What would silencers look like without the NFA?
Over the last couple of months I've started to wonder what standard firearms would look like if they were regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA). For example, look at the existing pistols from Glock, Smith & Wesson, or Springfield Armory and you'll see dedicated models for just about every purpose: Do you want a small/single-stack version for concealed carry? No problem. Are you looking for a long slide version for competition use? They've got you covered. Need a convenient holster-able side arm, a home defense pistol, or something with a threaded barrel for your suppressor? Check, check, and check. I even own different color combinations of my favorite pistols that I've collected over the years. The same is true of rifles of just about every type - just look at the Remington 700 and you'll see more than 100 different combinations of styles and calibers.
Now, Let's Look at the Silencer MarketBecause suppressors are regulated under the NFA, customers tend to want a one-model-does-it-all solution - especially on their first purchase. As a result, suppressor companies often focus on models that are a 'Jack of all trades, master of none'. Personally I think this do-it-all trend can be a good thing - up to a point. In reality, it's the free market reacting to government intervention. The problem is when a first-time buyer gets their .50 caliber suppressor home and shoots it on an AR15. The results are invariably disappointing because the bore size is just too big to be effective - and they don't realize the full benefit of shooting suppressed. Because suppressors are so awesome, I suspect the market would be significantly different if it weren't for the NFA. Here is a short list of things I think would change:
- Most firearms would include an integral suppressor that was tuned specifically to that weapon's purpose
- Suppressor modularity wouldn't be as important, and the focus would shift to making the best suppressor for a single purpose
- Prices would be significantly lower - I suspect they'd be more in line with the price of a flashlight (ranging from just a few dollars to several hundred)