How to Buy a Silencer
If you've said that buying a silencer is too expensive, too long of a wait, or that the paperwork is too confusing, you're not alone. Buying a silencer is a big deal, and we don’t take it lightly either! But it’s the easiest it's ever been!
We’re not saying that this article will make you go out and buy a silencer today, although it might. What we are saying is that buying a silencer has been simplified over the years, and we’ve distilled it into 9 simple steps.
Below are the steps on how to buy a suppressor:
- Purchase Silencer
You may be asking yourself, “what is the best silencer?” It’s easy to get caught in that mindset, but it’s a little bit more complicated than that. We recommend reframing the question to say, “What is the best silencer for me?” With hundreds of silencers to choose from, the best suppressor for you depends on how you answer the following questions:
- What firearm(s) are you wanting to put a silencer on?
- What caliber(s) are those firearm(s) chambered in?
- What features of a silencer are most important to you: size, weight, length, long accuracy, durability, modularity, sound performance, repeatability, etc.?
- What is your budget?
By answering those four questions, our customer service professionals will be able to narrow your silencer options down to a few select choices. From there, we’ll discuss features unique to each silencer. This will help you determine which suppressor is the right match for you.
- Purchase Tax Stamp
There’s no getting around it, a tax stamp is required for the purchase of a silencer. Once you’ve added that tax stamp to your cart, check it off the list and keep moving!
We should note here that some people ask us how you can buy a suppressor without a tax stamp… the quick and dirty is that you can’t. Sometimes, we do have promotions where the tax stamp is covered if you buy a certain suppressor - sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date and take advantage of some sweet deals.
- Choose How You Want To File
There are different ways you can file for a silencer, and they mostly revolve around one question: who will be allowed to use your silencer? Hop on the phone with a Silencer Shop customer service representative to discuss your options.
Your options on how you choose to file are:
- Single Shot
- Traditional NFA
Whichever you choose has the ability to dictate who can use your suppressor without you present versus with you there. Filing as an individual means you and only you can handle the suppressor. Filing as a trust or corporation means responsible parties can be added or removed at any time to use your silencer without you present. The trust option also offers the ability to designate a beneficiary (who the silencer will go to after you pass). We’ll discuss this more in another blog post, but in the meantime, here is a graph of the differences and who will need to do paperwork based on which you choose.
- Submit Fingerprints
This is where our handy kiosks come into play. With kiosks located around the U.S., a Powered By Silencer Shop dealer is conveniently at your fingertips. The great thing about scanning your prints is that you only have to do this step once, and then you don’t have to worry about it ever again! To find a kiosk near you, click here and check the box to the right of the search field labeled “has kiosk.”
We can also scan in your prints for you! Add a set of FD-258 fingerprint cards to your check out cart. In the FD-258 packet, you’ll receive instructions, fingerprint cards, and a return label. Once you’ve completed the steps, mail your prints back to us and we will digitize your fingerprints so you don’t ever have to deal with messy ink or fingerprint cards again.
- Submit Demographic Information
Give us your deets! We’ll fill you in on the different ways below, starting with the most popular way: the kiosk.
If you’re already planning a trip to visit a Powered By Silencer Shop dealer with a kiosk, then you'll just fill out your information on it while you’re there.
Now, let’s say you want to do as much as possible before visiting your dealer. All you have to do is create an account at SilencerShop.com and fill in your personal information at poweredby.silencershop.com.
While most people prefer to enter their personal information themselves through the kiosk or web portal, there’s one last option for those who are looking for someone to help with plugging in the right information, our customer service professionals will be happy to assist you over the phone.
If your information changes at any time, say your name or your street address, just log in to your customer profile online or call in and we can change it for you.
- Take Passport Style Photo
Skip the line and the fee at your local pharmacy and take a passport-style photo on your phone. Download the free Silencer Shop app and follow the prompts in order to take a compliant photograph. You can either have someone take it for you, or flip your phone to the front camera and snap a quick selfie.
The app has guidelines on what a compliant photo is, but the general rules are:
- Shoulders and up
- Against a plain/light background
- No paraphernalia (sunglasses, hats, etc.)
- Electronically Sign Documents
Once you’ve submitted all of your information, our compliance department will prepare yourForm 4. The Form 4’s are the documents used to get the process rolling for you to be the owner of the suppressor - this is the document that you will sign, and it will be sent to you via email from DocuSign. Once you sign the Form 4 we send you, and your dealer signs the Form 4, our compliance department will do one last review of your paperwork before shipping everything off to the ATF to review.
You may be raising your eyebrow to having a checklist that includes crossing out waiting. Well, the ATF’s wait times fluctuate. And while we wish we could speed up this process, we’re at the mercy of the ATF reviewing your paperwork and mailing your approved tax stamp to your dealer. Some customers buy another silencer at this point so it doesn’t feel like such a long wait, others just kick up their feet. We support whichever you choose to do!
- Pick Up Your Silencer
There will be a point where your dealer reaches out to let you know that it’s time to pick up your silencer. Congratulations! The wait is over.
Before you can take your new addition home, you’ll need to fill out a transfer of a firearm form, Form 4473, at your dealer’s place of business. You’ve probably filled one of these out at least once, assuming you own a firearm. This is a standard ATF form that allows the dealer to formally transfer your silencer off of their books and hand it over to you. Once that’s filled out, you’ll be given your brand-new silencer and your tax stamp.
It’s important that you keep your original tax stamp in a safe place. We recommend you make copies and have a scanned in version of your stamp for when you and your silencer are headed out to the range or ranch.
See? It’s as easy as that! It only takes 9 simple steps from purchase to pick up to own a silencer. Buying a suppressor might’ve been intimidating, but we hope these steps ease your mind on the yellow brick road to suppression.
Note: This post was originally published on July 31, 2018, and has been updated for freshness and comprehensiveness.