Diagnosing Accuracy Problems
The whole point of shooting is to be accurate, right? After all, your shots are no good if they aren’t hitting the target or fail to put down the threat.
Common Accuracy Issues
There are a number of different ways to diagnose your accuracy issues, and most of them start with looking at where your shots are actually landing versus where you are aiming.
For example, here are some of the most common accuracy issues:
Shots that are low are likely due to recoil anticipation that results in you inadvertently forcing the barrel down ever so slightly.
Shots that are high could be due to “heeling,” which is when you place extra pressure on the bottom of the grip with the heel of your hand when the gun fires.
Shooting Low Left Or Right
Shots that are low and to the left or low and to the right may be due to snatching or jerking the trigger. If you don’t smoothly pull the trigger, your fingers and hands will cause excess movement to the left or right depending on your trigger finger placement and if you’re right- or left-handed.
Do Suppressors Affect Accuracy?
The short answer is yes, suppressors do affect a firearm’s accuracy, but not always how you might expect. Yes, it’s true that sometimes your gun’s accuracy might get worse when you attach a suppressor; other times, you’ll actually see your accuracy improve.
If you see a change for the better, that’s great. Everybody likes a little help shooting better! If you see a change for the worse, don’t worry. We’ll address a number of ways that you can fix it.
But first, let’s take a look at why a suppressor can affect your accuracy through a little something called “barrel harmonics.”
Suppressors’ Effects On Barrel Harmonics
Your firearm’s barrel is a finely tuned piece of metal, and it’s actually quite flexible in ways that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Any outside impact on the barrel can change how it moves and performs, and this performance is referred to as “barrel harmonics.”
Any item that comes into contact with your barrel changes the way it moves and can have an impact on barrel harmonics and performance.
The same goes for attaching a suppressor. You may not be able to see it, but even the smallest amount of added weight from a suppressor changes how your barrel sits at rest and how it moves when being fired. As a result, there will be some changes to your barrel’s harmonics.
Addressing Accuracy When Using A Suppressor
If you’ve got everything squared away and your gun-and-suppressor combo is properly set up, you’ll actually find that your accuracy will get better instead of worse. Part of this is due to the lower recoil you feel from the suppressor doing an extra job besides lowering decibels.
The less felt recoil you experience from a suppressor helps make shooting a more pleasant experience. As a result, you’re less likely to flinch or tense up and mess up your shot when you’re shooting suppressed. Less recoil also means less inherent movement of the gun, which makes for faster, easier, and more accurate follow-up shots.
Gunshots are loud, and they can be startling even to the person doing the shooting. If you get startled by your own shots, you’re likely moving at least a little bit, and that messes with your shot. Shooting suppressed, however, is much quieter and can alleviate some of that noise-induced movement.
If, however, you experience a decrease in accuracy, don’t freak out and throw your suppressor away. There are a number of things you can check to see if they’re the culprit, and most of them are quick and easy to remedy.
Ensure Proper Thread Alignment
Make sure that your suppressor is properly aligned with the threads of your barrel. Any cant or cross-threading that leads to improper alignment will have an impact on your accuracy. Go ahead and take the suppressor off and inspect the threads on your suppressor and your gun’s barrel.
Know Your Ammo
Certain loads and bullet weights perform better in certain guns. This is true regardless of whether you’re shooting suppressed or not, and it could be due to the twist in your barrel’s rifling and how that impacts the bullet’s performance. It may be that you need to switch to a different load or grain weight when shooting suppressed to ensure that you’re getting the best performance out of your equipment.
Resight Your Optics
It’s possible that your shot groups with a suppressor are still nice and tight, they’re just not landing where they were when shooting unsuppressed. To fix this, you could simply resight your scope or another optic to this new point of impact. If you plan on switching between suppressed and unsuppressed shooting frequently, this can be a bit of a pain, but it’s definitely an easy fix to consider.WHY YOU NEED A RED DOT SIGHT AND HOW TO INSTALL IT
Use A Thread Adapter
Sometimes precision parts just don’t play well together. This means that you might be experiencing issues even if your barrel and suppressor are threaded properly. It’s also possible that the threads on one or both of your tools aren’t quite right. This doesn’t mean you need to shell out more money for a new barrel or suppressor. Instead, you can try using a thread adapter to act as a sort of mediator between the two. The adapter may be able to even out the inconsistencies between the two components.
Other Possible Solutions
Make sure that your suppressor is properly attached to your host firearm. A loose suppressor or one that is cross-threaded can definitely lead to accuracy issues.
Check your barrel’s crown to make sure that it is properly finished and doesn’t show any signs of burrs or other defects that could be impacting the bullet right as it leaves the muzzle. Some guns leave the factory with rough crowns. Issues can also happen after leaving the factory, too. The crown can be damaged if the gun is dropped or banged on something. If you accidentally do this, make sure to check the crown and see if it has been compromised.
It’s also a good idea to check your suppressor’s baffles and make sure they’re properly aligned. Most suppressors with removable baffles have indexing points to ensure they’re properly aligned when you reassemble them. Still, mistakes can be made and you must be sure that everything is lined up properly.
Alignment issues can lead to clipping or striking of the baffles. Don’t ignore this or try to remedy it yourself. Continued use after a baffle strike is dangerous and should be addressed by the manufacturer.
Suppressors And Point-of-impact (POI) Shift
Remember our discussion earlier about barrel harmonics? If you skipped ahead to this section, go back up top and read about barrel harmonics first.
Any time you add something to the end of your gun’s barrel – doesn’t matter what it is – you alter the point of impact. It could be a barrel weight, flash hider, muzzle brake, compensator, or a suppressor; they all act on your barrel. No matter how light your suppressor or another muzzle device may be, weight is still weight, and it does make a difference.
As a general rule, shorter and/or thicker barrels will be less susceptible to this kind of POI shift, but it’s not a guarantee.SUPPRESSORS AND POI (POINT OF IMPACT) SHIFT
Still Unsure About Suppressors And Accuracy?
There are a lot of variables to take into consideration on this topic – far more than we can address in this post – but don’t WORRY! We’re here to help at Silencer Central! We’ve been selling silencers for more than 15 years and a big part of that is helping consumers understand what’s going to work best for them.
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We can discuss your guns and your cans and try to troubleshoot the issues you may be experiencing. Or, we can find out what you’re looking to do and get you set up with the right can for the job.
Take advantage of our interest-free payment plan, enjoy the benefits of a free gun trust, and then let us ship your new silencer right to your door once it’s approved!Find your suppressor