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The Home Defense Suppressor — Yea (Yay!) or Nay

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The Home Defense Suppressor — Yea (Yay!) or Nay

Travis Pike

Travis Pike

Of all the accessories you can attach to your weapon, the suppressor or silencer might be the most controversial. They have an interesting legal status as NFA items but they have never been more popular. Well, I mean, since the NFA became a thing. Today we are pondering a couple of questions. Do suppressors belong on self-defense firearms? If so, what priority should they hold? What’s the deal with a home defense suppressor?

In general, suppressors rule. They make firearms much more comfortable to shoot, are a ton of fun, and should have the same regulation as a pair of earmuffs. I love shooting suppressed. In fact, I have a hard time going back to standard shooting after playing with cans. While suppressors can be extremely handy, are they the right tool for the home defense task?

The Ins and Outs of the Home Defense Suppressor

First and foremost, if you’ve never shot suppressed, don’t let movies and media inform you of their capabilities. They don’t make whisper-quiet guns. That scene in John Wick 2 where Wick and Common beef it out quietly in a train station…that wouldn’t ever happen. Even with subsonic ammo, suppressed guns aren’t that quiet.

Your home defense suppressor won’t grant you ninja-like abilities to sneak around and pop off bad guys like a Rainbow Six commando. That doesn’t mean they can’t be valuable. Your hearing is valuable—ask me how I know.

Shooting the APC9K with SilencerCo Hybrid 46M suppressor
Hybrid 46M to my Bruger & Thomet APC9K.

Randomly I get this fun loud ringing. Tinnitus, my old friend, lovely to hear from you again. It’s annoying and occurs because, as a young Marine, I didn’t have ear pro for numerous ranges, deployments, and the like. Heck, now the Marine Corps plans to utilize a suppressor for every combat arms Marine in the near future.

Suppressors will preserve your hearing. With a rifle and supersonic ammo, you’ll still get the snap, but a can will take some sting out. Using a gun indoors can be brutal, and as such, a home defense suppressor can work wonders to preserve your hearing.

Hybrid 46M modular bi-bore suppressor
Hybrid 46M modular big-bore suppressor.

Controlling your weapon is also important, and suppressors do add a level of control. They help reduce recoil and muzzle rise, and that’s always a plus. In an incident that occurs at night, the suppressor can reduce muzzle flash and keep your vision clear for fast follow-up shots.

Downsides of the Home Defense Suppressor

There is no such thing as a free lunch, right? Suppressors do have some downsides. Right away, it will make your gun several inches longer and add a little weight to the end of the barrel. We use super short carbines for home defense because size matters. A suppressor on a 16-inch carbine gives you an M16A4 length firearm.

Sig MCX Rattler at the range
Cans make the gun longer...but it still rules, right?

Still, you likely aren’t clearing rooms in a home defense scenario, or at least you shouldn’t be. Sitting in ambush doesn’t require a super-short rifle. Still, there are some problems. First, they are expensive, very expensive in fact.

They can cost as much as your gun or, heck, even more depending on the suppressor. Plus, you gotta pay the Feds 200 dollars for the pleasure, fill out the paperwork, and wait for them to get around to approving it. Also, eight states prohibit the ownership of suppressors, so for some, the home defense suppressor is a no-go from the start.

SilencerCo Omega 9SD
The SilencerCo Omega 9SD.

In a post-shoot scenario, there is a good chance your rifle will be taken for a period of time. An investigation has to be launched, and you need to be cleared. They’ll take the suppressor as well. So you’ll be out a suppressor and a rifle.

The Stupid NFA

The biggest issue for me would be the chance of a legal situation occurring due to an unauthorized user. Let’s say you don’t have a trust, and you are the only authorized user of the aforementioned home defense suppressor. If you have a trust and your wife or husband isn’t on it, they can’t use the suppressor without you supervising its use. Will it be an issue?

Griffin Armament Suppressor ready M LOK rail
This rail is designed to accomodate suppressors up to 1.5 inches in diameter while maintaining free-float clearance.

Maybe, maybe not. Especially in the event of a good shoot. That being said, it’s still a risk. That being said, it’s easily mitigated via a trust and keeping your S/O on the trust.

*this is not legal advice. 

An Expert's Opinion

Lots of experts agree that suppressors are inherently valuable for self-defense. I have the same feeling. I think a can is well worth the trade-off if you get your hands on one. That being said, I like to find contrary opinions to my own, especially when they are from respected experts in the field.

Burst Review M9 threaded barrel SilencerCo Osprey
Cans on all the guns.

John Lovell released some interesting views on the home defense suppressor. On Colion Noir’s podcast, he discussed that he loved suppressors but didn’t use one for home defense. Lovell wants the bang of his firearm to be an alarm. He sees a vital purpose in the bang, and it is utilitarian to his purposes.

The big loud bang will alert his neighbors, who are friends, police, and military forces. As such, they can call for help, or even joining the fight is necessary. That bang will also be a signal to the intruder that you’re in the wrong house. It will be bright, loud, and cause panic and chaos, at least to the mind of an intruder.

He says the same idea applies to any friends and allies of the shooter. The big bang of his rifle will create panic and chaos among any other intruders and hopefully take the fuel of them. Thus, the fight is over with a single shot fired, or well, a single string of shots fired.

Vintage ad for Maxim Silencers
We wish suppressors were still that affordable and accessible. Photo: unknown historical archives.

Mr. Lovell is a respected firearms instructor and member of the special ops community. I think his views on the home defense suppressor are interesting. I appreciate his opinion on the matter and find it refreshing to hear some outside-the-box thinking.

The Home Defense Suppressor

So what do you think about a welded tube of baffles that attaches to the end of your barrel? Does the sound of silence appeal to you? Well, not really silence, but that’s not as catchy. Personally, I’m a fan of the idea, and I think the home defense suppressor is a rock-solid idea for home defense use. The reduction of sound and preservation of your hearing alone is well worth the cost of investment.

But, what do you think? Let us know below. Would you sue a home defense suppressor? If so, let us know why. If not, also let us know why.

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