Suppressors on TV- Kudos to Mythbusters

This is a discussion on Suppressors on TV- Kudos to Mythbusters within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; This week's Mythbusters (titled, "Blow your own sail") did a fantastic job explaining the value of suppressors. "We would be remiss if we failed to ...

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    Member Array gruntingfrog's Avatar
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    Suppressors on TV- Kudos to Mythbusters

    This week's Mythbusters (titled, "Blow your own sail") did a fantastic job explaining the value of suppressors. "We would be remiss if we failed to mention that this is not an assassin's tool like you see in the movies." Adam then goes on to explain the reduced concussion, hearing safety, and other benefits to suppressors - he even points out that military and law enforcement like them for these reasons.

    Way to go, Mythbusters!
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    Member Array Angry Bill's Avatar
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    Exactly. when I end up owning some land in the future, I would want to shoot with a suppressor so I took it easy on my neighbors' ears.
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    Suppressors are very popular now, due to urban sprawl. Lots of people are getting them when they find out that its not that big of a deal to do the paperwork...IF you live in a NFA friendly state.

    Lots of people around here hunt with them too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    Suppressors are very popular now, due to urban sprawl. Lots of people are getting them when they find out that its not that big of a deal to do the paperwork...IF you live in a NFA friendly state.

    Lots of people around here hunt with them too.
    If we could hunt with them I would be more interested.

    For a slight hijack. I talked to a ranger in Great Smoky Mtns NP last year. She told me the rangers got a suppressed rifle to hunt hogs with. Trying not to freak out the folks that might be in ear shot. The first time out they shot a hog, but since it was suppressed, the hogs did not know where the noise came from. Which is kind of the point. But before they could take another shot, the hogs scattered in ALL directions. They usually run away from the shot. This time both rangers got beat up a bit by the scattering hogs. They put the suppressor away.
    I prefer to live dangerously free than safely caged!

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    Senior Member Array stanislaskasava's Avatar
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    I think they oversimplified the topic, as they sometimes do. They waste so much time repeating things that could be used to go in depth -- for instance, they made no mention of supersonic vs subsonic ammo.

    Due to limited dynamic range, it seems impossible to hear the true effect of suppressors on video. It could have helped had they used something for reference, such as a snare drum. Instead, they led everybody to believe that a suppressed .45/9mm (indoors) is as loud smashing a paper bag full of air. It would have been nice if they had included a suppressed .22 also.

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stanislaskasava View Post
    I think they oversimplified the topic, as they sometimes do. They waste so much time repeating things that could be used to go in depth -- for instance, they made no mention of supersonic vs subsonic ammo.

    Due to limited dynamic range, it seems impossible to hear the true effect of suppressors on video. It could have helped had they used something for reference, such as a snare drum. Instead, they led everybody to believe that a suppressed .45/9mm (indoors) is as loud smashing a paper bag full of air. It would have been nice if they had included a suppressed .22 also.
    IIRC the show itself wasn't so much about suppressors,but the sounds of things in movies like getting punched,and silencers in real life sounding like they do in movies.The silencers sounded just like the sounds in the movies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukalmighty View Post
    IIRC the show itself wasn't so much about suppressors,but the sounds of things in movies like getting punched,and silencers in real life sounding like they do in movies.The silencers sounded just like the sounds in the movies.
    From what I caught, that is correct. Somehow my eyelids got in the way of my viewing I think.
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    Member Array SC Tiger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stanislaskasava View Post
    I think they oversimplified the topic, as they sometimes do. They waste so much time repeating things that could be used to go in depth -- for instance, they made no mention of supersonic vs subsonic ammo.

    Due to limited dynamic range, it seems impossible to hear the true effect of suppressors on video. It could have helped had they used something for reference, such as a snare drum. Instead, they led everybody to believe that a suppressed .45/9mm (indoors) is as loud smashing a paper bag full of air. It would have been nice if they had included a suppressed .22 also.
    The supersonic/subsonic thing wasn't a big deal for the gun they were using because it was a .45 ACP (subsonic). However, IMO they should have tried a 9mm, a .22LR and a .40 to he thorough. Mythbusters is actually fairly gun-friendly (except to the ones they destroy to test myths). Jamie must have an absolute arsenel.

    On the blow your own sail bit, I honestly didn't think that would work. I thought about the theory they mentioned about the air hitting the sail, curling back and propelling the boat forward but I couldn't convice myself it would work. What would have been cool would have been to use colored smoke to really show how the air was hitting the sail.

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    I usually watch the program, but missed this episode. I didn't know it was going to be about supressors or I would have made sure to watch it! Hope to catch a rebroadcast. They do some really cool stuff and the redhead isn't too bad to look at.
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    Member Array gruntingfrog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SC Tiger View Post
    The supersonic/subsonic thing wasn't a big deal for the gun they were using because it was a .45 ACP (subsonic). However, IMO they should have tried a 9mm, a .22LR and a .40 to he thorough.
    They did both a .45 (Adam) and a 9mm (Jamie).

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    ... the redhead isn't too bad to look at.
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    Member Array gruntingfrog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stanislaskasava View Post
    Instead, they led everybody to believe that a suppressed .45/9mm (indoors) is as loud smashing a paper bag full of air.
    I don't think they led anyone to that belief. They specifically stated the decibel level of the suppressed shot (128 decibels) and the target market for Mythbusters is such that they would understand that is still pretty loud. Not instant hearing damage, just loud.

    What they were testing was the QUALITY of the sound, not the volume.
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    Senior Member Array stanislaskasava's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gruntingfrog View Post
    I don't think they led anyone to that belief. They specifically stated the decibel level of the suppressed shot (128 decibels) and the target market for Mythbusters is such that they would understand that is still pretty loud. Not instant hearing damage, just loud.

    What they were testing was the QUALITY of the sound, not the volume.
    The main problem is that the program is produced to typical broadcast television standards and the dynamic range of the audio is heavily compressed. Video of Adam and Jamie speaking on location edited together with video of the suppressed pistols gives the impression that the weapons are only a bit louder than nerdy conversation -- e.g. as loud as smashing a paper bag full of air -- when in fact, the decibel level you quote (128dB) is loud enough to cause ringing in the ears. It is said that the loudest human scream ever measured was 129 decibels! Now that is the type of reference they should have included.

    Secondly, you say they were testing the 'quality' of the sounds, and not the volume. IMO, the defining quality of a movie sound effect for a suppressed pistol is in fact it's volume. Suppressed pistols are invariably used in movie plots to shoot somebody without alerting an adversary in the next room or even 100 feet away. Regardless of the 'quality' of the suppressor sound, how is it possible that a sound, as loud as the loudest human scream ever measured, can't be heard in the next room or down the hall? Isn't this the most important aspect of the sound effect's accuracy? The plot hinges on it, for Pete's sake. OTOH, who cares if the sound effect is a recording of the exact pistol and suppressor portrayed in the movie? If that's what they were testing, then they really bungled it. Volume, baby. It's what a suppressor reduces. BUT NOT LIKE IN THE MOVIES.

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    Member Array gruntingfrog's Avatar
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    All good points. For clarity, they should have pointed out an example equivalent volume level and that someone close by would definitely hear it.
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    Five years ago or so, I worked at the Leupold facility in Beaverton, Oregon. In several areas of the offices, one can find gun magazines, mostly US and long-range shooting, but with a few foreign page turners as well. On a coffee break one day, I picked up a British gun magazine. Although handguns are banned in GB, long guns are available, with some rather severe restrictions. In that magazine I came across an ad that really jumped out at me. In Great Britain, rifle owners can buy, on-line or by post (mail), suppressors for many popular rifles. Suppressors are encouraged for rifle shooters, because otherwise the bloody things are too loud.
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    Senior Member Array Rustynuts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SC Tiger View Post
    On the blow your own sail bit, I honestly didn't think that would work. I thought about the theory they mentioned about the air hitting the sail, curling back and propelling the boat forward but I couldn't convice myself it would work. What would have been cool would have been to use colored smoke to really show how the air was hitting the sail.
    You realize this is how thrust reversers work on an airplane, right? Just in the opposite direction, to slow instead of move forward. They don't slam the jet engines into reverse!

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