1. Is it legal to own a silencer?

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 suppressor ownership, then it is probably legal for you to own a silencer. The basic requirements are as follows:

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

2. Which states allow silencer ownership?

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

*The use of suppressors for hunting goes into effect July 1st, 2020.

Of the remaining states; CA may allow silencer ownership for people in possession of a valid FFL.

3. Do I need a special license to own a silencer?

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.

4. Do I give up any rights when I buy a silencer? (Will the ATF start showing up to search my house?)


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.

5. Can I use one silencer for multiple firearms?

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

6. Can I use one silencer for multiple calibers?

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.

Click here to read more about the pros & cons of Versatility vs Efficiency in firearm suppressors.

7. What is the difference between a suppressor and a silencer?

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. You can use either term with us and we’ll promise not to care.

If you're interested in more information on the Silencer vs. Suppressor debate, be sure to read this post.

8. How quiet is a suppressed firearm?

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.

9. How will a silencer attach to my firearm(s)?

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

10. How long does it take to register a suppressor?

Right now, suppressors are being approved in just a few days for both trust and individual submissions. For the most up-to-date suppressor approval times, check out our ATF Wait Time Tracker.

Check out our How to buy a silencer page, or contact us if you have specific questions on the silencer purchasing or registration process.