Firearms | Hunting | Silencers 101



You have thought about. Don’t lie. Unfortunately, all the negativity your friends went through, including paperwork hassles and a wait longer than it takes for human gestation, prod you to set your suppressor goals aside. The goal of acquiring a suppressor should not be as difficult as the government red tape regulates. I will get to easy street in a moment, but first, consider the top reasons to join the league of suppressed hunters.


Protect your hearing.

Protect your hearing on the hunt, and get better accuracy. Photo by Mark Kayser

We all have that one relative we constantly repeat phrases due to their diminished hearing. My father was a perfect example after serving in the National Guard in the field artillery branch. Those 155 mm howitzer rounds were no friend to my dad’s ears. Although modern soldiers receive hearing protection, he did not and had hearing issues up until his passing. Do not let loud noises ruin your hearing. A suppressor alleviates those intense sound blasts by damping sound. How much?

Sound and certain types of energy are measured in decibels (dB). Understanding the system is irrelevant unless you plan to go to audiology school, but as an example, most modern centerfire rifles exceed the decibel level of 140 dB. I hate to bring in another government mention, but the Occupational, Safety and Health Organization or OSHA, categorizes those levels and above as harmful, especially when repeated.

A common caliber, the .308 Winchester, cracks off at 167 dB when shot unsuppressed. How many times have you been hunting or decided to do a quick zero check on your deer rifle in the field absent any hearing protection? Don’t even try to remember all those other loud noises you were near over the years with hearing loss a possibility. Those events add up to hearing loss over time, particularly the loud report of a rifle or handgun. Fortunately, by adding a suppressor to that same caliber, it drops it down to 133 dB. OSHA considers that a safe level to hear without hearing protection. Suppressor and calibers differ on the decrease of sound, but any firearm will be muffled.
Preserving your hearing should be a number one goal while spending time around firearms. With a suppressor you eliminate the hassle of always trying to remember hearing protection and you might save your ears long enough to hear the dinner bell ring at the retirement home later in life.


Many of you have hunting partners right by your side during the hunt. Those trusted compadres come in handy when camp needs to be set up or an elk needs to be removed from the mountain. A suppressor helps maintain those relationships while facilitating the hunt. First, when your hunting partner is by your side and rifle goes off, your suppressor saves them from saying “say what?” later in life. I know I appreciate the consideration of a partner who threads on a suppressor to the barrel of a 7mm PRC to tame the beast.

Second, a suppressor allows you to carry on a conversation during the hunt, particularly the critical moments before the shot. I cannot overexpress the appreciation I have for someone by my side relaying distances to me, judging the wind and calling my shots. Regrettably, while hunting responsibly without a suppressor, but utilizing hearing protection, that information oftentimes does not reach your ears shielded by protection. And if they do shout the information, it could jeopardize the hunt by alerting game.

A beautiful bull elk

A great Wyoming bull Elk. Photo by Mark Kayser

During an elk hunt two years back my partner quickly pointed out my first suppressed shot on the bull was low. He did not have to shout, but whispered the information in a clear and low voice due to both of us not wearing hearing protection and my .300 Winchester magnum adorning a suppressor.

Even without someone by your side, the benefit of not wearing hearing protection shines at the range or in the field. You simply hear the world around you better. I know some hearing protection provides amplification and muffling, but sometimes those units do not work as advertised, especially in breezy conditions where wind smacks the microphone. Save the hassle and use a suppressor.

Hearing warnings at the range could keep you alive and hearing game in the field could produce more success. Game species often converse and hearing those sounds, like the bugle of an elk, grunt of a whitetail or howl of a coyote, provides clues on your next hunting move.

I almost always coyote hunt with my dog and a suppressor helps protect my ears, his ears and allow me to hear distant coyotes. Far-off howls always went unheard when I put ear plugs in during the hunt years prior.


Your hearing is important, but so is enjoying the sport of shooting. A suppressor quiets the event, but it also tames it. Some smaller caliber rifles may not have recoil that jolts, but every rifle has recoil based on Newton’s third law of motion that says for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The burning powder sends your bullet on its way, but that explosion also transfers into recoil.

Recoil can cause flinching

Recoil can cause you to flinch at the range, which can hurt your confidence in the field. Photo by Mark Kayser

The suppressive and reductive nature of a suppressor tames that explosion and reduces felt recoil. Again, that may not be overly important while shooting a .223 Remington, but recoil in larger calibers, say a .300 PRC, can lead to flinching. Your mind prepares itself for the jarring recoil and the loud bang. Those elements could make you jerk the trigger causing you to miss or at the very least, not hit with precise accuracy.

How much of a reduction you feel depends on several factors. You might already be using reduced recoil ammunition, like Hornady’s Custom Lite ammunition or shooting a heavier rifle that also helps keep a rifle from recoiling as much. Nevertheless, why not consider a suppressor to restrain every caliber?

Depending on the caliber and model of suppressor, you could achieve 25 percent or more of felt reduction in recoil. With recoil tamed and the loud report diminished, you have a more pleasant environment to shoot, thus minimizing the chance for flinching.


Getting zeroed for your hunt will be much easier with a Banish Silencer. Photo by Mark Kayser

With that flinching issue under control, take your suppressor to the field and get even more benefits from a controlled shooting environment. My favorite benefit, besides keeping my ears healthy, is seeing the target after the shot. By target, I mean the game species I am hunting. A suppressor keeps my barrel from jumping on my CVA Cascade coyote rig in .22-250 Remington. I take the shot and watch the coyote deflate in the riflescope. And if two coyotes are in a setup situation, less recoil means a faster response time in finding the second for a double.

Last season offered me an unbelievable testimony for why to use a suppressor to tame recoil. Quite simply, suppressors boost my confidence. During an elk hunt I only had a split second to make a shot as a bull slipped into timber. My suppressed .300 Winchester magnum held steady and at the shot I watched the bull in the riflescope flip over. Without a suppressed rifle I would not have seen the bull’s reaction and left wondering if I even hit it in the rugged terrain. My confidence was high because of what I witnessed through the riflescope thanks to reduced recoil from the suppressor.

Lastly, if you have ever been “scoped,” by a riflescope slamming back into your brow after the shot, a suppressor will eliminate the possibility of that shocking event. Nobody longs for blood flowing from their brow. All around, less recoil is best.


Author on the phone with Silencer Central’s sales staff. Photo by Mark Kayser

For years I put off purchasing a suppressor due to the horrors of dealing with the government. Then, my son purchased one and after hearing his story, and researching the assistance offered by Silencer Central, I jumped in. Silencer Central has developed a simple path to acquiring a suppressor and they walk you through all the paperwork steps personally. The sooner you reach out to the pros at Silencer Central, the faster you can be hunting with a suppressor in the field. Currently, it is legal to own suppressors in 42 states. The rest of you should move to enjoy noiseless shooting.

Once you complete the electronic forms, personal help begins. A friendly employee calls you, confirms the paperwork and leads you through the steps. In less than five months my first Silencer Central suppressor arrived at my door with easy-to-follow installation instructions. I went with the Banish 338 for versatility to swap between my predator rifle and my big game rifle. The 5/8×24 threaded pitch on my Bergara MgLite .300 Winchester magnum and my CVA Cascade VH in .22-250 Remington allows me to swap my suppressor in seconds.

Silencer Central offers a complete line of suppressors for nearly every popular firearm and caliber. My next order includes the Banish Backcountry. I am looking forward to the minimalized suppressor to help reduce weight on my backcountry elk hunts, prairie deer hunts and cross-country coyote hunts.

I would never consider hunting without a suppressor again, unless denied by a law. Reap the benefits yourself, but get started now.

About the Author

Author Mark KayserTo many of you, Mark Kayser needs no introduction. An acclaimed outdoor writer, Kayser has written for most major hunting publications including American Hunter, Outdoor Life, North American Whitetail  and many more.

He is also a regular guest on the Deer & Deer Hunting podcast, and on many hunting television shows. He is based in the heart of big-game hunting – Sheridan Wyoming.