The proper term is “suppressor” and the slang is “can,” but the old original word I grew up with was “silencer.” It makes no difference what you call them, they are built to silence the sharp muzzle crack of a pistol or rifle. In the past, the .22 LR was about the only caliber which could be effectively suppressed, but today, with our superior technology, we can muffle the sound of just about any caliber — especially when loaded to subsonic velocity. Cleaning is no longer a major problem, so most silencers on today’s market are sealed.
There seems to be a genuine trend cranking up, as I’m being asked to thread more and more barrels for silencers. The two most common threads are 1/2″ X 28 for pistols and 5/8″ X 24 for rifles. Installing a silencer on a pistol requires you obtain a barrel at least 1/2″ longer than the muzzle of the slide so there will be ample length to cut the threads. Of course this will make it necessary to order a longer barrel from the manufacturer, if it’s available.
If your pistol is of a common variety you can usually order a barrel already threaded, since our government is ordering thousands of silenced pistols direct from the manufacturers. The calibers most commonly suppressed for pistols are .22 LR and 9mm. The most commonly silenced calibers for rifles seems to be .223 and .308.
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