Amazon.com Selling Unregistered Silencers

Yeah, that title may be a little on the sensational side, but this is actually a pretty good example of how ridiculous US gun laws are. We all remember the Econo-Can, the registered adapter you can buy that threads an oil filter onto your .22lr firearm and makes a rockin’-awesome silencer. As the adapter is the registered part, you can buy new oil filters as the old ones wear out. In theory, at least, since the ATF appears to have an issue with replacing parts. But if you don’t want to wait the 10 months and pay for the specialized adapter, it turns out that Amazon is helpfully selling an identical part for a mere $20. In fact, you can make a silencer from parts lying around in your garage if you put your mind to it. Probably not legal, but physically possible. Which should make you stop and realize that gun control doesn’t actually work in a world where just about every part and adapter your little heart desires can be bought on Amazon or printed on a 3D printer.

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About Nick Leghorn

Nick Leghorn is a gun nerd living and working in San Antonio, Texas. In his free time, he's a competition shooter (USPSA, 3-gun and NRA High Power), aspiring pilot, and enjoys mixing statistics and science with firearms. Now on sale: Getting Started with Firearms by yours truly!

81 Responses to Amazon.com Selling Unregistered Silencers

  1. avatarMichael B. says:

    Wait, what? Is this legal for me to buy?

    • avatarJoshinGA says:

      Buy, yes. Use with an oil filter on your gun as a suppressor? I believe that is a felony.

      • avatarJim Barrett says:

        It is. According to ATF, using anything to reduce the sound of the firearm that has not been properly registered and paid for is a no-no

        • avatarMichael B. says:

          Meh, not all that interested. Seems too gimmicky for me.

        • avatarNathanredbeard says:

          Not really MB. look through vids on youtube (I would link but YT is blocked at work) and you can see that these things work great. If you’re under the radar, you could easily possess the adapter and filter and be ready to go in a SHTF situation right away (or for clandestine assasination operations, but I digress…)

      • avatarLeo338 says:

        It’s only a felony if you get caught.

  2. avatarDon says:

    I’m pretty sure the oil filter that comes with the econocan is legally part of the suppressor, and switching out is considered manufacturing a new suppressor, and uncle Sam cares.

      • avatarMatt in FL says:

        While I appreciate your incredibly eloquent and well-thought-out response, the FTB letter linked both in the post above and in the comment below this one disagree with you, and since they’re them and you’re, well… you, I’m gonna go with what they say.

        • avatarFrank says:

          Yeah, I just realized that. Too late to delete the comment now.

          When word of this econo-can first came out their position was that since the oil filter is not the registered part it could be replaced by the user.

        • avatarMatt in FL says:

          My understanding was that basically as soon as FTB heard about people actually selling these as serialized silencers they said, “Ummm… no.”

          They’ve probably been around, quietly, for a long, long time, just like the linked ones on Amazon. The difference was someone trying to make it official.

        • avatarAfghan Vet says:

          Matt,

          Yeah they’ve been around for awhile. There is an instruction for making an oil filter silencer in the U.S. Army improvised weapons manual fron 1963.

    • avatarDon says:

      Oh, when I say “pretty sure” I mean to imply I looked it up on the manufacturer’s website and cross checked with the ATF. If there was a successful litigation one way or the other then I’d say I’m “sure”. If I’m just making things up… then I’d likely not comment to begin with.

      • avatarDon Sucks says:

        I’m pretty sure your full of shit! Yeah go ahead and check, I looked it up and cross referenced it!

        • avatarMatt in FL says:

          You necro’d a five month old thread for that? To insult someone who posted a factually correct statement? What are you, twelve?

          Truly you are an asset to this community.

  3. avatarfull.tang.halo says:

    Nick you might wanna check out the most recent opinion letter on the oil can suppressor.

    http://i.imgur.com/Eh4Pe.jpg

    Until a documented atf ruling letter for the masses is made this only applies to the original submitter, but they do indeed seem to care.

  4. avatarTyler Kee says:

    Do you think if we (TTAG) filmed a video of us doing this, we could get the David Gregory treatment? Because we would be doing it to make a point?

    • avatarRyan Finn says:

      Somehow I think that the Feds wouldn’t feel that it was a waste of time to prosecute

    • avatarBrian in Seattle says:

      Better yet, get Gregory to show how easy it is to construct one. Preferably in a studio in DC. The ATF couldn’t possibly give him another pass.

  5. avatarJim Barrett says:

    The interesting question is whether or not someone could buy the part from Amazon, then fill out Form 1 as a maker of a silencer. One way to play this would be to make a housing that encircles the oil can. This housing could then be engraved with the S/N. Silencerco does this with their sparrow. They have an outside sheath which bears the S/N. Inside is a second housing that holds the actual suppression materials. Should the baffles ever be damaged, Silencerco can affect the repair without impacting the serial numbered part.

    So, assume you go through this, create a housing, file the form 1, presumably, this would let you replace the sound baffling material. Of course, the ATF could also say that since you don’t hold a SOT as a registered manufacturer, the Form 1 only allows you to create it in the first place, not to actively maintain it.

    A Sparrow from Silencerco will run you less than $400 from Silencershop.com and figure paying another $25 to a local FFL to do the transfer. So, given the fact that you either have to fabricate the housing yourself or find someone to do it, you need to decide whether the money you save just buying a legal silencer is worth all of the hassle.

  6. avatarHenry Bowman says:

    That’s not a suppressor. It’s a solvent trap. See, that way you can capture your gun cleaning solvents in an oil filter and then reuse them. Way to “Go Green”, Amazon!

  7. avatarRambeast says:

    It is not illegal to posess unless you intend to use it for purposes outlined in current law. Same applies to AR pistols and SBR rules. You can have an 8.5″ upper for your pistol, but when you attach it to a lower with a stock, it becomes a SBR, thus making it a felony.

    Proving intent is difficult in a lot of cases, but when it comes to the BATFE, it is the default position, and you will likely have to prove othewise.

    • avatarelliot says:

      I think you may be incorrect. My understanding is under constructive possession you cannot own a SBR upper with out a dedicated SBR lower. If you own a SBR upper and a rifle lower or a complete rifle than you’re considered to have a SBR under constructive possession. This is why people who do 80%/paperweight parties dont allow SBR uppers on the premises.

      • avatarNathanredbeard says:

        See US v. Thompson-Center Arms Company (1992). My understanding is as long as you own all the parts to assemble in either a rifle setup as well as an SBR setup, it is not considered to be constructive possession. I am not a lawyer, don’t own a pistol upper, not legal advice, blah blah blah.

        • avatarMatt in FL says:

          I’m also not a lawyer, but I did a bunch of reading on this a few months ago (that I can’t find citations for now, sadly), and it was also my understanding that there was a “presumption of innocence,” if you will. By that I mean that if the collection of parts you have can be or are assembled as a legal item, the presumption is that they would be. As an example: complete rifle + possession of an SBR upper would be OK; or possession of an SBR upper AND a rifle upper AND an unattached complete lower would be OK. However, an SBR upper and a complete lower WITHOUT a rifle upper would NOT be OK, because there’s no legal way to assemble the parts you have.

          I know quite a few people who own multiple non-SBR ARs, and the idea that they would have to divest themselves of all of those rifles if they came into possession of a single SBR upper is simply illogical.

          If there is someone who can offer an actual legal opinion or citation, I’d love to see it, since I can’t find any of my research on the subject at the moment.

        • avatarNathanredbeard says:

          Matt, that’s why I listed the case above. The long and short of it is, the ATF said that TC providing a 16 inch barrel and stock to change out with your existing TC Contender pistol was unregistered transfer of an SBR because the components could be assembled with the stock and the pistol barrel (even though it specifically was printed on the stock DO NOT DO THIS). SCOTUS disagreed, their finding in brief is essentially what you wrote about multiple assemblies, as well as lenient interpretation because of the criminal penalties and ambiguity of the statute. Except it’s way more complicated and full of legalese.

        • avatarMatt in FL says:

          Ah, that’s right. I’ll admit I skipped over your citation because it sounded familiar. Turns out it had exactly what I couldn’t find. Thanks for the clarification.

      • avatarelnonio says:

        Elliot: you and Rambeast have slight differences in the fact pattern, so you are both right.

        If you have an SBR upper, no registered SBR lower, and a regular lower, you are in constructive possession: you have all the parts to make an SBR, and no legal way to configure what you have on hand. Whether you put them together or not is beyond the point.

        If you have an SBR upper and a registered SBR lower, as well as regular lowers, then you are OK as long as you never actually put the SBR upper on a regular lower. In this case, you have the ability to configure the items legally or illegally, but only actual illegal configuration is punishable.

        If you have an SBR upper, a “registered” pistol lower, and a regular lower, you are still ok because you can configure the parts legally (there is no maximum length for a pistol upper, but the lower does have to be manufactured as a pistol lower). It should not make a difference whether you have a regular upper.

        You could also have an SBR upper and no lower whatsoever, and still be OK, since an upper is not the SBR, only the lower is, and you can’t have constructive possession unless you possess all the part needed to make the firearm (for ATF purposes, having a stripped lower would trip their wire).

        By the way, this only works with ARs and other firearms where the lower receiver is the firearm. Compare with a SIG 556: why the upper is the firearm on those is beyond me. For instructional purposes only, consult an attorney, or pay me a retainer if you want Texas-specific advice :)

  8. avatarShire-man says:

    I keep wanting to buy a couple of these to put back in the safe as I suspect they will end up like the old DIAS and that little attachment to put plastic bottles on as “solvent traps.”

    Same reason I got a slidefire stock. Not because I care to ever use it but because the way it flaunts danger so awesomely makes it very collectible to me.

    I just dont want to end up on some list or experience a “constructive possession” raid for ordering one.

  9. avatarMatt in FL says:

    I checked out Infinite Product Solutions other items, and I had to laugh. Guys, you’re stretching the bounds of plausible deniability on some of these items. To wit:

    CNC Solvent Trap 13/16-16 Oil Filter Adapter Ruger 10/22
    MADE IN USA! High quality CNC machined aluminum oil filter adapter. Our machining is second to none. Just check out the pictures. Now you can cleanly and efficiently clean the barrel of your Ruger 10/22 without having thread the end. Keeps stinky solvents from getting all over. Shown fitting on the stainless barrel of a 10/22 Takedown. Outer threads are 13/16-16 for most oil filters. The common Chevy 350/5.7L filter should fit with this adapter. Not intended for bull or threaded barrels. The set screw included has BRASS tip to keep from marring the the barrel.

  10. avatarLayne says:

    It’s actually illegal to attach any silencing device to your gun at all, even if you never fire it. Thus installing the ‘solvent trap’ when it’s known to be identical to the ‘econo can’ cannot possibly be legal, even if you only use it for the “intended purpose” (wink wink).

  11. avatarAharon says:

    Someone please explain to me the mechanics of how the device fits onto the barrel without the barrel having work done on it to join with the threads on the adapter. If the adapter is threaded how can it be joined to the barrel?

  12. avatarMatt in NC says:

    I have one of these. And I havent spilled a drop of sovlent or any other chemical since I bought it. It works equally well on my MP22 pistol and my AR. A fantastic little device to play around with, especially those that are very concerned about our impact on the environment.

  13. avatarJ says:

    If I ever need to draw my weapon, I am not going to be particularly concerned about the noise. There will be greater issues to deal with, during and after the shooting.

    I certainly don’t want a legal silencer simply because I don’t want to “court” the Feds and I really don’t want to fire any of my weapons with an oil filter suspended oh so gracefully from the muzzle end.

    It is nice to know we can create these “field expedient” devices but we have always known that.

    • avatarMatt in NC says:

      Suppressor devices are fun to mess around with. For me, it has zero practical purpose. It does however bring a smile to my face every time I use one, so why not? It’s a novelty to me, but if I had neighbors that didnt want to hear the noise and I shot outside? It might be worth the investment. Does anyone have any statistics on how many crimes are committed with a surpressor every year? It has to be damn near zero.

  14. avatarAharon says:

    I find the information interesting. However, I would not seriously consider the concept unless we entered a SHTF TEOTWAWKI situation.

    • avatarNathanredbeard says:

      I’m in the same position. If I want a silencer, I am going to get a permanent one, not one that will be rapidly degraded. But, it would be nice to have the components tucked away with a 10/22 Takedown in the SHTF cache.

    • And I;m sure mail order internet stuff will be available then… The point of being prepared is that you do it in advance..

  15. avatarBlindKyle says:

    Check out the “frequently bought together” on the amazon page, a Walther P22 thread adapter. Hmm. . .

  16. avatarJD says:

    As if the heavy steel golf ball launcher listed next to it wouldn’t be a superior platform. Perfect for serial number as previous poster noted. These traps have been around forever, I saw an antique brass one for a turkish 8mm mauser..
    Bet you could make one with polymer putty just centering the muzzle threads between the filter’s threads (filter suspended rigidly) with petroleum jelly as release agent, and filling like a creme donut & then adding external support with more putty. Or on the 3D printer with printed threading. Or taking dies to a nylon bushing.

  17. avatarSammy says:

    Do they make holsters for guns with the “filter” attached? You have to be careful, I still can’t find a holster that will fit my Ruger Charger with a bi pod and optics attached.

  18. avatarThomas Paine says:

    well, that’s like buying cannabis seeds online. It can be done, BUT………

  19. avatarDrew says:

    Hey guys, I know I am a couple months late, but I just Googled our company and stumbled across this thread with some comments about us selling solvent trap adapters on our website infiniteproductsolutions.com. To clear some things up – there are two Infinite Product Solutions companies. A paper co. on the east coast and then our company on the west coast. We are pretty new and our website was pretty undeveloped, so I completely understand the lack of trust in the validity of our company. I would like to note that this product isn’t illegal at all to buy, sell or use as a cleaning part.

    I just thought I’d throw a little word in in-case there are still those who wonder if we are a real company. We are cometary real, very passionate about what we do and are doing our best to provide excellent products to sportsmen everywhere.

  20. avatarReg Thibodeau says:

    I attempted to buy several of these from Dustin Eward at gunthreadadapters.com. I received a receipt from his web site, indicating my order was completed (I’m willing to provide proof of that for anyone who doubts it), but my card was never charged and the adapters were never shipped. I contacted Dustin several times (emails are available as well) saying he would “look into it”, but never got a further response.

    Makes me seriously wonder if gunthreadadapters.com/solvent adapters is an ATF sting where purchasers will be listed (for attention from ATF at a later date, perhaps?), or if it is simply some other sort of scam. My ersonal opinion is that you would be best served by staying away from his web site, and advising family and friends to do the same. I haven’t looked to see if the Amazon source is actually Dustin Eward, but I imagine it may well be.

    • It’s not. I don’t sell to people who ask question about how to make a silencer out of it because they don’t know how and they’d really like to rope me into a conspiracy of helping them break the law. Taht’s why you were never charged. That’s why I never sent them to you; you expressed open criminal intent and I wasn’t going to be party to it. So here you slander me with half the story…

  21. To clarify some of this…

    For purposes of the Registered Thread Adapter, the ATF considers the filters to be user-replacable wipes. This is obvious BS because the thread adapter itself very obviously cannot be performing any sound reduction.

    I was a bit confused about it at first, myself. But some events ufolded as I manufactures Solvent Traps taht began to clarify it.

    On the surface, it appears that the ATF is helping us along by bending the rules a little.

    However, I received death threats from people claimign to be “From the ATF” back in late June of this year.

    The shoe that more likely fits is that someone cuaght hell for this as the smell wafted nearer the top of the food chain. The unregistered ‘solvent trap adapters’ were fantastically overpriced, clunky, and generally just crappy and expensive. I entered the market and killed the price Competition a la Capitalism. Bam, I got death threats.

    I think the parties responsible for bending this rule for the original manufacturer were getting kickback and I put na end to that. It got popular and thent he heat came down on the people whp aren’t getting their kickback anymore so it isn’t worth it to them to take the heat now…

    Sure, there’s a lot of conjecture there… But it’s the only shoe that fits. The bottom line is that Solvent Trap Adapters have evolved beyond oil filters (4003 fuel filters now) and are a lot cheaper while also being perfectly legal, as logn as you don’t use them for silencers. The law is absurd, those who created it and enforce it are equally absurd.

    The only difference is what you do with it. If you don’t shoot through it, no crime. The object itself is no different. I compare it to owning a gun versus shooting someone in the face with it. It’s not a crime to own a gun. It’s not a crime to own the adapter.

    The really interesting part is how would they consider evidence? If you’re in possession of an oil fitler with a hole shot out the end… Doesn’t prove you used an unregistered adapter to do it, right? The oil filters are just wipes. Even if I had 10 of them laying around and the Feds showed up, maybe a guy with a registered adapter came over and that’s how they got all the holes in them? How could they prove otherwise?

    This lends further credence to my glass slipper. It screws them up in so many ways that I’m pretty sure they did not in fact create this rulng to help us out a little. It was an under the radar kickback scheme that got found out, thus the threats on my life for lowing the price so far.

    I still like to joke about the ATF impersonators who told me to take down my website ot they’ll “kill me and everyone I know.” That night. The ATF might be known for doing such things, but they don’t show up at 2AM and tell you about it… It obviously happened in an unoffical capacity either from the sellers whoa re mad that I lowered the price, the agents responsible for the scheme, of a comination of both. It’s the only shoe that fits and explains why I’m not in prison. I ruined the gravy train and put a LOT of egg on their faces. A false prosecution against me would only open up this can of worms much more publicly.

  22. avatarken says:

    Its leagal to own the solvent tap adapters and a oil filter but its just not leagal to use them as a suppressor on your gun according to the atf…its that simple…cheez…I own a shit full of them

  23. avatarDaniel says:

    You can completely silence a .22 rifle using standard velocity rounds, which is a very attractive idea to preppers who plan to hunt small game as part of their survival strategy. And anyone who’s ever had to fire a pistol in an enclosed room in the dark knows that it’s a really good idea to have a suppressor on the end of that pistol in your nightstand too. ;)

    Amazon won’t show you, but if you look on eBay, you’ll see that thousands of these adapters have been sold in just the last three months. Just another indication that more and more people are losing respect for federal gun laws. These are not convicted violent criminals, these are regular people who no longer trust the federal government and don’t want them to know what they have. As long as you store this adapter in your bug-out bag where it belongs and don’t take it out in public and get stupid with it, there’s very little chance of ever getting caught with it on the end of your gun. And, of course, if the s*&t ever does hit the fan on a large scale, none of the government’s pointless nit-picky laws will be enforceable anymore anyway.

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