Yesterday marked the first-ever media day for the American Silencer Association (ASA), a non-profit association formed in September 2011 to represent the suppressor industry. Attending media members from across the country received shooting experience with suppressed firearms and some education on the subject. Participating companies were Advanced Armament, Daniel Defense, Gemtech, and Silencerco. There were about 40 guns available at the pre-NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits event in Camp Atterbury, Indiana, from single-shots to AR-15s in calibers from .22 LR to .308 Winchester.

Knox Williams, president and executive director of ASA, said “When we formed ASA, I was working for a manufacturer and we recognized there was no industry association that represented suppressors. We decided to band together with some of our competitors to advocate for the common interests we have. We’re a young organization, but this is just the first of events we’ll be holding.”

The popularity of suppressed (or silenced) firearms is one of the fastest-growing segments of an already rapidly-expanding firearms market. Ordinary people are finding the advantages of suppressed guns and buying them at ever-increasing rates. More states are passing laws to allow hunting with suppressors, realizing their benefits for hog and predator control. They also allow shooting in congested areas without disturbing neighbors—and most of all, they’re fun to shoot.

As a result of this increased demand, silencer technology has produced products that are more effective and flexible than thought possible just a few years ago. An example is the development of the 300 Blackout (300 BLK) round. Capable of pushing a 220-grain bullet at 900 FPS, the round was developed to provide a medium-power round that was subsonic, allowing for amazingly quiet use with a proper suppressor. AR-platform firearms chambered in 300 BLK are so quiet that most of the time all you can hear is the movement of the action.

Modern suppressors are much smaller than their predecessors, with rimfire suppressors weighing just a few ounces and being only a little larger than a pill bottle. In the past, it was believed the suppressor baffles should closely match the bore of the firearm. Improved baffle technology has changed this theory, allowing a .308 suppressor to work well on a .223 rifle and be quickly interchanged by using barrel adapters that double as flash suppressors.

Hopefully the ASA’s quiet inaugural event will be followed by many more.

Image by Dick Jones

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