Sniper Country Duty Roster collective wisdom

Suppressors on Sniper Rifles?

Rick, Gooch:

I was curious if the military had done any research on using suppressors on sniper rifles. Though a supersonic bullet could not be completely silenced, it seems that this would be good way to reduce the muzzle blast and flash that could betray a sniper's position. A number of companies like Gemtech and AWC market detachable centerfire suppressors for bolt guns. Do you have any knowledge you could share with us on the pros and cons of suppressors for sniper rifles?? Of course, comments from anyone else with experience with sniper rifle suppressors would be appreciated.

Jack McC.
Jack McC. <>
Lawrenceville, GA USA - Wednesday, December 02, 1998 at 23:25:03 (EST) 

Jack Mc:
The use of suppressed sniper rifles in the military has normally been a special operations afair. The use of this type of rifle by modern Law-Enforcement is just starting to come into it's own. The probelm with most suppressors is they attach to the end of the barrel by means of threads or compression cupplings.

Some things to think about for the Law-Enforcement Sniper.
1 - With the mass media always being present when a situation occurres they will be tracing back a shot to it's source. This will reveal the location of the sniper if not a full face shot for the evening news.
2 - The Law-Enforcement Sniper may be called upon prior to a raid or entry to remove any sentry dogs (or just plain mean dogs that are kept to deture any attempt at a skillfull entry).
3 - The Law-Enforcement Sniper may be called upon to knock out lighting for either a raid or a surveillance team. This could be security lighting or street lights.

With the majority of the exhisting suppressed Sniper Rifle systems there is a dramatic shift in the rifle's point of impact due to the weight involved in the suppressor. This will require the re-zeroing of the rifle after cleaning. This then means the Sniper will be putting a dirty rifle away. Also when a shot is fired through the various suppressors on the market there will be condensation form after the shot is fired and the rifle is cooling. This results in rust forming on the barrel and internals of the suppressor. The end result is if you leave the suppressor on the rifle after re-zeroing it will rust. But if you clean the rifle and attach the suppressor later you will not have a proper zero. This is a very bad situation for the Law-Enforcement Sniper. (Not to mention trying to store a Sniper Rifle with an extra 12 to 18 inches added to the overall length.)

I have been involved in the testing of a new Suppressed Sniper Rifle that has the overall length of a normal rifle and none of the associated problems with removing the suppressor for storage or cleaning.

To any bonafide Law-Enforcement Sniper or Instructor I will gladly provide any additional information. Contact me by E-Mail with a method I can verify your credentials and I will be in touch.

Bruce G. Buell
National Coach Development Staff
Bruce G. Buell, NCDS <>
Jacksonville, FL USA - Thursday, December 03, 1998 at 18:40:17 (EST) 

Jack McC - Suppressed SWSs have been used for some years. The use is to lower, significantly, all target indicators given out by the firing of a sniper rifle. It works quite well within several limiations as stated by Bruce Bruell in his post. You also mentioned the sub sonic rounds. Don't bother with them. They can do more harm than good to the mission. One you ahve to get very close for them to be effective and if you miss the enemy will know better than with a full load as to where you are located. You can hear a subsonic round coming and going, thus connect the dots and you are over there! With a full load, you have a sonic crack that is 90 degrees to the sonic wake. This is never in the direction of the shooter. Anyway you look at it, someone is going to know they've been shot at. Use of subsonic in an LEA environment, as described by Bruell, is feasible when taking out lights or dogs without humans around to witness the act. However if a human is around he will hear impact and the whir of the round.

Bruce - On the problem you've been having with the suppressors, you need to check around a lot more. You're problems were solved in the 80s by several different manufacturers that sold to the military. Also a dedicated gun would be the best way to go with the integrated suppressor and barrel. Cuts down on size and some of the hassles.

Rick <>
Fayetteville, NC USA - Thursday, December 03, 1998 at 23:31:32 (EST) 

Bruce G. Buell: While I am not a LE or a Military sniper but had experience with Le and the military, before they started to put women in combat positions anyway, so I'd realized the best solution to a proper clean system is to shoot regularly and often and clean the barrel just before practice including surpressor, the just after. But the key being regularly and often. I don't know of anyone who couldn't use the pratice even if just to keep hard.
Bill <>
central, Ny USA - Thursday, December 03, 1998 at 23:55:59 (EST) 

Back to Hot Tips & Cold Shots