Although a suppressor doesn’t completely block the sound of released pressurized gasses when the bullet releases from the muzzle, it does reduce sound – as well as much more.
Since suppressors control gas release, they also provide a bit of control over your barrel upon firing. So if you have been wondering if suppressors reduce recoil, the short answer is yes, they do. But you should read on for the information you may need if this is a serious consideration.
Gun Recoil Explained
When a cartridge is struck upon pulling the trigger of your gun, it creates the energy needed to fire the bullet through the combustion of the powder. This creates pressurized gasses that propel the bullet through the barrel. Upon its exit, the gasses are also released through the end of the barrel, transferring the energy back towards the shooter.
This is called recoil, or kickback.
If you can control how these gasses are released, you can help reduce felt recoil, and also help stabilize your barrel for more accuracy and comfort.
Problems Recoil Creates
Recoil can create problems for both inexperienced and experienced shooters. When you are not expecting the force of recoil it can create some dangerous situations. Scopes can be pushed back into your eye or face, or the buttstock can strike your shoulder with painful force. If you don’t have a good grip on the gun, recoil can also cause muzzle lift, or flip, and push the barrel upwards.
Even for the experienced shooter, recoil can create an uncomfortable shooting experience. Over time, shooters may anticipate the recoil and begin to flinch, or tense against it and cause issues with accuracy.
Gun Suppressors Explained
Suppressors are also referred to as silencers or sound modifiers, and even though they don’t cancel out the sound of your gunshot, they will reduce the intensity of the decibel level. It also works to reduce muzzle flash, and through the control of released gasses, will provide a lessened recoil and increased barrel control.
Suppressors and Your Legal Responsibilities
The reason suppressors aren’t as popular as many other muzzle devices, such as muzzle brakes and muzzle compensators, both specific to barrel control and recoil reduction, is due to their legal status.
Suppressors are regulated under the 1934 National Firearms Act, which means you are required to pass the ATF background check in order to purchase one. This can take up to 9 months even though the majority of people have no problem being approved.
Not all states allow the use of a suppressor either. Only 42 states allow the use of a suppressor, and only 40 allow them for hunting. To apply for one, either a physical or online form must be filled out and sent in. The licensed firearms dealer you are purchasing from can help you fill these out if you have questions.
How Suppressors Work
Even though Hollywood loves to pretend suppressors “silence” your weapon, they do nothing of the sort. They work to muffle the sound of your firearm upon firing similar to the way a muffler works to muffle the sound of your vehicle. These are simple tools that literally screw onto the end of your barrel to achieve this effect.
In order to reduce the sound of escaped gasses, a series of chambers are built into the suppressor that works to cool and dissipate them before being released in a controlled manner. You definitely can hear the sound of your gun being fired, but it will be at a lower, more comfortable decibel level.
As mentioned, suppressors have more benefits than a sound level that is more bearable. However, that is its main purpose. Rifles and shotguns produce a decibel level much higher than what is considered safe, which is why hearing protection is a must when out shooting. But to fully understand what all it can do, take a look at the following benefits of the device:
Depending on the type of suppressor you choose and the caliber you are using it with, the device will lower the decibel range by 14 to 45 decibels on average. This is significant, especially since you should also be using ear protection. This is also an ethical choice if you are shooting near where other people may be.
Tighter, More Consistent Groupings
Modern ammunition is already designed to be accurate and reliable, and a suppressor generally increases the muzzle velocity of ammunition to allow it to be more on target due to energy and overall increased weapon control.
As mentioned, the release of gasses in a controlled manner leads to better barrel control due to less pressure that causes muzzle lift.
Similar to how you can achieve better barrel control, you also can take advantage of the reduction in recoil through the controlled gas release.
Overall, a suppressor handles quite a few control issues. It reduces sound, barrel movement, and recoil, and hides flash – all in one product.
Alternatives for Recoil Reduction
Since getting your hands on a suppressor is something you are going to have to wait for unless you anticipated purchase and filled out your forms and application in advance, you might want to consider the use of a muzzle brake or compensator instead, Both work in a similar manner to control gasses through a series of vented ports.
Muzzle brakes are made specifically for reducing kickback, and on average reduce 50% of felt recoil. A simple device, it also screws onto the end of the barrel and is easy to adjust, or time, for full effect.
Compensators are similar but are designed specifically for barrel control and stabilization (Check our article for the Pros And Cons Of Compensators). Vented ports are carefully placed for this reason, but they also work to reduce recoil. This is also a simple screw-on device that requires very little adjustment for maximum efficiency.
Do suppressors reduce recoil? Yes, they most certainly do through the controlled release of gasses through the internal device chambers. Is it as effective as a muzzle brake or compensator? No. Those muzzle devices are designed specifically to work to control muzzle movement and can reduce recoil at a much higher rate than a suppressor. However, all are effective in providing a reduction in kickback.
Let us know your favorite kickback reduction methods below, and, as always, please share!