Airsoft Silencers – Worth their weight?

This article appeared previously, in a similar form, in Airsoft International Magazine

Silencers, or suppressors, are popular with airsofters.

Often they are just for looks, sometimes they are used to conceal an extended inner barrel, but many silencers also claim to suppress the sound to a degree, so I decided it was time to take a look at some popular airsoft Silencers and what they can offer in terms of sound suppression.

Pretty much any tube can be used to make a cosmetic silencer, but it is worth noting that foam filled silencers are not generally legal in the US, so any ‘silencers’ there will simply be metal shells.

All silencers tested

Most AEGs come with a 14mm thread, accessible by removing the flash hider and many pistols have aftermarket barrels available which feature a 14mm thread, so silencers are generally suitable for rifles or pistols alike.

The Tokyo Marui Heckler & Koch Mk23 I decided to do most of my testing on is unusual in that it has a thread as standard, but a non-standard sized 16mm one, so an adaptor had to be used to use the 14mm threaded silencers tested here.

I decided to use the Tokyo Marui NBB because it has few moving parts to add noise to the testing, but there is a perceived truth that silencers are a waste of time on GBBs or AEGs, which I’ll look at in more detail later.


A microphone was placed 4CM to the left of the tip of the muzzle or silencer end for each test and the levels recorded are shown in the chart at the bottom of the article.

I also tested some of the silencers with the microphone 4CM from the trigger guard - You can view the comparative results of the muzzle test here and the trigger guard tests here.

At around 25C, I gassed the Tokyo Marui H&K Mk23 with 134a gas and tested it first in unsuppressed form.

The sound is a distinct crack, although it is quieter than most GBBs due to the lack of noise from the cycling of the gun.

The silencer Tokyo Marui provides as standard is a replica of the SOCOM unit designed for the Mk23 pistol.

It is 180 mm in length (excluding the thread) and 35mm in diameter. Inside there are 4 foam tubes, each 45mm in length with a 13mm hole in the centre to allow the BB to pass through.

TM SOCOM silencer included in Mk23 package

As you can see in the chart, the difference with the included Tokyo Marui silencer fitted is quite dramatic.

The sound level falls around 8-10 dB, which, to most ears, feels like around 50% of the volume.

Sound levels of TM Mk23 without and with silencer

Most people with a Tokyo Marui Mk23 will only ever use the included silencer and so most presume it is a good silencer, but is it? Is it exceptionally good to deliver 50% less sound or is it actually rather limited in its suppressing ability?

The obvious choice to test it against was another SOCOM silencer and I had a G&G SOCOM silencer to hand.

G&G SOCOM silencer

The G&G SOCOM is slightly different being 170 mm in length (excluding the thread), but still 35mm in diameter. Inside there are 16 foam disks, each 10mm in length with a 13mm hole in the centre to allow the BB to pass through.

The G&G performs similarly to the TM, with a similar sound profile, but the peaks were a little higher than the Tokyo Marui silencer’s.

With similar dimensions and similar construction, this is perhaps unsurprising, but it is good to see, suggesting that you give away little in effective suppression by buying a more aesthetically pleasing unit.

G&G SS100 compact silencer

Whilst the large SOCOM silencers are effective, not everyone (or every gun) requires such a large unit. The G&G SS100 silencer is very popular with owners of Glocks, SIGs and the like.

At just 83mm in length and 30mm diameter, the SS100 is a compact unit, but still features foam filling. There are 8 foam disks, each 9mm in depth and each with a 12mm diameter centre for the BBs to pass through.

The chart shows, however, that you are compromising on suppression with this compact unit.

The suppression is not insignificant (to the ear, it sounds much more like the MK23 with the stock silencer than the unsuppressed one), but there is a sharper, louder note to the gun and the muzzle test clearly shows a peak higher than any of the other suppressors.

As a curved ball, I tried the silencer from my ICS MP5 on the Mk23.

ICS MP5 SD silencer

The silencer is 135mm in length, but features a diameter of 41mm. Inside there is a perforated metal tube (19mm in diameter) for the BBs to pass through and 2 foam disks, each 45 mm in depth.

In the comparative chart, you can see that the silencer actually records a dB level closest to the Tokyo Marui silencer and to the ear the sound has a bassier sound, suggesting perhaps that the larger diameter silencer changes the pitch whilst a greater length reduces the volume (At this stage, my physics begins to break down and I have to resort to observations).

Madbull license Suppressor designs from Gemtech and Quicksilver which allows authentic trademarks, as well as shapes. They use High tensile strength aluminium in their silencers, and the finish of the Madbull silencers did feel and look better than the others on test here.

First up was Madbull’s licensed Gemtech Blackside, finished in Sand in this case, although Black and Olive are also available.

Madbull Gemtech Blackside

At 155mm in length and 35mm diameter it features 18 felt (rather than foam) pads, each 9mm deep, with a 13mm centre hole.

It performed well against the longer SOCOMs, being only a little louder and the licensing means the appearance is extremely realistic.

The Madbull Quicksilver Titanium (this one in matt silver, but there are black and polished silver too) is 157mm long and 32mm in diameter. It features an internal thread so the whole silencer is a single tube. Inside, as with the Gemtech Blackside there are 18 9mm deep felt pads, each with a 13mm centre hole.

Madbull Quicksilver Titanium

Unsurprisingly, being of similar proportions and construction, this performed similarly to the Blackside.

Finally there was the Madbull Gemtech Halo. This is designed to fit over M4 style flash hiders without the need for a threaded barrel. Despite being 186mm long (although only 143mm is silenced) and 38mm diameter there were only 17 9mm deep felt pads in the Halo, but they were like those in the other Madbull silencers.

Madbull Gemtech Halo

I found it fitted securely over the 16mm-14mm adaptor on the Mk23 and, impressively, the Halo was quieter than even Marui’s SOCOM silencer, although not dramatically so, and is the quietest of the group.

As a further test, I removed the foam from my G&G SOCOM silencer (producing something similar to the spec of silencer legal in the USA) and tested again.

I was surprised to see a drop in volume over the unsuppressed gun. It was noticeably louder than with any of the foam filled silencers, but significantly (and audibly) quieter than with no silencer, so a US spec, hollow silencer should give you some sound deadening.

Effect of silencers on AEG/GBBs

“But”, you say, “There’s no point fitting a silencer to an AEG or GBB, because only a tiny amount of sound comes from the muzzle.”

Testing the ICS MP5 without its silencer produces 86dB. This reduces to 80dB with the silencer, which equates to around a ¼ less heard volume.

A KSC Heckler & Koch Mk23 GBB produced 94 db without a silencer, falling to 86 db with the Tokyo Marui SOCOM silencer, around 40% less perceived noise.

The overall effect is less with other sounds, but there is a significant drop in volume with a suppressor fitted whichever gun you use.

I didn’t have a springer with a threaded barrel, but I would say that proportionally, a springer will benefit the least from a silencer, although (aside from the springer releasing) there is little other sound, so the overall level will still be low in overall terms.


A foam filled silencer can deliver a significant reduction in sound from an airsoft gun.

Admittedly other sounds contribute considerably to the overall volume of AEGs and GBBs, but there are useful reductions in volume from most guns by fitting a silencer.

Although the Madbull Halo was fractionally the best, the differences testing with the Tokyo Marui Mk23 were barely noticeable rather than dramatic.

Key to chart:

1 Unsilenced Mk23
2 Tokyo Marui SOCOM silencer
3 G&G SOCOM Silencer
4 G&G SS100 Silencer
5 ICS MP5 SD5 Silencer
6 G&G SOCOM Silencer (no foam)
7 Madbull Gemtech Halo Silencer
8 Madbull Gemtech Blackslide Silencer
9 Madbull Quicksilver Titanium Silencer

Relative performance of reviewed silencers
Click on chart to hear silencers in action

All the silencers tested significantly reduced the volume and tone of the Mk23 and, equally important, none adversely affected accuracy or power.

If your objective is to reduce the overall volume of your gun, it would appear that any foam filled silencer will deliver an appreciable benefit, but the general rule appears to be the “The more silencer; the better”.

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