Silencer ?


November 22, 2006, 11:42 AM

I own a USP Compact Tactical .45 with a threaded barrel. I bought it because it is a great gun and I am a fan of HK. Everytime I look at the end of the barrel I think about getting a silencer for it. I know they run apx. $500 - $1000 and I really have no special need for one.

I just wondered whether it is a hassle to license one or is it only a matter of filing the paperwork and paying for the license. Will I get hassled by the authorities if I get one? I already know of the requirement to notify the authorities if I take it out of state. Any other rules / regulations?

If you own one, what do you use it for?

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Sean Dempsey
November 22, 2006, 11:50 AM
the CCW instructor I had said it takes about 6+ months to get the paperwork. And the costs are usually quite high for the actual suppressor.

I honestly don't know why I would want one. If I was in a situation where I NEEDED a suppressed weapon... well, in that situation, I've got a whole lot bigger problems than a loud gun.

November 22, 2006, 11:56 AM
I look at it this way. Silencer=cost of 1 expensive or 2 or 3 regular price guns. No real use for a silencer. Buy the guns.

November 22, 2006, 12:02 PM
Griz is right buy the guns and if you ever get in one of those "situations" give the guns to some friends and have them come and help you:D

November 22, 2006, 12:02 PM
I don't have one yet, but it's on the list. I'm fortunate enough to live a few miles from here:

What I want one for, I do a lot of walking in fall, in preparation for the deer hunt. My brother and I have gotten into the hobby of taking our .22s to zap squirrels as we walk. This is a bit disingenuous, as it scares the deer away. My .22 is a ciener conversion kit on my Kimber frame. So, I would get a spare barrel from the factory, and have the gunsmith at Impact tap it. I would carry that setup with 60 grain subsonic ammo. It wouldn't be perfectly silent, but it would be quiter than a regular shot, it might not carry over into the next canyon.

When I have the one for my .22, I might get around to getting one for the .45 later.

I have blue jays in my backyard that swoop on my kids, one of them actually pecked my 3 year-old. Not that I would discharge a firearm, silenced or otherwise in city limits, or kill a protected bird, as such things of course would be illegal. (Little blue turds.)

Keith Wheeler
November 22, 2006, 12:03 PM
First, be sure you're in a state that allows it -- state regs are important. Find a dealer that pays the SOT (special occupational tax) to deal in NFA items.

You are not getting a "license" -- you are paying a transfer tax. It is a per item, per transfer "tax". I say this because I'd like to see these laws change, and to deal with the law we need knowledge.

After finding a model you like, either at your dealers or from a manufacturer, you will need to fill out a Form 4, "application for tax paid transfer" -- here's what one looks like:

You will also need two photographs, finger print cards, and a signature from your local chief law enforcement officer, known as CLEO to "stamp" collectors. You take all the forms and put 'em in an envelope with a check for $200, send them to:

National Firearms Act Branch
244 Needy Road - Suite 1250
Martinsburg, WV 25405.

and wait. Anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

When the forms come back, go to your dealer's and get your suppressor. Oh, the forms come back with a $200 stamp, looks like a big postage stamp, stuck to them. Hence the term "stamp collector" for NFA folks.

It's really best to find a good dealer. Most will help the NFA newbie get through the forms without problems. If anything is wrong with the forms, the ATF will kick 'em back. The biggest hassle is getting the fingerprints and CLEO signoff. The fingerprints have to be professional quality, and for the CLEO signoff you've gotta take time to visit the sheriff.

Costs? Anywhere from $200 to over $1k. Expensive is usually better, suppressor design isn't just a can, and a good one can really reduce the sound, a poor design doesn't do much at all.

What to use it for? Protecting your hearing, novelty. Collecting? Investment, if the push to get silencers off title II backfires and they go the way of the '86 machine gun ban.

The only suppressed firearms I've ever fired are subguns. It's amazing to shoot a MAC-10 and hear the bullets hitting downrange, brass on the ground, and something resembling the sound of thumping on a melon...and not much else.

Neat, but mostly a novelty, but I still want one for my SBR Uzi. One of those DEA 9mm AR uppers would be really nice too. :D

Oh yeah, if you're a machinist you can always Form 1 your own...

Some good info from these guys:

November 22, 2006, 10:09 PM
I decided I wanted a suppressor after shooting with my friends. I ordered an AAC evolution 9 suppressor and bought a HK USP 9SD at the same time.

Yes, it is a bit of a hassle to do the paperwork and get you local chief LEO to sign off, but it is worth it.

A suppressor is just another toy like many of our guns are. But a very cool toy. Psssst.

Here is a link to a good forum on suppressors.

November 22, 2006, 10:51 PM
The only reasons I'd buy one, is to protect my hearing or if I was a sniper in Iraq...and I'm neither. Oh well.:uhoh:

November 22, 2006, 11:06 PM
Is it for a novelty item? I would not do it just for that. BUt if this is the last on the "to get" list, then be my guest, but be prepared for a long road of paperwork and waiting.

November 23, 2006, 03:18 PM
Since the ATF's NFA branch moved to WV from D.C. form4's (the form you need to take possession of a supressor)approval times have been only taking about 1 month mailbox to mailbox. thats a lot quicker than it used to take.

there isnt that much paperwork

If you use a trust you dont need a CLEO signoff (usually the hardest part of the process)
how to on the trust:

Now everyone repeat this...silencers are not evil.. silencers are not evil..

In much of europe they are availible cheaply in stores w/o paperwork. There they are considered hearing protection and in some places it's considered rude to discharge a firearm w/o one.

November 23, 2006, 08:23 PM
Some reasons to buy one, if you have the cash:

1. It will enable you to practice without annoying the neighbors, if you have an arrangement where it is safe to shoot, but have houses close enough that the sound of gunfire would be annoying. Just remember that possession of a suppressor is not a substitute for adequate safety zones and backstops.

2. If you keep one on your "bump in the night" gun, you stand a much greater chance of not having permanent hearing damage if you have to discharge the weapon.


November 23, 2006, 08:50 PM
I have two planned at this point. The first will be for 5.56mm. The novelty, and saving my hearing if I ever have to fire indoors are my two primary motivators for wanting one.

I am using a trust, and plan to put the suppressor on the SBR I'm in the process of building now. I sent the SBR app out on Oct 17th, and they just cashed my check yesterday, so mine is obviously going to take a little longer than 30 days. The SBR is on a Form 1; not sure if that makes a difference in turnaround time. If this app gets approved, I will send in the silencer app not long afterward.

Zach S
November 24, 2006, 09:35 AM
Silencer=cost of 1 expensive or 2 or 3 regular price guns. No real use for a silencer. Buy the guns.
I could justify spending the money on ammo or reloading slupplies using that same train of thought.

Zak Smith
November 24, 2006, 01:04 PM
Silencer=cost of 1 expensive or 2 or 3 regular price guns. No real use for a silencer. Buy the guns.
After going through, well, many guns, and now owning 3 cans, I would turn this around. I would have been better off to buy the right set of firearms first off, and then set off buying suppressors for almost all of them. I don't shoot non-suppressed bolt guns anymorem and even about half my carbine shooting is suppressed. It's just nicer, the main downsides being the heat problem, and weight.

November 24, 2006, 09:23 PM
Silencer laws here have always perplexed me. I think they're ridiculous. Even in countries like Britain with very strict laws against gun ownership, nobody has a problem with silencer ownership. They're readily available and can be easily purchased by anybody. But in the U.S. we have paperwork, taxes, and lots of waiting to apply for one. I wouldn't have a problem if guns were just loud, but they're literally deafening. I don't want to sacrifice my hearing if a defense situation ever comes up.

November 25, 2006, 04:30 PM
That would be a suppressor, not silencer. You need a class III nfa license

Zak Smith
November 25, 2006, 06:13 PM
You need a class III nfa license
There is no "Class III License." There is a Form 4 for transferred items, or a Form 1 for self-manufactured items.

November 25, 2006, 11:32 PM
The ban on suppressors was a precursor of the ban on liquids on airplanes and comes from the same mindset - something now being called "security theater". Somebody saw a movie in which a "silencer" allowed easy assassinations in public or some such plot, and decided that that must be their only purpose.

Doesn't matter to a deep-thinking politician that thousands if not millions could be spared hearing loss by widespread use of suppressors, we simply cannot allow "assassin tools" to be sold without strict oversight by the state. Why, doing so would be like allowing "assault rifles" to be possessed by ordinary people, and we all know what a scourge THOSE things are to our peaceful society. (sarcasm mode OFF)

December 1, 2006, 12:28 PM
The HK Compact tactical .45 is a new release. Talk to HK and they only recommend the Knights suppressor. Want to know why? The others don't cycle the gun correctly. I bought a Gem-tech to go with the tactical .45 compact (which the class 3 dealer recommended) and it does not cycle the gun when attached. Too much of the gas is tamed by the suppressor which equates into not enough blow black pressure for their 18.74 Lb. recoil spring. The suppressor works flawlessly with the full size tactical though.

The compact tactical has not been thuroughly tested by alot of the suppressor manufacturers out there so be real careful before the investment and paperwork! Specify to the manufacturers that you don't want any problems and tell them what you are putting it on. Be specific with the COMPACT TACTICAL part. Never ever modify the HK gun to work with the suppressor. You void your HK warranty if you do this (even if the gunsmith does it). You also void the warranty by not using a suppressor that HK recommends for it. Trust me I know too well what a pain this has all been!

Class 3 transactions take @ 60 to 90 days to go through after the Chief law enforcement officer signs off. It's easy. Fill out an ATF form 4 and ff at the local sheriff's office. They run a preliminary check to make sure you are not wanted and have no prior convictions. They call you after about 2 weeks to pick it up. Next take it to the class 3 dealer, pay for the suppressor (or do a lay away) give them $200 for the tax transfer, and sit back and wait. As long as you are a good guy, don't lie, and stay out of trouble then in about 90 days they call and ask you to come pick up the suppressor and fill out the transfer for the ATF. You get a color license on paper with a $200 tax stamp attached and WALLAH! More fun at the range and well tamed recoil for better groupings.

The reasons you would want a suppressor without being Law enforcment or military is "To enhance your personal collection" is the correct awnser. All others get rejected by ATF. The suppressor is simply a tool to enhance an already deadly gun. It does not change forensics so always remember, Crime does not pay and class 3 violations carry a minimum of 30 years if ever used in a crime and a minimum of 10 years for a simple violation. Use it wisely and responsibly (as with all fire arms).

December 1, 2006, 04:57 PM
I used the term LICENSE loosely meaning once you recieve your tax stamp the silencer (suppressor, etc.) is licensed to you. Not having that little transfer paper with the big postage type stamp and getting caught with an NFA item will be a hassle you don't want to deal with. Embarrasment at the range is one thing but in front of Judge it is another.

The term silencer and suppressor basically mean the same thing to a LE officer. I hear our sheriffs and LE professionals call them silencers and suppressors. Correctly they reduce and change the sound signature not silence it. They suppress the gases and change the sound energy from fast expanding gases to heat energy as they slow the gases. It is an awesome muzzle brake that can't be matched by anything else. Forget the Hollywood stuff and think fast shooting with tighter groups.

I meant what I said about the HK Tactical compact. CALL HK USA and ask them what they recommend. When you are having problems later you will wish that you did.

I'm getting rid of my Tactical Compact and trading it for either another HK tactical for my wife or a Mark 23. The full size tactical is by far the way to go. I already have 2 suppressors with the 16x1 LH threading so full size is the way to go.

Aluminum suppressors cool quickly and steel suppressors stay hotter longer. Steel takes longer to wear and aluminum damages very easy.

I highly recommend the Knights suppressor or the B&T if you are a Military professional. It simply looks cooler than the others too plus you keep your warranty. The warranty is important if something explodes in your hand and you either have a toasted HK pistol, Suppressor, or slide sticking out of your forehead.

P.S. When you get in trouble go for the chainsaw. It makes a clearer point. They keep their life, you keep yours. Use the guns only if you want to give them to LE for an indefinite period of time for evidence. If you do it right a weed eater will drive off too. Save the guns for the foreign invaders when they hit our soil!

Zak Smith
December 1, 2006, 05:16 PM
I know this thread was about handgun suppressors, but I wanted to add this as it applies to rifle suppressors.

It is an awesome muzzle brake that can't be matched by anything else.
This is not true for large centerfire rifle calibers such as 338 Lapua or 50 BMG. Doing an A/B comparison of rifles in those calibers, a good muzzle brake will produce less recoil than a suppressor. I have tested the TRG-42, AI-AWSM, and AW50 with this experiment using the factory (good) muzzle brakes and JET cans.

I do agree for 308 and below, though.

December 1, 2006, 11:05 PM
Supressors are quite simple to make on your own and can be more quiet than the production ones .........just research it a little.;)

December 2, 2006, 08:58 AM
Zak Smith - help me out here.......

I have understood (from reading on the forums) that
..noise of firearm discharge has two components: sudden expansion of gas as it leaves the muzzle, and sonic shock wave of bullet;
..sound supressor muffles the expanding gas;
..full supression requires subsonic bullets.

Thus, full supression in a rifle would require subsonic muzzle velocity. Post-exit balistics would be the same as from a handgun. Low power hand loads, down to P. T. Kekkonen's cat-sneeze loads would be needed.

What is the point of a supressed rifle? Is the issue only to deal with the muzzle blast, and the sonic shock wave not that objectionable?

Jo Mama
December 2, 2006, 02:10 PM
Exercise your rights or lose them. Buy a CAN, they're fun! If more people had NFA toys it would be harder for the gov. to take them away.

December 2, 2006, 03:19 PM
The sonic boom isn't that loud, and doesn't sound like it is coming from the muzzle.

December 2, 2006, 03:41 PM
Parisite said: Supressors are quite simple to make on your own and can be more quiet than the production ones .........just research it a little.

Are you sure about this? I believe that making one would be against the law unless you are a licensed manufacturer. Do you have any evidence to show that a homemade version is better than the production ones? This is the High Road after all, we demand proof to back up statements.


December 2, 2006, 03:48 PM
You can build a suppressor on a Form 1 just like you can build an SBR, but I highly doubt a homemade one would be anywhere near as effective as a top end commercial one. AAC, Gemtech, etc employ engineers and full R/D departments for a reason.

December 3, 2006, 09:19 PM
The suppressor helps with muzzle jump and makes full auto a little more controllable. My wife and I noticed (while at the range today) that firing a pistol without the barrel attachments that it jumped upwards and back some. With the muzzle brake attached it jumped less, blew backwards harder and was louder. when we attached the suppressor the jump was very minimal, the force pushing back was greater, but the sound was much more pleasant to endure for the afternoon's venture.

I haven't tried the .338 Lapua, or the .50 BMG suppressed yet. I have always wondered if the addition of a can to the .50 BMG will get rid of that percussion you feel in your guts when your fire a .50 BMG rifle.

I have a few cans coming for some larger calibers rifles that I can't wait to try out.

Any idea how the FAL does with a suppressor compared to the .223 semi-auto? I have stories going 50:50 with it works, and it doesn't work. The suspense of not knowing is tormenting. I had to make the investment to find out for myself.

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