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When I bought my first silencer, it took over seven months from the day I sent the forms in to the ATF until my tax stamp came back. It took so long, in fact, that I had moved to Texas in the intervening months and flew back to Virginia to pick it up. That was at the peak of the ATF’s backlog, when waiting a year for a stamp was commonplace. Needless to say, while a $200 tax for something that is otherwise completely legal to own is enough of a hurdle. But the inordinate wait time was probably the biggest barrier to entry for most people who want to buy a can. These days, though, the excuses are dwindling: wait times for a Form 4 are officially under 90 days. And dropping . . .

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I’ve confirmed this with two silencers purchased through two different gun shops in two completely different cities over the last two weeks. My first non-AAC cans, actually. The time it takes for a Form 4 to come back — the bit of paperwork releasing the silencer from the gun shop to the owner — is consistently under 90 days. The folks over at NFATracker.com confirm the ever decreasing delays with wonderful, beautiful data.

Naturally, being able to walk into a gun store and walk out with a brand new can, no questions asked, would be ideal. Sadly, we son’t live in an ideal world. But any incremental improvement is appreciated, and no doubt the shorter wait times will give a little spark to the silencer industry. Just in time for the SIG SAUER silencers to hit the shelves, and right on the heels of SilencerCo’s latest releases as well. Perfect timing.

79 Responses to Confirmed: NFA Transfer Times Now 90 Days…And Falling

    • It just happened to me. I mailed my Form 4 on Dec. 10th and I just got a call from the LGS yesterday that my suppressor was ready to be picked up, so I went first thing this morning. I was very, very surprised because I wasn’t expecting to have it until summer.

    • Unfortunately it looks like E-Filed Form 1s for Trusts have been trending upwards since January. This explains why my Form 1, officially filed & paid for on Feb 2nd, is still in the wind some 50 days later. I was hoping to have a stock on my CZ Scorpion Evo by now. Oh well, I’m happy to wait a bit longer as the first suppressor I got did take just over 10 months! I could have made a brand new human in that amount of time haha (or at least been involved in the only fun part of that process).

      …the second suppressor, on a paper Form 4, was submitted mid-July of last year and came back Nov 27… (~4.5 months)

      • Maybe they’re weighing whether it is legal for you to make an evo 3 SBR, given that there aren’t enough American made parts out there yet (that I know of)?

        • I’m not sure how much they really care for individuals vs. companies importing rifles. That said, I think I’ll be in compliance with the parts I’m swapping out. If somebody releases a U.S.-made magazine or a U.S.-made trigger group upgrade, the Scorpion will be way inside of 922r compliance. …as far as I can tell from checking the status, the application has yet to actually be reviewed… but I am within the current average wait time still. We’ll see how it pans out. I suppose worst case is I won’t be able to assemble it in rifle configuration until a U.S. magazine, trigger, or pistol grip is released… but magazine would take care of 3 parts and wouldn’t be hard for Magpul or Lancer (which would be my strong preference! BTW they make the OEM mags for the Sig MPX) or whomever else to make. Or, heck, just make a follower and baseplate and call it a day. Maybe I’ll whittle a follower and baseplate in my garage haha. Or have 3D-printed replicas of the OEM ones made up…

      • Well…if the fun part of the human making process takes ten months…you might be suffering from a cataclysmic case of priapism….*chuckles*

        I’ve been debating a new rifle can for the summer and times are feasible enough…I could order a season ahead and still have it by mid summer. That’s encouraging.

      • This. I had two eForm 1’s (SBR) come back consecutively last fall, both exactly 28 days about a month apart. Recently had one eForm 1 (Silencer) come back after 71 days. Not cool, but it beats the 10 months my last paper Form 4 took (Feb 2014-Dec 2014)

    • Happened to me. Bought a 22LR can in late August, took it home December. Trust, bought it from Silencer Shop, my 4th NFA stamp.

    • Happened to me. Paper filed form 4 from silencer shop. Twice actually. 90 days for me, got them back about a month ago. I purchased two more recently and the gentleman at the counter said that he had seen some come back even faster.

  1. It is getting better. My last item (a can) had the check cashed Sept 5 of last year and three weeks ago my stamp came back. Just about six months. It’s just sad that I was so excited over ONLY a six month wait.

  2. ” But any incremental improvement is appreciated, and no doubt the shorter wait times will give a little spark to the silencer industry. ”

    …But a spark to the silencer industry will cause wait times to go up, wouldn’t it?

  3. Still too long. Anything more than a 10 day wait is unacceptable. You wouldn’t wait 3 months for a drivers license or a tax refund.

    • Anything longer than the time it takes to pass a background check is unacceptable. There is no reason it couldn’t all be done in one day.

  4. Fiddle much while Rome burns?
    This is so wrong on so many levels. I don’t want my name on yet another government database. $200 tax stamp is akin to a poll tax. And a right delayed is a right denied.

    The only way this works is if so many people have suppressors (and don’t do anything to draw negative attention) that the general consensus is that such regulation is unnecessary.

    • There’s two ways to see this, or at least two ways I see it:

      1. Starve the beast – if no one pays the ATF for the privilege of NFA restricted stuff, they won’t get any money.

      2. More buyers mean more money for better staffing, technology and the like for the ATF which will reduce wait times, increase demand for NFA related stuff, and expose more people to the NFA scene. More people start asking questions and maybe start working towards repealing NFA34.

      But I live in a state that bans suppressors, SBRs and SBSs, so for me this is academic.

      • “But I live in a state that bans suppressors, SBRs and SBSs, so for me this is academic.”

        Same, and it blows. I would love to shoot suppressed pistol, but yeah, not gonna happen here.

        • This is a good way for the government to collect more taxes. I have my share of stamps, but if wait times become resonable, I personally may feel compelled to acquire more.

    • No. The Wide-Angle view of Jury Nullification is mass defiance. Not mass compliance. If 20 million people refuse to sit at the back of the bus, that is what sends the message.

  5. The reason I wont get a can is that I dont like the Idea of random checks by the BATFE to make sure the paperwork is in order and if not, poof instant headache. I want one but dont think the hassel is worth it.

    • I am pretty sure that’s not how it works. They can’t randomly search you or anything. If you’re out with your NFA item, you just keep a copy of your stamp with you.

    • Random checks are theoretically possible for select-fire, mostly to be feared for class 3 dealers with inventory. There is no authority for ATF to come peek at a silencer that they already KNOW has a tax stamp. At least, that is my understanding today. What ATF “interprets” tomorrow may be a different question.

    • After more than 10 years with a machine gun, an FFL, and now a suppressor, the ATF has NEVER randomly come to my house to check ANYTHING. They call first and make an appointment.

    • I had a long conversation with an ATF employee at my buddy’s gun shop. (We were helping him build his first AR) His take on it is that they do not have the manpower or funding to go after (surprise inspection) of individuals. They are already backed up on their cigarette counts, liquor license audits, and gun store inspections as it is. Now, if the ATF hires another 50,000 inspectors, then I’d worry.

      • They still can’t do random inspections of individuals. Don’t care what the ignorant atf wonk told you.

    • As everyone has said, they can’t random search your house just because you own NFA items. There’s that whole probable cause thing. You aren’t an FFL, they are the ones that can get double secret spot checked.

    • The ATF can’t search you, but keep your stamp on you anyways. There are a lot of people who don’t like people who own NFA items. My local county run range (Jackson County Sports Park) has a sign posted that if you have an NFA item they will ask for your stamp and if you don’t have it on you right there they will call the police and hassle you because they are a number of expletives. This is the same range that employs range masters that will speed up in their Geo Metros and hop out screaming and yelling that you’re being unsafe because you have the gall to shoot from the prone position when zeroing your rifle.

      • Officially, you are only required to show the stamp to an ATF agent. It says so on it. Of course I keep a copy with me and another in “range bag etc.” I have ran into a few Barneys that didn’t know suppressors were legal.

  6. ATF wants to be fast. Fast to send back your tax stamp, fast to keep track of where the NFA items are located, fast to send out the SWAT team when it wants the stuff back.

  7. We shall see…………..

    I have 2 suppressors pending now, with checks cashed dates of 2/19, and 2/23. I’m also curious to see how long my e-filed form1 SBR takes. I submitted it 3/12.

  8. Even aside from the NFA Bravo Sierra, it strikes me as ridiculous that the cans sold for pistols cost more than the pistols.

    • Agreed … hence my comment below about how to make your own or if anyone can point to commercial suppressors that cost less than $200.

      • In the process of building a 308-rated can that’s going to cost around $500 including the stamp that already cleared. About $150ish is tooling, so the can itself is only running about $150 and the tools are going to be used for future builds… if this one works as planned.

        It’s sort of ridiculous the pricing, I agree it’s a niche market and my AAC pistol can is not “worth” $700 some odd dollars. I have two Surefire SOCOM cans that were absurdly priced, and yes they use fancy alloys and whatnot but still if it was an item you could just buy and walk out of the shop with (even if you had to do a 4473) I bet even fancy rifle cans would be sub-$500.

    • I get around this by getting .45 cans, and using them on all of my center fire pistols. The .22 cans are dirt cheap ($350 after stamp).

  9. This is somewhat tangential but I will ask anyway: could we file a form 4 (or whatever) with our check for $200 to make our own suppressor? As long as we register a serial number, pay for the $200 tax stamp, refrain from even acquiring any materials until after we get the tax stamp in hand, and then stamp that serial number on the suppressor, would it be legal?

    If that is the case, now that turn around times are less than 90 days, I would seriously consider making my own — unless someone can point me to a quality suppressor that costs less than $200.

    • That would require a form1, form4 is for “commercial” NFA goodies, that are already in the registry.

    • Ooh! How about making your own short-barreled rifle or shotgun?!?!?!?

      Some of us would be more than satisfied with the end result (e.g. poor craftsmanship and attended degradation in accuracy) of our own “machining” to shorten a barrel. What is the process for that? Can we submit a form 1 (as Red in Texas suggested above) for an existing long gun and then, after receiving the tax stamp, proceed to shorten our own long gun?

    • Ha check my other comment, you just have to do an eForm1 for manufacture of a silencer. I’m looking at about $500 including tax stamp and $150 in tooling, so yeah you can go under $200 for a quality silencer easy. I’ve seen builds as low as $300 including tax stamp, utilizing what is essentially a flashlight tube. I figured the extra couple hundred bucks for titanium would be worth it in the long run.

    • As someone who works with high pressure high temperature alloys in the oil refining industry I can tell you that the raw materials for 316L, inconel 718 and stellite cans cost way more than you could ever imagine, that said especially inconel and stellite have some amazing capabilities when compared to other options.

      • Until the ATF comment reply period is finished, and they amend the rules to require all persons on the trust to get a CLEO sign off…

        • Could it be that the ATF is being so obnoxious as to force our hand in repealing the NFA? $200 tax stamps make them a cash cow. When has a rogue government agency ever been so massively profitable? When has government decided it doesn’t want to steal our money anymore? It just doesn’t add up…

    • Tennessee started a trend 4 or 5 years ago and several states have followed. They passed a “shall certify” statute that means that if the person passes the NICS, the CLEO must sign. I want Florida to pass such. The gun trust is a viable option. However, these Gestapo type LEO need kicked in the groin. About 1/3 of the sheriffs in Florida will not sign. About 1/3 are very pro NFA. The others straddle the damn fence.

    • There is a bill going through the Texas Legislature right now requiring CLEO’s to sign off on NFA items within 90 days or show good cause. Its HB 989. Call your state rep and voice your support.

  10. Unfortunately, not all of us file as a trust. My last F4 individual took 6 months almost to the day (got it back 2 weeks ago). I live in an area where it doesn’t matter much though… as I need to plan a 2 hour, one-way drive to shoot the damn thing.

  11. Sweet. Just learned of “special pricing” on a Silencerco Omega.
    May have to splurge when I get back stateside.

  12. Feedback loop…

    1. wait times are long
    2. fewer people apply
    3. due (at least in part) to fewer applicants, wait times drop
    4. more people apply
    5. due (at least in part) to more applicants, wait times increase
    6. goto 1

    If things follow this pattern, I predict 180+ day waits within 3 months.

  13. Can anyone tell me how effective suppressors are for .45 caliber 300 grain bullets at 800 fps muzzle velocity? Would a suppressor on a 16 inch barrel be noticeably quieter than the same suppressor on a 4 inch barrel?

  14. Walmart has an entire isle of different sized silencers for 5-10$.. not that I partake in such so called felonious activities! But if I ever really needed one i certainly wouldn’t wait 3 months and pay $200 to a bunch of goons that are going to take it from everyone one day! Just another law that only effects the law abiding gunners of our nation!

  15. I have multiple individual form 4s that all went pending on nov 12.

    If you call the NFA branch there is now an automated message that tells you the wait is 6 months, and basiclly not to call them until after that six months is up.

  16. NFATracker.com reflects wait times for Forms 1 & 4 are trending towards longer waiting times.

    E-filed form 1s for Trusts were averaging below 30 days and are now averaging around 90 days.

    Paper filed form 4s for Trusts were averaging ~90 days and are now averaging around 105 days.

  17. I have two suppressors pending first check cashed March 9th second on March 31st. It has been 82 days I really hope they approve my paperwork soon the waiting sucks.

  18. Just got off the phone with the ATF and can finally report that my form 4 has been approved for my suppressor. Total wait time for approval 111 days now just have to wait for them to mail out tax stamp to my dealer shortly.

  19. I have got of the phone with the ATF an they told me form 4 in 5 mouths,, went down to my dealer an he said the same,, check cashed 11-3-15 , so hoping they are wrong, an will come sooner, an this is under a trust

  20. Not me! I ordered three surpressors in August 4 of 15, my check on my form 4s cashed October 28 and iit’s now March 25 of 16. Still waiting. I also efiled a sbr on January 24 of 16 and I’m still waiting on that too.

  21. Something must have really changed. I purchased mine in early February, 2016 using my trust. I still have not received my stamp!

  22. I have a 9mm sidewinder in jail wating on the stamp for that check ws cashed 4/9/16 , Had call the Atf an they said around 6 mouths now, I know mostly because of 41F the times will go up, this is my Last supp for me, After using the Trust, My other supp took 5 mouths ,an got that in 2/29/16, So since July 13 came around everyone is buying an the Times are going up.So for me thats it

  23. My local gunshop filled out and sent my paperwork off 4-09-16 . It is now 12-10-16 I still have no tax stamp and the gun store keeps saying maybe next month. I can go down and get a semi-auto rifle with a hundred round mag. And walk out the door in under a Hr . BUT it takes 9 plus months to get a can . That’s . B.S

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