Firearm sound suppressors, commonly but incorrectly referred to as silencers, have been around for over a hundred years. Long a victim of Hollywood as something only a killer, spy or commando would use, it is not a commonly known fact that thousands of these legal devices are owned by ordinary sportsmen who use them in dozens of states to play games. One of these states is Mississippi.
There are many valid reasons why some Mississippi hunters seek suppressors to capture both game and nuisance animals. Suppressors obviously save hearing and allow the athlete to hunt without the aid of internal or external hearing protectors. Since the ears are free, this increases situational awareness and makes the hunter safer and more alert.
Since suppressors can remove up to 30% of a firearm’s felt recoil, they improve accuracy and make follow-up shots easier if needed. Finally, shooting suppression is kinder to the local community and helps preserve the tranquility of the great outdoors.
A typical suppressor will drop about 20 dB of muzzle blast sound and, when combined with subsonic ammunition, is extremely effective. Even if subsonic rounds aren’t available, the device’s sound suppression alone remains dramatic.
What’s out there
Suppressors come in two basic types: detachable ‘cans’ that screw into threaded muzzle crowns at the end of the barrel, and built-in varieties that are designed around the weapon. Either of these types is made for most caliber rifles and pistols. While almost any caliber can be dropped, the most popular and inexpensive are the .22LR. The nearly indestructible TAC-65 made by Tactical Innovation costs around $ 250 and can be used in pistols or rifles chambered for .22LR, producing airgun sound levels. These make them hunt down absolutely wicked squirrels and rabbits. Liberty Leonidas has a fully suppressed .300 Blackout top that’s great for taking wild pigs, coyotes, and even whitetail within reach. Gemtech, AWC, YHM, and Shark are other well-known manufacturers that make both types of suppressors in everything from .22 to .300 Win Mag.
In a word, yes *. Factory-made suppressors were available and used extensively in this country from the late 1800s through the 1930s. They can be purchased over the counter and by mail order until declared regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934. Here is where the asterisk
Approximately a dozen states (CA, MA, Ill, et al) prohibit their residents from possessing otherwise federally legal and registered / regulated suppressors. About a dozen more allow the property, but have laws in place that prohibit its use in hunting. Mississippi, thankfully, is one of more than 20 states that allows possession of NFA-compliant suppressors and grants their use in hunting all legal games in season. MS Sportsman verified this through communication with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fish and Parks.
By the way, if you are curious about the neighboring states: Alabama, Tennessee and Louisiana allow the possession of registered suppressors. Louisiana allows the capture of only “nuisance non-game” animals, while Alabama prohibits all suppressor hunting. The laws of Tennessee are very similar to those of Mississippi, where all game animals are legal.
The use of suppressants is increasing across the country. In 2010 alone, some 22,265 legal suppressors were sold, 348 of which were in Mississippi.
How do you get one?
Legal suppressors are great, but you have to go through a couple of hurdles to get them. First of all, don’t rush and make your own or buy one from a guy who knows another guy. Do it the right way. Find a Class III FFL bracket near you. There are several of them located across the state from Oxford to Ocean Springs. They are licensed to buy and sell firearms and suppressors regulated by the NFA. Once you do, they can handle the purchase and transfer of a legal suppressor. They can guide you in completing your BATFE 4 form, which is a multi-page application that includes a set of fingerprints, a passport photo, and a signature from your local chief law enforcement officer (which is normally quite comprehensive). Then send all of this in with a check for a $ 200 tax stamp from Uncle Sam and in about two months you can come and pick up your new creature catcher.
Once it is yours, it is a guardian that even under current legislation you are protected forever.
It gives a whole new meaning to the term deer whisperer.