I figured it would be interesting to document my first suppressor purchase. Although the process seems daunting, it’s not. And while at least one company has a kiosk to simplify things, I chose the old-fashioned way. Although not entirely by choice. My suppressor was ordered direct from the manufacturer, and shipped to my local store, which also has a shooting range. This allowed me the opportunity to visit it while waiting for my stamp. Here’s a breakdown of the process, which took 220 days in total. Note that I’m breaking that down a bit, to separate the time from submitting my paperwork to the day my stamp was received. The days leading up to that include variables that may not apply to other people.
- Day One! Tuesday, July 28, 2020, I reached out to the manufacturer to find out availability and pricing
- They got back to me on the 30th
- I submitted my order on the 31st of July
- On August 3rd, they confirmed my order, and waited for approval to ship it to my chosen FFL
- Then on August 26th, my credit card was charged, and it was cleared for shipping
- I’m not sure which day it actually arrived, but I got to see it in person on Friday, September 4th. The fingerprint/photo guy was on vacation, so I had to return the following week
- September 9th, I got fingerprinted and photographed, and completed all the paperwork. And settled in for a long wait. This is where I suspect the wait would have started for most buyers
- October 2, credit card charged $200? Immediately figure my wife bought me something nice. Nope, ATF took their fee
- March 5, 2021, LGS sends me a text that my stamp is in!
Let’s discuss costs
- Although I got dealer pricing, the MSRP on my chosen suppressor is $465. For a 6 ounce metal tube with some threads and baffles. A 7.8 pound stainless motorcycle muffler that is much larger, contains a lot more material, and certainly took more R&D to produce is easily $100 less. And is a required piece of equipment
- Because I have a good relationship with my FFL, they cut their usual transfer fee in half. It ended up being $53.43, which sounds like a lot, compared to a firearm transfer. But they have to store and insure it while waiting for my stamp. Given that they were responsible for during approximately 184 days, that seems like a bargain. Your FFL may charge more or less
- Fingerprints and photos were another $21.37. This is another variable. I didn’t realize that it wasn’t included in their transfer fee, so it was a bit of a surprise. It was also the least expensive fee in the process, so I’ll roll with it
- The stamp. After waiting 23 days, the BATF was kind enough to charge my credit card $200. That’s the fee attached to a request for permission to purchase a device that can bought over the counter in other countries. Countries that understand it’s more of a piece of safety gear or sporting equipment
What’s that add up to, in time and money?
Start to finish, it was 220 days. And at full retail, the total cost would be over $740, for a .22 suppressor. Despite that wait, it all had to be paid up front. I don’t know what kind of payment plans other retailers might offer but more than likely, you’ll need to pay it all before any paperwork is started. And it looks like if I had purchased one from retail stock, my wait would have been closer to 177 days. Next step? I’m going to put some more rounds through it, and really see how it performs. It will be nice to try it outdoors, and also see if it affects the point of impact on my rifles. Plus I’ve got some different ammo options. So look for a full review down the road.
If you’re considering your first suppressor purchase, I suggest you do it now, rather than later. Yes, the wait seems unbearable. But it’s really not that bad. Especially if you can either buy from a store with a range, or have it transferred via a store with a range. Those visits during the winter, when I wouldn’t have been shooting in the snow anyway, made the wait less of a burden.
Mine came from Tactical Solutions. I’m considering ordering a 9mm suppressor next, and will be looking at Dead Air Silencers as well as SilencerCo, as both are local, and I like to support local companies when I can (see what I did there?).