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HIT MAN: The classic homemade pistol silencer

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The information that you are about to read was taken from one of the most controversial books ever written. Hit Man was pulled from shelves and publication was terminated in 1993 after the information was said to have been used in a mass murder. Below is the definition of this book taken from Wikipedia:

Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors is a book written under the pseudonym Rex Feral and published by Paladin Press in 1983. It has been claimed that the book started life as a detailed crime novel written by a Florida housewife, and that the format was later changed to appeal to Paladin's reader base. The book portrays itself as a how-to manual on starting a career as a hit man, fulfilling contracts.

Existing copies at Paladin Press were destroyed after the book was found to be used as a guide during a triple murder in 1993 (see below), but it can still be found online or can be purchased used from independent sellers. It is believed that 13,000 copies were sold, although Reason Magazine estimates there are 20,000 copies of the book in existence.

In this article I am going to discuss the methods described in this book to build an improvised silencer for a standard, fixed-barrel .22 caliber pistol. This technique is very inexpensive (you can build a working model for around $40.00). The techniques are very effective and it is worth noting that production and possession of an assembled silencer or the parts used to make a silencer are illegal in the United States and many other countries. This information is presented for information purposes ONLY and you are strongly encourage NOT to attempt to build a silencer unless you have the proper authorization from the government.

MIxim Silencer

Original patent diagram for the Maxim Silancer.

Original patent diagram for the Maxim Silancer.

What is a silencer?

In order to understand how to construct an inexpensive yet effective pistol silencer we must first understand how and why a silencer works and be aware of the limitations inherent in all sound supperssion.

What makes a gunshot loud?

The rapport, or the sound produced when firing a gun is caused by three different actions. First, the gunpowder, or propellant heats up gasses and those hot gasses exit the barrel of the gun and collide with cooler air outside and create what can be approximated to "thunder". Second, the bullet, or projectile, if it is traveling faster than the speed of sound (1130 feet per second) will create a small sonic boom, or ballistic "crack" when it breaks the sound barrier. Lastly, the action, or moving parts of an automatic or semi-automatic gun creates a much quieter, yet noticeable sound when the metal parts work to eject the spent shell casing and load a fresh round. All but the last element of sound can be reduced by employing a silencer.

A silencer, or sound suppressor works by containing the hot, rapidly moving gasses expelled by the burning propellant in the ammunition and allowing those cooled gasses to escape at a slower than normal rate. This reduced the "thunder" sound of the gunshot. Many silencer, including the one described in this article, employ what is known as a "wipe" to slow the speed of the bullet and to further contain and slow the escape of gasses. A wipe is simply a piece of flexible material that comes into physical contact with the projectile and thereby causes it to slow down to reduce the "ballistic crack". Used together, these two methods will produce a very effective silencer for any small bore gun.

What you will need: Materials

  • 7/32" Drill Rod orWooden Dowel (hardware Store)
  • 1 Foot of 1.25" PVC Pipe (Hardware Store)
  • 12" of 1/4" Brake Line (Auto Parts Store)
  • 1 Quart of Fiberglass Resin and Hardener (Hardware or Auto parts Store)
  • 1 Yard of Thin Fiberglass Mat (Hardware or Auto Parts Store)
  • 1 Roll of Masking Tape (Hardware or Auto Parts Store)
  • 1 1/8" Drill Bit (Hardware Store)
  • 1 3/16" Drill Bit (Hardware Store)
  • Several Rubber Bands
  • Several Single Side Razor Blades
  • 80 Grit Sandpaper (Hardware or Auto Parts Store)
  • 6 Small Wood Screws
  • 1 Box Steel Wool (Hardware or Auto Parts Store)
  • 1 Container of White Lithium Grease

Making it all work:

Cut a 10-inch section from the brake line. See figure 1. Drill a set of 1/8 inch holes down the length of the tube going in one side and out the other. The holes go all the way through. Notice in the photograph that the holes begin 1-1/2 inches from the end of the tube that fits on the gun.

Next, take a 3/16 inch drill bit and enlarge the holes. See figure 2.

Using masking tape and keeping the tape as free of wrinkles as possible, mask off about six inches of the gun barrel and the end of the barrel. Use only masking tape. Duct tape is too thick and would make for an improper fit. See figure 3.

Then place the drill rod down the barrel to keep the brake tube aligned. This perfect alignment is extremely important.

If the drill rod you purchase is a little too large, as sometimes happens, put it in a drill and using a file and sandpaper (80 grit), turn down the first six inches until it will fit inside the gun barrel. I operate the drill from the floor with my foot, letting the rod spin between my knees as I reduce the size. Check regularly until you achieve a perfect fit. If you grind the rod too small, cut it off and start over. Fit must be tight with no play.

Wrap glass mat around the gun and tube three times. Secure it with string or rubber bands every half inch to keep it tight and in place. The glass should be wrapped about two inches behind the sight and up to the first hold on the tube.

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