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the high price of suppressors?

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by tahoe2, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    I know exactly how much it costs and the numbers you've posted bear no relation to reality. Does that mean the global conspiracy of manufacturing has been successful in duping you or you just don't know how much it actually costs to manufacture suppressors?
  2. Ironman

    Ironman Well-Known Member

    You can buy a top of the line SWR octane9HD2 9mm suppressor for around $500 from a reputable dealer. How is that a bad deal?

    Let's see. Silencerco/SWR costs...licensing, building rent, CNC machining, mills, laser machine for serials, raw materials, employee salaries, marketing, website fees, shipping, warranty work, finishes/coatings, R&D, sound metering equipment, maintenance on the machines and shop, etc.

    Yup, $500 from me sounds fine for a super quiet lifetime useable 9mm suppressor that's user serviceable and makes cans from Europe look like disposable loud garbage.:D
  3. tyeo098

    tyeo098 Well-Known Member

    Because the 'actual' cost is $700 when you account for the fun tax.
  4. rdhood

    rdhood Well-Known Member

  5. mtrmn

    mtrmn Well-Known Member

    Yes-they cost a lot. It's the country we live in-get over it. Buy one while you still can if you want one, and you'll probably be like me wishing you'd done it years ago.
  6. Ken70

    Ken70 Well-Known Member

    Don't mention who it is, but I'd like to see the numbers. Can you do that?
  7. greyling22

    greyling22 Well-Known Member

    Lets be fair and spread high profit margins all around. You don't think it actually costs glock $500 for a make a g17 do you? You don't think costs pfizer $10 a pill for viagra? or HP $45 to make an ink cartridge? Everybody makes profits, often high profits. (well, not detroit or the post office the last couple decades. rimshot!).

    I'm quite sure you could take the blueprints to zak's cans to a large factory in china and say "make 800,000 of these, we're going to sell them in walmart, and if you don't hit our low price demand we'll go to the factory next door and they'll make it" and they could make them for I don't know, 100 bucks a pop. But that's not how can's are made. They come from small shops with lots of hoops to jump through, made by people who want to turn out a high quality product that they have to warranty forever and may well be misused by idiots. And there's not a whole lot of competition.
  8. Cesiumsponge

    Cesiumsponge Well-Known Member

    I don't think Ken realizes Zak and his relationship to Thunder Beast Arms Corp suppressors yet. In any case, there is no ethical obligation to tell you what the profit margin is. Nor can anyone expect you to tell us what your wages or salary might be.

    You're going to have to sell a lot of cans with a $30 markup to stay afloat. Consider all the cans I own have serial numbers in the xxx to 2xxx range. No one company is selling millions of these. Not even tens of thousands. Maybe a few thousand...over the entire production life of the product.
  9. tarosean

    tarosean Well-Known Member

    I would fathom to guess that number is larger than the entire US civilian market rather an individual company's. Its not like these are flying off the shelves at your local wally world. We are talking a very select market where every company may only sell a relatively small number.
  10. Ken70

    Ken70 Well-Known Member

    You're right, I didn't know whom Zak works for. So I guess we don't get to know the real numbers. I wish he would have kept his mouth shut about that... I was really hoping to find out.

    Grayling 22 makes an interesting point about the boutique nature of NFA parts. That's what I've been spouting off about, normal supply and demand doesn't apply with NFA. ATF is keeping the market limited by taking 6 months to process an application. Plus the $200 stamp.

    It's not a $30 markup, it's $30 in direct costs. Or somewhere around there. Definitely not $300 to make it, I was hoping for some actual numbers. No luck...
  11. Cesiumsponge

    Cesiumsponge Well-Known Member

    If you have machine shop friends as mentioned above, you can get a fair idea from them what it costs from beginning to end since you mentioned their expertise on quoting jobs. Considering most of these small suppressor companies only sell a couple hundred to maybe a thousand a year because of an artificially bottlenecked market, the markup has to be higher or the company simply won't exist on profits from a few hundred $500-1000 cans. There are ways to lower overhead. One can use kanban, where the customer contracts to purchase 100 units a month for two years. We'll buy enough materials for the entire 2400pc order and run it all in one shot, and sell it to the customer in monthly increments and store the rest of the inventory in our warehouse. Sucks for us to invest in all the labor and materials up front. We don't see a profit until all inventory is sold. It's a positive for the customer because they aren't paying a a high per-unit cost for us to refill and run 100pcs each month. They're paying a per-unit cost on a quote for 2400 pieces but they only buy the scheduled monthly quantity of parts. They don't pay for all 2400 parts up front.

    It's worth mentioning its still way more than $30 in direct cost. You're saying the entire suppressor, adding in any outsourced processes and raw material cost, spends a cumulative 15 minutes on the shop floor from the time raw material is taken off the supplier's flatbed truck to the time UPS picks up complete and packaged parts.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  12. Ken70

    Ken70 Well-Known Member

    No, it's obvious from this thread that the normal rules of supply and demand don't apply with NFA items. If the government wasn't limiting the supply, then the market would rule.

    All of this because Game Wardens, of all people, had sound suppressors dumped into the NFA. Why Game Wardens? They were convinced poachers would clean out all the deer during the Depression. Not Al Capone's people whacking a rival, like I thought from reading the Main Stream Media....I still think I could undercut the rest of the market if the ATF wasn't limiting the market.
  13. jmorris

    jmorris Well-Known Member

    That is kind of my point. Buy an entire auto from any maker, then try to build one from onesies and twosies out of the parts house and compare the price. You can build millions of something and make it cheaper than a few.
  14. Kahr33556

    Kahr33556 Well-Known Member

    :) :) :) :)
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
  15. Ken70

    Ken70 Well-Known Member

    You underestimate the peeps with a South Bend and a Bridgeport. We have lots of time, can make things that the ATF just can't handle. If the first version doesn't work, make a couple more until it does. You don't have any machining skills, do you?
  16. hq

    hq Well-Known Member

    Do you have any idea how many "top of the line" cans with all kinds of superlative marketing spiels I've fried and and sometimes even melted with full auto? ;)

    In all seriousness, if cans were regulated or hard to obtain I'd probably treat them, as the saying goes, like sore body parts. But they aren't and I don't, which has resulted in some kind of personal insight in which ones are quiet, which can take horrific abuse, shot regularly so hot they glow red and still work as intended for years, even decades.

    Competition in suppressor market is pretty fierce around here, there hasn't been much room for anything loud or of poor quality in quite a while. There are a few patented, proprietary designs that have more or less dominated the market for several years, for a very good reason.
  17. Kahr33556

    Kahr33556 Well-Known Member

    Ken70 you probley would have been right on about 99 percent of the people here but WRONG been machining for 25 years thats how I make a living.I make parts a lot more complicated than that.
    The one thing I don't have experience with is welding,thats my downfall.
    I posted for the 99 percent of people that don't know how to use a mill or Lathe.
    But the real reason is to watch the kid put that silencer on after he chambered a round.Not safe.
  18. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    I know exactly how much it costs because my company is a silencer manufacturer.

    I'm sure they could be made for a lot cheaper because a manufacturing job gets paid 10 to 20 times less per hour there than in Cheyenne WY.

    The http://americansilencerassociation.com/ reports approx 27,000 suppressors are purchased yearly.
  19. Cesiumsponge

    Cesiumsponge Well-Known Member

    What? The government isn't limiting supply. There is no manufacturing cap on suppressors. You can make as many or as little as you want. Supply and demand has created a fierce suppressor market despite regulation. It's bottle-necked by restrictions but it's found equilibrium already. The market has established a price range where the manufacturer makes a profit for a product at a price consumers are willing to pay. If prices were lower, manufacturers would go out of business because they can't pay their bills. If prices were higher, manufacturers would go out of business because no one wants to pay the asking price. That's supply and demand in action. When was the last time you filled out a Form 4? I'm still waiting for one from June and the average waiting time has crept close to 7 months now. The demand is there. And the supply is here to feed the demand.

    Government restrictions simply drive up costs of bringing this particular type of item to market and reduces the potential demand due to end-user costs incurred for ownership but $200 and waiting for months isn't a huge deterrent for many people given it's not a particularly large sum of money. It's the same economic game with any other regulated commodity like most consumer products or pharmaceuticals. The government has restrictions on almost everything available to purchase. Suppressors are nothing special. Are we complaining about cars? Their cost is much, much higher than one in an unregulated market because government intervention has forced automobiles to steadily increase curb weight due to increasing crash standards which require more safety equipment being installed in every vehicle. Compare the curb weights of today's cars with those of the 1980's. Meanwhile the same government has forced automobile manufacturers to increase gas mileage. Manufacturers are stuck with the double-whammy of trying to squeeze out increased gas mileage at a rate that exceeds the weight gains from safety regulations.

    That's actually not an argument at all for your "$30 direct cost" of a manufactured product that some other company invested in to sell to a consumer as a ready-to-use product. If I gave you two tons of raw iron ore, roughly trading at $120 per metric ton currently, and a few hundred pounds of various alloying metal elements, a big sack of silica, and some rubber tree seeds, you could build an automobile given enough time and effort. That doesn't mean automobiles are a ripoff because there's only $300 worth of raw materials.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  20. Ken70

    Ken70 Well-Known Member

    The longer this thread has gone on, the surer I am about direct costs of $30 or so, per suppressor. I'm not going to refine a couple of tons of iron ore, I just buy the finished product. In this case, a DOM 4130 foot of tubing. Division of labor has been the way it is for the last 1000 years. Buy from somebody that is set up to make it efficiently. And so on.

    I have the South Bend and Bridgeport combo, I look at what a commercial supplier makes and copy it. I don't have the overhead, regulations, that a commercial supplier has. So I can make a $30 or less copy of what I see. Government doesn't jump on me, you can make a copy for personal use. If that is accurate, 27,000 sold in a year, then I can see why they cost so much.....Not enough volume. Being from Detroit, I know about volume.

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