There is an old joke that the “official NRA handshake” is a person saying “What?” as he or she cups a hand behind one ear.Miniter goes on to write the five things that people need to know about suppressors, things like the type of technology, and do they really make a gun "whisper quite." But to me, the most important thing he shares is how they work - information you can use when writing to your legislators when the Hearing Protection Act comes up for a vote to encourage them to support it:
I never liked this joke, as it makes light of a serious issue. Decades ago many gun owners didn’t think it was a big deal that they didn’t wear earplugs or muffs when hunting and at the range. Many shooters who grew up in that culture now have hearing loss or problems with tinnitus (ringing in their ears). Massive public education—much of it from the NRA—taught us about the dangers of shooting without ear and eye protection.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has determined that a decibel (dB) level greater than 140 can cause permanent hearing loss. Silencerco’s research has estimated that a silenced .22 LR rifle gives off about 116 dBs, a silenced 9mm pistol makes about 125 dBs, a jackhammer about 130 dBs and an unsuppressed .223 rifle about 165 dBs. So suppressors can lower the dB level below the detrimental 140 dB level. But OSHA also says that, over time, anything over 85 dBs can damage hearing. The point is, for the most part, even someone firing a suppressed firearm should still wear hearing protection.Miniter writes that a bullet moving faster than the speed of sound also creates something called a "mini sonic boom" that suppressors will not eliminate, making the Hollywood myth that silencers or suppressors turn gunshots into a "pffft" noise is "nonsense."
Yesterday Miniter appeared on NRATV's NRANews Cam and Company to talk more about the article.