first published on June 5, 2016 by Tim
If the internet is good for anything, it’s spreading half truths and misinformation. Recently James Yeager posted a video about the use of the term “suppressor” vs. “silencer”. I fully understand what he’s trying to convey which is that the use of the term “silencer” is correct, and from a legal standpoint he’s absolutely right. The NFA makes no mention of “suppressors”, they are by all legal definitions “silencers”.
Here’s where James gets off into the weeds and unintentionally spreads more misinformation. First, he attributes the invention of the silencer to Harim Maxim. It’s true that Maxim is credited with the first commercially successful silencer, however he didn’t invent it. Many people were working on them at the same time. The duo J. Borrensen and S. Sigbjornsen filed a patent for a silencer in 1899 edging out Maxim ever so slightly. It’s a minor point, but one that needs to be made.
Where I really felt James wandered way out into left field was with his claim the use of “suppressor” came about to appease anti-gunners and its use is purely an act of political correctness to appease those that hate firearms. I don’t know where this notion came from, but that’s highly unlikely. The use of the term “suppressor” came from gun guys who constantly try to out smart each other and reinvent terms to make themselves sound more intelligent than other gun guys with whom they’re constantly at war with on discussion forms.
It’s similar to how we used the term “accidental discharge” for many decades, then sometime in the 2000’s a group of internet commando’s decided “negligent discharge” (or ND) was more correct and started hammering everyone that dared to use the equally correct term “accidental discharge” (or AD) as being idiots. These techni-nazi’s even went so far as to claim using the term AD put peoples lives at risk. Of course anyone with a lick of common sense realizes this is utter non-sense, but it’s the exact same phenomenon we see with the terms silencer vs. suppressor.
It’s important to note that silencers don’t silence firearms, not even close. As a matter of fact, they’re just barely hearing safe when used with most centerfire calibers. Websters tells us the definition of silence is the “complete absence of sound“. Anyone that’s used a silencer knows they don’t come anywhere near meeting this criteria.
This technicality left the door wide open for the techni-nazi’s to storm in with the word “suppressor”, which is technically more descriptive. If it had ended there though, things would be fine and we would have relative peace and harmony in the online gun community. Sadly, the techni-nazi’s aren’t content with simply redefining things, they have to go out of their way to criticize those who dare to continue the use of the word they’ve deemed to be obsolete.
As James correctly points out, they’re wrong in doing this because every legal definition under U.S. law refers to them as “silencers”… so the techni-nazi’s are fighting a losing battle… but fight it they will.
Where I really disagree with James’ rant is the claim it’s all about being PC and using the term “suppressor” is akin to “boot licking” anti-gunners. LOL, that’s just plain retarded (he talks about the use of this term in his video too which I found to be quite entertaining).
Sorry James, I agree yet disagree with you on this one. You can use silencer and suppressor interchangeably and you’re not boot licking Nancy Pelosi in the process should you opt for the latter. You may also use AD and ND interchangeably without having a conniption fit as both are technically correct as well.