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Why do silencers cost so much...?

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by SilentStalker, Jul 7, 2011.

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  1. SilentStalker

    SilentStalker Member

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    This has really been eating me up. I understand there is a lot of legal tape that has to be gone tHrough in order to own one but why the high cost? They are not difficult to make and the materials use to create them are not really expensive either. So, I ask again,"why do they cost so much?" any thoughts on this?
     
  2. BADSBSNF81

    BADSBSNF81 Member

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    Limited market due to the tax stamp and associated paperwork. Quality costs.
     
  3. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    Well, there are a number of factors.

    As mentioned, the market is limited, so that's part of it.

    Add in the cost of becoming and maintaining a FFL/SOT, buying/maintaining the necessary machinery, spending money on developing prototypes, advertising...the list goes on and on. When it comes right own to it, I'd wager that it's actually a pretty low profit-margin industry.
     
  4. elcaminoariba

    elcaminoariba member

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    The "cool" plus "scary" plus tax/defacto ban without tax, aspects.
     
  5. Shear_stress

    Shear_stress Member

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    Basically, suppressors are on the wrong part of suppy and demand curve. You've got a small demand and a small supply due to regulatory hurdles. That means that makers can't take advantage of economies of scale and need to sell a small quantity at a fairly high price.

    And that just about exhausts my knowledge of economics.
     
  6. Remo223

    Remo223 member

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    the tax alone on a suppressor is 200 smackers.
     
  7. dovedescending

    dovedescending Member

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    what everybody else said. the high tax has created an artificial squeeze on a what would otherwise be a fairly booming market. demand is not as high as it could be, so manufacturers have to charge more per each to make ends meet.
     
  8. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    Ever try to build one? (Don't answer that! :evil:) Respectfully, there is a bit of design and precise machining that goes into one, and it isn't banged out in a matter of minutes (unless you are all set up with CNC, etc, and are pounding out a large number). If you are not precise enough, you get a bullet through your baffles, bad accuracy, a blown up suppressor, or all the above, and maybe worse (injury, etc). Throw in the liability associated with making one for someone else, and you get an idea of why they might be expensive. Don't forget, some designers and manufacturers really DO come up with great designs, and they want to make some money for the innovation and designing.
     
  9. addedpulp

    addedpulp member

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    Because they can.
     
  10. oasis618

    oasis618 Member

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    Mostly this.
     
  11. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    (We need that [snip] of all the costs associated with having a SOT.)

    Double-whammy of a product "demonized" since 1934 and industrial economics. If it costs (just whistling an arbitrary number out of thin air) 48,000 quatloos a year to break even on a suppressor shop, and you only sell 12 per year, how many quatloos per each?

    In sane univers, a suppressor ought be a $5 tax stamp, same as an AOW. But, such are the nature of political compromises. NFA was a compromise which started as a complete ban of all handguns (if memory serves right).
     
  12. Prince Yamato

    Prince Yamato Member

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    The price on certain silencers is going down. .22 cans can be had for around $300 and AAC's Eco-9 9mm can and the Thompson Machine 9mm cans can be had at around $400. I still think they could stand to come down another $100 or so.
     
  13. LiquidTension

    LiquidTension Member

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    The markup on cans is pretty high. One of the guys at AAC said that a dealer can pay for their SOT by selling just two per year.
     
  14. Legionnaire

    Legionnaire Member

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    It's all about knowing where to drill the holes. ;)
     
  15. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    There is many suppressor designs, and some are very simple, and some are a little more complex.

    One issue is the market, it is small because the percentage of gun owners that go through the NFA process is limited.
    This means many of the parts are made in a shop with direct labor, not mass produced by the thousands by a large machine.

    The next hurdle is the $200 tax based minimum. If someone is going to pay $200 already, they probably want something decent. Paying $200 for a $20 piece of junk makes less sense than getting something decent.

    They have $20-$50 suppressors in parts of Europe in a bargain bin. Grab one from a bucket on your way to check out. They are intended to be cheap, work decent, and be relatively disposable.
    Of course the firearm is the heavily restricted component there, being as much hassle as NFA firearms are in the USA just to get many basic firearms.


    There is also other concerns. The ATF has weird interpretations of what a silencer is. As a consumer you cannot just keep spare parts for your silencer, because those can be considered a silencer. If it breaks you cannot just order a baffle.
    So what could be made really cheap should instead be made robust and relatively overbuilt and should have the ability to be opened, and readily cleaned. Instead of replacing cheap inexpensive parts when they wear out you should have heavier more resistant components that will wear slower to compensate for the law making it a hassle to replace parts.
    If you are going to have all of that and related increased costs you might as well also have a design that works better than a cheap muffler.


    You could mass produce a cheap version with wipes and an expansion chamber, but the minimum $200 tax, and required profit to make it worth the time of a SOT, already turns it into an item that is going to cost the consumer a few hundred dollars minimum, so it might as well be a quality robust item the customer will be delighted with for slightly more instead of stamping your company's name on a piece of junk.
    While in places without all the legal restraints on silencers you can just make simple basic designs that are junk, but reduce the decibels effectively for awhile and price them cheap.


    The same guy that invented the silencer also invented the muffler, being nearly the same thing just meant to attach to different devices. Another name for a muffler is a silencer, the UK for example calls all mufflers silencers.
    One on automobiles is now mandatory in much of the world, including the USA. Instead of all drivers having to wear hearing protection due to the excessive noise generated by unmuffled engines, the vehicles themselves all have a silencer installed.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011
  16. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    They are priced where they are because people will pay the price. Are they cheaper i other countries like England and NZ where they are sold over the counter as a safety device and not a sniper device? Yep
     
  17. firemanstrickland

    firemanstrickland Member

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    +1 Because they can
     
  18. Aaron Baker

    Aaron Baker Member

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    I can't figure out if everyone who says this thinks that "can" is a clever play on words, and is chuckling at their keyboard, or if they're just being dense.

    Yes, they obviously are able to price them higher.

    But that doesn't answer the underlying question, which is: why can they?

    And that answer is: supply and demand, and the strange economics of a part that people just feel like shouldn't cost less than its tax. Other posters have explained that well.

    I just can't understand why you'd post "just because" as an answer to the question "why." That's unhelpful and a silly waste of time.

    Unless it was a joke. In which case, groan.

    Aaron
     
  19. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator

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    Aaron Baker said it all.
     
  20. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    As a silencer manufacturer, I'll just point out the parts of the posts I agree with ;)

    In Europe, you can buy cheap, almost "throw-away" silencers. If you need to buy another one, who cares, it's like a new set of tires. Here, you're essentially married to the item for life, since there is almost zero market for used silencers (due to additional transfer taxes). So people here want to buy a really good one that will last a lifetime.
     
  21. Ranb

    Ranb Member

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    I make silencers as a hobby. One of my last projects was for a 338 ultra mag rifle. I spent about $60 in material. It took me about 20 hours on the lathe. If my time is worth $20/hour, then that is $660 including the tax. But it should last a few thousand rounds at 90 grains of powder per round.

    Ranb
     
  22. MasterSergeantA

    MasterSergeantA Member

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    But you need to factor in the cost of the lathe, tools, etc. as well. The cost is still lower than what a 'commercial' can would cost, but there are other overhead costs that need to be recouped by the manufacturers as well. If you enjoy making your own, and don't mind shelling out the $200 for each one, you are actually getting away very cheaply.
     
  23. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    You can't buy machine time for $20/hr. Not even close.
     
  24. oasis618

    oasis618 Member

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    They "can" because it's a niche item and people "will" pay it. There is more invested in research and technology in a VCR that you can buy at Target for $30.00 than there is in a silencer but until silencers are mass produced and more readily available, like VCR's, they "can" charge more.
     
  25. jbkebert

    jbkebert Member

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    I wish I had a employee that cost only $20 per hour. Figure insurance, taxes, work comp, tools ect. I have a couple guys at $20 an hour but have to charge $47 an hour to break even. More if I want a little money on the deal.
     
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