In the comments of the amusingly-title CNN Money article “Gun silencer sales are booming,” commenter Len Kivi asks the obvious question that the journalist writing the article forgot to address.

“Why are folks buying silencers?”

Giles Whittome fires a Japanese Howa .22-250 rifle equipped with a local British-made silencer. via Gun World.
Giles Whittome fires a Japanese Howa .22-250 rifle equipped with a British-made silencer. Image via Gun World.

Here are my answers to his very logical question.

Better Communications

As a shooting instructor with Project Appleseed, I’d love to see all of our attendees show up with rifles equipped with suppressors. While the majority of students choose to shoot .22 LR rifles for a number of reasons, the noise of 30-50 rifles going off at the same time is still quite substantial, even when only rimfires are on the line. As we typically have a few centerfire shooters on every line as well (a mix of AR-15s, along with Mini-14s, SKSs, M1As, and Garands), the noise can be quite deafening, even with the use of quality hearing protection.

Suppressors reduce the noise somewhat (they do not “silence” guns, nor make them go “pew pew pew” as misrepresented constantly in Hollywood fantasy) so that students can more easily listen to individual instruction and tips while the firing line is “hot.” Students can also more easily hear a “cease fire” command. When communications can be more clear, safety and the quality of instruction of ┬áis improved.