Types of Suppressors By: Travis Pike


Types of Suppressors

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Travis Pike

Travis Pike

Suppressors, silencers, cans, regardless of what you call them, it’s smart to know a thing or two about them. Today we are talking all about the various types of suppressors out there so you can make an informed decision.

When we start talking about the different kinds of suppressors, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds. Suppressors are made from a variety of different materials, at different lengths, and with different overall shapes. 

Today we are going to focus on essential differences. Sure, some materials are lighter than others, and the Osprey’s shape allows you to use standard height sights versus a round suppressor, but those are small differences. Let’s talk about the major differences between types of suppressors and keep things a bit more grounded. 

Types of Suppressors — The Big Four

You can’t just buy one suppressor and expect it to do everything perfectly on every platform. In fact, it’s actually impossible to do that. With the wide variety of firearms out there, suppressors must also vary in design and function to be able to accommodate them correctly.

 There are four main types of suppressors. 

Types of Suppressors: Salvo 12, Sparrow 22, Hybrid 46M, and Osprey 2.
There are four main types of suppressors.


Rimfire suppressors are designed for calibers like .22LR, .22 Magnum, and .17 HMR. They are relatively lower powered compared to centerfire calibers. This allows rimfire suppressors to be easy to make, lightweight, and affordable. Rimfire suppressors can be used between rimfire rifles and pistols without concern.  

They cannot typically be used on centerfire cartridges due to pressure differences. However, suppressors like the well-made and expertly engineered Sparrow can be used with rimfire rounds and with the centerfire 5.7x28mm. Not all cans can do this, so make sure you check the specs before you press that “Buy it Now” button. 

SilencerCo Sparrow 22 rimfire suppressor
The SilencerCo Sparrow 22 is the gold standard for rimfire performance.


Pistol suppressors tend to try and strike a balance between size, efficiency, and sound suppression. Handguns are small weapons, and having 18 inches of suppressor hanging off the end doesn’t make much sense. Suppressors for handguns also try to be lightweight to keep the weapon balanced. 

SilencerCo Osprey 2 - types of suppressors - pistol
The Osprey 2.0 is the only multi-caliber polygonal pistol silencer on the market.

Pistol suppressors are designed around lower-powered rounds, and this helps reduce weight and length while ensuring proper sound suppression. They are not appropriate for centerfire rifle rounds on average. They can handle rimfire rifle rounds, and some of the best can even handle subsonic .300 Blackout. Some of the best include the Osprey 2, with its low profile shape and innovative button indexing design. 


Rifle suppressors are where we get into the big, tough guys of the suppressor world. Rifle calibers range from the intermediate 5.56 to the massive .50 BMG, and you can’t expect one suppressor to do it all. Luckily, there is likely a suppressor made for your rifle, regardless of how powerful it is.  

SilencerCo Hybrid 46M on rifle
One of the best options to cover multiple rifles is the Hybrid 46M.

Rifle suppressors tend to come in a variety of sizes and weights. It’s often dependent on the weapon’s caliber and the degree of suppression you are looking to achieve. Rifle suppressors can be used on handguns and rimfire rifles, depending on caliber. A 5.56 on a 9mm will result in a destructive event, so avoid trying to mix and match bore diameters. One of the best options to cover multiple rifles is the Hybrid 46M. 


Shotguns are tricky, and for quite some time, suppressors on shotguns were extremely rare. Shotgun suppressors have to be quite large and bulky due to the shot a shotgun fires. Multiple projectiles coming out the end of a barrel means they need room to travel without striking baffles. These suppressors are designed only for shotguns and cannot be used otherwise. 

The Salvo 12 shotgun suppressor is an impressive feat of engineering. It’s big but makes hunting and skeet shooting a lot quieter while still being capable of tactical applications. 

SilencerCo Salvo 12 - types of suppressors - shotgun
The Salvo 12 was designed to operate with most pump action and semi automatic shotguns and almost all commercially available ammunition.

Suppressor Design and Construction — Baffling Baffles

Baffles are what sit inside a suppressor tube. These baffles are what turn a BOOM into a pew. There are three different baffle types worth noting. 


Wipes are a type of disposable baffle typically made from a polymer material. They tend to only last for a short period of gunfire before you lose effective suppression. With the ATF declaring wipes as silencer parts, they have largely fallen out of favor. Their main benefit is providing a very affordable suppressor. 


A monocore baffle stack is a single piece of metal that makes up a series of baffles. This core sits inside the suppressor tube and is often easily removable. They work quite well for lower-powered rounds, especially in the rimfire world. Suppressors like the Sparrow 22 are an example of a monocore baffle stack. 

SilencerCo Sparrow 22 monocore
The Sparrow 22 monocore is encased in a split-tube that keeps any fouling or lead build up from reaching the outer tube

The downsides include being harder to clean and losing some modularity. Monocores don’t work exceptionally well with magnum-powered rifle rounds unless you use a longer, heavier suppressor. 

Stacked Baffles 

Stacked baffles allow the user to separate each and every baffle from the other. This creates a stack of baffles that sit together inside the suppressor’s main body. This design allows for very easy cleaning, as well as a greater degree of modularity. Suppressors like the Octane 9 and 45 make use of a stacked baffle system. 

SilencerCo Octane 9 Baffles
The Octane 9 uses a stacked baffle system.

Types of Suppressors — Fixed and Modular

Modern suppressor technology has allowed manufacturers to give shooters a greater level of control over their suppressors. This has created two categories of cans, fixed and modular. 


A Fixed suppressor remains one size all the time. It doesn’t change length or increase or reduce baffles. What you see is what you get. The main benefit of this design is efficiency and affordability. Suppressors like the Osprey 2.0 are fixed suppressors. 

SilencerCo Osprey 2 - types of suppressors - fixed
The Osprey 2 is a fixed suppressor.


Modular suppressors allow the user to reduce or increase the overall length of the can, often affecting the effective level of suppression. Sometimes a longer can feel clumsy in close quarters, so shortening it makes sense. Other times you may want to maximize suppression, so the extra length isn’t an issue. The SilencerCo Hybrid 46M is an example of a modular suppressor. 

Hybrid 46M modular suppressor in short and long configurations
The Hybrid 46M in short and long configuration.

Cans, Cans, Cans, 

We’ve made it to the end of the line. We’ve covered a wide variety of suppressor types without getting too far into the weeds. Just saying, “I want a silencer,” isn’t enough. You have to know what type and that will be guided by your weapon type, your budget, and your desired outcome.

Shop smart, shop SilencerCo. 

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