South Korea Army issues rifle suppressor for training

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Because of noise complaints from their civilian neighbors, the South Korean army has begun issuing 5.56mm rifle suppressors. A Korean reader told me that unlike during the military rule which ended in the 80s, the ROK army is very concerned about public relations and they have had problems utilizing land for training because of noise pollution.

Daewoo K2 rifle with suppressor fitted.

[ Many thanks to the reader who emails me the photos. ]

[Hat Tip: Tactical Forum ]




Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Tahoe

    Does that kit come with tools to disassemble and clean the can? It looks like it does; not a bad feature for what it is. I’m hoping one of those pieces isn’t a BFA; that would kind of defeat the purpose :)

  • Matt Groom

    Never mind the training, logistic, and tactical advantage, will it keep the neighbors happy? It sure would be useful if the balloon goes up to be going after the N.Koreans with universal suppressed weapons, because chances are if you hear gun fire, it’s bad guys. Shoot in that direction. The N. Koreans will need decades to be able to build enough suppressors to equip their military (even though that’s the bulk of their GDP).

  • Brian

    I’m surprised the U.S. armed forces haven’t gone to this as well. Not mentioned was the benefit of reducing hearing loss. I think all military small arms could benefit from integrated sound suppression.

  • Lance

    Not too good for training men though. suppressors change the point of impact in rifles and they can over heat real quick in a qualification. maybe we can get money and fly South Korean Army recruits to the USA?

  • charles222

    It wouldn’t make sense for the US military as virtually no post has ranges anywhere near where civilians live; heck, I’ve lived *on* Ft. Drum and Ft. Stewart, and I couldn’t hear the ranges on-post, let alone on.

    Cheaper just to give everyone a 5-buck pair of earplugs and make em an inspectable item.

  • Komrad

    That can looks pretty big, but then again, I wouldn’t know much about them since they’re banned in my state
    might not be a bad idea to use something like this for our men too
    the only issue I see is the change in the balance of the rifle
    if they always train with that extra weight on the end of the barrel, thye might not perform as well without it

  • jdun1911

    It’s still going to be noisy. I’ll bet you it will be above 100 decibel for every trigger pull.

  • Jim

    This is certainly one way to distinguish your army’s capabilities from those of the rest of the world.

  • http://emptormaven.com/2009/12/msar-stg-556-vs-aug/ Federalist

    There’s a decent level of suppressor adoption in the U.S. military — especially for CQB and spec-ops missions. Though other than cost I don’t know why every rifle isn’t issued with a suppressor.

    What surprises me is how clunky that Korean suppressor looks. Compare that to the size and finish of mil-spec American suppressors!

  • http://n/a kenr

    It seems like it is huge and bulky for a reason. I was having this conversation with a friend of mine. Too many supressors emphasise how they are the shortest or the lightest weight around, but the reality is that a large supressor with thick walls and baffles will not only last longer, but also offer better performance than a lighter one with thinner components. These are what I would call “no compromise” supressors. They are built to last.

  • HotelCoralEssex

    Woo! Look at the size of that can!

    Tonight were gonna party like its 1989

  • http://www.predatorwild.com Heath

    You’ve got to love those high tech front rests they’re using there!

  • Cymond

    jdun1911, I’m sure you know this but for the record, a suppressed 22lr is usually about 120 dB. The point, though, is that the sound won’t carry as far. The dB scale is logarithmic, so a 10 point difference actually represents 10 times more/less sound. Cutting out even 20dB will significantly reduce the range at which the gunfire can be heard. The altered sound is also more pleasant to local the civies.

  • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Steve (The Firearm Blog)

    Jake, thanks

  • jdun1911

    At 100 db or more you will incur hearing lost. It going to be noisy and you’re going to need hearing protection. That was my whole point.

    Gemtech Halo is used by the US military reduce 30 or so decibel but it still over 100 decibel for an M4 (around 140 decibels unsuppressed) .

  • Tim

    Yes, but I believe they use these mainly just to keep the volume down as to not bother civilians going about their day to day business.

  • drewogatory

    I would think the more tangible benefit here will be protection against hearing loss by the users and improved communication and increased safety on the range. I used to live at a drop zone 50 yds across the road from a gun club and the noise level wasn’t bothersome even at 7 am on match days. Nothing like those crop dusters or the @#$%^%$$#@ hot air balloons.

  • Bryan S

    I would think one of the reasons our military does not use them as much is that the amount of paperwork makes them a PITA. No matter what, they are considered a firearm, and any manufacturer has to sit there and treat them as such, as opposed to a flash suppressor, which really only needs a quantity to match the order.

    Then again, thats my guess.

  • SoulTown

    @Tahoe

    It says “do not disassemble” right on the can…

  • james

    Korea is a small country with a high population density. I very much doubt that you could find one spot in South Korea where you could let off a round without someone hearing it. Especially, when you are near the DMZ there are a lot of military bases and every flat bit of land is cultivated you do run into serious noise pollution issues.

    I can tell you the pops and cracks echoing off the mountains get really old fast when your trying to enjoy a day out in the country. I would hate to have to live and work there listening to that cacophony all day.

  • BigFred

    I used to golf at Song Nam outside of Seoul (MWR course) and the 8th hole abutted the rifle range. If you can tee off with rifle fire, you can tee off anywhere.

  • Alex Bakke

    “At 100 db or more you will incur hearing lost. It going to be noisy and you’re going to need hearing protection. That was my whole point.”

    If you read the article, you’ll see that this isn’t the point of the suppressors. The point is to reduce the amount of sound that carries, so the local residents won’t be as annoyed. I have no doubt that the SK military isn’t dumb enough to ditch plugs/defenders because they’re firing suppressed weapons, as you seem to be inferring.

  • jdun1911

    Alex Bakke,

    I don’t think you understand my point. Let me stress my point. It has nothing to do with local residents noise level.

  • jdun1911

    IIRC 80% of South Korean population leave in the three big cities. Almost half of South Korean population lives in Seoul. The rural areas are deserted (IIRC less than 5 per square mile).

  • Tim

    I’m not quite sure how it has nothing to do with local resident’s noise levels.

  • http://www.aacblog.com JasonAAC

    Just wanted to comment on a few things-

    1. That can is HUGE. You can have a small, reasonably lightweight and very durable can that sounds good. The tradeoff is cost.

    2. Bryan S- Our military is not in the least concerned about paperwork in regards to suppressors. It’s our civillians that have to jump through the legal hoops.

    3. jdun1911- An unsuppressed M4 is more like 160 dB. The OSHA hearing-safe maximum is 140 dB. with 5.56 (or any supersonic round) there is a lot of bullet flight noise and that limits how quiet you can get it. A suppressor can eliminate 95+% of the muzzle noise, but the action noise combined with bullet flight noise is around 130-135 dB with a very good suppressor. Bullet flight noise on a 5.56 nato round is very close to 140dB.

    Yes, technically at even 100 dB you can incur hearing damage, but it depends on your cumulative daily exposure. A gunshot is an incredibly short sound and so you need, what? 100 shots to give you a combine 1 second of exposure?

    The difference in sound (being that it’s a logarithmic scale) in going from 165 dB unsuppressed to 135 dB suppressed is a HUGE reduction for both the shooters and any surrounding neighbors (keeping the neighbors happy being the main goal of this Korean project).

    4. Brian- the US MIL is slowly moving in that direction.

  • http://m14hdw.us Kevin

    I recently had a local shop install a DC Vortex on my Daewoo AR-100, this allows me to use my Wind Talker M14DC 0.30 Caliber Sound Suppressor. The can is made for the M14, but it work well on the AR-100.

  • http://CYPRUS kostas themistocleous

    I have a pcp air gun THEOBEN RAPIT MK2 PELLET .177 burrel size 16mm no threads on it. I want to find a guite and good silencer.Any sajestion to send me if you have the correct one.What is the hall cost including shipping in CYPRUS.

  • Don Russell

    Some soldiers steal AMMO, worth 30c per shot, and you “think” that they wouldn’t “lose” and sell for $3000 on the black market, their suppressor? better get shorter barrels, shorter, lighter suppressors, and WELD them onto the rifle barrels. :-)

  • Don Russell

    Some US soldiers bend their rifle barrels, stuff the muzzle full of mud/snow/sand, and you trust them to not abuse/neglect something as fragile as a suppressor, keep it clean and unobstructed? Know what can happen to your face if you fire a 5.56 rd thru a “can” on which the bullet’s path thru the baffels of the “can” is somehow blocked?

  • Don Russell

    a suppressor is a TREMENDOUS aid to accuracy and tactical efficiency, but it requires a lot more care and good sense than is shown by the typical soldier.

  • David Lowrey

    I need to get one for my daewoo k2