The straight noise on silencers

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 10.04.27 PMThe tech website Ars Technica has a great piece on the devices folks slap onto the end of guns in movies (and, truth be told, in thriller novels!) allowing them to kill their enemies with barely a peep. These devices are typically called silencers, but should be termed suppressors, as they don’t actually render silent the report of a firearm. In fact, even with a suppressor, the bark of gun can be quite loud. A suppressor will lessen the sound somewhat, and allow for the shooter to get by without heavy duty ear protection. But the soft chirp of the suppressor-equipped gun so familiar from the movies is, like most things in Hollywood, largely a fabrication.

The reason we so often see a silenced pistol-equipped character blipping his way past a passel of bad guys is because the concept captures our imagination. There’s something of the superhero about the capability to remove enemies so swiftly and quietly. The idea of an explosive firearm rendered nearly silent is a movie meme that viewers find interesting. And as the greatest film director who ever lensed, Stanley Kubrick, said about making movies, “Accurate is good, but interesting is better.”

Which makes me think super silencers aren’t going away anytime soon in movie land (or thriller novels for that matter!).

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