Do Suppressors Hurt Accuracy?

Many shooters absolutely love suppressors. However, despite their abilities, attaching one to your firearm will ultimately reduce accuracy. Why? Because you’re attaching a giant piece of metal (between 0.5 pounds t0 1.5 pounds) to the end of your gun. Doing this will ultimately affect your accuracy.

There’s a lot of factors at play when you’re shooting with a suppressor. For instance, barrel harmonics will change, and the suppressor will move the point of impact every time you mount it. This movement will vary, depending on what kind of firearm you attach it to.

But how much does this matter? How much should you care? According to Gun Digest:

When it comes to accuracy while shooting with a suppressor, we have competing dynamics at play. On one hand, the suppressor should cause a shift in point of impact, and perhaps even accuracy, because we’ve just attached a half-pound, up to a pound and a half, of metal on the end of the barrel. When you fire a rifle, the barrel hums like a tuning fork. The muzzle whips around like crazy. The point of impact depends largely on where in the “cycle of whipping around” the muzzle is pointed when the bullet pops out of the crown.

A suppressor, ammo and target

An inaccurate barrel has inconsistent harmonics, and the bullet leaves when the muzzle is basically in a random location at each shot. An accurate barrel is one that either has little or no movement, or the bullet leaves at the same location in space of the muzzle’s movement.

The Browning BOSS system was an attempt to tune the barrel harmonics so that you have a consistent release. The BOSS has an adjustable weight, one that moves back or forth and changes the harmonics, and you do a trial-and-error test to see which position is best. (I can’t help but wonder just how much of the improvement in accuracy is created simply by the shooter getting more practice.) So, hanging a chunk of metal on the muzzle should change accuracy.

However, surprisingly, suppressors can improve accuracy. They do this by stripping away the gases from the firearm’s muzzle. After all, this is where the bullet is the most unstable and most susceptible to change.

This is important because, as it turns out, this variable is stronger and more predictive of accuracy than the one of random harmonic change. Because of this, the majority of suppressors increase accuracy. Although they may change the point of impact, it is only very slightly. So slightly, in fact, that most shooters won’t even notice.

As it turns out, suppressors actually work FOR you when it comes to accuracy. Add this to the list of amazing benefits that suppressors have!