2008/11/10

Sound supressors and decoys

Infantry has the best chance for survival if it succeeds in keeping its location secret. That's why camouflage, concealment and deception are so important.

It's important to initiate a firefight from an advantageous position and with the advantage of surprise. It's important as well to keep this uncertainty as long as possible to reduce effective counter-fire.
To fire from unsuspected directions (flank or rear) is a typical trick of the trade, but the actual reduction of firing signatures and use of decoys could achieve even more.
The use of decoys (that mimic the acoustic and visible firing signature of actual assault rifles and machine guns - basically LED lights and dedicated firecrackers) would be difficult to prepare, but the reduction of firing signatures is actually quite simple at least for assault rifles.

Sound suppressors are easier to use, though - they need no special consideration in combat.

All-metal sound suppressors can be built to
- eliminate muzzle flash
- reduce the acoustic signature forward slightly
- reduce the acoustic signature backward and to the sides significantly
- minimize movements of foliage, grass, sand & dust around the muzzle
- reduction in recoil by more than 20% (muzzle brake effect)
- slight improvement of dispersion



the disadvantages would be
- a little bit more weapon length (about 3-5 cm)
- center of gravity of the weapon moved forward
- a little bit more weight (less than 400 g)
- different external ballistics than without sound suppressor (impact point shifted by less than four MOA)
- little bit more cost (less than 100 € if procured in large quantity)
- sound suppressor would need to be removed/replaced to reduce thermal signature
- the rifle becomes unsuitable for rifle grenades, blank and frangible bullets if the suppressor is attached
- the sound suppressor diameter might interfere with iron sights that are very close to the barrel (like on the old G3)
- sound suppressors with many baffles need to be installed precisely

Such suppressors withstand rough use and quick fire quite well.

The elimination of the muzzle flash is the key - it helps to keep the location of the shooter unknown for precious seconds and adds to the enemy's confusion. The morale effect of few seconds more confusion during an ambush can be decisive - but it cannot be understood with exercises and operational research.

Add a well-emplaced machine gun with periscope sight that doesn't expose the machine gunner much and you've got the equipment to maximize the survivability of the infantry in the defense.

The survivability of infantry during a movement to contact or even an assault will always be an even greater problem. This requires much more training, creativity and discipline than tools.
There is potential for tool improvement for the benefit of the infantry, though. Much less bulky, less heavy, less expensive and less obvious tools than level IV ballistic vests are still awaiting their exploitation.

Sven Ortmann

1 comment:

  1. Hmm, the surefire fast attatch sound supressor would seem to fit the bill here perfectly. They started marketing it around the same time you released this post, I'm suprised you didn't notice it.

    Though for me personally, I would tweak it so that, like the supressor for the M76 valmet, it can be used to snap off barbed wire. This would be a good backup in case your units organic mortars are all out of anti-wire rounds. I'm rather paranoid about such things.

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