FAQ

Silencer FAQ

Under federal law, it has never been illegal to own a silencer. If it is legal for you to buy a handgun, and you live in a state that allows ownership, then it is probably legal for you to own a silencer. The basic requirements are as follows:

  1. You must be at least 21 years old
  2. You must live in a state that allows ownership
  3. You must not have any felony convictions

The following states allow private ownership of silencers: AL, AR, AK, AZ, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MO, MS, MT, ND, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WV and WY.

  • Of the remaining states; CA and IA may allow silencer ownership for people in possession of a valid FFL.  Please refer to your state laws.

  • Once you’ve determined that you can legally own a suppressor, you should carefully consider what the best method will be for you to register a suppressor. There are three possible ways to register a suppressor, and each method has its own pros and cons:

    1. REGISTER THE SUPPRESSOR TO A TRUST

    • Advantages
      1. When using a trust, it’s possible to register using the new ATF e-Form system – which is a faster & more efficient way to submit paperwork
      2. Anyone listed as a trustee in the trust can be in possession of the suppressor
      3. A revocable trust can be changed at any time without notifying the ATF
      4. No signature is required from chief law-enforcement officer
      5. No fingerprint cards are required
      6. You only need to create the trust once. The same trust can be used for all future suppressors or other NFA items (such as short barreled rifles)
    • Disadvantages
      1. Some initial work and cost is required to setup the trust, but the cost up front may be beneficial long term to have a Gun Trust Attorney create your trust.
      2. In some states, a trust needs to be registered with the state – although that is not a requirement in most cases.
    • Best for
      1. People with family members who want to share possession of the suppressor
      2. People who want to go together with friends on the purchase of a suppressor
      3. People who want more flexibility in the long run
      4. Anyone planning on making multiple NFA purchases who want to avoid the overhead of getting the CLEO signature and fingerprints each time

    2. REGISTER THE SUPPRESSOR TO A CORPORATION

    • Advantages
      1. When using a corporation, it’s possible to register using the new ATF e-Form system – which is a faster & more efficient way to submit paperwork
      2. Any officer of the corporation can be in possession of the suppressor
      3. If you already have a corporation, this can be easier than a trust since you will avoid the initial trust setup
      4. No signature is required from chief law-enforcement officer
      5. No fingerprint cards are required
    • Disadvantages
      1. You need to keep your corporation in good standing, which can be more work than a trust (which is basically a “create it and forget about it” process in most cases)
    • Best for
      1. Anyone who already owns a corporation, and wants that corporation to act as the owner of the suppressor
      2. Anyone planning on making multiple NFA purchases who want to avoid the overhead of getting the CLEO signature and fingerprints each time

    3. REGISTER THE SUPPRESSOR IN YOUR OWN NAME

    • Advantages
      1. You can avoid initial work required to setup a trust or corporation
    • Disadvantages
      1. As of now, individuals are unable to submit paperwork using the new ATF e-Form system
      2. Only you can be in possession of the suppressor (although, other people can still use it if you’re with them)
      3. Requires signature from chief law-enforcement officer where you live
      4. Requires fingerprint card
    • Best for
      1. People who don’t plan to buy a lot of NFA items
      2. People who just want to get the buying process started
      3. People who always plan to be present when the suppressor is in use

No! There are some rumors that you need to have a “Class 3” license to own a silencer; but, this simply isn’t true. You do have to pay for a “tax stamp” when you first buy the suppressor – but there are no ongoing fees or licenses required. This tax is similar to paying sales tax on a purchase, except that it goes to the federal instead of the state government.


No.  This often comes up because of the mistaken belief that a “Class 3″ license is required to purchase a suppressor. A “Class 3″ license is a dealer license – and the ATF absolutely can show up to search a dealer’s premises; but, silencer buyers don’t give up any rights at all.

Yes. As long as the firearms are threaded in a way that will accept the silencer, you shouldn’t have any problems.

You can use a larger caliber suppressor to suppress a smaller caliber firearm as long as you have the appropriate adapters. Using a larger caliber silencer is not as efficient as a silencer made for the specific caliber, but it will still be a significant sound reduction in most cases.

This depends on the firearm and the suppressor. In most cases, the suppressed firearm will be at least as quiet as wearing a good pair of muffs.

Once again, this depends on the firearm and the suppressor. The most popular methods include the following:

  • Some silencers will thread directly onto a threaded barrel
  • Some silencers require a quick-detach device (like a flash hider, muzzle brake or piston)
  • Some silencers are built into the firearm itself, providing an integral suppressor

There is no difference; these are just different words for the same thing.  The word “Silencer” is the legal term; but, either “sound suppressor”, or just “suppressor”, is more technically accurate since they don’t actually silence the firearm.

This can vary widely depending on several factors.  You can check out up to date statistics by clicking HERE; although, times definitely fluctuate, so it's likely your wait won't be exactly the same.

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