Air Gun Silencers: Everything You Need to Know

Air Gun Silencers: Everything You Need to Know

It happens almost every time: you practice shooting in your backyard and the neighbors either come over and complain or call the cops. You wish you could safely quieten your air gun, so it didn’t irritate those who live around you. You’ve heard of air gun silencers, but you have your doubts. How do these work? Are they effective? 

An air gun silencer is a component that attaches to your air gun, muffling the noise of the pellet as it fires and even lessening recoil. Some silencers can decrease sound at a rate of more than 40 decibels, making them quite effective. However, the legalities of getting a silencer can be quite tricky.

If you’re contemplating using an air gun silencer, then you’re not going to want to miss this article. In it, we’ll talk more about what air gun silencers are, how they work, if they’re legal, and where to get one (if you’re allowed to). Keep reading! 

What Is an Air Gun Silencer? 

Silencers also go by names like sound moderators, suppressors, and sound suppressors. When you put a silencer on your air gun, it acts as a muzzle, lessening the pellet’s acoustic integrity as you fire. 

Acoustic intensity is another word for sound intensity. It’s a means of measuring how much power soundwaves have as they travel a unit area when shot in a perpendicular direction. The unit of measurement is an SI for sound intensity, and it’s often expressed as a watt per square meter. 

Besides just lessening the volume of sound when firing your air gun, a silencer can also reduce muzzle flash. This occurs more often with firearms admittedly, but if air gun pellets are expelled at a high enough temperature, you sometimes see the muzzle flash, too. It can be quite scary if you’re not expecting it!  

An air gun silencer doesn’t look all that different than the ones used for real firearms. They’re typically made of metal and are cylindrical in shape. Within the silencer are sound baffles.

As gas or air exits the gun after it’s fired, the sound baffles slow these down and reduce the gas or air temperature. That’s how to muzzle flash vanishes with a silencer. Also, by stretching the air or gas, it loses energy and makes less noise. 

Yet one more cool perk of using an air gun silencer is that you may have less recoil. We wrote a great post recently about what causes recoil when firing an air gun.

To put it simply, it’s all about energy in the air gun. By reducing the momentum of the air with a silencer, that energy stops and cannot such intense recoil. 

How Does an Air Gun Silencer Work?

Now that you understand more about the basics of air gun silencers let’s dive even deeper into what silencers are and how they work. 

Types of Silencers 

As we said before, silencers are metal, with the metal used either titanium, aluminium, or steel. There are two types, integral or can silencers. With an integral silencer or suppressor, it has expansion chambers that go around the air gun’s barrel.

The barrel itself includes several ports, which are openings for containing the air or gas into the expansion chambers. 

Integral silencers are much rarer in air guns than other firearms because they’re built right into the gun. You can take them off if necessary, but there’s no need to buy a separate silencer since yours will be included with your purchase. 

With a can silencer, it can be mounted on your air gun or taken off as needed. These suppressors are called can silencers because they almost look like a can of soda, big and fat. 

Like can silencers prove, not all silencers are sized the same. Back in 1980, a disposable silencer created for the U.S. Navy was almost six inches long. That’s not as common today, of course, but it does go to show how silencer progress has evolved over the decades. 


As we introduced before, air gun silencers include bafflers. These are dividers made of metal like Inconel alloy, titanium, aluminum, or stainless steel. They’re circular in shape.

The bafflers go between each of the expansion chambers, with a hole in the middle of each so the bullet or pellet can travel as needed. This hole is even bigger than the pellet so it never gets stuck or lodged within the baffle, as that would lead to what’s known as baffle strike.  

Baffles come in a variety of designs suited for many gun types, among them Omega, monolithic core, Z, K, and M. The Z baffle has sidewall pockets to hold onto gasses or air, giving them even more time to cool down. With a K baffle, the slants within make boreline turbulence. The inverted cone design of a M baffler is simple but effective. 

Although it’s more common in firearms than air guns, any gasses used when firing a gun can begin to degrade the quality of baffles with time. Steel baffles outlive those of made of aluminum, while high-temperature alloy options may be the best choice for longevity. 

Packing Materials and Wipes

We have yet to mention packing materials and wipes. They’re both features that were mostly in older silencers, but you may still come across the odd silencer every now and again that still has them. Thus, we thought we’d discuss them both. 

The wipes are not like something you’d clean with, at least in this application. Instead, they’re a type of divider that connects with your pellet or bullet after it moves through the silencer. 

The wipes include a pattern or hole where it’s expected the contact will occur. Constructed from foam, plastic, or rubber, you’ll have to replace your wipes often. They last on average for five shots. Then they begin working less and less efficiently, making them not as safe to use. 

Packing materials go hand in hand with wipes. These contain washers made of metal, steel wool, or mesh. The chambers within the silencer get filled with the packing materials to allow the gas or air to become cooler faster. It works better than leaving the gas silencer empty.

Of the materials available for packing materials, metal mesh is the best. You can fire up to thousands of times before the mesh begins breaking down. Steel wool is only good for roughly 10 shots. 

Wet silencers are an even better alternative to using packing materials. A wet silencer is a can-type of silencer that relies on gel, grease, oil, or water. One of these liquids fills the internal chambers. This type of silencer is more common for firearms because they work well at eliminating the volume of gas. The reason this happens is known as the ideal gas law.

If you’re using a wet silencer, the best liquid for the job is water. Its heat of vaporization is higher than the other materials. That said, you have to watch water levels, as they can evaporate faster than you realize. For that reason, some firearm enthusiasts use grease. This doesn’t work as well as water but it doesn’t risk evaporation either. It is messy, though. 

Also, while oil is an option, few people use it. That’s because it produces an aerosolized mist upon firing that is even messier than grease, somehow. 

How Do You Use an Air Gun Silencer? Do They Work?

If you’re clambering for an air gun silencer, the next question you might have is whether these are as effective as they seem. Yes, silencers can work, but it’s not a guarantee. There are a few factors that can prevent the proper functioning of your silencer.

For one, you must make sure you’re buying a silencer for an air gun, not a real firearm. The opposite is also true that a firearm silencer likely wouldn’t work for an air gun. Your silencer should also be appropriately sized to the gun in question.

Also important is that you install the suppressor correctly. By not doing so, you put yourself at a higher risk of injury, both to yourself and anyone else who’s near you when firing.

You could also accidentally damage your air gun, potentially breaking it. At the very least, you’ll break your silencer. That too can be a pain considering the struggles you have to go through even to get one in the first place (more on this in the next sections, so keep reading!). 

Any misalignment on the suppressor could spell trouble, so you should strongly consider using an alignment rod. This will keep everything where it’s supposed to go. Your alignment rod fits in the silencer’s caliber and often comes in two sizes, 5.56 or 7.62. 

Sometimes you have to put together the air gun silencer yourself. If that’s the case, we strongly advise you to read the directions inside and out. You can even search a YouTube or other video tutorial if you think that will help you get it right. 

Your air gun should be empty when you put the silencer on, and make sure you use a holding fixture like a vise, too. Never put the barrel near you, but do keep it horizontal. All these precautions will ensure you don’t end up firing the gun and hurting or even possibly killing someone near you (or yourself). 

The alignment rod you bought will tell you whether you did everything right. When it’s centered, it should fit in the middle of the exit hole without leaning too heavily on any one side of the hole. I

f the rod isn’t quite on center but still doesn’t touch the exit hole, that’s okay. It’s not the best thing in the world, but it’ll do. You just want the rod more centered than not. 

If your alignment rod is veering more towards the right or left, then you might want to start over. You don’t have the best setup here. What if your alignment rod does touch the exit hole or the front cap and it’s not centered? Well, that’s even worse.

You again would want to start over because you don’t necessarily have a safe installation here. The worst setup though is when the alignment rod doesn’t even protrude out of the exit hole. 

Why is this so awful? Well, since the rod isn’t visible, that must mean it’s caught on something, more than likely a baffle. Should you try shooting your air gun with a silencer like this, you’re in for some real danger, so please don’t do it. Something went wrong with your installation, and you’re much better off fixing it. 

Are Air Gun Silencers Legal?

We don’t want to present any misconceptions here and make it sound like getting a silencer for your air gun is easy. It’s very often anything but. 

Assuming you live in the United States, you can’t just go out and buy a silencer for your air gun. Instead, you first have to write to or reach out to your federal government and request their permission for the silencer. If you get turned down for any reason, then that’s it, it’s game over for you. No air gun silencer.

Why all the red tape, you ask? Unlike owning a firearm, which is written into the US Constitution, there’s nothing in there about silencers. Thus, any state can decide to decline your request of owning one if they so choose. 

Certain states do allow for silencer ownership on a private level. These are as follows:

  • Wyoming
  • Wisconsin
  • West Virginia
  • Virginia
  • Utah
  • Texas
  • Tennessee 
  • South Dakota
  • South Carolina
  • Pennsylvania 
  • Oregon
  • Oklahoma
  • Ohio
  • North Dakota
  • North Carolina
  • New Mexico
  • New Hampshire 
  • Nevada
  • Nebraska
  • Montana
  • Maryland
  • Maine
  • Louisiana 
  • Kentucky
  • Indiana
  • Idaho
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • Connecticut 
  • Colorado
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Alabama

 If you count ‘em all up, those are indeed 36 out of 51 states. Okay then, so what’s the problem? Well, here’s where things get a little tricky.

Allowing for private ownership of an air gun silencer just means that you don’t risk any legal penalization if live in a state on that list of 36 and you’re caught using your silencer in say, your backyard. That’s all.

What it doesn’t mean is that your application for a silencer will naturally be approved just because you call one of the above states home. Remember, those permissions happen on a local or federal level, not a personal level. 

Okay, well you at least want to try to see if you can get approval to buy an air gun silencer. What kind of form would you have to fill out? Can you just write an informal letter? You can write a letter if you really wanted to, but you’d also need to accompany it with ATF Form 4.

You can take a look at the form online right here. Download the PDF, print out the form, and complete it at your leisure. As the form says, you’re reaching out to the National Firearms Act Division through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Colorado. 

You need to include your own personal information, such as your full name, home address, phone number, and email address.

There’s also a section asking for information about the gun in question. Such as; the manufacturer, where the gun was imported from, its model, barrel length, overall length, and serial number as applicable. If you transferred the gun or bought a transferred one, you’d need to add that info in as well.

Besides the completed ATF Form 4, you also need to send along a $200 check (oh yeah, this isn’t free) and passport photos. Your local police office will get your fingerprints, which are part of your application as well. 

Once you send in all your materials, it’s a waiting game. As we said before, you could get turned down for any reason and even a reason that’s never revealed to you.

It doesn’t seem like you can appeal the rejection, so you’re stuck. You could always wait and then try applying again or apply with a different air gun. You could still get turned down every time, though. It happens. 

The good news is that if you do win the approval to own an air gun silencer, that’s it, you’re all set. You never have to apply for that silencer again. While it’s quite a time-consuming, pricy, and exasperating process then, it will be worth it if your silencer gets approved. 

Where Can You Find Air Gun Silencers?

Alright, so you’re all ready to buy an air gun silencer because your state allows you to own one. Congratulations! Now you’re on the hunt to buy one. 

Due to the tight legal restrictions with air gun silencer ownership, you’re not going to find them all over the net. That limits your options, but it can’t really be helped in this case. Here are some sites you can try researching to find the perfect silencer for your air gun. 

Pyramid Air

If you already bought your air gun from Pyramid Air, then you might as well get your silencer from them, too. They have single suppressors as well as whole kits. Their silencers include brands like JBU, Air Venturi, AirForce, and more. 

Airguns of Arizona

You can also find a slew of silencers for your air gun on Airguns of Arizona. This retailer sells air pistols and rifles, scopes and mounts, ammo, and accessories like bipods and air cylinders. 

Admittedly, the silencers here aren’t exactly cheap, as they cost upwards of $200 and more. The range of silencers is a little better than those at Pyramid Air, though. 

Palm Beach Air Guns

Like Airguns of Arizona, Palm Beach Air Guns is a retailer of air guns and accessories. They have about 15 suppressors available on their website as of this writing. These too are on the pricier side, with the cheapest option $100.

Palm Beach Air Guns mostly stocks DonnyFL silencers, including models like the TANTO, SUMO, TATSU, RONIN, EMPEROR, KOI, and SHOGUN. 


If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on your silencer considering you dropped $200 for an application fee, another inexpensive place to shop is Krale. Their silencers are as cheap as $23 and as costly as $155, so whatever fits your budget, you can find it here. 

Can You Make Your Own Air Gun Silencer?

If the legalities of buying an air gun silencer didn’t trip you up, then perhaps you found it difficult to track any down a silencer for purchase. You still want to muzzle your air gun, but you’re starting to run out of options. Could you possibly make your own air gun silencer at home?

Crafty gun enthusiasts have indeed done such a thing using common household items like pillows filled with foam, plastic water bottles, and PVC pipes. These are known as improvised silencers.

If you live in the US, these improvised silencers are still liable under the laws that govern manufactured silencers. Don’t think you can bypass the law by going the DIY route, then. 

In fact, given that knowledge, there’s almost no need to ever make your own homemade silencer. Given the materials you’re working with, you can’t guarantee the safety of the silencer. If a part catches on fire or moves out of place, it could be very dangerous to operate your air gun. You could get severely injured, possibly even fatally. 

If you absolutely must have an air gun silencer, then it’s much better to go the manufactured route if it’s legal where you live. 


Air gun silencers reduce the noisy impact of firing your pellet through the gun, and they can even reduce recoil somewhat. While silencers sound like something handy that every air gun owner should have, there are strict laws about ownership. You have to fill out a form, pay an application fee, and hope your silencer is allowed. If it is, you never have to reapply again.

While there are a handful of air gun retailers that sell silencers, you do want to make sure they’re legal in your state before you order one. Best of luck! 

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