Early last year, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires) finalized their new regulations regarding fingerprinting for National Firearms Act trust members, and other changes to NFA paperwork processing.

There was a massive spike in silencer purchases. People submitted Form 4’s for Short Barreled Rifles in the run-up to that change. We hear that the first transfer applications which were submitted after the rule went into effect are finally flowing back.

According to the latest returns, the current processing time for Form 4s (transfer of an NFA weapon like a silencer from a dealer to a trust) is around 11 months. As data from our friends at NFA Tracker shows, that’s the result of the massive flood of paperwork that hit the ATF before the new rule went into effect.

Right now, silencer sales are stagnant. With the official blessing to shoulder pistol arms braces, SBR applications are also down. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of buyers are waiting for the Hearing Protection Act (HPA) to pass before shelling out their hard-earned cash for a new suppressor.

The ATF’s NFA branch has staffed up to handle the pre 41F push of paperwork. With the current backlog cleared I’m willing to bet that we’ll start to see processing times drop like a dirty Skrillex beat.

What does that mean for you? Now is the perfect time to buy a silencer. Manufacturers and dealers are swimming in unsold stock. You can get excellent quality silencers for more than 50 percent off pre-HPA retail.

Your paperwork might take some time to clear, but if things progress the way I expect, you should see the return of 60-day turnaround times on Form 4’s. If the Hearing Protection Act passes, you’ll most likely get your $200 tax fee back as a tax credit (language to that effect was in the original version of the bill). Plus, plenty of manufacturers are offering to cover your tax for you if you buy now.

I don’t see a downside for purchasing a silencer at this point in time. Buy cans. Buy them NOW!

56 Responses to NFA Paperwork Processing Time Set to Drop – Buy Now!

  1. You sure are putting a lot of faith in an inefficient, unconstitutional bureaucracy. Wait times are a feature, not a bug.

  2. Fingerprint cards and passport photos for every transaction? Sheriff notification of what’s in my home? No thanks. Repeal 41f.

    • That’s my problem since I have-a trust. EVERYONE in the trust has to get photographed and finger printed. No more NFA items for me! Obama achieved his objective.

      • You can just do the rest as an individual. That’s what I did. Without the law enforcement consent it’s just as easy.

        • Or make a new trust, or single shot trusts, individual registration or possibly amend your trust to drop your responsible parties.

      • I’d recommend a one off trust. If you came to me for the first and wanted another, I’d do it for a nominal fee. Basically, I’d be charging for the “it’s still good law” opinion. The laws change often enough that you don’t want to just redo a testamentary document by yourself.

        • I’ve considered this. Later on if 41f is trashed you can transfer it to your original trust sans the BS for other people on it.

          Of course if the HPA is passed then I’ll be wondering what I paid a legal eagle for in the first place…

          Ah well, my use for a new can, were I to purchase one, is fairly soon so either it’s HPA to the rescue or my timeline extends to 14 months.

        • I’d keep all NFA items in separate trusts, no matter the regulations I’ve ever seen. Under state law here in Texas, you can change beneficiaries, you can change trustees.

          For example, I have a thing in a revocable trust. I’m the trustee. I have beneficiaries. I’m leaving the country for reasons and won’t be able to pay the trust property the attention it needs. I call my good friend strych9 and ask him to be trustee while I’m overseas. He accepts. Strych9 is the trustee and can do whatever he wants with the property while I’m gone (I’m ignoring fiduciary duties for the sake of this conversation).

          Apply that to an NFA trust. I buy an NFA item through a trust. Later I don’t want it. My friend strych9 wants to buy it from me, but he can’t afford the item and $200 for a tax stamp right now. As the settlor, I make him a trustee that can act as settlor under the terms of the trust. He can now change any terms of the trust, including the beneficiaries. He can change the place the item is supposed to be stored with the ATF. Strych9 changes the beneficiaries. Then he dies of old age. The trust continues under its terms and the trust’s primary beneficiaries become trustees and get to possess the NFA item. They die and the trust’s residual beneficiaries have to get a new tax stamp. (Basically, trusts can’t last forever because of the Rule Against Perpetuities).

          I’d have to review ATF and IRS regs and talk to tax lawyers before I could say that this will not get you sent to jail for illegal possession of an NFA item or tax evasion, but if you already have multiple trusts, don’t collapse them into a single trust.

        • I originally set mine up for ease of leaving items with immediate family.

          After I got married it expanded a bit to inheritance issues if, say, my wife and I were both killed in an accident.

          I have oft wondered though, just how far you can push transfers and such using one. If you ever have the reason to actually find out, let us all know.

          Personally, I’d play it safe. I don’t want to be the test case.

        • Yeah, I’m probably never doing that over the internet, even with a pseudonym. Well, at least not until after a test case, and at that point, you’d probably already know.

  3. I think the odds of the HPA passing are pretty low. Better than they’be ever been but pretty darn low. I’d give it a 10% of becoming law in the next couple years. I pulled that number from my butt but I do understand how the state operates. The people running the swamp are nasty vermin

    • Yup. I’m starting to feel like the structure in place to prosecute anyone for violating the NFA will collapse before the HPA is passed. Same difference.

  4. The pain in the @ss I went through to submit my Form 4 for my PS90 SBR, better have been worth it!

  5. No god dammit. Stop putting in permission slips for a blatantly unconstitutional system that fucks you over without even the common courtesy of giving you a reach around. Starve the bastards out, demand change.

    • Indeed. Stockholm syndrome is strong.

      A suppressor is not a firearm. It is an accessory.

      It would be interesting to see mufflers for cars treated the same way. No cars from the factory equipped because it makes it too easy to sneak up and hit someone.

      To get a muffler, you have to submit fingerprints, pay $200 more dollars plus the cost of the muffler and install. And it is treated as a second vehicle for insurance purposes.

      Driving a muffler equipped car to another state requires approval from the State Police from both states.

      The HPA is a good basic start, but suppressors are not firearms. They cannot discharge a round on their own.

      Stop waiving your rights.

    • Only problem is, if nobody goes through the system, they’ll consider it proof that nobody really needs or even wants those things.

      I figure if politicians know they can earn voter loyalty for removing the unconstitutional barriers we hate, it’s more likely to happen.

  6. Serious inquiry:

    If I was only going to purchase ONE suppressor and wanted to use it on multiple rifles, would a suppressor for the largest caliber rifle be fine to use on the smaller calibers?

    Say I buy a .30 caliber suppressor for a .30-06 Springfield rifle. Will that suppressor reduce the report of a rifle chambered in 5.56 x 45mm NATO basically as well as a suppressor made for 5.56 x 45MM NATO?

    Or how about handguns? If I purchase a suppressor for a .45 ACP handgun, will it reduce the report of a 9mm handgun or even .22 LR handgun basically as well as a suppressor designed for those calibers?

    • That’s the best course of action. Get a .30 cal, .45, and a dedicated rimfire can and you’ll be set. There’s a good amount of videos on YouTube showing the minute differences between shooting 556 through a 556 can and a 30 can…or 9 through a 45.
      Rimfire’s so dirty you’ll want to avoid shooting through a center-fire can…it can make it really hard to disassemble.

      • Yep, lots of good options for a do it all can: Griffin optimus (.30/9mm/22), silco Omega (.45 up to 45-70 govt), gemtech one, etc

        I like the Rugged Surge for 7.62 and 5.56, you can run it long or short. Their obsidian 45/40/9mm/etc can is also pretty snazzy looking. And they have smaller caliber end caps as well.

        Larger caliber cans do work pretty well for the smaller calibers, they just tend to have extra volume (good thing) but potentially more length and weight than a dedicated can. And I agree, a good 22, 762 rifle can and modular 45 pistol can covers most of what you need.

    • Yes.
      1. Watch out for thread size/pitch.
      2. Caliber and pressure are two different things. My .45ACP can will not handle my .458SOCOM, even though the diameter is .470.
      3. The larger caliber can on a smaller caliber firearms will be louder than the “appropriate” smaller caliber. Some designs are better than others at handling smaller calibers with larger caliber suppressors. My AAC cans truly suck at this, the 6.8SPC being much louder through the .30 cal can than the 6.8SPC can.

    • Yep. Bought a Silencerco Omega for that very reason. Will handle everything from .300 win mag down, though I bought it primarily for my blackout build with part time duty on my AR10. May put it on a 5.56 on rare occasions.

      Check out the silencerco Hybrid. Can handle anything .45 and below. As in .45-70 or .458 socom all the way down to pistol use. Best do-it all silencer that I’m currently aware of.

    • I did this exact thing: an AAC 45acp pistol can, a .30cal ThunderBeast rifle can, and a SilencerCo rimfire can (.22Mag rated). With a series of thread adapters I can suppress anything up to .300WinMag.

      Lessons learned:
      Invest in a company that offers a slew of pets commonality. SilencerCo and TBAC are good examples. AAC discontinued the Evo45 shortly after I sent in my Fm4 and now I’m left scrapping to find extra pistons for various thread pitches. The TiRant 45 (Evo45 replacement) pistons are not reverse compatible.

      Rimfire and pistol cans: definitely get a user-serviceable can. Said Evo is a bitch to clean, though it’s much easier now with an ultrasonic cleaner. The Evo was my “rimfire” can until I got the actual rimfire can, and it’s a sealed can.

      Rifle cans: go titanium or something lightweight. An all steel can at the end of a 16-20″ barrel is unwieldy at best.

    • I would highly recommend the SilencerCo Hybrid .46 for its near universal utility. I have it, a Yankee Hill, and a SiCo Omega. The Hybrid is AT LEAST as quiet, even with 223s, as the other cans. I have plans for a 45-70 and/or 458 and/or 338 Lapua (yes it’s rated for it).

  7. So any word on when the titanium version of the Q El Camino will drop?

    I want to put one on my Ruger Mark IV . . . . Oh, wait. : (

    But seriously, I did my first post-41F purchase a couple of months ago, and thanks to the Silencer Shop fingerprint kiosk it wasn’t too bad. OK, the shop with the kiosk was about 30 miles away, but I just turned it into an outing to a nearby dinosaur museum (Dad FTW).

    Also, instead of sending the CLEO notice to my local Chief, they send it to some state office that couldn’t care less. Which is great, since I don’t want to scare my local chief too much.

  8. If they staffed up to handle the huge influx of paperwork, what makes you think they’ll keep those people on the job once the workload diminishes? The whole point of the NFA structure is to discourage the purchase of NFA items. The $200 tax was supposed to do that more or less by itself, and for years that was enough ($200 in 1935 is equal to $3500 today). Since inflation has made the tax far less of a burden, the only lever of control left is long wait times. Why would they give that up? Seems to me that a far more likely scenario is that layoffs at the NFA branch are coming soon.

    • No federal agency ever wants to give up headcount. That, and budget, is how power is measured in the agencies. We need to ensure that, until the HPA gets passed, that this department is appropriately staffed with appropriate training to get these items through as fast as possible. Budget hearings are going on right now. Call your congresscritter.

    • Trump. They would want to make the ATF as harmless as possible for the next four/eight years so that there is less political drive to neuter them. That’s what that leaked memo was all about.

  9. My thoughts are that the $200 rebate is never going to survive the process and that even if this Congress passes the HPA, you’d get your item before it goes into effect if you ordered today. That’s a reason not to buy and a reason to buy today. That’s not considering all the other factors such as getting a trust, sales and rebates, whatever the economics of removing the regulation will do.

    • If HPA passes, there will be immediate scarcity, followed by some “surge pricing”. A few years down the road, there will be a ton of much cheaper and probably better silencers on the market.

      IF the final law does include a rebate on the stamp tax cost, it won’t go back very far at all.

      • I basically agree with your economic analysis, but it lacks specifics such as when the shortage would end and how much value per dollar would increase. I couldn’t even guess. I doubt there will be better silencers that would be much cheaper. I do think there will be a ton of cheap, effective, “disposable” silencers. I think top of the line silencers will be significantly cheaper than they are now, but I don’t think they will be greatly cheaper. I think the pace of innovation will increase, but by how much, I couldn’t guess.

        The current language on the tax is “In the case of the tax imposed by section 5811 of such Code, the amendment made by this section shall apply with respect to transfers after October 22, 2015.”

  10. “you’ll most likely get your $200 tax fee back as a tax credit” I highly doubt this will happen if/when the HPA goes through.

    • A desperate one? The backlog is 11 months and has been increasing every month this year, (I know, I’ve been checking), and now is the time to buy? 9 months are going to drop off the wait times? When, exactly? Silencer shop sent two million forms in on 7/13 last year (mine was one of them, even though I paid for it june 8th). GMAB. Ill consider another silencer if the wait times drop to 4 months, but I do not expect to see that for a year, at least.

  11. I just got a CZ Scorpion Evo pistol with Sig brace for Father’s Day !
    I plan to make it a 2 form gun
    A form 1 to make it a factory folding stock short barreled rifle with a vertical fore grip
    And a form 4 to buy a silencer for it

  12. The same thing was said last year and I’m still waiting for the slower-than-snot BATFE to process my form-4 after fourteen freaking months.
    So, no… gonna have to call b.s. on the whole “NFA Paperwork Processing Time Set to Drop – Buy Now!”

    Not buying anything else that requires the $200 extortion stamp until the bureau of booze, cancer-sticks, pew-pews & bheg baadabooms is done and gone and buried.

  13. The same thing was said last year and I’m still waiting for the slower-than-snot BATFE to process my form-4 after fourteen freaking months.
    So, no… gonna have to call b.s. on the whole “NFA Paperwork Processing Time Set to Drop – Buy Now!”

    Not buying anything else that requires the $200 extortion stamp until the bureau of booze, cancer-sticks, pew-pews & bheg baadabooms is done and gone and buried.

  14. The NFA is so fing stupid. The only thing that makes any sense is the machine gun registry.* Everything else is counter-intuitive. There is no point to banning concealable weapons when handguns are legal. There is no point to prohibit silencers except for maybe poaching.

    *I don’t think it makes sense at the end of the day. I think it is unconstitutional. I just think a rational argument can be made for it. I don’t think a rational argument can be made in favor of the short barrel ban.

    • It didn’t pass with the handgun ban included.
      As originally written, it was more onerous but perhaps more sensible.

      • Yeah.That the proposed legislation made some sense doesn’t justify nearly one hundred years of stupid legislation that doesn’t really make any.

  15. “If the Hearing Protection Act passes, you’ll most likely get your $200 tax fee back as a tax credit.”

    The Republicans couldn’t pass gas at this point. It’s sad how they have had these bills sitting around collecting dust for a few years, ready to blow off and ram through congress, and now they are…sitting around collecting dust.

  16. I jumped through the hoops for my can. I will be waiting tell HPA passes for further buying. Although I’m not optimistic about it happening soon. AAC SDN-6 works well. I really don’t see a downside other than added weight for a can. Further more I don’t understand why they are on the NFA.

  17. “I don’t see a downside for purchasing a silencer at this point in time.”

    Try having to move out of state during an 11 month wait for the form 4 to clear and you’ll see the downside. Since 41F I have seen multiple people run in to this issue.

  18. I’m in the market for a rimfire can right now, but everything out there is 1″ diameter.

    I’m planning on using it on rifles and a S&W 422, so I can go fat without worrying about the sights.

    Any guidance on good fatty rimfire cans, preferably under $200?

    • Believe the latest issue of Guns magazine had a review of 4 brands/models of 22 rimfire suppressors. Though 3 of the 4 were close in overall ratings re: db reduction, the Silencerco Sparrow was rated the #1 suppressor (significant point was the accuracy it afforded; no need to re-zero if removed and remounted; also a tight group was a highlighted factor).

  19. ATF took forever approving suppressor forms, long before 41F. I started a trust and bought a number of suppressors, although the wait time and extortion tax galled me over the years. 41F and it’s Orwellian data collection has put me off any further suppressor purchases, even though I would love to have one or two more for my hunting rifles. Taking my wife and daughters down to the local Sheriff for prints and photos like they are doing the perp walk is something only a dictatorship would be comfortable with.

    It would be nice to have the same freedom as other countries have when it comes to purchasing a health and safety device. The whole NFA thing is counter to the Bill of Rights anyway, but that is what we have to deal with.

    So, until HPA passes, I’ll keep what I have and forego any further suppressor purchases. That’s not good for American industry, but the Democrats don’t care about that. You only get to have,and to keep what you have, “if it pleases the Crown.” Fingers crossed for HPA and further draining of the swamp, but I won’t be holding my breath.

  20. I’ve been waiting almost 13 months for approval of Form 4 Trust. I called again yesterday. There is “no problem” but it is still Pending. Why so darn long on a simple $200. tax stamp approval?

  21. I have a trust for my guns. The SBR was submitted before 41F, but approved after 41F. To add it to my trust, do I have to get everyone fingerprinted etcc etc?

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