makes his point, and that maybe the guys arguing for “suppressors” may have something going. In context, the loudest a train horn is allowed to sound is 110 decibels — the same as the sound a silenced rifle makes.

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