Hollywood Quiet: ‘The American’ Suppressor Making Scene

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Fresh off of the heels of Part 1 of the ‘Build Your Own Silencer’ series last week, my Dad sent me this clip from the movie The American starring George Clooney. I haven’t seen the movie, but I did get a kick out of this montage – someone must have had to do at least a little research into how homemade silencers are made. The end result is pretty spiffy looking.

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Alone among assassins, Jack is a master craftsman. When a job in Sweden ends more harshly than expected for this American abroad, he vows to his contact Pavel that his next assignment will be his last. Jack reports to the Italian countryside, where he holes up in a small town and relishes being away from death for a spell. The assignment, as specified by a Belgian woman, Mathilde, is in the offing as a weapon is constructed. Surprising himself, Jack seeks out the friendship of local priest Father Benedetto and pursues romance with local woman Clara. But by stepping out of the shadows, Jack may be tempting fate.

I have no idea on firearms and suppressor laws in Italy, but if Clooney’s character was based in the U.S. I’d have to remind him to file his BATFE 5320.1 (Form 1) application, wait six to nine months and engrave the proper markings before embarking on his assassination job. And don’t forget the fingerprints, photographs and CLEO notification. You know, to keep everything legal. I’d also have to suggest that he pick a better host than that Ruger – maybe a bolt action. After all George, if you want “Hollywood Quiet” you should definitely consider a subsonic round like .300BLK.

If Focus Features is looking for additional homemade silencer building consultations, I can be reached at the below listed email address.



Pete

LE – Science – OSINT.
On a mission to make all of my guns as quiet as possible.
Pete.M@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • Joshua Knott

    Pete has no love for the ruger mini chambered in .300 blk ? Haha jk. Can’t we AR and Mini owners just get along …I mean we are the medium to the AK vs AR argument

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Ha. I actually like the mini. It’s all those years watching the A-Team that made me think they can’t hit the broadside of a barn.

      • Joshua Knott

        I’m not saying the older 190 series dont pattern like a shot gun…but they do. Newer ones (580 and newer) get around 2moa or under. I have an Ar, just not the AK yet, thought about a century…but we all know how that went. Anyone know when Kalashnikov is set to start manufacturing here in the states?

        • jamezb

          Any of the barrel stiffeners/tensioners will improve the accuracy of an older Mini to a truly notable degree. I got good results by simply tightly fitting a piece of steel tubing over the barrel between the flash hider and the gas block on my GB…the results were remarkable. It went from paper plate accuracy at 100 yards to round end of beer can accuracy.

          • Joshua Knott

            kinda like a MO-Rod or accustrut? I didnt know if you meant like a barrel shroud, as I can see that making a difference as well. i have a newer 581 series, I did add an accustrut and different buffer that helped out a lot. That and i dont think the factory stocks are as rigid as they should be for the design, i wanted the ebr set up but went with the archangel instead, that also helped.

      • Sianmink

        Thought that was specific to the nickel, folding stock models.

    • Rousso

      No, not the medium, because AK’s 7.62 round has been made in 5 variations since the 60’s, and one of them is a subsonic round

      • Joshua Knott

        but what about the mini 30?

    • Bjørn Vermo

      This is a movie. Whoever pays most for product placement will get their product featured.

  • Andy Hills

    For the last time its not a clip, its a magizine… Oh wait

  • XaqFixx

    Part 1 of the ‘Build Your Own Silencer’ series is missing.

  • iksnilol

    I just find it hilarious that he used a Mini-14 as a precision supah assassination rifle.

    Like, if he manages to make it shoot that well (not talking about the newer ones that are supposedly decent) then he should have become a legal gunsmith and made a killing.

    • Jonathan Wright

      he was a gunsmith, and by all accounts he also made a killing.

      • iksnilol

        Badum ptssssss.

    • Joshua Knott

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c5e1ae59a5f012fa616946e21068b40bd1365ae8e0ea33d0ff70dad3739c5b09.jpg This is the one I put together, I want an Rk62 to round out the 7.62 collection, those Finnish Rifles get me right in the feels.

      • iksnilol

        That looks like it could be in a movie.

        • Joshua Knott

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c576622460b814bb286951ae1b1aaba5109317bb58f69a8754c2c48fc7c11c63.jpg
          for the most part the rifle is fine, it’s a deer slayer (farthest shot where i hunt might be 200 yards) I havent used any other rounds to hunt with other than federal fusion, they either drop on spot of move maybe 20 yards away. The PVS pictured doesnt get used like it should 🙁

          • iksnilol

            Try it on the range, at 300 meters. You might be surprised.

          • Joshua Knott

            the pvs, rifle, ammo, or all of the combination of lol? I wonder if they’d let me send TFB the rifle to shoot .

          • iksnilol

            Eh, I think the rifle is the most important part.

            But a combo wouldn’t be bad either, just ask really nicely. Offer to do the dishes for a week or two.

    • Ryan Wagner

      In the movie the buyer had weird specifications and Clooney’s character said it was a tall order. Something like the power of an assault rifle, with the range of a sniper rifle, and the size of a SMG, suppressed. This was before Ruger’s takedown AR-15 too so I guess if you wanted a takedown .223 that was all there was.

      • iksnilol

        Or… a regular AR-15. Pop two pins and it is small.

    • jcitizen

      Exactly what I was thinking – I’d be surprised if you could hit the broad side of a barn, even with the new ones! Our local department has a full barrel suppressed mini-14, and it is still horribly noisy, as the 5.56 is not going to slow down below supersonic speed just because it is being suppressed. The only regard I have for any weapon that uses such ammo, is at least it makes determining the shooters position just a tad more difficult – otherwise the whole idea is a joke to me.

  • Giolli Joker

    If I remember well the movie, it’s the part where he fills the bullets with mercury that shows not much research in the topic…

    • mercury filled bullets is supposed to be a common hitman practice. there is one practical use and that is to make exploding bullets like the commercial ones that were used by Hinckly. Before hollow points took off exploding bullets using mercury fulminate were made and tested. Reason was because of airline hijackings and the air marshall service was worried about fmjs going through the plane if they had to fire on a hijacker. Results were highly inconsistent. You could fire off a batch and not get a single detonation or half or all a batch would explode. The damage is often not as much as a good hollowpoint. You can still buy the ones that were made in the 1960s and 1970s in various calibers and they are legal in a number of states. But its more novelty to own and fire some off .

      • Giolli Joker

        I know it’s a recurring myth… but I know as well it’s just a myth.
        However you talk about mercury fulminate, a completely different beast from pure mercury that is not an explosive.

        • Do you think Hollywood or the majority of people distinguish between the two? Exploding mercury bullets in fiction are just plain old mercury filled rounds in these fictions. The other time is that mercury is a poisoned bullet that will kill the victim. Of course mercury poisoning does kill the person in that amount that a hollowpoint bullet with a wax covering would contain.

          • Whenever someone brings up “mercury-filled bullets”, I always point out that even though it definitely sucks to have a toxic heavy metal injected into your body, the toxic heavy metal that’s of much more immediate concern there is lead, in the form of a rapidly-expanding bullet moving at hundreds of feet per second through your internal organs.

            One of my cousins was shot with a .38spl hollowpoint filled with mercury and capped with wax in a robbery in the early ’80s, and even though losing a section of small intestine and spending a month in the hospital sucked real bad, he’s still goin’ strong today. The mercury just plain wasn’t an issue, because it all got irrigated out in the emergency room; liquid mercury isn’t readily absorbed by the body, and any bullet that’s moving fast enough to vaporize it on impact is creating other, much more pressing, problems at the time.

          • Giolli Joker

            I’m always wary of stories involving someone’s cousins, but if they’re used to spread common sense I’m fine with them. 🙂

          • He was lucky as hell the bastard who shot him believed the hype; it was “one shot to the abdomen of the guy who walked in on him and then right back to robbing the place” instead of “followup shot to make sure the witness was eliminated”.

          • DA should have made additional charges for using a poisonous substance in an attempt to kill someone.

          • I never heard any additional details about the robber or extra charges, but attempted murder with a deadly weapon during the commission of an armed robbery is already a capital offense; from the lack of family braggin’ on the matter I’m guessing he probably pleaded out to either Life or the functional equivalent.

          • marathag

            I always though the idea was that it turned a 125 grain 38 bullet into a 180 grain 38, given the 20% higher density of the Mercury

          • Giolli Joker

            Well, Breaking Bad made mercury fulminate mainstream. 🙂

    • Ji Shen

      The Day of the Jackal.

  • I liked the movie quite a bit, but the book is even better.

    In the book, he is a professional criminal gunsmith, who makes custom firearms for assassins, ranging from modified service weapons such as the Mini (in the book it’s a unusual SMG) to one-off stealth pieces (briefcase guns, etc) for penetrating secure facilities. His reputation is worldwide, wanted by both FBI and Interpol, and commanding the highest prices.

    Overall a solid read.

    • POsP-Eye

      Didn’t know it was from a book. Thanks!

  • thedonn007

    Is his eyeball directly on the scope?

    • Just say’n

      It’s just a mini-14, no recoil to speak of. Bad habit though regardless.

      • iksnilol

        Unless you have a scope with a proper eyepiece (rubber accordion thingy™).

    • Edeco

      getting a firm cornea-weld for stability.

      • J.E.Walker

        LOL!!!! 😉

    • Pontificant

      No wonder Clooney is afraid of guns! I’d be afraid of guns if I fired with my eye pressed to the scope, too.

      Clooney is a hypocrite, when it comes to firearms.

      The book was better, butterflies or not…

      • Benjamin Goldstein

        Give him my 510 wells to try it with… Hopefully never hear from him again..

    • gregge

      You’ll put your eye out, Clooney!

  • John

    There is also the suppressor making scene in Marked for Death

  • Giolli Joker

    “I have no idea on firearms and suppressor laws in Italy”

    Italian here.
    Firearms can be purchased with a license, there are some limitations on magazine capacity and number of firearms you can get but most guns that you find on the American market are available in Italy as well, at higher prices.
    Suppressors are totally forbidden. They are considered as parts of war weapons and they are a direct ticket to jail.

    • iksnilol

      Quite ironic considering how few suppressors are used in the military.

      • Giolli Joker

        As if gun laws followed logic…
        (smiling, but sad inside…)

        • iksnilol

          Yup, though you can always break them. Especially in Italy. Youse are a corrupt lot already, and you’re right next to the Balkans. I am pretty sure you could get a Maljutka no problem there. 😛

          NOTE: Not condoning breaking any laws and all that legalese.

      • They are quite common for certain roles such as snipers and of course special ops and the wet work units.

        • iksnilol

          Yeah… but out of the entire military machine, how many are spec ops and snipers?

          • a lot more then they used to be hence why a lot of small outfits found a lot of work make silencers for the military. Also the escape/evade kits for the air force pilots and crews have a hangun/silencer in them. That silencer is now on sale to the civilian market in limited amounts.

  • Just say’n

    He went to all that trouble and he could’ve used a 2-liter bottle, a potato and some duct tape?

  • Edeco

    Didn’t like the movie; too weepy, lays it on to thick. Cloying. I forget why but the technicals did not impress me.

    • Sounds like it totally would have been improved by a few pickup trucks with heavy machineguns or AA autocannons mounted in the bed.

      • Edeco

        Yep, needs more snarl one way or another. I mean ‘world-weary dark-hero’ alone is not enough; alone it’s cliched, contrived and preachy. More snarl would make it interesting by playing with warped morality; like The Shootist.

  • me ohmy

    some rather professional and perfectly machined cups he’s got there for a ball peen hammer, and some crankshaft parts

    • jamezb

      I was thinking freeze plugs..

      • me ohmy

        yep…but he grabbed fender washers

  • Badwolf

    I like the chut chut chut sound the gun makes when the bad guys in Hollywood shoot with a suppressor.

    • “Sneezing Cat Sounds”.

    • There are a number of silenced guns that a fart is louder or you only hear the shell casing ejected.

      • Badwolf

        Or the hammer hitting the pin. Yes I know. I have shot some of them

  • I fully blame Hollywood for something with as much everyday safety value as suppressors still being called “silencers” and legally considered NFA-regulated “firearms”; it is patently obvious that the overwhelming majority of the citizenry– and the representatives they elect– get almost all of what they “know” about firearms from movies and TV, and thus we have strict regulation of an item that just plain isn’t used in crimes based on nothing more than ~~the feels~~ because Hollywood has been portraying suppressors as cat-sneeze-quiet tools of professional hitmen for so many decades. It’s the same reason we get simpletons demanding– in absolute seriousness– to know why a defensive shooter doesn’t “just shoot the gun out of the bad guy’s hand”, and why hare-brained bans on so-called “assault weapons” are so common even though semi-auto rifles are used in less than half of 1% of homicides in the US every year.

    Look at the actual statistics and case reports; if a murderer wants to kill someone quietly, they use a knife or asphyxiation, and if they absolutely have to use a gun, the pillow they could just as easily have used to suffocate a victim would be a far more effective one-shot silencer than any commercial can on the market anyway.

    Hollywood, man. Hollywood is why we can’t have nice things.

    • Eric Scheerer

      The inventor of “suppressors” called them silencers. Every law on the books about “suppressors” calls them silencers. They are known the world over as silencers. Why can’t whenever the subject of silencers comes up, there is always at least one who acts like the word silencer was invented in Hollywood? Can we just admit that there name simply ia not related to there function and admit, finally, that both terms can be used interchangeably? Rant over.

      • The mantra about suppressors being the name and not silencer came about during the 70s. It was a push to make the devices not sound sinister despite you know anyone looking the facts and history would see that silencer is the correct name since the devices are meant to silence the noise of gunfire. Which on a number of calibers and guns they quite actually accomplish this feat to the point anyone if they even heard the noise would not think gunfire.

        • Also prior to the NFA silencers were used by criminals to commit murder. The Nelson gang for example used silencers and short barrel guns. The NFA was in reaction to criminal gangs using certain weapons in large numbers to do crimes.

          • Eric Scheerer

            I know of the reasoning behind the NFA, but thank you for bringing it up anyway. I don’t know how prolific silencers and short weapons were in gang warfare at the time.

          • marathag

            Dynamite and Shotguns far more common: don’t forget that the controls on Dynamite really didn’t happen till 1970 or so to get it out of the hands of the public

  • Jim Jones

    That scope in the photo is going to leave a nice mark.

  • Captain Obvious

    I think the myth of the professional freelance assassin (or in this case the freelance assassin’s gunsmith) was born by pulp fiction writers and perpetuated by Hollywood. That, along with all the other mythical plot devices like exotic, custom made weapons. Not to mention that the movie “The American” uses every assassin movie stereotype in the book. Just a regular guy who happens to kill for a living, is a “gun expert”, wants to retire after just one more job, employer sends someone to terminate them.

  • Planet128

    In Italy suppressor are illegal for civilian

  • supergun

    george clooney like russel crow and the other cuckoos in hollywood would like to see all the guns confiscated in America. Yet they make millions of dollars on the American People.