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The 411 on 38 Special Suppressors

The 411 on 38 Special Suppressors

The 411 on 38 Special Suppressors

When you first think of suppressors and the calibers you can use with them, .38 Special probably doesn’t jump to the front of your mind. True, it’s primarily a revolver cartridge – which is problematic for suppressors – but there are actually a couple ways in which you can suppress the .38 Special.

The first is in a long gun, usually a lever-action. The next is in a single-shot pistol. Both of these firearm types eliminate the cylinder gap issue that prevents a revolver in .38 Special (or any caliber) from being suppressed.

So, now that you know that you can suppress .38 Special, let’s take a closer look.

Understanding the 38 Special

As was mentioned above, you generally can’t suppress guns in .38 Special because they are most often found in revolvers. The gap between the front of the cylinder and the forcing cone on the barrel allows gases to escape when firing. This renders a suppressor useless since a portion of the gases are expelled before reaching the end of the barrel where a suppressor would be.

But again, that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck when it comes to suppressing the .38 Special. Plenty of shooters do it and so can you.

The 38 Special Cartridge

Dating back to 1898, the .38 Special cartridge has been a mainstay for 125 years. It was the standard revolver service cartridge for the military and law enforcement before being swapped out for the .45 ACP and 9mm, respectively. Soldiers and police trusted their lives to the .38 Special for decades, and the round has certainly stood the test of time.

Despite being named .38 Special, the bullet diameter is actually .357″ – that makes it a .36 caliber projectile. It also means that firearms chambered for .357 Magnum can also safely shoot .38 Special.

Benefits of Using a Suppressor with the 38 Special

We could go on and on about the benefits to using a suppressor when shooting a rifle chambered for .38 Special, but these are some of the most important ones:

  • Noise Reduction
    • Obviously, the primary benefit of using a suppressor is the decibel reduction. Being able to shoot quieter is awesome, and it’s something that you simply cannot duplicate without a suppressor.
  • Recoil Mitigation
    • In this case, less is more. By their very design, suppressors dissipate escaping gases, which means that you’ll also experience less felt recoil when shooting suppressed.
  • Improved Shooter Comfort
    • Even though .38 Special rounds aren’t known for being super loud or having punishing recoil, shooters of all skill levels can still benefit from being suppressed. Less noise and less recoil makes for a more comfortable shooting experience. Being comfortable while shooting translates to a more enjoyable experience and you’ll want to shoot more often.

Considerations for Choosing the Best Suppressor

The beauty of the majority of the suppressors on the market today rated for a wide variety of calibers – not just .38 Special. This is a good thing because you’ll more than likely end up with a can that is capable of use on a number of different firearm hosts and calibers that you own. Or, even if you don’t own a bunch of different hosts and calibers yet, there’s a high likelihood that you will in the future.

Make sure, too, that you consider your host gun when buying a suppressor. Look at the host gun’s weight, overall length, and what you’ll be using it for. There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to pairing a host gun and a suppressor, so consider the gun you’ll be using and how you plan on using it before you decide on a suppressor.

Once you’ve got a ballpark weight and length in mind, then you can consider other things like mounting options, accessory compatibility, and, of course, price.

Best OverallBANISH 45.459.6 oz or 11 oz6.7" or 8.6"$949
Most VersatileSilencerCo Omega 36M.3616.3 oz or 13.6 oz7.6" or 5.75"$1,187
Most AffordableCoastal Ultima 45.4510.4 oz9.5"$550
Best Multi-CaliberBANISH 46.4616.3 oz or 20.4 oz7.9" or 10"$1,249
QuietestDead Air Wolfman9mm9.8 oz or 14.4 oz5.13" or 7.5"$989

Top Suppressor Models for the 38 Special

Without further ado, here is a detailed look at our top picks for the best .38 Special suppressors on the market today.

Best Overall: BANISH 45

The BANISH 45 motto is “one suppressor, one tax stamp, many guns” and it definitely lives up to it. As the name would suggest, the BANISH 45 is designed for .45-caliber cartridges, but it isn’t limited to them.

A lot of shooters prefer calibers such as 9mm, 10mm, .45 ACP, and .38 Special. The BANISH 45 handles all of those cartridges with ease, plus more.

With the rise of .300 Blackout as an incredibly popular caliber for AR-style pistols, we figured that the “many guns” part of the motto ought to extend to that caliber as well. As such, the BANISH 45 is capable of handling subsonic .300 Blackout rounds as well.

Made of lightweight titanium and aluminum and able to change between two sizes means that this modular suppressor can be an incredibly compact can, while sacrificing very, very little. In fact, when shortened to 6.7” it weighs just 9.6 ounces, making it the lightest suppressor in its class.


  • Self-serviceable
  • Lightest in its class in the short configuration
  • Full auto rated


  • Price may put it out of reach for some people

BANISH 45 Specs

Caliber: .45
Weight: 9.6 oz or 11 oz
Length: 6.7” or 8.6”
Price: $949

Most Versatile: SilencerCo Omega 36M

SilencerCo’s Omega 36M really has the whole modular (and thus, versatile) concept down to a science. Made of highly durable stainless steel, you can safely use it on magnum rifles, 9mm pistols, and even sub guns. This suppressor was designed to accommodate your caliber needs up to .338 Lapua, so that makes the Omega 36M unique and highly versatile – perfect for your guns in .38 Special and beyond.

The versatility of being able to change sizes from long to short is a big plus, too. The short configuration is under six inches and the long configuration is just over seven and a half inches, so that means that you can configure this suppressor to fit your specific application without having to sacrifice sound or space.

Versatility also carries over to the Omega 36M’s mounting options. Featuring a durable lock-ring, this suppressor is compatible with the Charlie mounting systems, including the ASR, direct thread, 3-lug, and piston housings.


  • Modular design allows scenario-specific changes by the shooter
  • Rated for full auto and magnum calibers
  • Lots of barrel mounting options


  • If you’re only going to use it on guns in .38 Special, there are cheaper options out there

SilencerCo Omega 36M Specs

Caliber: Up to .338 Lapua
Weight: 16.3 oz or 13.6 oz
Length: 7.6” or 5.75”
Price: $1,187

Most Affordable: Coastal Ultima 45

The Ultima 45 ACP is a high-quality pistol suppressor constructed of aircraft-grade Aluminum and Stainless Steel.

This suppressor utilizes a piston system called the Recoil Attenuation Device (R.A.D.). The R.A.D. is a Nielson Device designed so the Ultima will function on semi-auto pistols.

The finish is anodized matte black. The Ultima sound suppressor can be shot wet or dry and has a very high reduction with first-round pop. This unit is not sealed so the user may disassemble it for cleaning. It is primarily intended for use on pistols chambered in 45 ACP, 40 S&W and 9mm, which means it can also handle .38 Special.


  • The Ultima 45 disassembles easily for cleaning and maintenance
  • It is one of the lower-priced pistol suppressors on the market while maintaining a high degree of quality


  • This pistol suppressor is slightly heavier and thicker than most pistol cans

Coastal Ultima 45 Specs:

  • Caliber: .45
  • Weight: 10.4 oz
  • Length: 9.5”
  • Price: $550

Best Multi-Caliber: BANISH 46

You might be wondering why we’re putting the BANISH 46 on here along with the BANISH 45. Well, there’s good reason for this.

The BANISH 46 is a modular silencer designed for use with a wide assortment of rifle calibers including .338 Lapua up to the mighty .45-70 Government as well as pistol calibers including 10mm and .45ACP. This means it is a great suppressor option for your guns chambered in .38 Special and plenty of other guns, too!

Made of titanium and Inconel, the Banish 46 provides the ultimate combination of durability and weight reduction. The BANISH 46 weighs only 16.3 oz in the short configuration of 7.9”, and 20.4 oz in its 10” configuration.

The BANISH 46 is available with a variety of mounting options, including direct thread, a quick-detach muzzle brake attachment, or a Nielsen Device.


  • Best caliber compatibility on the list
  • Modular design fits pistols of all sizes
  • Durable titanium construction


  • It’s a lot of suppressor for use only on guns in .38 Special

BANISH 46 Specs

  • Caliber: .46
  • Weight: 16.3 oz or 20.4 oz
  • Length: 7.9″ or 10″
  • Price: $1,249

Quietest: Dead Air Wolfman

The Wolfman is the next generation in suppression. Like its Wolf-9SD predecessor, the Wolfman from Dead Air is a modular, multi-caliber suppressor that specializes in sub-gun, light-duty rifle, and pistol use, which means it’ll be right at home with your guns in .38 Special.

Because of its modularity, the Wolfman provides ultimate sound suppression in its full-length configuration while still providing exceptional performance when set up in the short configuration. As an added bonus, the front cap can contain a user-provided rubber wipe that can drop sound suppression levels even further.

Made of fully welded 17-4 PH stainless steel, this provides ultimate levels of strength and durability while still keeping the suppressor as light as possible. It’s the perfect balance of toughness and lightweight, which is very important when it comes to adding a suppressor to a pistol.

The Wolfman is designed for maximum muzzle suppression while also maximizing at-ear performance for the shooter by utilizing a large internal volume and generous blast chamber.

The Wolfman ships with a 1/2×28 direct thread mount and features a wipe-compatible front cap (tool included). Wipes are user-replaceable with commonly available rubber washer sizes.


  • Wipes allow for a very quiet shooting experience
  • Modular design fits guns of all sizes
  • Durable stainless steel construction


  • Wipes are consumable products, so they have to be replaced

Dead Air Wolfman Specs

  • Caliber: .45
  • Weight: 9.8 oz or 14.4 oz
  • Length: 5.13″ or 7.5″
  • MSRP: $989

Cut Out the Noise –Shop Silencers Today!

If you’re ready to suppress your guns in .38 Special and beyond, let us know. We’ve been in this business for more than 15 years and our top-notch staff can help you pick the right can for your needs. We’ll walk you through the super-easy ordering process of any of the picks on this list – or a different one altogether if that’s what you want – and even set you up on an interest-free payment plan. Even if you don’t see the suppressor you want on our site, we’ll help you get it. Plus, once your stamp is approved, we’ll mail your new suppressor right to your door!

Let us help you get started today!