March 7th, 2019

Hands On with SilencerCo Suppressors — Range Time in WA

SilencerCo Suppressor Hybrid 300 Omega Osprey moderator sound

Our friend Gavin Gear of UlimateReloader.com recently visited a SilencerCo dealer in the state of Washington, The Range LLC in Yakima, WA. Gavin was able to test a number of suppressors (aka “moderators” or “silencers”) for both rifle and pistols. Gavin recently released a lengthy article covering his experiences. If you are in the market for a suppressor, we highly recommend you read Gavin’s SilencerCo Products Overview on UltimateReloader.com.

Gavin was able to test three SilencerCo suppressors: the Omega 300, the Hybrid, and the Osprey 45. In addition Gavin was able to handle the Maxim 9, an integrally suppressed 9mm handgun.

SilencerCo Suppressor Hybrid 300 Omega Osprey moderator sound

Gavin reports the Omega 300, which is rated up to .300 Winchester Magnum, is a very popular “can”. According to Gavin, the Omega 300 has become the best-selling rifle suppressor in history for important reasons. First, it has an integral muzzle brake. Second, it can work for multiple calibers, from .223 up to .308. Third, “It is very tough — .300 Win Mag rated, and full-auto rated”.

SilencerCo Suppressor Hybrid 300 Omega Osprey moderator sound
SilencerCo lineup, from left: Omega 300, Hybrid, Osprey 45

Gavin says the Hybrid Suppressor is an interesting concept: “One suppressor that you can configure for multiple calibers, both rifle and pistol. This includes the ability to change out the threaded mount on the muzzle end, and you can also swap out end caps that will optimize sound suppression for different calibers. The Hybrid… is full-auto rated, and can handle rifle cartridges up to and including .338 Lapua Magnum! But this suppressor can also be used for pistol applications…from 9mm up to 44 ACP.”

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August 17th, 2018

Don’t Get Barrel-Busted! Federal Barrel Length Requirements

short barrel barreled rifle shotgun NSA tax stamp ATF legal brief guncollective.com

The Legal Brief is a feature of TheGuncollective.com that focuses on firearms rules and regulations. In this Legal Brief video, Attorney Adam Kraut explains key State and Federal regulations governing firearms, and explains how to ensure compliance with all applicable laws.

This five-minute video explains barrel length rules for rifles and shotguns, and also explains the best (and most fool-proof) methods to measure your barrel. In addition, the video explains how to measure firearm overall length. A rifle or shotgun which is less than 26 inches overall can also be classified as a “Short-barreled” rifle/shotgun subject to the NFA. NOTE: Under federal law “If the rifle or shotgun has a collapsible stock, the overall length is measured with the stock EXTENDED”.

Highlights of LEGAL BRIEF Discussion of Barrel Length and Firearm Overall Length

The ATF procedure to measure the length of a barrel is to measure from the closed bolt or breech face to the furthest end of the barrel or permanently attached muzzle device. ATF considers a muzzle device that has been permanently attached to be part of the barrel and therefore counts towards the length.

How to Measure Barrel Length: Drop [a] dowel or rod into the barrel until it touches the bolt or breech face, which has to be closed. Mark the outside of the rod at the end of the muzzle crown (if you don’t have a permanently attached muzzle device) or at the end of the muzzle device if it is permanently attached. Remove the rod and measure from the mark to the end of the rod. That is your barrel length[.]

Remember, if the barrel length is less than 16 inches, it is possible that the firearm could be a short barrel rifle (if you are building a rifle or it is already on a rifle) and if the barrel length is less than 18 inches, it is possible the firearm could be a short barrel shotgun (again if you are building a shotgun or it is already a shotgun). Both of these firearms would be subject to the purview of the National Firearms Act and would require the firearm to be registered accordingly.

How to Measure Overall Length:The overall length of your rifle or shotgun may also classify it as a Short Barrel Rifle or Short Barrel Shotgun. The overall length of a firearm is the distance between the muzzle of the barrel and the rearmost portion of the weapon measured on a line parallel to the axis of the bore. … If the rifle has a permanently attached muzzle device, that is part of the overall length. … If the rifle or shotgun has a collapsible stock, the overall length is measured with the stock extended.

READ FULL ARTICLE on Ammoland.com.

Links for this episode:

ATF Method for Measuring Barrel Length and Overall Length:
https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/atf-national-firearms-act-handbook-chapter-2/download
Firearm – 26 USC § 5845: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26/5845
Firearm – 27 CFR § 479.11: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/479.11
Short Barrel Rifle – 18 USC § 921(a)(8): https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/921
Short Barrel Rifle – 27 CFR § 478.11: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/478.11
Short Barrel Shotgun – 18 USC § 921(a)(6): https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/921
Short Barrel Shotgun – 27 CFR § 478.11: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/478.11

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June 9th, 2017

NSSF Hosts Suppressor Demonstration for News Media

NSSF Suppressor News Media Demonstration demo Manassas Class III Regulation

Last month, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) hosted a suppressor demonstration at Elite Shooting Sports in Manassas, Virginia. Sig Sauer and Daniel Defense suppressor experts were presenters. Olin Corporation supplied ammunition.

The Daniel Defense representative noted that suppressors do not render a firearm silent (despite what Hollywood movies might show). The sound level of an un-suppressed AR15 firing is 165-175 dB. With a suppressor in place, the sound level for the same 5.56 rifle drops to around 135-140 dB. That is a significant noise reduction, but the rifle is still producing a noise louder than a jack-hammer (and hearing protection is still recommended). Watch the video below to learn other important facts about firearm suppressors.

NSSF Hosts Suppressor Demonstration for News Media

The objective of the NSSF demo was to give the news media more accurate information about hearing protection devices. In addition, the NSSF wanted to correct many popular misconceptions about suppressors. Mainstream media reports about sound suppressors are typically inaccurate, incomplete, and misinformed. For example, most media stories fail to acknowledge that suppressors are legal throughout Europe, and widely used by European hunters and target shooters. If you were to believe the typical news report on suppressors, silencers are evil and dangerous. The NSSF demo was designed to replace ignorance with facts.

NSSF Suppressor News Media Demonstration demo Manassas Class III Regulation

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December 11th, 2015

Major Increase in Sales of Suppressors and other NFA Items

Suppressor, Class III, ATF, tax stamp, maxim, silencerThis X-ray photograph reveals a variety of suppressor baffle configurations:

Report by NSSF
Apparently, today’s shooters like the sounds of silence. Americans are buying and licensing more suppressors and other NFA (National Firearms Act) items than ever before. The number of NFA applications filed with the NFA Branch at ATF continues to rise. With a greatly increased staff of 25 Legal Instrument Examiners, the backlog of NFA forms has been whittled down from more than 80,000 to about 36,000. Much of the intense increase in interest in NFA items is focused on silencers. According to ATF’s 2011 Commerce in Firearms Report, as of December 2010 there were 284,087 lawfully registered silencers in the United States. As of March 2014, there were 571,750. That’s means the number of registered suppressor more than doubled in three and a quarter years. And 2015 will probably be a record year for suppressor sales.

A Brief History of Suppressors (aka “Silencers”)
Hiram Percy Maxim, the son of Hiram Stevens Maxim (inventor of the Maxim machine gun) created the first firearm sound suppressors. An early advertisement for his Maxim Silencer Company explained that the hot propellant gases from discharging the firearm “are made to whirl around inside the Silencer,” and cannot leave the silencer until they have slowed down enough to not produce a loud noise. Initially, silencers were inexpensive and easy to obtain. Before the adoption of the National Firearms Act in 1934, Mr. Maxim sold a variety of silencer designs priced from $5.00 to $9.50. These were shipped in the U.S. Mail, without restrictions. Things are much different today — to own a suppressor, one must obtain federal approval and pay a special tax.

silencer, suppressor, maxim, NFA, Firearsm Act

Silencers consist of a few basic parts. The CTD Shooter’s Log explains: “The envelope is the cylindrical metal tube in which the other components are stuffed. Inside the envelope are the expansion chamber and baffles. The expansion chamber is a relatively big empty space surrounding the muzzle, and the baffles are like coffee cups stacked on top of each other with a hole drilled through the middle of them for the bullet to pass through. This is where most of the ‘magic’ happens within the silencer.”

To learn more about suppressors, read Silencer Terms and Tech in the CTD Shooter’s Log.

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January 3rd, 2015

Silencer Shop Makes It Easy to Acquire and Register Suppressors

Many of us would like to outfit one (or more) of our rifles with a suppressor, but the cost and red tape involved can be daunting. Some states prohibit private individuals from owning suppressors. However, most U.S. states DO allow suppressor ownership. That’s the good news. On the other hand, suppressors are not inexpensive and the process of obtaining governmental approval is time-consuming. Then there is the cost of the tax stamp itself — $200.00 for each silencer you own.

Nonetheless, suppressors are fun, and they serve an important function. Along with protecting your hearing, suppressors can tame recoil and dramatically reduce muzzle flash. Noise reduction of up to 35 decibels is possible with a .223 Rem. When shooting any firearm, you should still wear hearing protection of course, but suppressors can help reduce the risk of permanent hearing damage.

Benefits of a Suppressor — Why Suppressors Make Sense:

Is It Legal For You To Own A Silencer?
The vast majority of the 50 states permit citizens to own silencers. Currently, the following states allow private ownership of suppressors: AL, AR, AK, AZ, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MO, MS, MT, ND, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WV, and WY. Even if you live in one of these states, you should verify that owning a suppressor is legal in your city/county.

If you live in a state where suppressor ownership is legal, and you can legally own a firearm, then you can buy a suppressor. However, you need to obtain ATF permission and pay a tax.

If you are interested in getting a suppressor, thankfully there is a source that can help you select the right product, and fill out all the paperwork required. The Silencer Shop specializes in sound moderators for pistols, rimfire rifles, centerfire rifles, and yes, even shotguns. The Silencer Shop maintains a large selection of suppressors for sale, and the shop can guide you through the NFA permitting process from start to finish.

How to Buy a Silencer, Part One:

Based on hundreds of successful applications for its customers, the Silencer Shop has streamlined the National Firearms Act (NFA) Registration process for suppressor ownership. Having submitted more silencer NFA Forms than any other dealer, these guys know the ropes: “We’re at the leading edge of making the NFA process as fast and easy as possible. From our famous ‘Black Packets’ to the latest electronic submissions and Silencer Shop Direct, we have a history of innovation in this area”. The Silencer Shop also works with knowledgeable attorneys who can help you set up an NFA trust to own suppressors and other NFA items. CLICK HERE to Learn How to Register a Suppressor to a Trust.

silencer shop direct NFA suppressor register registration Class III

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June 12th, 2014

Huge Arsenal of Tommy Guns Set for Auction in St. Louis

St. Louis police thompson tommy gun auction NFA saleIt is an iconic American firearm design — the Thompson submachine gun, or “Tommy Gun”. Here’s your chance to add the real thing to your firearms collection. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLPD) plans to auction off twenty-nine (29) historic Tommy Guns. These 1920s-era .45-caliber weapons have been stored in a vault for decades. The SLPD is selling the highly-collectible submachine guns to raise money for new service pistols for its officers. The auction will take place later this year, but no exact auction date has yet been set.

St. Louis police thompson tommy gun auction NFA sale

A Million Dollars Worth of Full-Auto Firepower
The Tommy guns are expected to fetch from $15,000 to $40,000 each, putting a estimated value of the whole collection at as much as $1,000,000. According to the Washington Times: “The collection was appraised by a local dealer in 2012 at $770,000, but police and some collectors believe it could sell for much more. The collection includes rare 1921 and 1927 Colts and a model made in 1942.”

SLPD chief Sam Dotson stated: “We’re told [that] outside of the military and federal government we have the largest cache of Thompson machine guns.”


Because these are fully-automatic “Class III” weapons, subject to the National Firearms Act (NFA), purchasers much fill out the proper paperwork, pass background checks, and obtain a Federal Tax stamp for each Tommy gun purchased. The SLPD expects the majority of the firearms will be purchased by wealthy collectors or museums.

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January 22nd, 2014

Ignorant California Legislator Calls for New Gun-Control Laws

If you have wondered why so many gun control laws are illogical, impractical, and misguided, here’s one simple answer. The politicians who draft these laws may be misinformed, misguided, and well, just plain ignorant. Here’s proof. In the video below, California State Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) advocates anti-gun legislation at a press conference. Sen. de León makes a series of blunders and mistakes. He confuses magazine capacity with the rifle’s bore size, referring to “.30 caliber” when in fact the gun is a .223/5.56mm. He then says it “has the ability with a 30-caliber clip [sic] to disperse with 30 bullets within half a second. Thirty magazine clip [sic] in half a second”. We think he means that the gun fires 30 rounds in 0.5 seconds, but even that is preposterous. Have a good look at the kind of politician that is writing California’s laws these days. Would you trust this guy to park your car, much less protect your Constitutional rights?

To be honest, we don’t know why Sen. de León believes new legislation is needed to ban this “Ghost Gun”? This firearm* is already restricted under existing California law. It also appears to be a short-barreled rifle (SBR), meaning that it is already regulated as a Class III firearm in all fifty states. (In the United States, it is a federal felony to possess an SBR without fling a BATFE Form 4, and paying a $200 tax to the BATFE.) As one web journalist observes: “It’s hard to trust Democrats when they say completely… inept things like this.”

*The term “Ghost Gun” has been used to describe plastic guns that evade metal detectors, and/or arms built from 80% lowers or unregistered receivers. But it is already against the law in California to create or sell a functioning AR15-type rifle that carries no serial number.

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August 12th, 2013

GunTalk TV Focuses on National Firearms Act Guns This Week

This week on Gun Talk Television, it’s all about NFA firearms and accessories, including machine guns and silencers. In 1934, Congress passed the National Firearms Act, enacting a tax and registry on many different firearms and accessories, including machine guns, short barrel rifles, and silencers.

Gun Talk’s Tom Gresham goes on an NFA tour in this week’s episode and visits Sig Sauer Academy to view and shoot Sig’s new line of suppressors. Tom also checks out a suppressed Ruger 10/22 rifle, and takes Kel-Tec’s SU16-D9 short barrel rifle to an indoor range. Gresham also meets with gun collector John Long, who shows off his extensive collection of machine guns, sub-machine guns, and silencers.

Preview Gun Talk TV NFA Episode on YouTube

Gun Talk Television airs on the Pursuit Channel on Mondays at 8:00 a.m. ET, Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m. Eastern, Fridays at 9:30 p.m. ET and Sundays at 1:00 a.m. ET. Check your local listings for additional broadcast times. Get the latest news and access Gun Talk’s video library at GunTalk.tv. You’ll also find a large selection of videos on GunTalk’s YouTube Page

NFA Class 3 III firearms

NFA (Title II) Firearms are guns and other items regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA). These firearms or weapons are commonly referred to as “Class 3″ items, referring to the class of Federal Firearms License (FFL) a dealer must hold to sell or transfer these items. The NFA regulates the sale, use, possession, and transfer of machine guns, short-barreled shotguns and rifles (SBS and SBR), silencers, destructive devices, and any other weapon (AOW – any firearm that is not explicitly addressed by the NFA such as cane guns and pen guns and including, but not limited to, firearms such as smooth bore pistols and revolvers that fire shotgun shells and have barrels less than 18 inches long).

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May 20th, 2011

Modern Rifle Suppressors — What You Need to Know

In our recent story on the 2010 Steel Safari in New Mexico we included photos of tactical rifles fitted with suppressors (sound moderators). Whenever we show photos of suppressor-equipped rifles, some readers ask: “Why did you show silencers in that article — aren’t they illegal?”


J. Holdsworth ranges a target at the 2010 Steel Safari. Holdsworth finished 3rd overall in the main match.

In fact, sound moderators, also known as “suppressors”, “silencers”, or “cans”, are legal to own in most of the fifty U.S. States. You have to pay a special tax, fill out some official paperwork, and submit fingerprints. And the suppressor must be transferred through a Class III SOT Federal Firearms License-holder (FFL). In this article, tactical shooter Zak Smith explains the basic regulations concerning suppressors. Zak, whose company Thunder Beast Arms Corp., makes a line of advanced sound moderators, also explains the many benefits of modern suppressors.

What You Need to Know about Suppressors
by Zak Smith
Despite common perceptions, silencers are not illegal in the United States. That is, unless you live in CA, DE, HI, MA, MI, MN, MO*, NJ, NY, RI, or VT. If you live in one of those states you’re out of luck. Sorry! Try to elect better politicians.

For the rest of us in the Free United States, sound suppressors — also called silencers — can be owned legally by private citizens provided a little extra paperwork is filled out and approved by the ATF. Silencers (and other NFA items) are transferred to individuals on an ATF Form 4, which requires a $200 stamp tax, a chief law enforcement sign-off, and a set of fingerprints to be submitted to the ATF. In some cases a “corporate” transfer can be done that bypasses the requirements for fingerprints and the local chief law-enforcement sign-off. It usually takes between 3 and 6 months for a Form 4 to be approved by the ATF. At that point you can take possession of your shiny new suppressor. The suppressor itself is the NFA item; you can place it on any firearm (that is otherwise legal to own in your jurisdiction).

Silencers, along with other National Firearms Act (NFA) items, must be transferred only by Class 3 SOT (Special Occupation Tax) license holders, which is an additional license on top of a regular FFL. To buy a suppressor, you can choose one your local Class 3 dealer has in stock, or you can have him order it for you from the manufacturer. A manufacturer-to-dealer transfer is done on an ATF Form 3, and typically takes 10 days to 3 weeks.

“But I don’t plan to be a sniper so why would I want a silencer anyway?” If you hear a shooter say that, you can bet your beer money that they haven’t shot a modern suppressor. Modern suppressors allow the use of full-power ammunition, do not reduce the muzzle velocity, do not contact the bullet during flight, and often aid accuracy. On high-power rifles, a suppressor acts like a muzzle brake and reduces recoil, and of course, the “ka-BOOM” report of the shot is reduced 25-30 dB, yielding a sound not unlike high-pressure gas escaping from an air hose being disconnected.

I have been shooting high-power, bolt-action rifles at long range in competition since 2004. The same year, I had the opportunity to try a modern suppressor on a long-range rifle and there was no going back. Since 2005, my long-range shooting is done almost exclusively suppressed — the only exceptions being F-class (which prohibits their use) and for comparative testing with brakes or bare muzzles.

If you take an accurate bolt-action rifle in .260 Remington or .308 Winchester and fit a suppressor, the recoil will be noticeably reduced and the report will be more similar to a .22 WMR. Most premium .30 caliber suppressors will reduce the report by 25-30 dB — a very substantial sound attenuation. While I do recommend wearing ear protection when using suppressors because hearing damage is subtle but cumulative, the entire experience is more pleasant with a suppressed rifle.

Modern Suppressors Are Superior to Older Designs — And May IMPROVE Your Accuracy
Historically, suppressors had rubber baffles that slowed down the bullets and ruined accuracy. Modern suppressors don’t have any of these drawbacks. While you’ll find competing viewpoints as to whether a suppressor-equipped rifle is more inherently accurate than a rifle with a bare muzzle (or muzzle brake), in practice many shooters shoot better with a suppressed rifle due to psychological and physiological factors — call it “shootability”. With less noise, less barrel hop, and less felt recoil — thanks to the suppressor — many shooters can achieve greater accuracy, shot after shot.

In the last few years, the use of suppressors by competitors has gone from an oddity to being commonplace. At recent matches such as the 2010 Steel Safari, as many as half of the top ten competitors used suppressors.

Suppressors from Thunder Beast Arms Corp.
Several years ago two fellow long-range shooters and I had the opportunity to start a suppressor manufacturing company. We all shared a passion for long-range shooting, had a history of competition, and were convinced that shooting suppressed was the way to go. Thunder Beast Arms Corp., based in Cheyenne, Wyoming, was formed to produce the best suppressors for practical long-range rifle shooting. Our “cans”, as they are sometimes called informally, are designed for accuracy, durability, and light weight, while maintaining best-in-class sound suppression levels. Many of our suppressors are made from Titanium for ultra-light weight and superior corrosion resistance.

Although I am proud of our products, there are many good brands of suppressors on the market right now. A suppressor buyer can dial in the performance, application, and amount he wants to pay very precisely — there will almost certainly be a suppressor on the market that meets his requirements. If you have a chance, see if you can get a suppressor demo lined up — I guarantee you’ll be impressed.

*In Missouri, suppressors may be legally acquired, but only by the military, by law enforcement personnel (acting officially), and by certain Federal Firearms License Holders (including C&R). See: http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C500-599/5710000020.HTM .

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