FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!
Lou Salseda

Lou Salseda

Lou Salseda is a retired LAPD sergeant with 34 years of law enforcement experience. He is the chief instructor of TAC-1 Defensive Firearms Training in Santa Clarita, Calif., and is a consultant for law enforcement training and litigation.

Nick Jacobellis

Nick Jacobellis

Nick Jacobellis is a medically retired U.S. Customs Agent and former New York police officer who was physically disabled in the line of duty while working undercover as a federal agent.

Security Policy and the Cloud

Ask The Expert

Mark Rivera

FBI-CJIS Security Policy Compliance Officer

Mark Rivera, Customer Retention Manager and CJIS Security Compliance Officer with Vigilant Solutions, served for sixteen years with the Maryland State Police, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant with thirteen of those years at the supervisory and command level. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from The Johns Hopkins University and Secret clearance through the FBI, Baltimore.


Why Patrol Rifles Need a Suppressor

Non-suppressed AR rifles in close quarters may cause hearing loss by officers.

July 16, 2013  |  by Lou Salseda - Also by this author

Daniel Defense's DDM4 ISR.
Daniel Defense's DDM4 ISR.
The 1997 North Hollywood bank robbery identified a need in law enforcement agencies for an AR-type patrol rifle in an urban environment.

Since that incident, active shooters and counter-terrorism threats presented in the 2008 Mumbai attacks have increased the need for AR-type weapons for basic patrol operations. In January, Daniel Defense introduced the ISR (Integrated Suppressed Rifle), a production AR-platform DDM4 chambered in .300 Blackout.

Historically, suppressed rifle systems in law enforcement have been reserved for SWAT operators. SWAT teams once used a H&K MP5 for entry situations; these were often equipped with a suppressor. SWAT teams started changing over to the AR platform in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  However, very few of these AR-equipped SWAT teams had suppressed ARs in their inventory. Perhaps, because many SWAT teams use some type of communication system that also protects their ears, they didn't identify a need.

Now that many patrol officers are commonly equipped with the AR platform, these officers and their trainers have identified a valid concern for high frequency decibel gunfire generated by these weapons. The basic 18-inch M16/M4 produces about 160-165 decibels of peak noise. This is especially concerning in confined spaces such as a police car, urban business building, or residence because that high-decibel muzzle blast is reflected and increased with multiple shots fired. Any exposure to noise over 140db causes immediate and irreparable hearing loss, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

In 2009, the most common impairment for military veterans was hearing loss with annual payments that exceed $1.1 billion, according to the January 2011 GAO Report to Congressional Committees.

Responding patrol personnel typically do not use range-type hearing protection when they don personal protective equipment (PPE). Anyone without hearing protection who has experienced the muzzle blast of an AR platform in close proximity knows it can be extremely loud and painful.  Continued firing in a confined area will certainly have a negative impact on your hearing.

To prevent hearing loss, a few progressive law enforcement agencies have equipped their patrol officers with suppressed AR platforms. The Tempe (Ariz.) Police Department was a leader in this area in 2008 when they started to equip all their patrol rifles with suppressors. A large agency in southern California is now considering allowing its AR-equipped officers to purchase their own suppressor with the primary intent of preventing hearing loss.

Law enforcement agencies provide many types of PPE to their officers, including body armor, ballistic helmets, ballistic door panels, and air purifying respirators. It's time to seriously consider providing officers an AR suppressor to protect their officers' hearing.

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Zip Code:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine