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How To Buy a Suppressor: A Step by Step Guide

How To Buy a Suppressor: A Step by Step Guide

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How To Buy a Suppressor: A Step by Step Guide

Kat Ainsworth

Kat Ainsworth

Interested in getting a suppressor? You probably have questions about the process — which can seem overwhelming — and we’re here to help. We’re going to walk you through the basics of buying a suppressor, answer some frequently asked questions, and help you on your way to protecting your hearing with the sound of suppressed fire.

What is the overall process for buying a suppressor?

The steps in how to buy a suppressor break down as follows:

  • Choose your suppressor. You’ll buy the suppressor prior to being able to take possession of it. Many suppressor owners refer to this as the stage where the suppressor is jailed until the paperwork is approved.
  • Get a tax stamp. At the time of this writing, the ATF tax stamp is $200. It’s a price set by the federal government, meaning you will not find deals on this. The cost of this suppressor tax stamp is paid along with the suppressor itself.
  • Decide whether you’re registering as an individual or an NFA trust.
    • Individual means no legal costs, less paperwork, and less chance of mistakes being made.
    • NFA trust has the benefit of allowing multiple person ownership – new owners can be adding to the trust at any time – and there’s property protection after death.
  • Submit a Form 4 or a eForm 4 to the ATF through the dealer, whether in person or online. This process includes:
    • Personal information such as name, address, and social security number.
    • Make, model, and serial number of the suppressor.
    • Fingerprint cards.
    • Passport style photograph.
  • Wait to be approved. The wait time typically varies from 90 days to as many as 9 months. Sometimes, it’s significantly faster than 90 days. It depends on the backlog at the ATF.
suppressor and ATF tax stamp
You can take possession of your suppressor once you have the NFA Tax Stamp. (guns.com)

What information is needed to buy a suppressor?

Buying a suppressor involves the ATF Form 4, which means supplying a lot of personal information, and a suppressor tax stamp. The Form 4 also requires all information about the suppressor being purchased. The ATF form includes multiple forms that vary depending on whether you’re registering as an individual or NFA trust.

When registering as an individual, ATF Form 4 questions include but aren’t limited to your full, legal name, address, and phone number. A full fingerprint card that also lists your physical description must be done as well. You’ll also answer questions similar to those on a Form 4473 for firearms purchases, such as whether you’re a convicted felon or have ever been adjudicated mentally defective.

The photograph required for the Form 4 is a plain, unsmiling image like those used on passports and can be taken at multiple locations.

If you’re registering through an NFA trust, you will need the Form 4 and also ATF Form 5320.23. Both the individual and trust also require an FBI Form FD-258 fingerprint card and, as mentioned, passport style photo.

What should I bring to buy a suppressor?

When you visit your authorized dealer to buy a suppressor you’ll need to bring your payment method and patience for paperwork. The dealer should help you with the paperwork for the ATF Form 4, or there will be a kiosk set up to walk you through the process.

Some authorized dealers or efiling programs are also set up to help you take the necessary photograph. And while starting the purchase process is simple, you won’t be going home with your suppressor that same day. It’s both straightforward and drawn out.

how to buy a suppressor? Locate a suppressor dealer and buy a suppressor to protect your hearing.
Want to protect your hearing? Consider getting a suppressor.

Where can I find suppressors for sale?

You can buy any SilencerCo product on our website, but you will need to go through a licensed dealer to process the transfer. The suppressor sale is required by federal law to go through a licensed dealer, meaning you can’t simply get one from a friend.

Regardless of whether you go through the process online or in person, make sure it’s a qualified, licensed dealer and that you’re confident in the suppressor you’re buying. All the dealers listed on SilencerCo.com are confirmed, licensed dealers, so you can rest easy knowing that if you purchase on SilencerCo.com, your order will be processed through a professional dealer. 

If you have any other questions about how to buy on SilencerCo.com, check out this guide we made. There are 4 simple steps to buy on SilencerCo.com.

How much do suppressors cost?

The cost of suppressors varies significantly depending on the specific manufacturer and model. Suppressors can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than $1000. For example, the SilencerCo Sparrow 22 has an MSRP of $349.00 and the SilencerCo Salvo 12 has an MSRP of $1169.00. Some suppressors require more complex components and design while others are simpler.

SilencerCo Salvo 12.
The SilencerCo Salvo 12 is a popular suppressor used on 12-gauge shotguns.

What are the legal requirements for buying a suppressor?

Certain requirements must be fulfilled for you to even be considered for a suppressor sale:

  • Residence in a state where suppressors are legal to possess.
  • Resident of the United States.
  • Pay the $200 ATF tax stamp fee. (Be aware that if the suppressor is being purchased along with another NFA item such as a short-barreled rifle, a separate tax stamp fee is required for each item).
  • Minimum age of 21 years to purchase from a dealer, or 18 if purchasing from another citizen.
  • Meet legal requirements to purchase a firearm and pass a background check.
  • Supply your local Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) with a copy of the ATF Form 4. Most dealers will do this for you.

Assuming you meet the legal requirements for purchasing and possessing a suppressor, you’ll also need to be fingerprinted, have your picture taken — similar to what’s required for a passport — and fill out all associated paperwork for the ATF.

If you choose to submit your form using efile – also called an eForm 4 – the wait time is typically shorter and you can easily track its progress online. There are steps to preparing and submitting the proper paperwork that are not explained in great detail here, so be aware there are multiple pages and that copies must be sent to more than one location.

ATF Form 4.

Can you take your own fingerprints for the ATF Form 4?

Yes, in most of the 42 states that allow civilians to own suppressors, you can take your own fingerprints at home, though many people are now opting for digital EFT (Electronic Fingerprint Transmission) services. Digital fingerprints offer the benefit of reuse each time you submit a new Form 4.

If you decide to take your fingerprints, you must use an FD-258 Fingerprint Card. Ensure your fingerprints aren’t smudged or of poor quality for the ATF. It isn’t impossible, but it can be a challenge. Also, some states require Form 4 fingerprints to be done by law enforcement. Always check your local laws before proceeding.

If you’d prefer to have your fingerprints done by someone else, there are a few ways to accomplish that:

  • Local law enforcement agency
  • Third-party businesses that provide the correct cards

When you get your fingerprint cards done for your Form 4, it’s worth considering paying for an extra pair of cards for future use.

What states allow people to own suppressors?

At this time there are 42 states where it’s legal for a civilian to own a suppressor (once the proper legal steps for ownership are taken).

48 states permit silencer ownership.

States that don’t allow civilians to own suppressors include California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. Washington, D.C., also doesn’t allow civilians to have suppressors.

Now that you’ve learned how to buy a suppressor, it’s time to locate a dealer and get the process started. Suppressors protect your hearing and the hearing of those around you, help you leave less of an auditory footprint on the area in which you’re shooting, and create a quieter environment in general.

Adding a suppressor to your favorite firearm is a fantastic way to take the next step in your growth as a gun owner. Get started today!

This article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have a question about the law, consult a qualified attorney.

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