These days you can walk into almost any gun store and find silencers in stock. Just a few years ago that wasn’t the case. You needed to order a silencer from a distributor and have it shipped to your local shop, but before the can ever left the distributor’s shelves the ATF had approve the transfer.

These inter-dealer transfers, called “Form 3 transfers,” could sometimes add months to the total time it took from purchase to actual delivery of your legally purchased firearm safety accessory. Now, according to our friends at Silencer Shop, what once took months to accomplish is now being done almost instantaneously.

This is a big deal for Silencer Shop (not to mention lots of other suppressor retailers). Their business model depends on individuals ordering dirt cheap silencers from their online store and having them shipped to participating local dealers.

That was needlessly complicated when it could take a month just to get permission to ship the silencer. It further delayed the customers from starting their own ATF paperwork, getting in line with their Form 4. Now, those same cans will be free to ship to FFL’s instantaneously which should significantly speed up the process.

This is even better news for those who have a “kitchen counter FFL” or are in the business. No longer will you need to wait a few months to play with your new can, now you can get it almost instantly.

Improving the Form 3 process was one of the bullet points that has been on pro-gun folks’ radar for some time now. It was always a no brainer. All the ATF is doing is updating the registry to say that one licensed and properly investigated entity is transferring a regulated item to another properly licensed and investigated entity.

That process should have happened long ago. Does the new administration have anything to do with this improvement? We can’t possibly say. But it’s awfully good to see the ATF finally catching up. And catching on.

26 Responses to ATF Starts Instant Approval of Dealer-to-Dealer NFA Transfers

    • I suspect the comparison is to what you would get at your local brick and mortar store for the same product which, in my experience, is often between $150-$400 more to buy local depending on which can you want.

  1. “Their business model depends on individuals ordering dirt cheap silencers from their online store…”

    They carry those $25 disposable cans from New Zealand?

    Does this mean a silencer dealer can now buy a can from an individual with a registered can with no hassle?

  2. How much faster will this speed up the process of buying a suppressor? All I’ve heard is 4 months from start to finish, what is it going to be now? 2 months? 1 month? A week?

    • Silencer shop currently lists the wait time for a Form 4 approval at around 340 days.

      This speeds up the dealer to dealer transfer so that you don’t have to wait months for the dealer transfer before you can do the Form 4. Previously that time could be months. Last time I did a transfer like that, dealer to dealer, so that I could buy a can the transfer of the silencer from one dealer to another took about 55 days. Once the second dealer had the muffler in their physical possession, only then could I start the Form 4 paperwork to transfer the muffler to me.

    • The word on the street right now is that Form 4 wait times are going to be dropping drastically. They’re through the 41F stuff, finally, and submission volume has been really low since then.

      Considering I finished my Form 4 paperwork on a Liberty Goliath, via Silencer Shop’s Single Shot Trust, today, I suppose I’ll see. Apparently we shouldn’t be shocked if it comes back approved in like 3-ish months. But…we’ll see.

      • Maybe, but I submitted several Form 4’s well after the deadline for 41F (received by ATF Dec 2nd) and according to ATF I will be waiting several more months

        • The ATF was still processing pre-41F applications as of a few weeks ago. Now that they’re through them, it’s expected that approval times will be catching up rapidly as the volume of forms has been so freakin’ low since. This could still mean that applications sent in last August are just getting approved now, but applications sent in last week will be back in 3 months. It’s a weird sort of moving target…

      • Generally speaking I don’t trust the “word on the street’ on this kind of thing. Unless you’re hearing this from a high muckity muck in the ATF I’d take the claim with a very large grain of salt.

        None of my pre-41F silencers took less than 10 months for approval and unless the NFA branch gets about a 200% staffing boost I would expect that kind of time frame to remain.

        At this point I have seen absolutely no movement by the ATF that would suggest to me that they’ve done anything to bring down wait times on NFA items and therefore I don’t expect the wait times to come down significantly in the near future. I expect that as the 41F frenzy gets worked through times will return to normal, which as far as I can tell is nine-13 months.

        • 9-month wait times may have been normal the past few years, with record numbers of NFA applications, but it wasn’t the norm like 13+ years ago. Two or three months was more typical back in, for instance, 2004. It would appear as though suppressor sales have been so slow since 41F went into effect and the possibility of the HPA became a thing that the market expects wait times to mimic the lower sales volume that we used to see back in the early 00’s.

          It’s possible there were more Form 4s filed in the 30 days prior to July 15, 2016 than there have been since. Now that ATF is through all of those, it’s expected they’ll catch up to “current” relatively quickly.

        • Serious question then: When did the rush start?

          I bought my first can in early 2010 and they took 10 months to process that Form 4.

        • Well Josh Waldron, CEO of SilencerCo, pointed out last year in an interview with Dean Weingarten that when he joined the company in 2008 the entire industry was selling about 18,000 silencers a year. In ~May of 2016 SilencerCo alone was selling about 18,000 suppressors every month. It was, by far, the quickest growing segment of the firearms industry during those years, and it had been growing prior to that, too.

          …it sounds like numbers have been way down to pre-2008 levels since July though…

          Anyway, we’ll see! But at the very least I think it’s a good time to buy a suppressor. Prices have never been lower. If HPA passes you’ll allegedly get your $200 back, and if it passes you can expect inventory to DISAPPEAR and prices to skyrocket until supply eventually catches up. If you think a 9-month wait is long now, wait until after HPA passes and wait lists to purchase the suppressor you want are like 18 months long.

  3. “These days you can walk into almost any gun store and find silencers in stock.” Well, maybe where you live but those of us stuck in California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia are SOL.

  4. My understanding is that Silencer Shop (and possibly other distributor) have, for a while, been allowed to run their Form 3 and Form 4 transfers concurrently – so no real time is lost due to the Form 3 – though a year plus is lost due to Form 4. I just got my last can from last June’s madness – a year and 18 days from order to possession.

  5. Repealing aow/sbs/sbr is the next big step after silencer got removed from nfa list and national ccw reception is passed !!

  6. The fact that it took months to authorize a registered FFL dealer to send a suppressor to another registered FFL was a great indicator of how slow and stupid the government is.

    • Indeed. I bought a suppressor in March and it took over 3 months for the transfer to be approved to my in-state FFL

  7. Pay (through the nose) now, play with my ‘new’ can in a year?

    No thanks. I don’t demand instant gratification, but that’s just f—ing stupid.

    And how is it that a can with 22 parts (none of them moving) costs more than a top-shelf German 9mm anyway?

  8. Yes , I have been saving and waiting for the HPA -2017 to pass . As we all know suppressors are
    kind of pricy and this foolish $200 is the killer for me , the FEDS get enough of my money already !!

    Push Congress to pass the HR.367 Hearing Protection Act ……………………………

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