Silencers are a greatly misunderstood component of firearms, in large part because of their portrayal in video games and action movies.
Though silencers can greatly reduce the noise of a firearm, they do not eliminate the sound of a gunshot completely. Instead, silencers limit the noise to a hearing-safe level, keeping a firearm’s burst below 140 decibels.
A pistol equipped with a silencer, for example, is actually louder than a thunderclap but a tad quieter than a dish breaking.
The main benefit of silencers isn’t in the element of surprise but in helping to reduce hearing damage. Hearing loss is the most common disability claimed by veterans.
The following infographic from SilencerCo helps clarify some basic facts about firearm silencers.
Source: Jeremy Bender, This incredible infographic shows how silencers actually work, Business Insider, August 11, 2016, http://www.businessinsider.com/how-silencers-work-infographic-2016-8.
NOTE: The Infographic is an MP4 file, so you need to click on it to get the full affect of the infographic.