ATF eForm 4’s Mean More People Buying More Suppressors and Getting Them Much Faster

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You can’t watch a video like the one above from SilencerCo and not want a can. Put a suppressor on a rimfire pistol or rifle and you have endless hours of hearing-safe shooty fun in your future. That’s something pretty much anyone can get behind. What far fewer people are willing to get behind is a nine- to twelve-month wait to get an NFA permission slip from our dear friends at the ATF.

The .gov has been too big, dumb, and wonderfully inefficient over the last 88 years to alter the $200 price of the tax stamp (shhhh…don’t tell them) mandated by the National Firearms Act. Two Benjamins isn’t nothing, but what was prohibitively expensive in 1934 — and intended to be so — is far more fiscally doable in 2022 thanks to inflation. Lots of gun owners can and are willing to jump that hurdle.

What they haven’t been so willing to do, though, is lay out their hard-earned cash for a can and then…wait nine to twelve months for the ATF’s drones to process the paperwork. That’s the reason I’ve never taken the NFA leap. There’s no doubt the same thing has kept tens of thousands (at least) of gun owners from going quiet. The idea of waiting that long to take possession of something you’ve bought and paid for is simply too infuriating.

That’s why plenty of people built their own cans and eForm 1’d them (see Jeremy’s post here). The ATF rolled out electronic Form 1s about three years ago. That meant you could buy a, uh, solvent trap, file your Form 1 electronically, pay your $200 and get approval in a matter of weeks. If you were new to the process, people like SilencerShop made it totally perspiration-free, processing everything for you. You could go from nuthin’ to shooting suppressed in less than a couple of months.

That was all well and good, but lots of people can’t or don’t want to build their own suppressor. That meant they’d have to pay the $200 tax and then wait almost a year. As our friends at Open Source Defense noted last year, that was the real tax…time. The $200 is now almost de minimus. The really painful part was the wait.

But all that began to change in January when the ATF rolled out (once again) electronic Form 4s, bringing processing times way down. The ATF is working toward getting the process as fast as people have seen with electronic From 1s.

From Open Source Defense (back in December). . .

[A] lot more people would be willing to wait a few weeks. That’s the promise of making this electronic. Waits will probably be substantial for the initial flood of applications, but should subside over time. And this is all just a first step. The final stop will be to do away with the NFA registry altogether. But the key to that is normalization, and that means getting silencers into millions of people’s hands. And that is what eForm 4’s are going to help do.

Wait times now run somewhere between 30 to (more often) around 90 days. Our own Jeremy S. (an FFL with an SOT) who keeps tabs on these things says that while most people are getting through the process in about three months, some have seen their approvals turned around in as little as about 30 days already. And averaging thirty days is the goal the ATF says they’re working toward achieving by the end of the year.

What does that mean for suppressor makers? You have to think it means a hell of a lot more people willing to take the leap and finally buy that first can they’ve always wanted. A rimfire suppressor like the SilencerCo Sparrow in the video above is only about $300.

In many cases, that first one will act like a gateway drug. Once you have a can for your .22 pistols and rifles and get used to shooting without ear pro, you’re gonna want a suppressor you can use with your 9mm and your AR. That means more people buying and shooting with more suppressors more often. And when that happens — the more other shooters see them at the range and in the field — the more that cans will be “normalized,” as OSD predicts.

tax stamp detail
Woody for TTAG

No, suppressors shouldn’t be regulated under the NFA. The $200 tax stamp is an idiotic anachronism that has no place in a 21st century world. Yes, “silencers” are nothing more than common sense safety equipment that should be sold over the counter and through the mail, just as they currently are in other far less-gun-friendly nations. But those are points and discussions for another time and another post.

For now, just know that there’s no reason any more for you to wait almost a year for regulatory permission to get your can out of NFA jail. If you file electronically — and why wouldn’t you? — you can now get your suppressor faster, sometimes in just a matter of weeks. That will mean more people buying and shooting with cans. And more people seeing them out in the world and wanting one of their own.

That, as someone named Martha Stewart used to say, is a very good thing.

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45 COMMENTS

  1. No better then I shoot the only enjoyment I get is the boom, adding a hush puppy to my gunm takes away the boom, everyone wants a bigger firecracker.
    I am .9mm hear me roar.

    • No better then I shoot the only enjoyment I get is the boom, adding a hush puppy to my gun takes away the boom, everyone wants a bigger firecracker.
      I am .9mm hear me roar.

  2. Come on Dan…jump in…the hearing’s fine!

    I have a Sparrow…they are great, easy on the ears and easy to disassemble and clean.

    Might be the right time for the SiCo Hybrid 46 I was looking at.

  3. Imagine how good suppressor tech could get if they were finally dropped from the NFA. If they could be sold without extra levels of burdensome regulation the entire industry could flourish.

  4. In an age where I can order something from, quite literally, the other side of the Earth and have it on my doorstep in 7-10 days, how is 30-90 days to process some paperwork ‘fast’?

    Of course, that begs the question as to why it’s even necessary to get a $200 permission slip, and my name on a gov’t registry, for what is unquestionably a safety device, in the first place.
    That, as you said, is another topic for discussion all together though.

    • Not to argue too much, but with current shipping delays, it take FedEx about that long to deliver a crate of cat food for my little varmint, and DHL seems to break all records of slowness – tramp steamers from third world countries deliver more quickly!

  5. Excellent! Now I can get a suppres…

    …oh, nevermind…I live in California. Our Democrat overlords have declared suppressors to be Satan’s tool. Because scary.

  6. Not sure what good its going to do to get a supressor faster. Supressors will be on the next gun stuff target list if the new rules don’t get killed by the courts, and if they don’t it sets precedence for Biden to ban anything he wants and I’m willing to bet its going to be supressors among othe things.

    • Agree – they would have free reign to ban pretty much anything – just redefine it – suppressors, pistol grip shotguns, anything “capable” of being converted to full auto.

  7. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    My first one was in jail for OVER A FUCKING YEAR! And this current one I am going on over 7 months on now.

    I don’t believe for a single second they are going to just process this whole things faster and IF they do, it will come with a newly found tax for that too.

    Personally though, I’m done. I have a couple rifles that will never get a suppressor, my .300 that is built for it and my .22 so I can penny pinch on range time without the need for ear pro. The .300 gets shot maybe once a year. I got what I need and I won’t be asking for any more.

  8. Purchased a Rugged Obsidian 45 from Silencer Shop in March. The $230 below MSRP price combined with a $200 rebate from Rugged (good toward accessories), AND the e-forms system FINALLY functioning properly made it the right time to get one.
    I see the $200 Rugged rebate as covering the tax stamp fee.

    Also, if anyone has filled out a 4473 in the last decade………. SURPRISE, you’re on an ATF list.
    I would bet even ammo purchased by credit card makes a list too.

    The ‘but the list’ dead horse gets dragged out and beaten on (ad-nauseam) in every suppressor discussion.

    I’ve been looking at 7.62×51 (308Win) suppressors, will be buying soon.

    • Surely I’m on all the “look here first” Feebs firearms lists by now. I’d be a little disappointed if I wasn’t.

      • JWT – As long as you’re sucking up a little of their time the rest of us feel a little safer.

        I thank you for your service and your service.

        Klaus

      • 👍
        After I purchased and imported a few handguns from Europe I knew my days of flying under the radar were over.

    • There’s absolutely ZERO proof that anything I filled out a 4473 for is still in my possession.
      If you purchased a silencer and the .gov comes knocking you had BETTER still have it or be prepared to prove their records of ownership are incorrect (good luck!).

      • Incorrect.
        In a properly arranged trust, several people are LEGALLY able to possess the suppressor at any time, and in any legal location.

        Almost every single firearm I own is in a group trust.

        • Can my nephew in California be on a trust for a can I own in Colorado? Not sure where to look for the answer.

        • Cali is not “suppressor friendly”, so I would think not.
          A consultation with an attorney who arranges firearm/NFA restricted item trusts would get you all the details.

  9. I had a form 1 approved today and have a pending form 4, submitted 4/9, so lets see just how long I have to wait.

  10. One of the most important places for a suppressor is on home defense weapons. There are certainly hunting and self defense situations that would benefit. But I can only imagine what it would be like to go to the range and NOT need ear pro. There simply is no rational reason to look at these devices as anything other than a safety accessory. I would even buy something with an integrated suppressor if quality was good enough.

    Granted, that video centered around .22lr but I liked what I saw. It was surprising to see a Calico though. I’ve wanted one of those for a while. They are obviously moving the technology into the right direction.

    It’s the government I don’t trust. Cloud based systems are not trust worthy either. Even though that was my last 4473. Ill be patient with this and watch. With the Dems holding the levers of power, I put nothing past their insanity. These people MUST be defeated if this country is to continue to exist.

    I can only saw this…
    Only a fool would stand in the way of progress.

    • I used to have a Calico for several years. Helical feed mag was one of the worst designs ever. Got rid of it. Be thankful you didn’t waste your money.

    • ‘One of the most important places for a suppressor is on home defense weapons….’

      My thought exactly.
      I just installed a threaded barrel in my PPQ45, then installed Griffin Armament CAM-LOC adapters on the PPQ45 and Mark 23. These are both home defense/bedside firearms.

      Hornady Critical Defense 45acp 220gr +P remains subsonic out of a 6″ barrel, and generates around 530 ft/lbs of muzzle energy.
      This is why 45acp runs circles around 9mm and 10mm when suppressed for defensive situations. Those other calibers can’t touch those energy figures and remain subsonic.

      • It’s among the reasons why 45acp remains so desired by so many. I love 9mm and 10mm but I’m not married to any one caliber and that is part of it.

        • 👍
          I was on the fence about getting in 10mm firearms, then happened upon 45 Super/45 SMC.
          No need for 10mm when you can push a 185gr 45acp projectile up to 750 ft/lbs ME IMHO. Purchased the Mark 23 instead of a 10mm handgun.

  11. I’d love to get a can for my .22, but I just chafe at paying $200 for permission to buy something I ought to be able to buy as easily as a new pair of pants.

      • Applied for the credit around 11pm last night, got an email at 7am showing a $200 store credit at Rugged Store online. 👍 8 hr processing.

        Grabbed a new IFAK, a 9mm end cap for the Obsidian 45 (knocks a few Db off the sound sig vs shooting 9 with the 45 end cap), and a few sets of spare o-rings.

        Thanks Rugged!

  12. The only reason they are going for it is the electronic filing. Once this is normal in the gun community, they will have a start on a ready made data base so they know who has what.
    NFA is not our friend here, they want the whole ball of wax – once they get it, they will be in control.

  13. JWT – As long as you’re sucking up a little of their time the rest of us feel a little safer.

    I thank you for your service and your service.

    Klaus

  14. I E-filed form 4 for a Trash Panda. That was January 18th 2022 when I certified at my LGS. 90 days was April 18th. A call to the ATF told me it was pending but also said the 90 days is “not established”
    So while I did efile, the 90 days didn’t happen. For those that did get it quick, lucky you.

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