Silencers 101
Get to Know the Types of Suppressors

Get to Know the Types of Suppressors

Get to Know the Types of Suppressors

There are lots of different types of suppressors. In fact, there are also lots of different ways to classify suppressors.

So if you want to know what the different types of suppressors are, there are a few ways to approach it. Some people classify suppressors based on end-use, others by how they function. We are going to look at types of suppressors based on how they work because that is the more logical approach, but we will tell you a bit about the different types of end uses too.

So let’s get a closer look at the different types of suppressors!

Types of Suppressors by Use Case/Host Gun

Broadly speaking there are four different types of suppressors based on use and the guns they’re mounted on. They are as follows:

  • Rifle: Rifle suppressors are built for the higher pressures and the demands of centerfire rifle use. These can be scaled up to almost any round, the only limit being the budget of the purchaser. In some cases, like the multi-caliber BANISH Suppressor, these can be used with good effect on rimfire rifles and even some handguns. But, for the most part, rifle suppressors are used on rifles.
  • Pistol: Pistol suppressors are designed around lower pressure handgun rounds and sometimes the lower pressure subsonic .300 Blackout round. The key takeaway though is “lower pressure” rounds. These are suitable for most handgun rounds, and all rimfire rounds.
  • Rimfire: Rimfire suppressors are some of the most affordable suppressors on the market because it is fairly easy to make a suppressor for the low power and low-pressure rimfire rounds currently in use. Typically designed to effectively suppress .22 and .17 magnums and smaller, these suppressors really should only be used for rimfire guns due to their smaller size and weaker construction than suppressors for centerfire rounds. While they are typically cheaper, the tradeoff is that you can only use them on your rimfire guns.
  • Shotgun: There is even a shotgun suppressor on the market! While bulky, the Salvo 12 shotgun suppressor is an amazing bit of technology that makes skeet shooting, hunting, and tactical shotgunning much more comfortable and quiet.

Types of Suppressors by Function

The first Maxim Suppressor used a carefully crafted series of baffles to contain gasses until they cooled off enough to be quieter. It did that by making muzzle gasses basically spin in a vortex before passing out of the silencer. The end result was that the gas was low enough pressure to eliminate much of the sound associated with gunfire. While suppressors then and now can do nothing about the supersonic crack of bullets traveling faster than sound, they can and do work rather well with silencing the report of muzzle gasses.

For over a century various means to trap and contain gas have been tried, from simple stacks of sheet metal baffles to complexly machined single piece suppressor cores and even the use of various greases and oils!

Today there are basically two kinds of suppressors on the market: monocore and stacked baffles. These come in a huge variety of form and function. Various historical types of suppressors like those using leather or Nomex wipes are almost completely out of production due to the fact that the ATF treats the disposable wipes the same as they do a completed suppressor (although a few remain on the market).


Stacked Baffle Suppressors

Stacked baffle suppressors aren’t too far removed from what Maxim envisioned with his original silencer. Today, he might recognize the technology that goes into the BANISH Suppressor, which uses a titanium baffle stack machined to a higher level of perfection and precision than was possible in 1909. Every manufacturer uses a different sort of baffle stack design based on what they think is best and what their shops can handle making.

Some people have built Form 1 suppressors using baffle stacks made out of engine freeze plugs, even. While this works, a precision-engineered baffle stack will always be quieter and more efficient than an improvised job. Today’s modern silencer baffles are almost all of a stacked cup design that contains gas at each baffle, cooling and slowing it down at each baffle until it exits the end of the suppressor.

Monocore suppressors

Monocore suppressors do away with a baffle or wipe stack and replace it with a carefully machined tube that goes inside the main suppressor body. There are some manufacturing advantages to monocore suppressors which make them cheaper and easier to make.

Looking at a monocore suppressor core, you can see that it more resembles older styles of stacked baffles and achieves sound suppression by forcing the gas to take a convoluted route out of the suppressor, much like the early Maxim suppressors did. However, monocore suppressors retain many of the performance problems of older stacked baffle designs. They cannot work well with high powered magnum rifle rounds without greatly increasing their length and weight and they can be harder to clean than a stacked baffle design.

However, when cost is an issue or when you are shooting lower pressure rounds, monocore suppressors are a very viable option. They are commonly found on rimfire suppressors and centerfire rifle and pistol suppressors where higher pressure rounds aren’t in use.

Beware the “fuel filter” monocores sold by questionable online stores. They are flat out illegal to own unless you have properly filed and received approval for building a suppressor on an ATF Form 1, and even then the whole process is somewhat of a gray area. Plus, the performance of these mass-produced imported suppressor parts cannot achieve the same quality as a properly built monocore suppressor.

Buying a Suppressor

Are you ready to buy a suppressor? Or do you just have more questions? Feel free to drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help you choose your first or next suppressor.

As the nation’s largest silencer dealer licensed to sell in all 42 silencer legal states, we can offer pricing and selection unavailable anywhere else. In fact, you can even buy your silencer from the comfort of your own home without having to go to a gun show or retail location. So let’s get you started on your silencer today!