Why You Should Own a Silencer (Suppressor)

Most firearms enthusiasts would agree that suppressed firearms are some of the most fun and most desirable firearms toys you can play with.  Invented by Hiram Maxim in 1902 (in parallel to the automobile silencer…aka, the muffler), it’s hard to point to any item that’s more effective at making shooting more enjoyable and safer.

In addition to the cool factor that comes with seeing James Bond, Jason Bourne, special operations units, and other action heroes use them throughout the years, they have a tremendous amount of practical value for firearms enthusiasts in general and preparedness minded people in particular.

Just to dispel any preconceived ideas that you might have, the vast majority of the benefits of suppressed weapons can be enjoyed without having to endure a “Mad Max” scenario.

Before we get into the benefits of suppressed weapons, let me give you some quick background…

(For additional easy to digest information, I encourage you to go through the short course that Advanced Armament offers at AACCanU (AAC Can University). It takes 5-10 minutes to go through and when you finish, they’ll send you a diploma granting you a “Bachelor of Silence” degree. 🙂 [it was down 16Jun16, but I contacted AAC and it should be up by the time you read this]

To begin with, “silencers” don’t silence a weapon…they only suppress the sound level of the firearm, which is why there has been a shift from calling them “silencers” to calling them “suppressors.”  In reality, it doesn’t really matter what you call them…silencer, suppressor, gun muffler, etc.  There’s NO difference and everyone knows what you’re talking about.

When a firearm discharges, particularly a semi-automatic firearm, there are several sources of noise:

  1. The bolt/slide assembly going backwards, the spent round being extracted, and the next round being loaded.
  2. The muzzle blast.
  3. On semi-autos, in addition to the sound of expanding gas exiting the muzzle, you’ve also got the sound of expanding gas exiting the chamber.
  4. Bullets traveling faster than roughly 1150 feet per second will break the sound barrier and cause a sonic boom.
  5. The sound of the mechanical percussion that ignites the round.
  6. The sound of the round hitting a target.

For the most part, suppressors suppress the sound of muzzle blasts and don’t affect the other 5 factors, but simply suppressing the muzzle blast can often mean the difference between needing to wear hearing protection to shoot and not needing to wear hearing protection.

Suppressors use the same noise suppression concept as automobile mufflers…in fact they were developed at the same time and “silencer” and “muffler” are used interchangeably with both technologies in many parts of the world. Both allow the expansion of gasses inside of a container rather than in the open air.

And, just like there are several non-tactical benefits to using an automobile muffler, there are several non-tactical benefits to using a suppressor in addition to the tactical ones.

To begin with, it’s just polite. In England, New Zealand, and several other “civilized” countries around the world that allow firearms of one type or another, people use silencers so that they can talk while shooting, hear after shooting, shoot while their friends and family sit and chat nearby, shoot near their pets without damaging their hearing, shoot without bothering the neighbors, and shoot at night without waking the neighbors and/or causing unnecessary calls to law enforcement.

With the benefit that suppressors have when shooting around animals, it would be ironic, but understandable if PETA became a big proponent of the loosening of laws and expanded use of suppressors.

Expanding on that list, there are an increasing number of “suppressor only” firearms competitions where the non-competitors of all ages can comfortably have normal conversations without hearing protection just a few yards behind the line.

Many low-light training courses have had to be canceled in recent years because of neighbors complaining about the noise when they’re trying to relax for the evening or sleep. Suppressors are an obvious solution to this issue.

Also, nighttime is the best time to shoot one of America’s most costly animals…wild hogs. I said “shoot” instead of “hunt” because hogs are estimated to cause $200-$800 in damage apiece per year and sows can deliver as many as 10 babies per year. As a result, hog control becomes a mix between hunting and eradication. What this means is that in addition to bothering the neighbors less when hunting with a suppressed weapon, it also can allow the shooter the opportunity to take more hogs per engagement—this is because they will be able to see better and get back on target quicker and because the decrease in noise MIGHT allow them multiple shots before the herd scatters. And if you’re wondering if you can hunt hogs with a silencer…the answer depends on where you are. A continually increasing number of states allow either varmint eradication and/or hunting with a silencer. In some states, you can use silencers, night vision, and/or thermal vision. In Texas, you can even shoot hogs while hanging out of a helicopter.

Great learning tool

Next, when you consider the fact that suppressors decrease sound levels, improve accuracy, reduce felt recoil, and reduce muzzle flip, it quickly becomes evident that they are almost the perfect tool to use when introducing a new shooter to the sport…particularly young shooters and females who may be apprehensive of firearms in the first place.

They’ll be able to hear your range commands easier since they don’t have to wear ear protection, they won’t feel like they’re being yelled at since you’ll be able to use your normal voice, they won’t be as afraid of the blast & recoil as they might be, and the reduction of muzzle flip leads to a significant reduction in anticipatory flinch. (This is when you “push” the barrel down in anticipation of the round going off to try to counteract recoil. It is one of the most, if not the most common problem that shooters of all skill levels have.)

Tactical Considerations

Even though tactical benefits won’t be nearly as useful to most people, there are some notable ones that I want to share with you.

  1. If you’re on a tactical team where everyone is using suppressed weapons, it will be very easy to differentiate friend from foe.
  2. If you’re not an audio blocker, your hearing will probably be shot pretty quickly after you fire your first shot and you won’t be able to communicate as effectively with your team. Suppressors mean that at least, even though your opponents’ weapons may blow your hearing, yours and your teammates won’t. (As a note on the “audio blocker” comment…some people’s ears mysteriously compensate for explosions and firearms noises in high stress situations. This phenomenon is covered in David Grossman’s book, “On Combat.”)
  3. With most normal powder loads, suppressors contain most, if not all (www.larue.com/larue-tranquilo-sound-suppressor-m308) of the muzzle flash and allow shooters to maintain their night vision longer than with unsuppressed weapons.
  4. When using an SBR, (Short Barreled Rifle) suppressors can significantly increase muzzle velocity and terminal ballistics.
  5. Suppressed light and noise and the alteration of the frequency of the muzzle blast makes direction finding much more difficult than with non-suppressed weapons.
  6. Some SWAT teams keep suppressed .22s on hand for shooting out lights during high risk raids. Since everything that goes up must come down and since they’re responsible for every round that leaves their weapons, this is not incredibly common.

Here’s a 20 second clip of Ox shooting a suppressed .300 Blackout to show the controlability and quietness that you get with a suppressor.  He’s shooting Freedom Munitions match grade AMax subsonic bullets. 

Who can own a silencer?

If you’re a legal U.S. Resident, 21 or older, a non-felon, and live in AL, AR, AK, AZ, CO, CT, FL, GA, IA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, ME, MI, MS, MO, MT, ND, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WV, or WY, you can own a silencer…you just have to buy it from a firearms dealer who has a “Class III” license and pay a $200 tax for each suppressor. Right now, the wait is approximately 6 months for the ATF/FBI to approve your application

There is a bill in Congress…H.R. 3799, that would get rid of the $200 tax.  It’s called the “Hearing Protection Act” and I encourage you to contact your representatives and ask them to support the bill.

If you don’t live in one of these states, you can STILL buy sub-caliber inserts. I wrote about them about a year and a half ago…I put an excerpt in the P.S. at the end of this article.

As a note, firearms dealers are required to have a Class III license to sell silencers. Silencers are technically called “Title II” items. Another way of saying it is that a dealer has to have a Class III license to sell Title II items. More on Title II items in a few paragraphs.

In other countries where suppressors are legal, they are generally less expensive and easier to obtain.

Unfortunately, in addition to making it unnecessarily cumbersome for law abiding citizens to legally obtain a silencer, it’s also VERY easy to mess up once you own one.

Technically, if you buy a silencer in your name, you are the only person who can use it, have access to it, or control of it without committing a felony. That means that if you own a safe and keep your suppressors in your safe, nobody, including your spouse, can have the combination.

If you’re at the range, you can’t legally let anyone else fire your suppressed weapon or handle your suppressor.

This can be interpreted to apply to both civilians and law enforcement and is an especially big tripping point for law enforcement who personally own short barreled rifles or suppressors and who think that the law doesn’t apply to them and their families.

All of these laws are complicated by the fact that just because the laws are on the books doesn’t mean that the laws are enforced and you really have to look at case law to see which laws are being enforced at any given time and how they’re being enforced.

Fortunately, there’s a solution and it’s a trust that is called the “NFA Gun Trust.” A properly done NFA Gun Trust will allow you to bypass some of the more onerous aspects of the process to buy a suppressor, as well as give you a tool to legally enjoy them with friends and relatives. If you’re going to have any suppressors or other NFA Title II items (which includes fully automatic weapons, short barreled rifles, suppressors, all other weapons, and destructive devices), you REALLY want to have a properly done NFA Gun Trust.

I said “properly done” twice because there are several attorneys and gun stores who are giving/selling people defective NFA Gun Trusts. In some cases, it has meant that when people who had several Title II items in a defective trust went to buy another Title II item, it lead to the ATF confiscating ALL of their Title II items.

Now, please understand that I don’t agree with the need for an NFA Gun Trust. I would like to see the items simply covered under the Second Ammendment, for the tax stamp requirement to go away, and for the need for the trust to go away. Unfortunately, that’s not reality and reality has convinced me of the need to do everything according to the laws on the books and have an NFA Gun Trust to protect myself, my family, and our firearms.

What I did was go to the granddaddy of NFA Gun Trusts, David Goldman. Title II owners across the country owe Mr. Goldman a huge debt of gratitude for deciding to focus on NFA Gun Trusts and figure out all of the tweaks and changes that needed to be made to make the process of buying, storing, enjoying, and transferring Title II items as legal and painless as possible for law abiding people who just want to stay out of trouble.

David has done THOUSANDS of these trusts. If you want to get one, you simply contact his office at GunTrustLawyer.com, and give them your information. (His site is a treasure chest of good solid information on Title II weapons) They’ll do the majority of the trust in their offices and then forward your trust to an attorney in your state who will do the final customizations to make the trust legal in your state. When I went through the process with him, it was painless and informative and I strongly encourage you to contact him if you have any interest in getting Title II items. He’s offered to discount his fees for my readers, so if you want to save some money, tell him I referred you.

David includes a guide with his trusts that lay out how to buy items, set up banking correctly so you don’t make the trust defective, how to fill out the forms correctly, and what you MUST include and shouldn’t include with your application. I can tell you from personal experience that this is incredibly valuable, as is the ability to call them (sometimes multiple times) while you’re at the counter filling out the forms to buy your Title II items to make sure you’re doing everything correctly. The guide also includes instructions how to legally buy private party, travel with Title II items, move from state to state, and more.

Also, if you currently have a NFA Gun Trust, you may want to have Mr. Goldman review it to make sure that it’s not a defective trust that could expose you to considerable unnecessary liability.  Unfortunately, there are a LOT of defective trusts floating around that used estate planning trusts, did a couple of find-and-replaces, and thought it would work as an NFA Gun Trust.

As a note, we all know how much the current administration wants to limit the rights of gun owners. It’s a fair guess that the sale of Title II items would be an easy early target. That’s why I’m buying suppressors whenever I can. They’re kind of pricey, so it’s not something I get every week or even every month, but it’s something that I’m making forward progress on.

That’s it for this week. Let me know if you’ve got any experience with suppressors and whether or not you intend on buying any in the future. If you had a choice, would you rather have a fully automatic weapon, a suppressed weapon, or a short barreled rifle? Share your thoughts by commenting below:

Until next week, God bless & stay safe,

David Morris

P.S.  There has been A LOT of interest this week in the Avoid Deter Defend situational awareness course.  If you haven’t signed up yet, please do right now by going >HERE<.  You’ll get instant online access as well as DVDs in the mail.  It’ll help you program your subconscious so that you’ll be able to identify and react to lethal threats (like an active shooter) effectively and immediately.  The techniques and methods have been proven on the battlefield and overseas intelligence operations and modified to match threats that you’re likely to encounter in the US.  Learn more now by clicking >HERE<




About David Morris

David Morris is the creator of the Survive In Place Urban Survival Course, the Fastest Way To Prepare Course, Urban Survival Playing Cards, Tactical Firearms Training Secrets, and other books, courses, and articles on preparedness, survival, firearms, and other tactical topics. He lives with his wife, 2 boys, and 2 dogs.


  1. What about concealed carry and suppressors? It seems it would be hard to conceal and even harder to make a quick draw?

    • Theoretically, it’s possible…and Silencerco is releasing a 9mm with an integrated silencer. For all practical purposes, it’s not a good idea for most people. Why? Because when you’re carrying around a weight on your belt all day long, every day, you want the lightest package you can carry that’s still effective. A silencer adds weight without much benefit for the average concealed carrier.

      For most people, they’ll carry their concealed carry pistol for their entire life and never NEED to shoot it for self-defense. If they do, a little ear pain is a fair trade-off.

      On the other hand, the added weight and discomfort may very well cause a shooter to not carry as often.

      Thanks for a great question!

  2. This is all good to know. But if you are in Calif… And have one… Watch out….if they find it…
    Off to Jail you go….
    just saying…….And please remember one thing…..And remember it good…
    If you do ever shoot someone….
    NEVER, NEVER talk with the police until you have a LAWYER with you.
    Just say. I was in fear for my life. I want a lawyer. say no more until you have one with you….
    Know your rights & use them..
    Have a great safe day..

  3. For those of you who want to create their own trust we have come out with a do it yourself gun trust that contains all the language in our more expensive trust. Visit www.GunTrust.com for more information.

  4. Montego Man says:

    Found a new item the recent catalogue of an ammo supplier. They sell 22 LR with no gunpowder. The bullet is recessed into the standard casing and the energy from the primer expels the bullet. These rounds are quiet and of very limited range, but still deadly. At one time these types of rounds were called assassin ammo. Little or no powder, producing little noise, especially in a crowded outside area. They were once use by mob enforcers and various intel agencies around the world.

    • Shooter/jeweler says:

      The problem with this “no powder, primer ammo is that WILL NOT cycle any semi auto action. Every round has to be hand plus the shorter bullet profile causes “feeding” issues.

      • It’s not really a problem…they’re not designed to be used in semi-auto actions. They’re designed to only be used in revolvers, bolt action, break action, and lever action firearms.

    • I think you might be mixing stories…The Colibri ammo (no powder) are a plinking and squirrel/bird round. Mob enforcers and intel agencies have historically used regular .22LR ammo (with powder)

    • Todd Widick says:

      Well thanks for sharing the site?

  5. alex odle says:

    I just wanted to say, that the idea of a suppressor increasing velocity, has been declared impossible by some.
    At this point, I don’t know what to believe.
    I know of a suppressor manufacturer, with 20+ years experience, who says suppressors cannot increase velocity.
    Then I read an extremely convincing article, such as this, and…

  6. alex odle says:

    I just wanted to say, that the idea of a suppressor increasing velocity, has been declared impossible by some.
    At this point, I don’t know what to believe.

  7. Thank you for the information. I called David G. and am setting up my trust to protect my assets as well as being able to LEGALLY let my trust members use my guns and supressor without fear of breaking the law. For those that comment about worrying about Class II ownership and the man coming to your door, they already know you. Everytime you buy a gun (legally anyway) you go into a data base. If you were in the military, you’re in the data base. You get no additional scrutiny by doing things legally, but you do need to protect yourself and your assets. I don’t want some court deciding who gets my guns, I will! Thanks again David for the David Goldman info.

  8. Objectivfan says:

    Enjoy the newsletter, especially appreciate the rational perspective that seems to be foundational. Am also regularly entertained by the dash of the political occasionally thrown in.

    I know pres O’s FA record isn’t purely PRO. However, the current admin’s tenure has been some of the most profitable on record for the firearm industry and new gun purchases have been regularly record breaking (and in our system money IS power). We can now carry FAs in national parks and in checked bags on Amtrak.
    Not completely counter productive for law abiding gun owners or the industry, despite what is generally purported.
    There are many issues on the table. Personally, I would rather have an improved education system over a suppressed, full-auto.

    • I simply want my 2nd ammendment rights. Curtailing those rights is a matter of heavy handedness, not safety. The fact is that criminals will do what they want to do, regardless of the law. The best way to protect good people from bad people is to encourage personal responsibility and a society that values martial skills among everyday law-abiding people.

      Bad people will get silencers and fully automatic weapons regardless of whether or not they are legal or difficult to get legally. So, personally, I want to have legal, inexpensive, unencoumbered access to suppressed and full auto weapons…not for tactical reasons, but because they’re fun, I enjoy them, and they’re covered by the 2nd ammendment.

  9. Subsonics -R- an alternative choice + very useful @ close range or indoors. Quieter than air rifles + the .22 can be had in 50 grain solid nose, lead…. sounds like a cap gun + can be use for indoor target practice w/ good back stop!

  10. I forgot. Since Washington is full of liberals, no wonder the buddies came back; criminals, (gangs) have guns too.
    California, where I live has liberals in the State House, but won’t necessarily let us protect ourselves. However they carry, as one State rep forgot to leave his pistola in his checked luggage and had it in his carry on. Missed his flight while explaining his mistake. TS

  11. How many times have I read your reports and the background always registered in my mind until today. If you live in Washington, I hope your weather didn’t affect your family to much.

    I looked it up “after” the fact. it is A in affect not effect, although it effected you all. LMBO

  12. Good info. Spot on and easy to understand.

  13. Last month I researched gun laws for texas and it stated that suppressors are illegal weapons according to PC §46.05. Am i mistaken or have that out of context?

  14. Today at the shot show there was a new organization announced. The American Silencer Association. www.americansilencerassociation.com.

  15. Availability of a ‘suppressor’ for a Glock 23??

  16. Thanks this was very enlightening. Ironic , that in the UK a country (or collection of countries) that have draconian gun regulation, you can buy a supressor without any problem.
    It certainly prevents hearing damage if you shoot 2 or 3 times a week like I do , or you are getting old as I am.

  17. PAYPAL is withholding funds sent to Sheriff Mac. This is a dirty trick to try and suppress opposition to the Obama Administration

  18. Can not have one in New York state.But in a pinch you can use a soda bottle to make a silencer.It works good.But oly last for 5 or 6 shots.

  19. That is a muzzel break. It does not suppress any sound. I have a few suppressors and SBRs and they are tons of fun. The application prossess isnt that bad once you do it the first time. Its the wait or rather, the intisipation. even though the last one I did only took 30 days, mail box to mail box.

  20. paul greimann says:

    About 60 years ago, I built supressor/silencer from a condensed milk can and a piece of metal conduit. I used it, when hunting garbage dump rats. It was short lived, however, as a military policeman friend of mine told me it was illegal and to destroy it. I did. It did silence the 22 caliber noise and was still accurate.

    • It’s probably a good thing that you got rid of that. A lot of what you do in life depends on your risk tolerance. I happen to have a lot more risk tolerance for things that might hurt me physically than for things that might put me in a situation where I’d have to wear an orange jumpsuit and have an inmate number.

    • It is illegal to build a silencer without receiving permission. The process to receive permission involves a $200 tax stamp and a Form 1. I have an example of the form 1 and instructions at www.guntrustlawyer.com/form1.html. If you make it before you receive permission then it is illegal and could cause real problems if charged with a violation of the NFA.

  21. come on guys, big guns big noise, scares the bad guys. you want deadly quiet? get yourself an ar7

  22. Great article, lots of good points.
    However… if some idiot were to break into my house with me in it, I would like for the entire neighborhood to hear the report from whatever weapon I happen to use on that idiot. I want every darn neighbor to be up and dialing 911. Think of the advantages of everyone knowing that I’m armed and not taking any guff. LOL!

  23. Dan in Colorado says:

    I’ve recently started shooting in a Long Range Precision Rifle match at the Colorado Rifle Club on the prairie east of Denver. Quite a few of the rifles are outfitted with suppressors and it’s kinda funny how a big rifle makes a ‘dink’ sound when its fired! Time to start saving my allowance for a suppressor!

  24. Seems logical to me to avoid endangering my hearing when or if I am fighting to protect my family and my property. Using a silencer (or “noise suppressor”) really does make sense when you think of the possible consequences for not having one. You fire a gun and the noise temporarily deafens you…you won’t then likely hear (or at least hear clearly) the guy kicking in your back door after you have just fired your weapon at the guy kicking in your front door. And, in another view, a sound suppressor, noise suppressor and silencer (call it what you will) also grants an aggressor no knowledge where you are and that you have a weapon to defend yourself, your family and your property with…a truly defensive advantage, I would say. Of course, you could just use a compound cross-bow, but that’s a commentary for another day! 🙂

  25. Hey David, Thanks for another good article, very informative. Just one que on the speed of sound. If it’s around 1100 FPS then why is my .45 ACP so freaking loud at 960-970 FPS? 🙂
    I’ve been told that it’s not the round leaving the barrel, or the speed, but rather the air wave (shock wave) rushing back into the void created by the round leaving the muzzle that causes all the noise & the supressor slows down this “re-entry” of the wave, quieting the report. Is this true?

    • The speed of sound part of a cartridge discharge isn’t the muzzle blast but that little crack you hear a split second later as the bullet breaks the sound barrier. When someone fires a high powered rifle, you’ll hear that little crack from the bullet going supersonic. It would be no different than if you shot a blank out of the .45, it’ll make a lot of noise but there will be no sonic crack as there’s no bullet, the .45 makes a lot of noise but that big heavy bullet is going just below the speed of sound so theres no sonic crack from the bullet.

      • It’s entirely possible that you haven’t ever heard the sound of a bullet breaking the sound barrier unless you have had rounds fired at you from a little distance. This could be rounds fired in anger, or it could be at a range where a neglegent discharge from another shooting bay goes over the berm and over your head, or other situations where the sound of the bullet breaking the sound barrier isn’t overshadowed by the sound of the muzzle blast.

  26. Enlighten me a bushmaster carbon 15 has a barrel attachment to deflect gasses up, isn” it a supresser and legal


  28. The only SERIOUS PROBLEM, I can see is that a big TARGET is
    put on your BACK and WITH Location, and may make you subject to

    • Search on demand is a pretty big jump from what’s going on now, if you’re talking about Title II item owners. If you’re talking about Class III DEALERS, it’s a different story.

      • David, you could probably clear this up yourself. How many times has ATF visited your registration address? Sounds like you have multiple title II’s. If ATF were so disposed, you’d probably have already one ore more ‘inspections’.

    • ATF like any law enforcement agency is required to have a valid search warrant unless you voluntarily let them in. A good rule of thumb is that is you do not want to be treated like the Branch Davidians, don’t act like them.

      Also once a purchase is made, there is no requirement to keep anything at that address and no requirement to update the ATF of a change of address within the same state.

  29. really your telling me that the speed of sound is around 1100 + fps? cheak again i sure you will find it is 820 fps ,also a supressor limits the sound by slowing the gases allowing them to cool before there expelled to the open air .shoot a gun thught a muffler see what happens ,unless the muffler is 5 ft long it isnt going to quite the report .

    • Hey Keith,

      I appreciate your comment, but in order for the speed of sound to be 820 FPS, the temperature would need to be WAY below zero. The speed of sound through the atmosphere does depend on several factors, but for all practical purposes, the speed of sound is roughly 1100 FPS.

      • Walt Dutton says:

        Suppressors are new to me, and I have been gobbling up all this info eagerly. So it was gratifying to find a question I know something about!

        Using the “standard atomsphere” data used to design airplanes, the speed of sound at sea level is 663 knots, which is 763 miles per hour, or 1119 feet per second. At 30,000 feet above sea level, up near where commercial airliners fly, the speed of sound is 590 knots, which is 678 miles per hour, or 996 feet per second.

        Regarding the general topic, I noticed an article by Darren LaSorte in the January issue of American Rifleman, advocating the use of suppressors on hunting rifles.

        The design problems for suyppressing the sounds of an automobile engine exhause and a rifle or handgun suppressor are different enough so the muffler would hardly be an ideal suppressor. Regarding cooling of the gases, they go thuough either device too fast to get cooled off much, and the noise suppression is mostly due to expansion of the gases as the pressure pulses are rounded off, and some echo effects.

  30. There was a lot of information here that started to make me reconsider the whole class 3 weapons purchase idea. My original reasoning behind not doing it was because of what fellow gun owners who either had or knew someone who had class 3 weapons told me about the hassles that they had to deal with after getting the weapons. While I wouldnt have a problem with the whole tax stamp if Im gonna pay $500+ for a supressor or other weapon, but I dont care too much for the idea of being under the umbrella of the ATF afterward. Being told that they can come by to check on the status of the weapon, making sure that its stored properly, etc, didn’t appeal to me. The last thing I would want is for an ATF dude to know more about me, my homestead and even the idea that I have other firearms. If he sees that you have several safes in your house, then he may know that you have a bunch of guns. While this may be coming from a touch of my paranoid side, after reading about some of the abuses that ATF guys have done with people dealing with class 3 weapons, I could see an ATF guy wanting to look at my other safes or asking more intrusive questions about things that have nothing to do with the class 3 guns they originally came to check out. What do you do? We can’t necessarily tell them to piss off after they complete their official business otherwise they may try to do something to make your life just a little less comfortable. Again, while this may sound like unfounded paranoia to some, its that extra oversight by an agency that has been known to abuse its power that makes me reluctant to get into the class 3 hobby. If anything, if I had multiple properties where I could register the class 3 guns at, it would make it a little less intrusive if the ATF gestapo only had to come to one property to check out my stuff while I had all my survival preparedness crap at another location. The last thing you would want too is for some ATF guys catching wind of your food stockpiles and other equipment in your house, especially if you have the gun safes in the same room, which I’m sure many people do. Its just that extra bit of knowledge one would not want those guys having prior to a SHTF episode. Needless to say, with regards to the prior martial law scanarios, one would think that anyone with class 3 guns would probably get more scrutiny versus a regular gun owner. Their logic may be if you have the money to buy class 3 guns (especially multiple class 3’s), then you surely have to have more “regular” guns hiding around somewhere, they may wanna look at you a lot more than the guy who only periodically bought a gun from the local dealer once every couple of years or every 6 months. Just my pessimistic paranoid 2 cents….

    • One nuance to keep in mind is the difference between a Class III license and an Article II item. If you want to sell (among other activities) Title II items, you need to get a Class III license and you have to subject yourself to the possibility/probability of ATF inspections. When you hear about people getting random searches/inspections, it’s usually because they’re a dealer with an ATF license…not simply because they own firearms or Title II items. In other words, dealing is VERY different than simply owning.

      Does it put you on another list? Yup. But if you’re like me and get fingerprinted and have background checks done on a regular basis for licenses and other activities, it doesn’t really matter after a certain point. If your work and other activities don’t require you to get fingerprinted and have regular background checks done, and you aren’t already on a dozen or more “lists” then I can see hesitating on getting Title II items.

    • I have news for you we are under the BATFE umbrella anyway. The problem is that all of these alphabet soup agencies have to make cases to continue to receive funding. Law enforcement for profit is the danger. Many of the law enforcement agencies sell confiscated goods for money that goes back into the operating budget. Have you ever heard of a police auction? Law enforcement uses confiscated cars as unmarked traffic enforcement vehicles and to make undercover drug buys. If the BATFE didn’t arrest anyone how long would they exist? our beloved government is beefing up all enforcement agencies at this time. Now that the TSA has been born who knows what we are in for. I sold all of my taxable goods long ago for just the reasons that you named. Just because you are paranoid does not mean that they are not out to get you. As preparers we are looked at out side of the norm. Vote for less government intervention while you still can.

  31. Very interesting info. Thank you. Back in the late 50’s, an old timer told me you could suppress a .22 rifle by applying a very thin film of vaseline over the end of the barrel. He claimed it would sound lke an air rifle.
    I have never tried it, but wonder if it might work. Ever heard of it?

  32. David:

    Istumbled across a site last month that compares suppressors You should mention it to the newbies reading your articles. www.silencerresearch.com/

    • Thanks, Jeffrey. The suppressor industry has made some great strides forward in the last few years…both in technology and marketing…and a lot has changed since Silencer Research’s last review in November, 2010, but it’s still a good site…I’d love to see the review the newest generation of cans 🙂

      Also there is a market, albeit slim, for used suppressors…especially among guys who are continually trading up to the latest, greatest suppressor, so these reviews still could have a significant amount of value. If you find someone selling a suppressor, one easy way to buy it legally is to get a Class III dealer to be the middle man while you’re waiting on your ATF paperwork.

      • Hi David:

        Thanks for the article and further explanation of the ownership rules of the Title II weapons. Is there a provision/process with ATF for transfering ownership? For example, what happens when a family member dies and bequeaths the weapons to another family member? Would the estate have to get a Class III dealer to manage the transfer? Also, is it legal to transfer such items to another person if there is no monetary exchange?


        • Hi Heather,

          I’m not an attorney and don’t want to get into specifics, but yes…there are ways to legally transfer ownership in estate situations, private sales, and other transfers.

          I do feel comfortable in saying that the only people who may legally be in posession (holding, shooting, or having access to) of Title II items are the owner on record with the ATF. In the case of items being owned by a trust, that means trustees. In the case of other ownership entities, it would be the functional equivalent of a trustee. I know that’s kind of a fuzzy answer and the reasons are that 1. I’m not an attorney and can’t give legal advice. and 2. there are too many variables.

          What I’d suggest is to contact David Goldman’s office, tell him your specific situation, and let him give you competent legal counsel.

        • What actually happens with an individually owned item is that the Personal Representative (not who is named in a will, but the person who is actually appointed by a court) has a reasonable amount of time to complete the transfer.

          Whats reasonable? I think you should do it within 6 months of death, but I have seen situations that have taken longer.

          Many people make a common mistake and interchange the words class 3 with Title II. A Class 3 SOT is a license that a FFL receives that allows them to sell Title II Firearms (silencers, machine guns, Destructive devices, AOWs, SBRss and SBSs.

          It is not legal to give someone a Title II firearm (one sold by a Class III dealer) but it still requires a Form 4 (www.guntrustlawyer.com/form4.html ) as well as the payment of a $200 tax stamp unless it is going to a heir from an estate which legally owned the transferrable Title II firearm and done within a reasonable time by the Personal Representative who has been court appointed. Then there is the possibility that the $200 will not be required but there will have to be alternative paperwork completed by the PR.

          Hope this helps

    • Jeffry,
      Many (most) of the websites referenced by “Silencer Research” are no longer available or have been pulled. Any other sources?


  33. Great article with some great info David!

    I’m currently waiting on my ATF approval for my AAC Eco-9, which is at a good price right now ($450 from my local Class III dealer). My dealer told me back in October when I ordered it and filled out the ATF forms they’re running about 5 months to process. So, sometime in March I oughta have mine.

    One thing about it tho, I had to bypass my local (Arkansas) sheriff to get approval (had to wind up going to the local Prosecuting Attorney, who was happy to approve), because the sheriff (ex-Fed) doesn’t think law-abiding citizens should be able to own supressors or automatic weapons. This kind of sucks, but there are indeed legal ways around it! I’ve also heard rumblings of the ATF proposing to reduce the transfer tax for supressors to the same as OWs (other weapons) to $5 each. With my luck it’ll be reduced right after mine is approved!

  34. Thank you for an extremely informative article! I feel like I have just completed Firearms 1o1. I didn’t know there was so much I didn’t know about rules and regulations.
    At the age of 87, I’m a use-to-be small game hunter (Remington pump 22 mostly). I lived in south Texas in a rural area and started hunting rabbits alone with my dads 22 at the age of 5 or 6. Somehow our neighbors all survived. My dad gave strict instructions on gun handling.
    I will be watching for more of your articles. Thinking you are legal is not enough.
    Thanks, Lew

  35. marvin weast says:

    Hey, very good info, thanks. I have a Ruger number 1 in 300 weatherby. Is an insert made for it in 32 apc?

  36. Great article. Sad that 1/3 of it had to be on dealing with legal issues in the US. Here in Canada, suppressors are utterly illegal for everyone except military special forces. Not even our police forces can have them!? We are barely allowed firearms to begin with, so this is no surprise I guess.

    • Crap, thanks for answering my question. I’ve already got some hearing loss so I’d like to use them for hunting but I don’t like the idea of walking around in grizzly bear country with ear plugs in.

      • For the cost of a suppressor, you could buy a “Walker Game Ear”, which would actually amplify the ambient sound of the bear approaching, the game you are stalking, and will cut the sound of the shot to safe levels. Radians sells a version of the ‘game ear” with worse sound fidelity for $60. Suppressors affect the handling of the weapon, increase length, etc.. may not be the best solution. For $300, which is way less than your delivered cost of a suppressor, you could have amazing ear protection and great comfort.

  37. will the 32ACP insert work in a Mosin Nagant?
    Since the inset is not “Rimmed”(by the picture) I dont think so?
    It will probably fire ok, but not extract?

    • subcaliber inserts are made for several calibers, but I haven’t seen any for the 54R.

      • Sportsmans Guide sells 32 ACP inserts for 7.62x54R, .303 British, .308 and 30-06. They also sell inserts that chamber 7.62×25 Tokarev. I have had a gunsmith ream one out to chamber 30 carbine, but haven’t shot it yet.

        • Mustang75 says:

          Thanks, I have 2 Toks. I luv ’em, but they are loud and the round is very dirty. The best thing about old Soviet weapons is “THEY ALWAYS WORK!” I learned that on the first day of Tet 1968.
          I also liked the idea of boring them to a carbine round.
          In AZ we have lots of Javelinas (small vicious pigs). The best place for them is on a spit and highly seasoned.

      • J.Anderson says:

        Sportsman’s Guide sells the inserts for .308 & for the 7.62 x 54R. The insert for the
        7.62 x 54R uses the Eastern Bloc round 7.62 x 25 ( used in the Tokarev, Yugo M57, CZ52 ) I have 3 & the device works great. Sound reduced to that of .22LR and I
        could feel no recoil in my Mosin Nagan. They also had the inserts for Enfield 303 but
        I have not seen those in a while. The inserts look like a spent shell and the .32 or the
        7.62 x 25 fits in place where the primer would of been. I had only 1 problem when
        using the 7.62 x 25 Polish crimped stamped round; some of the spend rounds would
        not come out. Simple solution ; 41/2 in 10 penney nail driven 1/2 inch into wooden dowel
        ( diameter & length same as a screw driver handle ) then I cut off the head of the nail.
        It popped those stuck shells with no effort.

  38. Great article and informative. I currently own 4 suppressers. 3- 22 caliber and 1- 5.62
    When I purchased them the dealers told me to put them in my corparation name. They couldn’t really give me a solid answer other than it was easyer to obtain the stamp. The problem I see with your insert is a 32acp would not bring down any hogs or really in my opinion that caliper is useless in self defense. My question is, putting the suppressers in my corparations name, am I allowed to have someone else use that weapon, or how about another corparate officer? By the way Amazon shut my site down because I advertised a company that sells weapons and it violated their agreement. I’ll have to get it out of there and into another hosting area. Thanks Mike

    • Good on ya, Mike. Any of your .22s a sparrow?

      The 32acp is not for big game…it’s for urban/wildland interface hunting of small game. It’s also not a round that will work with “combat accurate” shooting…you’ve got to be dialed in and shooting precision kill shots.

      On the corporation, that’s a legal question and the quality of the answer may, in part, determine if you have to wear a orange jumpsuit. I would contact David Goldman and have him review your current document.

    • Corporations can be used but the biggest problems with them are 1) they have annual expenses; 2) are not private; 3) require tax reporting; 4) do not deal with incapacity, death, or unintended events that may cause you not to be able to be in possession of your firearms.

      Some say, well I already have a corporation so most of these do not apply. While this may be true for some, when that is the case, you put the business at jeopardy + you would limit who can be directors and officers or managers of your business. Most do not know their managers well enough to know that they are not prohibited persons nor would they want to risk loosing their firearms and business because of a poor choice made by anyone who is an manager, director, or officer or those they may loan the items to. If you want more information on this, contact me and I would be happy to discuss your specific situation and whether it makes sense for you or not.

  39. What can I say? You once again put it out of the park!

  40. Very interesting and informative article. While many of the restrictions on ownership of certain types of weapons and accessories don’t make any sense, it is imperative that all gun owners diligently follow all applicable laws and regulations. Thanks!

  41. Great Info…I’m taking the course right now. Thanks David for your great info!

  42. I would love to have a suppressor on my 1911 Colt .45. Is that possible and how do I get one in my part of the world?

    • Hey William. It’s possible…you just have to order a threaded 1911 barrel in the appropriate length for your slide. I’m not sure where you live, but if you’re in one of the states mentioned, you could do an online search for “Class III” and the name of your nearest city.

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