Am Shooting Journal ^ | 6/5/2017 | J Trevithick
The guns 'special' rounds were quiet but lacked stopping power
Since World War II, America's elite forces have used quiet firearms for missions where it pays to be silent. Sound suppressors—commonly referred known as silencers—remain in service today. What many don't know is that U.S. commandos once carried revolvers with special cartridges designed to muffle gunshots.
In the 1960s, the AAI Corporation developed the cartridges for the U.S. Army's and Navy's rifles, pistols and shotguns. The U.S. Army Special Forces and Rangers tested the unique ammunition in Vietnam.
While they offered many advantages, AAI's products failed to win any widespread acceptance in the halls of the Pentagon. The rounds were expensive and ineffective at moderate ranges.
According to a 1968 Army report on silencers, "Throughout the history of firearms, gun noise has been of considerable concern to the military." "To the enemy, gun noise reveals presence and, often, the location of the shooter, thus resulting in a counter attack."
To better understand how a suppressor works. In most modern firearms, the sound of the gunshot comes primarily from bottled-up gases escaping as the bullet leaves the barrel—like uncorking a bottle of champagne. A sound suppressor helps muffle the bang by trapping these fumes.
But even with these devices, the gunshot is never entirely undetectable.
In the early 1960s, Army weapon designers looked at alternatives that would completely eliminate the sound of the propellant exploding. They came up with the so-called "piston cartridges". Read the rest of the Silent Revolvers story here.