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Since MA doesn't allow the ownership of suppressors for civilians often times customers ask "Whatcha have those for?" Suppressors (or silencers as many like to call them) have gotten a pretty bad reputation thanks to movies and a general misunderstanding of what they are really about.
Interestingly in countries that have MUCH more restrictive gun laws, suppressor use is ENCOURAGED so that neighbors and others are not botherd by the discharge of firearms.

Suppressor types:

Most suppressors fall into three categories, wet, dry, and wipe based. This "state" determines if they were designed to be used with an artificial media (wet) to help further reduce the report of a firearm, if they were designed for no use of artificial media (dry) and can be used straight out of the box, or if they use a replaceable solid media to help contain the expanding gasses (wipes).
Now to futher confound the issue, dry suppressors may or may not use wipes, as well wet suppressors may or may not use wipes...so typically most will say there are only two types of suppressors, wet or dry...wipes can be used in both.

In the "old days" a lot of suppressors used artificial media and another device called a wipe to contain the expanding gasses from the firing of a cartridge. The wipe was a replaceable object that usually slid in at the "business end" of the suppressor and was essentially a small rubber disk with an X cut in it. As the operator would fire, the bullets would pass through this wipe, and much of the expanding gas from the round would get trapped inside the suppressor. Since the bullet actually touched the wipe, often times accuracy would be affected and the wipe itself would degrade over time to the point of requireing replacement. Now I say the "old days" because this technology is still being used today in special application suppressor. Gov't and Law Enforcement still employ this technology because it does three significant things:
1. It reduces first round pop (FRP). When a suppressor is fired for the first time, the ambient temperature air that's contained inside must be displaced. The first shot tends to do this but comes with a distinctive "POP" sound.
2. Modern suppressors that use a wipe tend to be quieter for the first dozen or so shots or until the wipe degrades.
3. The wipe keeps hot gasses in more completely until the wipe degrades, making them safer in hazerdous enviroments.

Now for most law enforcement situations the use of a wipe based suppressor is more of a liability than a benefit but for military operations where ultimate stealth is required, a wipe-based suppressor isn't really a bad thing.

Wet Suppressors:
Wet suppressors tend to achieve slightly better results than dry suppressors when fully charged with a replaceable media. They are quieter, exhibit less muzzle flash, and stay cooler. Different companies recommend different media and may even provide a charging device to help evenly distribute the media into the suppressor. Suppressor aficionados all have their theories about what works best or lasts the longest, some use water, some use lithium grease, and I've even seen a one use diet Dr. Pepper!

Dry Suppressors
Dry suppressors use no disposable media and achieve very good results and do so constantly. The key to these modern suppressors is their baffle stack. The baffle can be as simple as a steel washer or as complex as a custom designed ceramic body device with flow holes and designed in shapes that just don't look "natural".

Law Enforcement Use
So where does this leave the Law Enforcement officer? In most cases a duty officer will never have a need for a suppressor. More likely a SWAT team will benefit from heir use in tactical entry situations. Suppressors really shine in this role as they allow for verbal communication while engaging targets thereby enhancing command and control. As well a suppressed weapon is very effective against patrol animals (read: crack house dogs), for shooting out lights prior to an assault, and for dispatching light targets such as tires and power junction boxes from a distance all the while maintaining a stealthy profile for the operator.
In hazardous environments like a meth lab, where the discharge of a firearm might touch off an explosion, suppressors help reduce the risk of a castestrophic explosion while trying to engage targets.
Animal control/Environmental officers often use a suppressed weapon to aid in putting down wild animals that have been wounded and in population control situations where a large number of animals need to be taken quickly and quietly.

So if your mission role dictates the use of a suppressor, there are lots of different versions out there that can match just about any tactical situation you'll come up against.

Bowers ATAS 45 (videos availible)

GemTech

Advanced Armament

LRM Video

LRM Firearms

AWC

American MFG
 
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