Suppressor Temperature: How Hot Do They Get?
Shooting is an inherently high-temperature process. You’re heating a propellant to the point of ignition and pushing the projectile and all of the hot gases down the barrel of the gun, through the suppressor, and out the end toward your target.
All that heat has to go somewhere, and so it gets stored in the most logical of places. Your gun’s barrel and your suppressor are in direct contact with all that heat, so, obviously, they heat up quite a bit as well.
This is a natural process that barrels and suppressors are designed to handle, but it can lead to some interesting questions and statistics. If you’ve got something specific in mind you want to be answered, feel free to check the quick links below to jump ahead. Otherwise, read on.
How Hot Do Suppressors Get During Normal Use?
There are a lot of factors that go into determining how hot suppressors get during a casual range trip, but the general consensus is that the temperature will rise approximately seven to ten degrees for every round fired. Given that information, it’s not unreasonable that a suppressor can reach temperatures of 300-500 degrees Fahrenheit after running through just one or two 30-round magazines.
If you subject a suppressor to sustained firing, it’s entirely possible for it to reach 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Factors that Contribute to a Suppressor’s Temperature
A number of different factors contribute to how hot a suppressor will get during a trip to the range. These can include:
- Ammunition. Are you running really hot loads in your gun
- Speed. Are you doing repeated mag dumps as fast as you can
- Weather. Is it hot enough outside to fry an egg on the pavement?
- Quality. How well built is your suppressor?
All of these things play a role in how hot your can is going to get while you’re out there shooting. Don’t expect to do a bunch of mag dumps on a 100-degree day and then casually grab your silencer barehanded and try to remove it from the host gun.
Can You Overheat a Suppressor?
Absolutely, you can overheat a suppressor. It’s a piece of equipment that is designed to be subjected to high heat, so it definitely has a high rating, but just like any other piece of equipment, it has tolerances and a breaking point.
If you repeatedly run your can hard and hot, it’s going to take a toll on the unit over time. If, however, you use it within reason and moderation, then you can greatly extend the lifespan of your suppressor. For the average shooter, it’s not unreasonable to expect that you’ll get a literal lifetime of shooting out of your can.
At What Temperature Will a Suppressor Fail?
As we mentioned, you can overheat a suppressor, but at what point (and temperature) does it cross the point of no return and go from overheated to failed?
The TL;DR version is that the suppressor will have to reach a temperature well above 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit in a very short period of time and stay that hot for an extended period of time in order to fail.
Essentially, this means it takes a lot of heat over a short period of time to make a suppressor fail. Luckily, most companies on the market make very good products, and the average suppressor owner will not be able to push their unit to the point of failure.
For example, there’s a video floating around of a full-auto M249 SAW rifle running a SilencerCo SWR. They put 700 rounds through the can without stopping, and it glowed bright orange and literally melted by the end of the experiment.
In order to reach that point, however, the suppressor was put through an abnormal amount of stress and heat well in excess of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period of time. Most people will never experience a failure like this because they will never be firing like this.
How Long Will it Take for a Suppressor to Cool?
The factors we mentioned above that lead to heating up a suppressor also apply to cooling down a suppressor. There’s no hard-and-fast rule here for how long that will take.
A word of caution, though: do not try to cool down your suppressor quickly, like by spraying it with or dunking it in water or some other liquid. This rapid change in temperature can damage the structural integrity of the silencer.
One thing that we’ve noticed here in our time spent shooting suppressed is that the amount of time it takes from when you’ve finished shooting and set down your gun, retrieved your targets, cleaned up your brass, gathered all of your gear, and packed up your range bag, your suppressor will probably be cool enough to remove IF you handle it properly. This leads us to the next point…
How to Stay Safe While Handling a Hot Suppressor?
Just like you’ve been taught not to grab items from the oven with your bare hands, you need to know not to grab a hot suppressor with your bare hands either. A good rule of thumb is that if the gun’s barrel is too hot to touch, then the suppressor is definitely too hot to touch as well.
There are, however, some ways to stay safe around a hot suppressor if you absolutely must remove it while it’s still hot.
One way to mitigate heat even while you’re shooting is to utilize a suppressor cover. These accessories are constructed of a material that is non-combustible and able to withstand heat well in excess of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Not only do they cut down on heat mirage while you’re shooting and ensure you have a proper sight picture, but they’ll also help keep the heat from reaching the outermost layer of the cover, which may allow you to remove it safely.
Make no mistake, though: your suppressor will still be hot, and depending on your own tolerances, you might still need to use a rag or a mitt of some kind to remove the can safely.
It’s no secret that hot items are prone to melting things around them. It’s no different with a suppressor. Make sure that you don’t set your hot suppressor down in your foam case or something similar, as it’s entirely possible that the silencer’s heat could melt it or cause it to catch fire.
That’s where suppressor pouches come in handy. Like covers, they’re built of heat-resistant materials. By using a suppressor pouch, you can safely place your still-hot-but-wrapped suppressor in the pouch and in your case or bag without fear of melting or catching fire.Shop Pouches>>
Stay Safe and Prolong the Life of Your Suppressor
If you own a suppressor, it’s a really good idea to own one or more suppressor covers and pouches. In addition to our own line of suppressors, Silencer Central also has a line of covers and pouches.
We’ve shot a lot of suppressors and generated a lot of heat over the course of our more than 15 years in business, so we know what works and what doesn’t. If you’ve got questions about what silencer to get or what kind of cover or pouch is right for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. As the nation’s largest silencer dealer, we’re here to help you through the entire suppressor-buying journey.
From picking out the right silencer, completing all the necessary paperwork for the ATF, breaking up payments with our no-interest payment plan, selecting your suppressor covers and pouches, to mailing it all right to your door once approved, Silencer Central is your one-stop-shop.
So what are you waiting for? Get started today!Shop Suppressors!