I read a thread on a gun forum the other day. Someone with a lot of science knowledge, but no practical firearms experience, was arguing that a silencer was useless on a gun that fired a supersonic bullet. He was “enthusiastic” with his argument that you can’t do anything about the sonic boom of an object traveling faster than the speed of sound, or more 1,125 feet per second or so depending on environmental conditions. His premise was flawed, however, by his lack of understanding that the sound of a gunshot has three components. Those are theblast of the rapidly expanding gas exiting the muzzle, the sound of the action of the gun, and the sonic boom of the bullet when firing supersonic calibers. His argument completely missed the point of all the benefits of reducing the gas expansion noise. That’s what has the most impact to the shooter. He also missed the potential benefit of a suppressor masking the location of the shot in supersonic scenarios. While the sonic crack still happens, it’s difficult to figure out where it came from without the associated muzzle blast. That’s useful for law enforcement, military, and hunters.
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(Featured image courtesy of Tom McHale @ gunsamerica.com)