Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Does a Suppressed Pistol Sound like a Nail Gun?

Friday, June 7, 2019

Does a Suppressed Pistol Sound like a Nail Gun?

In response to reports that the Virginia Beach shooter used a firearm suppressor in carrying out his terrible crime, David Chipman, Senior Policy Advisor for the Giffords gun control group, claimed that a suppressed pistol is especially dangerous because the noise associated with the firearm is difficult to distinguish from a nail gun. As per usual for claims Chipman and his employer make about firearm suppressors, this is false. 

In an article appearing in the Virginian-Pilot, Chipman claims, "The gun does not sound gun-like. It takes the edge out of the tone . . . This is how I would describe it: It makes a gun sort of sound like a nail gun." 

But, a suppressed .45 caliber pistol, like the one that is reported to have been used in Virginia Beach, is many times louder than a nail gun:

  • A suppressed .45 caliber pistol produces about 130-135 dBA.
  • Decibels (dBA) are a logarithmic scale, so sound levels increase in a non-linear fashion. A 3 dBA increase doubles the sound pressure level. (Although most people perceive a 6 to 10 dBA increase as double the noise level.)

The 30-35 dBA difference between a nail gun and a suppressed pistol will be perceived as at least eight times louder to the human ear.

As an interesting comparison, an unsuppressed pistol produces about 165 dBA. So the difference between an unsuppressed and suppressed pistol is about the same difference in sound pressure level between a suppressed pistol and a nail gun.

Chipman can’t have it both ways, if, as he claims, suppressed gunfire can’t be easily identified as gunfire, then suppressed gunfire doesn’t sound anything like a nail gun.

This isn’t Chipman’s first attempt to mislead the public on firearm suppressors. In 2017, he made a false claim about the design intent of suppressors. And, his employer received three “Pinocchios” from the Washington Post fact checker for misleading claims they made about suppressors.

Unfortunately, the Virginian-Pilot article created further confusion about suppressors by producing audio files that purport to show the difference in sound level between nail guns, suppressed pistols, and unsuppressed pistols. Listening to recorded audio through speakers or headphones cannot accurately depict these sound differences. Due to microphone and speaker specifications, most sounds in audio recordings are reproduced at a similar sound level. This is why normal conversations and gunfire can both be reproduced in the same audio recording despite the fact that one of the sounds is over 100 dBA louder than the other.

The only way to accurately perceive the differences in sound levels is to hear them in person (with appropriate hearing protection). Short of that, if the Virginian-Pilot wanted to accurately convey differences in sound level, using commonly occurring sounds can be helpful.

For example, a suppressed pistol at over 130 dBA is louder than the maximum sound level of a jackhammer. Not exactly quiet and nothing like a nail gun.  

TRENDING NOW
No Gov. Northam, Your Gun Ban is NOT Constitutional

News  

Friday, December 13, 2019

No Gov. Northam, Your Gun Ban is NOT Constitutional

As Virginia gun owners have shown their displeasure with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s proposed attack on their rights in city and county meetings across the Old Dominion, Northam has been forced to answer questions about ...

Virginia Gov. Northam Seeks Gun Registration as Down Payment on Gun Confiscation

News  

Friday, December 13, 2019

Virginia Gov. Northam Seeks Gun Registration as Down Payment on Gun Confiscation

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) must think that Old Dominion gun owners are stupid. After months of Northam and his Michael Bloomberg-backed General Assembly allies advocating for the enactment of gun confiscation legislation, the governor ...

Bloomberg Bought Virginia Legislators Introduce Confiscatory Gun Ban

News  

Monday, November 25, 2019

Bloomberg Bought Virginia Legislators Introduce Confiscatory Gun Ban

Michael Bloomberg’s bought and paid for Virginia legislators have wasted no time introducing legislation that would make the Old Dominion’s gun laws worse than those of the billionaire’s home state of New York.

Member Spotlight: Meet the hunter who stands up to those who call her a ‘murderer'

Hunting  

News  

Monday, December 9, 2019

Member Spotlight: Meet the hunter who stands up to those who call her a ‘murderer'

America’s hunters are increasingly under fire by political extremists. Hunter and philanthropic consultant Britt Longoria has been at the center of an online hate campaign by animal rights extremists who don’t understand where their food ...

Pro-Gun Bill Introduced to Protect Lawful Gun Carriers from Federal-State Legal Trap

News  

Monday, December 9, 2019

Pro-Gun Bill Introduced to Protect Lawful Gun Carriers from Federal-State Legal Trap

Earlier this year, U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) introduced a bill that would protect persons lawfully carrying firearms under state law, including in those states that do not require a carry permit, from being snared ...

Crooked California: Bad Gun Control Laws Once Again Foster Official Corruption

News  

Monday, December 9, 2019

Crooked California: Bad Gun Control Laws Once Again Foster Official Corruption

In news that will not shock gun rights supporters, the anti-gun utopia of California has provided further evidence that unjust gun control laws invite official corruption. According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s ...

Senate Confirms Hunter-Friendly Candidate to Oversee Wildlife Management

News  

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Senate Confirms Hunter-Friendly Candidate to Oversee Wildlife Management

The NRA-ILA applauds the U. S. Senate for confirming Aurelia Skipwith to serve as director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Kentucky: Committee to Consider Firearm Seizures Without Due Process

Friday, November 15, 2019

Kentucky: Committee to Consider Firearm Seizures Without Due Process

On Friday, November 22nd, the Kentucky state Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary will consider so called “red-flag laws.” Though no legislation has been introduced, such laws usually allow for Second Amendment rights to be suspended ...

NRA's Statement on Second Amendment Sanctuaries

News  

Friday, December 6, 2019

NRA's Statement on Second Amendment Sanctuaries

Read the NRA's statement on Second Amendment sanctuaries. “It is the tyrannical nature of politicians that triggers sanctuary, not the other way around...”

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.