Silent weapons have been a dream of hunters and the military ever since firearms appeared. From the point of view of hunting, everything is clear – if the shot is not hit, the beast will run away, frightened by the sound of the shot. Track it back then. It is clear that you can use the same hunting crossbow, but firearms gave a disproportionately large guarantee of successful prey of the beast, because of the range of the shot and the destructive power. However, the lovers of hunting did not have the resources to create some sort of silent weapon.
From a military point of view, everything is somewhat different. With the advent of firearms in Europe in the XIV century and its subsequent development, the strategy of battles changed dramatically several times, starting with the times when the soldiers of the two warring armies stood opposite and thrashed each other with volleys of smooth-bore guns and ending with modern combat operations. In the tactics of general combat, a variety of techniques appeared, using the power, accuracy and range of a shot from a rifle. However, here too, a silent firearm would seem out of place. Machine guns and rifles rumble around, why hide the sound of a shot against this background?
However, in military science there has always been a separate direction – pinpoint painful blows to the enemy’s vulnerable spots. For example, capture an enemy commander or “language”, destroy a couple of important officers, blow up a fuel depot, and so on. Yes, this is all called and called special operations. And in this case, one of the requirements is secrecy, for which a silent weapon was required.
The first methods of silencing the sound of a shot appeared and even received a patent at the end of the XIX century, but they seriously approached the matter just before the Second World War. It was then that the military and special services (where without them) paid attention to existing inventions and started their own and successful developments based on them.
It quickly became clear that there are only two main ways to make a shot more or less silent, and both of them are associated with the damping of the shock wave (it is also called the muzzle wave) of the exhaust powder gases, which fly out of the barrel after the bullet. The first method is to lower the pressure and temperature of the powder gases. The second method is the cut-off of powder gases in the barrel. Actually, active work was carried out in these two directions.
It is worth noting that in addition to damping the shock wave, there were also minor issues that nevertheless affect the noiselessness of the shot. This is a ballistic clap when a bullet leaves the barrel, and the clank and noise emitted by the moving elements of the weapon. The cotton was removed by reducing the speed of the bullet, the clank – by improving the mechanics of the weapon. The modern silent weapon uses subsonic cartridges for firing and has special dampers and more advanced USM kinematics in order to achieve sufficient noiselessness for the assigned tasks.
But back to the methods of damping the shock wave, which is formed when the heated powder gases escape from the barrel.
The method of dispersion of powder gases
A metal camera is taken, inside which there are many partitions – they can be metal, plastic and rubber. Powder gases enter these cells, partially dissipate, partially cooled. In any case, they slow down so much that they cannot outrun a bullet. Therefore, the shot turns noticeably quieter and is heard a little later than its real time. This is exactly how the weapon silencer we are used to, or rather, a silent flameless firing device (PBS) or simply a silent firing device (PBS).
The first in the history of the current model of the muffler in 1910 created Hiram Percy Maxim, the son of the inventor of the famous machine gun. However, his silencer was intended for those same hunters, about whom we spoke at the very beginning, and in the army, special services, and even more so in mass production was not even considered.
But the first serial gun silencer, based on the principle of dispersion of powder gases, was the Brahmit silencer, compatible with Nagin and Mosin rifles. It was developed in the late forties by the brothers Mitin, showed its effectiveness and was adopted for service. However, it was necessary to combine “Bramit” with special cartridges of reduced power – there was some difficulty in this.
Nowadays, there are a lot of PBS variants, and, one can say, for every taste – both as muzzle attachments (attached to the barrel), and integrated (they are one with the barrel), for hunting, for the army, for special forces (there are so-called tactical silencers – small size, for convenience of work in confined spaces, “smearing” the sound of a shot).
Powder gas cutoff method
To produce a cut-off of powder gases, a special “silent cartridge” is required. The solution in this case was invented quite simple – they took a reduced sub-caliber bullet, a wad-piston, which accelerates this bullet, and then stops in the cartridge (cut-off of powder gases in the cartridge) or in the barrel (cut-off of powder gases in the barrel), and reduced charge of the powder so that there are less gases. The result is excellent, only the wad retrieval system is still necessary. But if you use manual reloading after each shot or drum principle, then there is no problem.
One of the first guns, working precisely on this principle, was created in the USSR by the same Mitin brothers. Only 10 years earlier. At the end of the usual crochet mounted superstructure, which blocked the ejected wad-piston, but missed the bullet. Wad, it turns out, completely passed the trunk and got stuck. But the cunning designers built a drum in the nozzle that turned in sync with the main one. Having shot off ammunition, it was necessary to manually push the wads out of this drum. Difficult, slow, and special bullets were needed.
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