The Silencers

Of all 201h century 9mall arms developments, the firearm silencer is probably the most mysterious and the leasl understood. Invented in 1908 by Hiram Maxim, the firearm silencer was one of Maxim's early contributions to firing. This attendant clatter Is most pronounced In semi and full automatic weapons.

Some noise also escapes through the unlocked breech area of these autos. A bolt action rifle will produce the field of noise pollution control. By little If any mechanical noise when the 1930s, poachers» gangsters, strike lired and no sound escapes from the breakers and stickup men had made breech area.

"silencer" a dirty word. The silencer Contrary to what you see on TV, the had become so steeped in intrigue the revolver is not suitable for silencer

It was included in the restrictive use. Considerable noise is generated

"destructive devices" category of the by the gas escaping from the gap

National Firearm Act of 1934. Since between the barrel and cylinder. To

1934, possession, use, or manu- make matters worse, those mini facture of a silencer has been a silencers, a couple of inches long; are serious felony. Silencer possession a twisted joke on the part of for private cltliens is currently Hollywood prop men. .

restricted to those who can meet the In addition to noise suppression, fo/lowing requirements. the forward pressure of the gas In the

1. Pay a $200 Federal Transfer Tax. silencer equalizes and virtually

2. Receive transfer approval from eliminates the recoil experienced with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, unsilenced weapons. A silencer also

Tobacco, and Firearms. (ATF)

3. Comply with ail state 6nd local restrictions on silencer possession.

Silencer production is restricted to holders of a $500 Federal Firearms Stamp that designates them as "manufacturers of destructive' devices."

in general, the modern commercial silencer is a metal tube, 1 inch to 3 inches in diameter and about a foot long. The tube Is mounted on the muzzle end of the barrel and Is aligned with the axis of the bore, i.e. the bullet travels down the exact center of the tube. The front of the tube is covered with an endplate, the center of which has a hole that Is slightly larger than the diameter of the bullet to be fired. The Interior of the 9llencer tube contains a series of baffles and chambers which catch and delay the rapidly escaping gases produced by the propellant powder as it burns.

The major source of gun blast and noise from conventional weapons Is this escaping gas slamming into the atmosphere upon exiting the barrel. The remaining sources of gun noise are as follows:

A. A supersonic crack is produced if the bullet reaches a speed greater than 1120 feet per second, the speed of sound.

B. Mechanical noise Is produced by the functioning of the weapon upon doubles as an effective flash hider for night shooting.

When a silencer is used on a high powered firearm, the supersonic crack experienced with these weapons can be eliminated in one of the three ways:

A. Standard ammunition will not produce a crack if fired in weapons with shortened barrels. The burning powder Is unable to generate the necessary pressure to drive the bullet faster than 1120f.p.s.

B. Similar results are obtained with standard ammo when it Is fired through a conventional length barrel that has had a series of tiny holes drilled along its length. These holes bleed off a portion of the propellant gases, again reducing bullet speed.

C. A special milder load may be used in unaltered weapons. These are referred to as sub sonic loads. These rounds contain leas powder and do not propel bullets to super sonic speeds. Some semi and full auto weapons need to be altered to function reliably with subsonic rounds.

In addition to commercially produced and federally regulated silencers, several other types are available:

1. Commercial units smuggled in from other countries.

2. Underground production In domestic factories.

3. Individually produced, home made silencers.

4. Improvised or one shot silencers. Examples of this last type of silencer

Thi9 Is what you see on TV!

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