Column: Hunting with suppressors has a big upside

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Published: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 11:19 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 11:19 a.m.

There is nothing nefarious about a firearms suppressor.

It’s just a steel tube with some baffles that screws onto the end of a threaded barrel.

They’re legal for civilians to own in Florida and 38 other states.

 A suppressor can lower the decibels produced by a .22 pistol from 157 to around 116 dB. STAFF PHOTO / MIKE LANG


A suppressor can lower the decibels produced by a .22 pistol from 157 to around 116 dB.
STAFF PHOTO / MIKE LANG

They are by far the most popular item regulated by the National Firearms Act, which also controls short-barrel rifles and shotguns, as well as fully-automatic firearms.

Suppressor sales have skyrocketed nationally. Last year, they increased 37 percent over 2012. Hundreds of thousands are being sold.

Now, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is considering allowing sportsmen to use suppressors for hunting.

It’s already become a trend nationally.

There are 32 states that allow hunters to use suppressors, and a few like Florida that are considering new legislation.

It’s a good move.

Suppressors allow plinking without hearing protection, and without disturbing the neighbors. Some trainers use them to introduce new shooters to the sport, so they can become accustomed to shooting before experiencing the muzzle blast.

For most suppressor owners though, they are just plain fun to shoot.

They don’t “silence” a firearm’s report, they “suppress” it a bit.

An unsuppressed 9mm handgun produces around 160 decibels. Suppressed, it creates only 126 decibels. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the “pain threshold” begins at 140 dB, so it’s a substantive drop.

You can read the rest of my column here.

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About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

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