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Silencers are not new; gunsmiths and inventors have been fooling with them since the 19th century.

Silencers Snipers Assassins by Truby David

However, the current advantages of a silencer, which is a device to eliminate muzzle noise and flash, fall into overlapping groups. The first grouping is tactical deception. As the source of fire is masked, the exact location of the firer, the range from which the weapon is firing, the types of weapons firing, and the number of weapons firing cannot be determined.

The second advantage is psychological and physical. Physically, the lessening of muzzle flash and noise, and to some extent the recoil, greatly improves accuracy. Psychologically, the masking of the source of the firing gives the shooter a feeling of security, as he will not receive immediate return fire.

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It can be broadly stated that a silenced weapon confuses the person being fired upon; improves the shooter's accuracy by eliminating disconcerting flash and noise; and as a bonus, gives the shooter a feeling of confidence that he will not be discovered. The silencer is usually used in clandestine operations, e. In addition, there are numerous battlefield and non-battlefield applications if consideration is given to the many operations where deception is of tactical, operational or psychological advantage, e.

Obviously, these same advantages apply to the use of silenced weapons by criminals, political radicals, or by law enforcement personnel. Technically, a silencer is a device for reducing or disguising the noise created by the discharge of a firearm. That noise is actually two sounds. The first noise heard by a person down range is the ballistic crack of the bullet zipping through the air and exceeding the speed of sound.

It's the same type of noise as a jet breaking the sound barrier. The second sound is the muzzle blast — the sound of the high pressure gases breaking out of the barrel just behind the bullet and entering the atmosphere.

A silencer delays the escape of these gases, reducing the sharp, loud report that occurs when they all pop out at once. Thus, a silencer works on about the same principle as the muffler of your car. Both have an expansion chamber for the gas to lose energy as well as a series of baffles to hinder the flow of the gases.

Most silencers are made of steel, titanium. This entire system is closed within a tube, with the only openings being the barrel and exit holes cut slightly larger than the exact caliber of the weapon. The clearance inside the silencer is reduced as much as possible, leaving just enough space for the bullet to miss the baffles, in order to prevent the rapid escape of the gases.

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Obviously, the whole assembly must be fitted on the gun properly, or the whole lash up could blow up in the shooter's face. The levels of silencer efficiency depend on several factors. If the muzzle velocity of the bullet is subsonic and the breech of the firearm is tightly closed, the noise is almost completely eliminated by using a silencer. However, a high velocity projectile will make a crackling noise as it creates its own sonic boom after leaving the muzzle of the gun.

While the muzzle noise comes from a fixed point, i. The sound waves begin slightly ahead of the moving projectile. The sonic crack of the bullet travels away from the muzzle toward the target, moving at the velocity of the bullet. Thus, attention to the firing source is almost a natural reaction, as the wave carries the observer's attention back to the firing point.

This, of course, is all in theory, as various field conditions, e. However, in the covert operations found in today's guerrilla warfare, some of these other considerations are not nearly so critical as the need to muffle the sonic crack of the bullet. It might be concluded that for sniping under normal field con- ditions, a silencer may be used to dampen muzzle blast, without too much worry about silencing the ballistic crack. Covert operations and clandestine assassinations, however, are a different matter. Usually, these are carried out in situations where as much total silence as possible is desired.

Thus, weapons for this type of activity attempt to deal with both sources of sound. For example, a sniper or counter sniper firing in the field is not especially concerned if the enemy hears the snap of a bullet. They cannot locate him from that sound alone. However, an espionage agent who has to quietly kill an enemy would just as soon have NO noise. The only way to avoid the supersonic crack of the bullet is to lower the slug's speed to subsonic, or about feet per second.

Of course, atmospheric conditions would affect that figure — as subsonic speed in the humid jungles of Southeast Asia is higher than it would be in the arctic. However, as almost all standard military small arms ammunition is supersonic, other means have been found to dissipate the sonic boom of the round. The result is a subsonic round coming out of the gun.

In the event the silencer design does not include a way of bleeding off gas by porting the barrel into a gas chamber, then heavier, slower cartridges must be used if the sonic boom of the projectile is to be eliminated. Two excellent examples of slow, heavy cartridges are our. Now, while we're waxing technical here, let's toss out the popular television and film foolery about the silencer as a handy dandy little gadget to clip on the end of the gun. Silencers are big, long, and heavy. The better models, the ones the pros use, are built specifically for specially designed guns.

Obviously, the larger the caliber of weapon, the longer and bulkier the silencer must be. A friend who used to be in the semi- military service of this country once showed me the silencer he had been issued for a particular task.


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It was made to fit a. In terms of optimum efficiency, even semiautomatic or fully automatic weapons are not totally silent. In addition to the muffled report, the mechanical noise produced by the moving parts can create quite a racket. The ideal weapon for a silencer is a manually operated, locked-breech, single shot or repeater. It can be either rifle or handgun. However, a silencer fitted to a revolver is almost useless. The gases easily and noisily escape from the open areas between the cylinder and barrel.

Yet, especially among domestic criminals, revolvers remain favorites for silencers. Of course, if the fit between cylinder and frame is tight, the silencer will work to some extent. An interesting invention that permits the use of a revolver with a silencer was designed by Siegfried Hubner. However, while this device is probably too bulky for normal field use, it would be ideal in clandestine missions or in some law enforcement activities. In summary, some of the requirements of the ideal firearms silencer were listed in the March-April issue of Ordnance magazine, as follows: 1.

It should be capable of accurate fire under all conditions of use. It should be as light as possible — yet heavy enough to assist in stability. Its reliability under even the worst field conditions should be unquestioned. Its maintenance should be simple and economical. It should use ammunition of standard manufacture. Finally, there is the matter of terminology.

This is especially true of the device which simply muffles muzzle blast, while ignoring the ballistic crack of a supersonic bullet. Literally, by definition, that type device is a moderator or suppressor — not a silencer.

Silencers Snipers Assassins by Truby David - AbeBooks

Frankly, there are very few totally silent weapons. There is. And, bullet hiss. Then, of course, there is the rather solid smack of a bullet hitting a person.

So, total silence is almost a myth. But, to simplify and to bow to popular acceptance and terminology for the purpose of this book, I will refer to all of these devices as silencers, whether they are technically moderators, suppressors or whatever. So, while the technical buffs will wince at my journalistic license, the rest of you can read on. That is the technical side of the subject. The rest of the story deals with people and with history. Needless to say, this is not a popular or well known history.


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  6. Indeed, many people worked on silencers even before the 20th century poked its head around the corner over 70 years ago.