There is a long list of great 9mm suppressors. But to find the best 9mm suppressor, you’ll need to dig in a bit further to understand the build of a suppressor, the history behind the process of getting one and the importance of the different aspects of sound management and the legalities that regulate sound management from a shooting perspective.
This article is written directly for those who want to understand not only the best options available in the caliber for sound suppression on modern firearms, but also the surrounding background information that becomes so important if you are seriously considering getting a sound suppression device as they are all regulated under (generally) Title 26 Subtitle E Chapter 53 of the I.R.C., which makes possession of certain items illegal without proper exemption status and legal allowance by the regulating authority.
We also list a couple of other items that may be helpful in understanding how the whole process of the law and of the performance of a suppressor work.
The last offering on this list is perhaps the best 9mm suppressor on the entire list, but it is a bit different offering than the others.
Here is my list of 9mm suppressors:
List of the 7 Best 9mm Suppressors
SilencerCo Hybrid Silencer
The do-it-all attitude of this suppressor’s build is incredible. You can use it for any application that you can think of with the proper modifications of your firearms. For those who plan on only ever owning a single suppressor, this is the one to get. Legitimate company credibility; excellent build quality and versatility that is unmatched.
- A nearly completely universal suppressor
- Can be used for many calibers
- Perhaps it could be labeled as the “cheapest 9mm suppressor” if you can factor in the versatility and multi-gun functionality
- No real CONS to speak of
This is best for:
The user who knows they want a universal suppressor and will plan on building out the accessories rather than trying to buy more suppressors. This is an impressive multi-caliber tool usable on nearly any gun.
This is the commercial variant. It’s the proof that manufacturing at scale can make sense when moving into new markets. Sig Sauer was able to leverage its vast resources and high precision machinery; great R&D department and brain trusts in the company and industry to issue a competitive silencer the first go around. They are still a relative newcomer to the suppressor scene, but they are offering a well made piece for a very good price point that offers effective use on several different types of 9mm firearms.
- Made by a very good company with an exceptional reputation for delivery on promises
- Very good price point
- They are as yet, not as proven as other manufacturers in the suppressor segment of the market
This is best for:
Those who want a Sig Product for their Sig product for continuity or for the track record of Sig. Those who want a good price of entry for a “can” that is built to a top tier specification.
GemTech is often referred to (in usually more formal terminology) as the “Original Gangsta” of the silencer/suppressor market and has driven the marketing for the entire market for many years of their existence. They are also one of the most innovative companies in the market segment since day one. This is a very good suppressor for the 9mm platform and offers easy maintenance and good sound reduction for a reasonable price, considering the build quality.
- Full auto capable
- Can be used for .300 AAC Blackout too
- Unique Cerakote finish that reduces heat signature
- A good “lightest 9mm Suppressor” candidate even though the materials aren’t as exotic as other offerings
- Can seem a bit frail compared to some other suppressors (even if there is not substantial indicator that it is)
This is best for:
GemTech fans who know what the product can do. Those who want a good lightweight option that is easy to clean and has multiple gun potential.
AAC (Advanced Armament Corporation) is a leader in innovative suppressor technology as well as suppressed cartridge technology. They are clearly a proponent of safe, efficient shooting under the pairing of a suppressor and a fine firearm. This is not an exception to that statement.
The Illusion 9 is a standard thread size suppressor that is anything but standard. The offset bullet pathway offers good sighting abilities with most factory sights and the reliable suppressor can be used with a huge group of firearms flawlessly out of the box.
- Offset exit hole that allows for good sighting options and effective sound suppression
- Made by a proven company
- No real CONS to speak of
This is best for:
Users who do not want to move away from factory sights or need a well proven design and a suppressor that wont affect balance as much.
Surefire is another of the major players in the suppressor industry that has had a hand in shaping the market desire for the silencer. It is a perennially well-made product that many law enforcement agencies and independent/government users have used in hardcore scenarios. It is a proven device with a proven company backing it.
- Lightweight despite being fairly long
- Excellent build quality, even if it is a bit complex
- Not the easiest to take apart and/or clean
This is best for:
Those who need a proven suppressor that can handle a lot of punishment. The shooter who wants something that “looks the part” and can actually keep up with the best in the business.
Old school meets new tech. This is a welded design, high quality suppressor that can add lightweight sound suppression to any 9mm or .300 AAC Blackout. This suppressor looks like something you’d find in a Navy Seals poster from the 1990’s but utilizes proven new tech and Cerakote to make it a strong contender in the field. It has adequate sound suppression and a robust build quality. It is suitable for full auto fire.
- Multi-caliber platform
- Still not as proven as others in the field
This is best for:
Those who swear by an all welded design and the old school looks of this low profile, lightweight suppressor. This is one for the traditionalists who want the best new tech too.
Silencerco has created a taser-lookalike that has the peak of 9mm performance at its core. It is a fully integrated, well thought out, nicely designed integrally-suppressed 9mm pistol that offer excellent sound minimization for the size. It offers good maneuverability, which many suppressor-laden firearms cannot boast. It also has a quickly adaptable size without having to give up too much on the gun to minimize size.
- One of the better sound reduction ratings of all the items on this list – among the quietest 9mm suppressor candidates
- A full solution
- Maximum versatility for sound minimization
- Takes Glock magazines
- Good reception on mass market
- It’s not a “looker”
- This is the first legitimate full gun solution offered on the mass market for the maker
This is best for:
Early tech adopters who always want the newest tech first before all their friends.
Buying your first suppressor
Background facts about the NFA and GCA
- The NFA (National Firearms Act) was legislated in 1934
- The GCA was established in 1968
- The NFA covered suppressors, machine guns, short barreled rifles; sawed off shotguns as regulated firearms
- The GCA was very specific in placing “Destructive devices” on the list of regulated devices
- The NFA was in direct response to the criminal activity that was rampant in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s which made law enforcement and federal agencies look very bad to the general public; while it was perhaps a disproportionate response, it seems at least on the surface that it was a legitimate concern at the time to regulate these items
- The NFA mandates that a TAX STAMP be approved and issued to a user for a device which they wish to exempt from ownership restrictions
- The tax stamp hasn’t changed prices since the inception of the legislation
- The oversight agencies do not particularly staff the team of agents to process paperwork at a high level, leading to long wait times
- You can get either a $5 AOW tax stamp, or a $200 Machinegun/Suppressor/SBS/SBR stamp
- The wait times to get your form 3 (if you need it) fulfilled is about 6 weeks on average
- The wait times for your Form 4 to be processed is between 5-12 months generally
- The Form 3 is a SOT (special occupation tax) item transfer from dealer to dealer; it’s needed to buy a suppressor online and buying online really does make a lot of sense
- The Form 4 is the application for the tax stamp and is the information to run a background check and to verify intent and register the device
- The ATF (Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) handles the work on Suppressors and other aspects of the NFA regulation
Repeat suppressor purchases
For some reason, buying your first suppressor is like the gateway drug to the NFA items. It seems like the moment you purchase a suppressor you’re already willing to go for another round.
Why people like to get more than one suppressor
- Once you shoot a gun with a suppressor, you can hardly imagine shooting without one. Most shooters still use hearing protection with a suppressor, but the level of enjoyment is still much higher with a suppressor.
- Suppressor technology can change rapidly in times of innovation and who doesn’t want the best tech?
- When structured properly through a trust, multiple suppressors can be used by multiple people at the same time.
Why a 9mm suppressor is the best thing you never knew you always wanted
The 9mm is a very capable round and the suppressors that fit it for sound reduction are very capable tools, minimizing sound well. The combined ballistic value of subsonic 9mm in conjunction with the sound minimization of a suppressor makes it a highly desirable combination.
Furthermore, the ammunition is relatively cheap to shoot, doesn’t foul the gun much and the suppressors are generally quite reasonably priced versus other guns. The final shooting sound level is well below most the major cartridges you might consider a suppressor for, and the sound levels, therefore are quite low.
How sound suppression works
Sound suppression of firearms has several different factors, all must work in harmony to provide the optimum sound suppression – here is a run down of the component parts that work together to accomplish this goal of lessening the audible sound of a firearm.
Basic information about sound suppression
Suppressors will not fully mitigate sound from shooting. At least not in a way that is mobile or realistic for most shooters. Suppressors are made up with several component variables, some tangible, others less tangible. They combine to determine the viability of a suppressor to reduce sound at a certain threshold. In general, it is realistic to shoot (pun intended) for hearing safe levels or below.
But it’s important to note that sometimes sound suppression is a secondary motivation for using a suppressor. Often heat or light signature is a main motivator in the use of a suppressor. The ability for a “can” (a slang term for a suppressor unit) to mitigate light and heat signature in infrequent shooting conditions is exceptional. It has been a major factor for choosing a suppressor for tactical long-range shooters and intelligence agents over the years.
Baffles offer structure to continuously break the flash and sound. They are concentric rings, generally (in the simplest designs) that allow the gases and burning powder to “break” like waves upon the rings. In more modern designs the baffles are of different shapes and are twisted around with ports moving through the suppressor longitudinally to allow better gas-flow. The baffled designs generally are quite effective, but they do produce blowback which can cause some reliability issues.
In a baffled system, the relief of the gases is to travel the path of least resistance, and therefore the hot gases travel backwards into the barrel and ultimately into the bolt/breech/chamber. The blowback causes dirty hot gases to accumulate as particulate matter (unburnt powder and other small particles). If blowback can be mitigated it is best, but it does have some short term/immediate benefits in dispersing sound and flash.
There are designs that eliminate blowback by lengthening the forward gas redirection chambers and offering a full flow-through until a front block, instead of more abruptly blocking the gasses from exiting the muzzle through baffles. This has the benefit of less functionality-based issues based on less blowback and more effective heat dispersion throughout the entire length of the suppressor, depending on the design.
Wet vs. dry sound reduction
This used to be a thing. It’s less of a thing now. But the science behind it is good. Essentially, the purpose of a suppressor is to disperse hot gasses enough that they make less sound as they “explode” into an area of cooler, less confined air. Adding water to a “can” (a slang word that means suppressor), can allow the gases to cool more rapidly, decreasing some of the sound further.
Wet shooting can also keep a suppressor cooler because heat is transferred into the water or other wet substance. If done properly, this is a very effective method for further minimizing sound.
NOTE: it can exceptionally dangerous to fire a gun with water blocking part of the barrel. If you are unsure of how to shoot wet, do not attempt this. Wet suppressor use usually means about 3-8 cc of water/liquid at any given time.
Hypersonic speed vs. subsonic speed
The 9mm cartridge is a perfect round for suppressor use. It is an effective caliber, that has good general functionality and rarely has failures in most mainstream firearms. It is also right on the cusp (at the low end of the spectrum) of the speed of sound. The speed of sound is right at 1125 feet per second velocity at sea level.
At 1125 feet per second and higher, a projectile is supersonic. At lower than 1125 feet per second the projectile is subsonic.
The problem with supersonic speeds from a sound perspective, is the “supersonic crack” that occurs at the moment that the projectile breaks the sound barrier. It is a sharp sound that can be every bit as loud/annoying as any of the gunpowder “explosion” of any cartridge.
The subsonic rounds don’t have the “snap” sound. They are more effectively mitigated by the suppressor.
Anatomy of sound from a firearm
There are three basic pieces to the anatomy of gun sound:
Mechanical noise: this is the noise that the action, bolt, magazine and other associated parts make in the cyclic action of the firearm. It is the least noisy component part.
Ignition and muzzle blast: the sound of the primer being struck through the sounds of the hot gasses and propellent being directed out of the muzzle end, which creates a change in the environment so rapidly that the “explosion” is created. This is the “report” of the firearm.
Sonic barrier breaking: Some refer to this as the sonic boom. It creates a distinctive “crack” sound which can be as annoying and loud as the ignition and muzzle blast portion.
These three parts make up the entirety of the sound of a specific gun being fired. The mechanical noise can be dampened but not negated. The sonic barrier noise can be mitigated through the use of subsonic ammunition. The therefore, suppressors are staged to minimize the last piece.
A Note about sub sonic ammunition:
Subsonic ammunition may not fully cycle some firearms and it should be tested to determine if your firearm can be fully functioned by the reduced velocity often reduced-powder variants that get a projectile to move under 1125 fps velocity consistently so it maintains sub sonic levels.
Sub sonic ammunition is an important piece to the suppressor scenario. Without it, you are not going to achieve the level of noise suppression that is optimal.
See below for two great options for 9mm Subsonic ammunition perfect for use with a suppressor or just to try out to see the difference in shooting enjoyment when the sonic boom is missing from the equation.
If you were in search of the best 9mm suppressor, hopefully you have enough information now to find the one that fits best for you. We also hope you have an impetus to continue towards buying that first suppressor or continuing to buy suppressors. As a safety specific firearm accessory, despite the long wait times for approval of the tax stamp, a sound suppressor simply makes good sense.
As a tool for help in accomplishing some of your shooting or tactical goals, the 9mm suppressor is a fantastic option. With the quality of the playing field in the market currently, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that if you pick on of these suppressors, you will be universally happy about the purchase.