New Shotgun Suppressor and General Observations on Hearing Loss in the Shooting Community

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month ago

Here is a video from Silencer Shop.  This sounds like a nice idea, but at the expense of registering it with the ATF, not so much any more.  You’re free to disagree. I see that they have designed the suppressors with different choke sizes in mind. That answered the only question I had before watching he video: what does this do to the shot pattern? I do wonder what this does to the weight distribution and balance of the gun though.

I find that using shotguns in particular reduces the need for any sort of suppression of the sound because of the comfort of wearing sound enhancing ear muffs (or electronic ear muffs).  They work well with the lower comb of the shotgun and don’t interfere with getting a good cheek weld.

Rifles are a different story.  With rifles the stock doesn’t have the same profile, and this is especially true of modern sporting rifles where the stock is along the same axis as the recoil.  I find that electronic ear muffs do interfere with my cheek weld.  The only option at that point is foam hearing protection for the ear canal.

The upshot of electronic ear muffs for hunting or other shooting sports is that, especially for a person who is somewhat hard of hearing like me, the muffs actually enhance the sound (other than the shot itself).  I damaged my hearing by running power equipment for years before we thought about things like hearing protection. I always use hearing protection now. Thus, the last time I went quail hunting I had a regular conversation with someone with muffs on, and yet suffered no hearing damage from the shotgun.  The downside of foam hearing protection is that no such conversation can be had.

I am a fairly well rounded engineer, and in addition to studying both mechanical and nuclear engineering, I have studied the physics of sound, including all of the OSHA regulations and the dumbed-down ways they force you to compute reduction in decibels (for example, when double protection is used).  OSHA crafts its calculations for the simplest minded health and safety technician to use, not for the engineer.

But those regulations do provide worker protection.  And while it can be said that OSHA has no jurisdiction over hearing safety for those other than workers, if the FedGov cared in the least about the health and safety of its citizens, OSHA would be in front of Congress lobbying for removal of suppressors from the NFA.  Hearing loss is a human safety issue.  There are no two ways about it.

The only conclusion one can reach is that OSHA doesn’t really care about you, any more than the federal government does.  Because you engage in hunting and the other shooting sports, they hate you.  It’s that simple.  If they cared about you, they would have removed suppressors a very long time ago and allowed them to be sold at the local hardware store.


Comments

  1. On April 5, 2023 at 2:47 am, Nosmo said:

    Couple months back a friend discovered Walker’s in-ear electronic earplugs on sale at Midway for $99 – half price – and tried a set. NRR 24, so they’re not as good as muffs, but he reports they’re pretty good at both blocking shooting noise and allowing normal conversation. He works as an RSO and, like most of us in that age group, suffered enough hearing loss that normal conversation while wearing muffs is impossible, and removing them for a minute to talk invites being blasted by someone shooting. As for electronic muffs, he’s in Florida so wearing muffs in the heat for 6 hours non-stop gets rather uncomfortable. I wear muffs for extended periods around power equipment – mowers, saws, etc. – and I do not disagree about the summer discomfort. The Walker in-ear electronics popped up on sale at Midway again this week so I bought a pair to try, I’ll report back after I’ve used them a while. One thing I will be testing is how well, if at all, they work with a phone; I find foam earplugs work about as well as muffs around power equipment and are more comfortable for long periods but using a phone is easier with quickly removable muffs than earplugs, but also means walking outside or into the office to use it.

    Back in the ’60s and ’70s no one thought about, or perhaps, simply didn’t know, about the severe deletorious effect of constant high noise levels. I spent most of those years around unmuffled racing engines, usually lots of them, plus stuff like power saws and barely muffled chain saws and have the hearing loss to prove it. I noticed a few years back that the modern construction of full face motorcycle helmets is a lot noisier than what we had 20 years ago. I’m confident they do a better job of protecting the head but quite a bit less for noise reduction; earplugs while riding is now a must.

    And, like you, I consider the $200 tax and NFA procedures on suppressors a crime against humanity.

  2. On April 5, 2023 at 6:38 am, Latigo Morgan said:

    Huh?

    All my life I was downright religious about hearing protection while shooting.

    Working on heavy equipment and around high pressure air? Not so much. Thus, the ringing never stops, and I don’t hear so well. But, come to think of it, I don’t want to hear what most people are saying, anyway. My sister-in-law is a good example – can’t hear the range of her voice pitch very well at all – all I hear is nyah nyah nyah.

    I do like to hear the sounds in nature, though.

  3. On April 5, 2023 at 7:11 am, RCW said:

    Regarding form 4 permission slips, despite DoJ directions to process within 3 months, approval times are currently 9 & 16 months for electronic & paper applications, respectively, per silencer central & silencer shop.

    Been using Howard Leight electronic earmuffs several years now. They have adjustable volume controls allowing conversions while blocking out the very loud; they haven’t interfered with my cheek meld however my long arms have 15″+ LOP (I’m 1.9m tall) and I don’t possess marksman credentials.

  4. On April 5, 2023 at 7:37 am, Bill Sullivan said:

    When I started shooting M-1’s in a DCM club, we used tufts of cotton or torn off cigarette filters. Neither worked very well. Then I bought some muffs. I never doubled up with plugs, as I wanted to hear range commands. I recently bought a couple of pairs of “Winchester” brand electronic earmuffs from Classic Firearms. About $20 a pair. Work great.
    Unfortunately, I did lots of work with power tools. Very noisy. The loud ringing is constant.

  5. On April 5, 2023 at 5:37 pm, =TW= said:

    40 years as a machinist, I used yellow foam earplugs frequently.
    Rock concerts, I used cigarette filters occasionally (Zeppelin, Sabbath, BOC etc.)
    Shooting, foam plugs nearly always. Later- Peltor Shotgunner muffs always.

    My ears have been ringing since the early 90s.
    …So speak up.

  6. On April 5, 2023 at 5:38 pm, Rocketguy said:

    I have been using a set of the Walker in-ear electronic plugs for a little over a year. Love them. Enough protection for everything but being next to someone shooting a big magnum with a brake. No cheek weld issues. I particularly like the Bluetooth feature – listening to music or podcasts during long load testing bench sessions or while running loud equipment is great. I had high hopes that they would help me hear game while providing protection but that didn’t pan out – had a deer walk right up behind me masked by wind, rustling leaves, etc. Still, I highly recommend.

  7. On April 7, 2023 at 1:08 pm, Drake said:

    I keep hearing NFA cases will make it to the Supreme Court. If they ever turn it over, even for a day, I’m going on a big shopping spree.

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You are currently reading "New Shotgun Suppressor and General Observations on Hearing Loss in the Shooting Community", entry #34540 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published April 4th, 2023 by Herschel Smith.

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