Super vs. Subsonic 9mm and 22LR

Jeremy S. of Guns & Gear YouTube channel created an interesting little video of shooting supersonic and subsonic ammunition out of handguns and the CZ Scorpion Evo 3. While the results are predictable, its incredible to hear the shots side-by-side and shooting on steel.

It further emphasizes why I always shoot with a can when I can.

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Nicholas Chen

    Very cool. I have been playing with my first suppressor. SWR Spectre II. Picked it up on Pi Day. I did notice Remington Thunderbolts are not that loud out of my PPK 22 with can. In comparison to my Winchester Subsonic rounds. However when I use my M&P15-22, the Thunderbolts use up more powder and get super sonic.

    My FFL and a mutual friend were testing their suppressed 9mm ARs yesterday. The FFL had a 7 inch SBR and the friend had a integrally suppressed AR. The SBR pitch seemed higher when using 147gr than the integrally suppressed version.

    Suppressors are fun.

    • nova3930

      I’ve seen the same with my P22 + spectre II. Not a lot of difference between bulk winchester 22 and federal subsonic. Load them up in my 10/22 and it’s a whole different story.

  • wildbillb

    love this direct comparison stuff. i’d also like to see a comparison of subsonic in a can and without a can. i’m unable to hear ANY difference shooting my .22 with subsonic without a can verses WITH a can. the ammo itself seems to be the BIG diff.

    but then again, i’ve not always used a can so my hearing is no longer scientifically reliable…

    • Jey

      Depends what you mean by “subsonic.” If you’re talking the primer-only stuff, that’s suppressor-quiet out of a rifle whether you have a suppressor or not. Those “frog farts” are no louder, from a rifle, than just dry firing. However, subsonic ammo like the AmEag Suppressor stuff, CCI Standard, etc, have plenty of powder in them and they sound like a normal .22 LR gunshot. There’d be no way to capture any difference between this ammo and supersonic .22 LR ammo on a camera, because both of them will max out a microphone. In real life, I cannot tell the difference. They are both full-volume, .22 LR gunshots. In this case, the sound of the gunshot is so loud that I can’t hear the sonic boom or the lack of a sonic boom — drowned out by the shot itself. No advantage to shooting subsonic like the stuff in the video if there’s no suppressor on the end.

      • Cymond

        In my brief test of unsuppressed subsonic vs supersonic 22lr, both sounded equally loud, but they didn’t sound the same. The supersonic crack wasn’t noticeable to me, except the muzzle blast sounded more sharp than the subsonic ammo.

        I guess an analogy would a crisp 5 pound trigger compared to a mushy 5 pound trigger.

  • thedonn007

    I thought I recognized that CZ75 SP-01. Which reminds me that I need to get a Cajun Gun Works trigger job done on my SP-01.

  • Rick

    where’s a good place to get subsonic (not the primer only stuff) 22LR? Are the heavier grain ones better in a rifle (manually cycled 10/22 or, next year a American Rimfire)?