In this article we will explore how suppressors work in Escape from Tarkov.
Sound BasicsWhen a weapon is fired, the gunpowder behind the bullet explodes and creates pressure in the barrel pushing the bullet out. The sound you identify as a "gunshot" is the gas behind the bullet very quickly exiting the barrel after the bullet. This is usually a loud pop, similar to the sound of uncorking a bottle of sparkling wine. The physical process behind it is the same. But this is only one component of the noise that is created when a weapon is fired.
The gunshot itself can be masked with suppressors. The quickly expanding and very pressurized gas is prevented from instantly leaving the barrel and instead is forced to exit the barrel at a slower rate. This turns the very audible "bang" into a much quieter "pfft".
But this is not enough to "silence" the firing of a weapon. If a bullet travels faster than the speed of sound, which is 343.421 meters per second at 20 degrees celsius at sea level, then the bullet will produce a supersonic crack, which sounds like a whip cracking. To mask this, a bullet has to fly slower than the speed of sound. There is two ways to do that.
The first one is to use subsonic ammo. It flies slower than the speed of sound and will not create a supersonic crack.
The second one is to use a suppressor that slows the bullet down to subsonic speed. The MP5SD suppressor was specifically designed for that. It can shoot supersonic rounds and slow them down.
An easy way to check the speed of the current ammo velocity is to check the weapon info panel. It updates the muzzle velocity for each loaded round.
With a suppressor and subsonic ammo the only sounds a target will hear is bullets whizzing past closely and the impact sound. But beware, suppressed gunshots are still very noisy at up to 50 meters near the shooter.
- Suppressor = quiets the gunshot sound, audible to ~50m
- Subsonic ammo ( < 343m/s) = removes supersonic crack "whip crack"
- Subsonic suppressors = removes supersonic crack "whip crack" (MP5SD)
- Bullet fly-by and impact sounds can not be masked