In our previous post, we studied some basics of suppressor technology. We will now study them in a bit more detail.
As we noted in the previous post, the way that suppressors work is by slowing the expanding propellant gases by trapping them in chambers and allowing them to expand and cool a bit, which causes them to escape out of the muzzle at a lower pressure and velocity than if the suppressor was not present.
There are two basic types of suppressor (a) the screw-on type (a.k.a can type or muzzle type), where a suppressor is simply screwed on to the end of the muzzle when required and (b) the integral type (a.k.a Reflex suppressor), where the suppressor is designed as part of the barrel. The screw-on type suppressor is often a third party attachment and not designed by the manufacturer of the firearm. It can be screwed-on or removed as desired by the user and can also be used on other firearms as well, provided they are all of the same or smaller caliber. Firearms typically need to be modified to add a screw thread on the outside of the barrel in order to screw on the screw-on type suppressor. Contrast this with the integral type suppressor, which is designed by the firearm manufacturer from the very beginning as part of the firearm. With this type, the barrel is enclosed by the suppressor along its length and the barrel is drilled in several places to allow the expanding propellant gases to bleed off into the enclosing suppressor. Since the integral suppressor encloses the barrel, this makes the overall weapon length shorter than if one was using a can-type suppressor.
Even though suppressors work by slowing down the exit gases, well designed ones do not affect the exit velocity of the bullet that much. In addition, many of them also reduce the flash and recoil of the firearm as well. The expanding gases do contribute to wear and tear on the internals of the suppressor. Depending on the type and materials used in constructing the device, the wear rates can greatly vary. Cheap ones can last between 15-20 shots, whereas a good one could easily last 30,000 shots or so.