Silencers 101
The Best Suppressor Alternatives To Reduce Noise

The Best Suppressor Alternatives To Reduce Noise

The Best Suppressor Alternatives To Reduce Noise

Taking a trip to the shooting range is an inherently loud journey.

Gunfire is the direct result of small explosions (BOOM!) and objects breaking the sound barrier (CRACK!), both of which make a good deal of noise.

Thankfully, if you want to reduce the noise you experience while shooting, there are a number of different ways to go about doing this.

There’s truly nothing quite like a suppressor, but there are definitely some alternatives. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Benefits of Suppressors

The most obvious benefit of using a suppressor is sound reduction. Using a suppressor will bring most calibers in most guns down to a hearing-safe level, meaning that you do not need to wear a form of hearing protection if you don’t want to. On bigger calibers where the sound is not quite hearing-safe, it still brings it down to a point where it’s not uncomfortable to be around it for an extended period of time while wearing hearing protection.

It should come as no surprise that those of us here at Silencer Central think that using a suppressor is the best way to reduce the noise on the range. There are a lot of great reasons why you should get one, but there are also some definite drawbacks. We’ll cover all of that and then give you some options for suppressor alternatives.

Reducing Noise

Not only can the sound of gunfire permanently damage your hearing, but it can also be intimidating to new shooters and disruptive to those around you. (We’re looking at you, the guy with an AR pistol in .308 with a brake on it at an indoor range.)

It should come as no surprise that those of us here at Silencer Central think that using a suppressor is the best way to reduce the noise on the range. There are a lot of great reasons why you should get one, but there are also some definite drawbacks. We’ll cover all of that and then give you some options for suppressor alternatives.

Recoil Reduction

Recoil reduction is another great benefit of using a suppressor. Because the gases are being impacted before they leave the muzzle of the suppressor, it also helps to reduce the amount of felt recoil for each shot. This means you can shoot longer without getting sore.

That recoil reduction can also help your shot groupings get tighter and your times lower. Less recoil means it takes less time to get back on target and make repeated shots. It’s a win-win-win.

Variables for Owning a Suppressor

Of course, suppressor ownership isn’t all sunshine, unicorns, and rainbows. There are also some serious variables that you have to contend with.


First of all, suppressors are not legal everywhere. As of the time of this writing, there are still eight states out of 50 where suppressors are not legal. Even if you live in a state where they’re legal to own, there might still be some restrictions on usage and location. For example, not every state where you can own a suppressor allows you to hunt with that suppressor. Or there may be county or city restrictions that are more draconian than the state law.

The other big variable is the wait time for your tax stamp approval. Before e-forms were rolled out at the beginning of 2022, it was not uncommon for people to wait close to an entire year before getting approved. Some people lucked out and their wait was less; others were less fortunate and experienced waits of 18 months or more.

With e-forms, we’re seeing approvals in the 120- to 160-day range, with our fastest one being just nine days. Unfortunately, there’s no rhyme or reason for how long your wait will be. The ATF says their goal is to get it down to 90 days, but we’re not there yet.

Costs of Suppressors

Suppressors are expensive. Plain and simple. Well, any good suppressor is expensive. This is definitely a situation where “you get what you pay for” most definitely applies.

Even if you find a screaming deal on a suppressor, you still have to figure in the cost of the $200 NFA tax stamp. That can turn your screaming deal down to an inside voice purchase real quick.


Alternatives to Suppressors for Reducing Noise

Subsonic ammo

One of the most distinctive sounds in shooting is the supersonic crack due to the speed of the bullet. If you use subsonic ammo, you can eliminate that crack. You’ll still hear the gunshot, but at least you’ll be doing away with one of the sound components.

Pistol caliber carbines

Shooting a 9mm bullet from a 4″ revolver barrel will sound louder than a 9mm coming out of a 16″ pistol caliber carbine barrel. You’ll be able to quiet down the 9mm report while getting the best ballistic performance by pairing a pistol cartridge with a carbine-length (or longer) barrel. However, it will still be loud. You could use subsonic ammo here, too, to help mitigate some more sound.

Linear compensators

A linear compensator is a muzzle device that directs the sound of your gunshot directly out in front of you. This means that you’ll have a lower amount of decibels reaching your ear than you would with a bare muzzle or even a flash hider. It doesn’t actually dampen the sound of gunfire at all. It just redirects it away from the shooter.


Airguns have come a long way from the Red Ryder that Ralphie got for Christmas. If you’re looking for a much, much quieter alternative to real gunfire while maintaining the same functionality as your powder burner, then you might want to get an airgun. There are all sorts of makes and models available that mimic the exact size, weight, and manipulation as the “real thing” to make training more cost-effective and quieter.

What is The Best Alternative To A Suppressor?
The best alternative to a suppressor is entirely subjective. It all depends on what is most important to you, what you can afford, and what you’re trying to accomplish. The four alternatives mentioned above are by no means the only ones out there. An entire industry exists that was built upon quieting down the shooting experience without having to give an extra $200 to Uncle Sam.


Suppressor Alternatives FAQs

What is the closest thing to a suppressor?

Unfortunately, there really isn’t anything that can be deemed “the closest thing” to a suppressor. Between the unmatched noise reduction and the reduced felt recoil, suppressors are in a category all their own. That’s why people buy them. If there indeed was a viable alternative that was “just as good” as a suppressor, then everyone would have that thing and no one would buy a suppressor.

What is the difference between sound mitigation and a suppressor?

The difference between sound mitigation and a suppressor is that sound mitigation is the redirection and transfer of sound while a suppressor actually reduces the decibel level of sound.

Sound mitigators are like the linear compensators mentioned above. They don’t actually lower the decibel level; they just mitigate it by redirecting the decibels.

Suppressors provide a measurable, repeatable reduction in sound that you cannot and will not get from sound mitigation.


Call Us To Get Setup Today

We understand that suppressors aren’t for everyone, whether it’s due to financial restrictions, government overreach, or something else altogether.

You can’t truly replicate the benefits and performance of a suppressor with any of the alternatives on the market, but it’s still nice to know that there are options from which you can choose.

If, however, you’ve decided that the alternatives aren’t going to cut it and you want “the real thing,” then you’ve come to the right place!

Silencer Central is the nation’s largest silencer dealer, with the ability to serve customers in all 42 states where suppressors are legal. We’ll handle the entire purchase process for you from the comfort of your own home. You can even set up an interest-free payment plan to pay while you wait, and then we’ll mail your suppressor right to your front door once it’s been approved.

Buying a suppressor has never been easier, so what are you waiting for? Let’s get your suppressor purchase started today!