Suppressors in Video Games – How They Get It Wrong
One of my favorite ways to unwind after a long day is to kick back, fire up the old video game console, and spend an hour or so diving, dodging, and shooting my way through battles in faraway lands. As a gun guy, I can often unplug my own brain long enough to have fun without being overly critical of how weapons are portrayed. That doesn’t mean I don’t notice it.
Video games get plenty wrong about guns, but they get nearly everything wrong about suppressors. This can often create an unrealistic idea, a mythos around suppressors that can leak into the real world. Today we are going to debunk six of the most common suppressor myths that come out of video games.
Suppressors Reduce ‘Damage’
The most common video game myth about suppressors is that they reduce the damage a firearm causes. Video games aren’t real life, so the generic ‘damage’ stat is a reasonable way to measure the performance of the gun. Toss a suppressor on, and you gain stealth by sacrificing damage. One of the big culprits behind this is Cyberpunk 2077.
In real life, this would translate to a reduction in ballistic performance. That’s just silly all around. Suppressors do not lower velocity or prevent a projectile from expanding. They simply muffle the gunshot. Terminal performance remains unaffected in real life.
Suppressors Wear Out Super Fast
Admittedly, disposable suppressors exist. Glock even makes one. Some suppressors also use wipes which will wear out with use. Even so, neither of these are very common and aren’t used on a high-powered rifle of any type. Most suppressors, like our fabulous lineup, will last you for thousands and thousands of rounds.
Disposable cans and wipe suppressors are very niche products for specific purposes. If you are playing a game as a highly-skilled commando tasked with saving the world, you aren’t using such a niche product. Anyone who has played Metal Gear Solid 5 has certainly become frustrated when their 8th suppressor has worn out two firefights in.
Whisper Quiet Suppression
Ah, yes, the most common trope of all: suppressors make your gun nearly silent. You get this ‘fwp’ noise, and that’s it. You can take down a bad guy standing right next to another bad guy, and the one still standing won’t hear the shot. In reality, this just isn’t true.
Suppressors can bring the noise down to hearing-safe levels but can’t stop the supersonic crack or the noise of a pistol slide or rifle bolt from moving backward and rearward. Manually operated weapons firing subsonic ammo deliver the quietest experience, but you can still hear it from one end of a house to the other.
Most games engage in that myth, but I’ll point out one that didn’t. The Crysis series did a great job of portraying the noise a suppressor creates realistically. Bad guys will hear it but have a harder time locating the player.
Just Suppress Everything
Most weapons can be effectively suppressed. Guns are large, as the M2 50 caliber machine gun can be suppressed. However, video games take it a step further. They allow you to suppress weapons that couldn’t be suppressed effectively in real life. This includes revolvers, which have a space between the cylinder and barrel that prohibits you from suppressing them effectively. (Although a few have a gas seal, it is exceedingly rare.)
Sometimes guns with compensators can be suppressed, or guns with porting can be suppressed. The porting and compensators would prevent effective suppression. Rainbow Six Vegas was notorious for this, allowing you to suppress Taurus Raging Bulls and Glock 18Cs.
Nothing But Sound Suppression
One of the more subtle inaccuracies with suppressors in video games is the fact that all they do is suppress the noise of the gunshot. In reality, they can change the way the weapon handles quite a bit. Suppressors actually reduce recoil and muzzle rise, but that’s never noted in video games.
Additionally, they do add length and can make a gun difficult or impossible to conceal. Don’t tell the Hitman series that as a pair of suppressors, long slide 1911s can be concealed by a suit jacket, apparently. Suppressors change how a weapon handles and maneuvers in both good and bad ways, but that’s never noted by video game creators.
Video games often get suppressors wrong for balance purposes. If suppressors have no downsides, why would you not use them? It becomes a part of the game’s mechanic to reduce damage or to have suppressors quickly wear out. There are also ignorance and stereotypes that lead to the whisper-quiet suppressors and lack of understanding of how suppressors change the way a gun handles.
The guys and gals creating video games aren’t going to the range every weekend….but imagine if they did. Imagine if they educated themselves on these subjects and created a more immersive world. We can help accomplish that by busting silencer myths when they pop up.