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Silencers Go "Pyewt!"

Y'know, I love whodunits. I'm particularly fond of Columbo, although strictly speaking that's a "howdunit." But gem that it is, it has its flaws.

The first is that it occasionally descends into being Too Damn Cute By Half. This is particularly true of the episodes directed by Patrick McGoohan, who is a genius in many ways but is also about as subtle as a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.

The second is that it's all too prone to stepping into TV reality. I mean, yeah, it's a TV show ... but some of the things on there are just plain unnecessary. You can tell they put a ton of research into the settings and murder methods etc. that appear on the show -- so why then do they turn around and do silly things like have Silencers That Go "Pyewt!"

I mean, a "silencer" is basically the same principle as the muffler on a car's exhaust, a large cylindrical baffle that captures expelled gases -- but mufflers don't make cars hum like an electric go-cart, do they?

As I understand it, the proper name for a silencer is actually a "flash suppressor," because its intended use was to hide the flash of fire out the muzzle when firing at night for commandos and the like. The fact that it makes the gun just go Pow! instead of POW! is a bonus, but it doesn't make it so quiet that somebody in the next room won't hear it. I've heard it compared to sounding like an electric staple gun instead of a firecracker. But to watch your average detective show or spy thriller, you'd think that a "silencer" magically turns a pistol into an air-dart gun.

Oh, and did I mention they put silencers on revolvers? Y'know, revolvers with those big exposed cylinders in the back that shoot hot gasses out the side at very high velocity, causing a loud BANG! that doesn't come out the muzzle?

Silly television. :)

-The Gneech

PS: On an unrelated note, Robert Goulet has passed away. I guess we won't be needing those Emerald Nuts any more. :(


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 31st, 2007 03:57 am (UTC)
The silencer on the Matoban head of security's gun in "The Interpreter" sounds realistic. And it's heard by everyone on the floor of the General Assembly chamber, which causes a widespread panic in the chamber.

Tom Clancy also makes fun of dart-y silencers in Without Remorse. Good book. If you haven't, you should: you'd enjoy it.

Have the best

Oct. 31st, 2007 04:02 am (UTC)
A flash suppressor does just that (although they frankly don't work all that well on most rifles). It does not suppress the sound. A sound suppressor or silencer is as you described.

And spot on with the "silencer equipped revolver", I roll every time I see one on the screen :)

And Bob is gone, sigh... Not many of the Doris Day and Rat Pack glory days performers left out there...

Oct. 31st, 2007 05:09 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's one of my favorites as well. I'm a marksman and so I know my weapons. You cannot at all put a silencer on a revolver for the very reasons you mentioned. I particularly laugh when they put silencers on things like Colt .45s or .357 Magnum revolvers.

And no matter what you do, a gun with a bigger caliber is going to go *boom*.
Oct. 31st, 2007 07:06 am (UTC)
That's a good analysis of a nevertheless fun show, yup!
*takes hat off for Goulet too...*
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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