ATI’s Fake Suppressor deemed illegal by BATFE

This is not going to make customers happy …

If you purchased a GSG 5 SD model with a barrel shroud (Fake Suppressor) ATF has now determined that this is regulated by the NFA and must be replaced.
To all retail customers:

On January 2010 American Tactical Imports Inc received official notification from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and explosives that the original barrel shroud (aka: fake suppressor) supplied with your GSG 5 SD model must be replaced. It has been determined that this shroud is regulated under the National Firearms Act. American Tactical will provide a replacement shroud at no charge for each GSG 5 SD model sold or currently in inventory.

More info at Gun Trust Lawyer.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Julio

    Not good news, but none of the reports seem to identify the specific grounds for the BATFE’s pronouncement. What’s different about the fake mod on the SD version that requires a recall when the standard version is OK?

  • It’s just a really fat barrel! Why the hell is that illegal? land of the free, my ass!

  • Matt Groom

    You have GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!!

  • Bryan S.

    I wonder if they did a sound test on it. By the BATFE (XYZ568) standards, a reduction of 1dB is cause to be called a supressor. 1dB is easy to acheive, by moving the meter involved, or by a bad calibration.

    Have to love when a tax agency can tell a company that their product is illegal, when it meets all the standards at time of manufacture.

  • Slim934

    Does this really surprise anyone? The ATF has been delegated by congress to set essentially any rules that it wants in this area. This is the natural outcome of creating a federal agency (an unconstitutional one I may add) that has the power to set the laws as it sees fit. In fact, this is the natural outcome of giving any one agency the monopoly of force, and then giving it the right to also act as the final decision maker for what its rules are.

    It’s a shame the states will never actually have the balls the nullify any of these moronic and illiberal laws.

  • thomas

    what the heck? I think the guys at the ATF are getting paid too much. Or, they are trying really hard to justify their existence.

  • B Woodman

    Go to Sipsey Street Irregulars, read & click on the links, and follow the ongoing discussion.
    Spoiler alert: The BATFEces wants things done, but hasn’t issued official written orders, especially in light of how to ship said “suppressors” legally & without making a normal citizen a criminal.

  • zach

    What the fuck for?!?! And how will the replacement shroud be any different?

  • Bandito762

    Come on guys, this is just “common sense” gun control… oh wait this makes no sense.

  • Jim


  • I also would like to know the reasoning behind the decision. I understand the BATF doesn’t like suppressors, but according to the story, the item disallowed is NOT a suppressor (if I understand the meaning of the word “fake”). I wonder what language in the law gives the BATF authority over things that are NOT suppressors. (If you really want to worry, suppressors and things that are not suppressors pretty much covers everything in the world.)

  • dogon1013

    I don’t have one but perhaps it is hollow under that fake suppressor. This would allow someone to simply drill some holes in the barrel and you now have a suppressed GSG.

    Just a theory, don’t know if it is true, or if it would even work. But I could see the ATF makeing a stink about that.

    • dogon1013, good point!

  • David

    Perhaps it can be removed too easily?

  • Destroyer

    no limit to the stupidity of the BATFE. Nobody should be surprised.

  • Maigo

    The only justification I can see is that it can be concealing an unregistered SBR. I call shenanigans on that because you’ve still got that can sticking out front.
    What about the PS-90 fake suppressors?
    What if you build a 7″ AR15 and put rifle/mid length freefloat on it?

  • Matthew

    I just wish the BATFE would go away…

  • JKEverett

    This doesn’t make any sense to me. There’s no reason to regulate something that looks like a suppressor when it doesn’t do anything of the sort (frankly, there aren’t any good reasons to regulate suppressors, generally, either).

    Ridiculous case of “there oughtta be a law” syndrome.

  • Will W

    When the government does random bits of illegal “enforcement”, I’m sorry but the first thought that pops into my mind is people should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

  • Ian J

    At least ATI is stepping up and offering a solution. I’ve been very impressed with their response to the various problems with the GSG line.

  • CMathews

    I think they are just flexing their muscles, albeit in an absurd manner.

  • NP123

    Why does a fake can violate the NFA? I can’t find any reason why it is illigal, just that they say it violates the act.

  • Other Steve

    Is the barrel on this gun less than 16″ but uses a fixed shroud for the legal length? If so, this is an SBR issue and not a silencer issue…

    That is if the actual barrel is less than 16″, I don’t think the ATF is pissed about a sound reduction of the GSG5-SD’s shroud rather that I would speculate that it’s too easily removed which would violate the 16″ barrel law…

    But, looking at the photo it does appear that the silver tip is the actual barrel. This could be a whole can of worms I bet not even the ATF wants to get into.

  • Unreal. This is a level of absurdity heretofore reserved for the Circus.

  • We’ll be awaiting an official notice from the ATF and their instructions as to how to proceed. *IF* the ATF has decided that the barrel shrouds are NFA regulated suppressor parts not only is it illegal to possess them it is illegal to ship them, receive them or transfer the possession of them in any way without transfer paperwork and you can’t do the paperwork because they aren’t in the NFA registry in the first place. The ATF either has to establish a grace period during which these items are NOT yet considered Title II items and can be transferred without paperwork or they need to issue every owner a Form 4 at no cost like was done when the Striker shotguns were ruled to be destructive devices.

    ATI has stated they want customers to remove the shrouds and take them to the dealer, then they want the dealer to send them in…if they are now Title II items each of those actions is a felony. Until the ATF issues a formal notice, we can only assume that since these firearms were imported under an approval from the ATF and sold legally no action needs to be taken.

    • Gregory, interesting. I will try to find out more info.

  • Col.

    We as Americans Should Fire The ATF . The Girl Scouts Would Do a Better Job . Soon We Will Not Have Guns , Maybe beanie Flips ? But I’m Sure The ATF Will Find Something Wrong With It Also .>>>>>>> What a Bunch Of Bull Shit .

    Best Regards

    Col. (Ret)

  • Lance

    Why is it illeagle??? it dosnt silence sound or makes the bullet more leathel. Find out more on this STeve i want to know why?

  • btr

    The GSG people claim they tested it, and it does not decrease the noise level.

    Maybe the BATFE think if you drill holes in the barrel, it would make the fake suppressor function?

    Really stupid.

  • Stu C.

    The BATFE is at it again. I would really love to know how this is in any way an NFA weapon. Who makes these decisions ??

  • Overload in CO

    I wonder what the replacement shroud will look like? And why will it be legal?

  • JoeyB

    What Julio said!


  • Matt H

    Anyone know WHY this illegal now?

  • john

    isn’t this because they submitted the solid shroud for testing, but is shipping a hollow shroud, and porting the barrel could make this work to reduce noise ?

  • Tom C

    Gregory made an excellant point. IF the ATFE considers these suppressor or suppressor parts, there is no way a dealer without a class 3 can legally send them in. Also, I bought mine from an individual in a private sale, what am I supposed to do?????

    • Tom, have contacted ATI and am getting more info.

  • Squidpuppy

    A friend of mine, who bought his GSG5-SD at the same time as me, sent me this information. He got it from…

    This is how the BATF re-classified the fake can as a NFA item:
    “As you are aware, the GCA, 18 USC $ 921 (a) (24), defines ‘firearm
    silencer’ as follows:

    “….any device for silencing, muffling or diminishing the report of a
    portable firearm, including any combination of parts, designed or
    redesigned, and intended for use in assembling or fabricating a
    firearm silencer or firearm muffler, and any part intended only for
    use in such assembly or fabrication.”

    General characteristics of known firearm silencers include:
    1 Ported inner tube (bleed holes)
    2 Expansion chambers
    3 Baffles or washers which create seperate expansion chambers
    4 sound dampening material such as foam, steel wool and other materials
    5 End Caps
    6 Encapsulators

    The previously submitted GSG-5SD barrel shroud incorporates a large
    expansion chamber and integral end caps and, therefore, was classified
    as a firearm silencer.”

    I contacted GSG directly (they’re very nice folks), and they confirmed the issue; they also confirmed that they’re working with ATI on a remedy.

  • jdun1911


    The ATF don’t hate suppressors. In fact they love them. What not to love when you can blackmail, I mean collect a $200 tax stamp for each one sold. The work only take a few minutes (but somehow it drag to 2 to 6 months of work) and the stamp itself cost less than .25 cents.

    Spike selling fake cans simlar to ATI.

  • So far nothing has appeared on the ATI webpage or the ATF webpage and I’m pretty much uninterested in info from anywhere else. If it isn’t official, it isn’t official.

    GCA, 18 USC $ 921 (a) (24), defines ‘firearm silencer’ as follows:

    “….any device for silencing, muffling or diminishing the report of a portable firearm, including any combination of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for use in assembling or fabricating a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, and any part intended only for use in such assembly or fabrication.”

    The problem with ATF’s stance is the “intended ONLY for use in such assembly or fabrication” (emphasis mine) part but it’s likely more expensive to try to fight than it is to modify the shroud with another internal tube which is only slightly larger than the barrel so that ATF cannot say it is an “expansion chamber” and replace all 13,000. Sad but true, we end up with another erroneous and abusive ATF ruling which becomes stare decisis for future decisions not because it was a good decision but because the cost to litigate was more than the cost to replace.

    Keeping an eye on:

    • Gregory, true.

      The thing is any hollow tube could be considered a suppressor. I mean just take a look at a coke bottle.

  • CUrob

    Ok, so this is total BS…

    but how have they not attacked the other “compensators” and “tactical trainers” out there?

    Sig sells one for the MOSQUITO?

    Tactical Innovations?

    What’s the difference?

  • @Tom C – even a Class III dealer cannot legally possess them or ship them in. Unless you have a transfer (5320.3 or 5320.4) or a manufacturing form (5320.1 or 5320.2) which states that it is a Title II item and is approved by the ATF, a Title II item cannot be possessed or transferred legally. The ATF either needs to provide a grace period during which these are not considered suppressor parts or they need to allow owners to register their SD as a Title II firearm for free (this was done with the Striker shotgun when it was declared a destructive device.)

  • This is almost as bad as declaring shoestrings to be machineguns.

    Makes even less sense than saying pistol owners can’t make the change from pistol to rifle, and then back again without registering the firearm as a short barreled rifle, and that’s friggen ridiculous.

    Without getting too political, the BATFE is long past due for a rein pulling.

  • Ok, as ATI’s importer and lead CSR I am stuck right in the thick of this whole mess, so I figured I’d throw in here too as I really should have started participating in this awesome blog a long time ago.

    First and fore most, those of you waiting for ATF to release an official notice regarding the shroud recall will be sorely dissappointed. The last sit down we had with them going over the recall, I specifically asked them explaining that many people are hesitant to a) believe it or b) ship their shrouds back to us with out an official ATF notice (preferably on ATF stationary.) The agents up from the Buffalo office said that we should not ever expect to see that document.

    Secondly, there is currently an open amnesty on the SD shroud for the recall per ATF (verbally, ugh). Right now you can send us your original SD shroud via UPS, Fed Ex, US Mail, Carrier pidgeon, pony express or drive it over and hand it to me, it’s just a chunk of aluminum still. Once ATF announces the end of the amnesty period (I assume verbally as well, who knows anymore) THEN you will be in pocession of an unregistered NFA silencer. To make matters more pressed I assume, we have to document every serial associated with each returned shroud, so once the amnesty end hits, ATF will have a nice, pretty and organized list of all unswapped serials. The have not told us what they will do with it.

    Third; The replacement shroud looks identicle to the original. The change is internal. The originally approved shroud is hollow. After ATF had us resend them the gun in November last year (reasons unknown to us at the time) they deemed the hollow fake shroud constituted an expansion chamber thus falling under NFA regs.

    Finally; This is a total mess. But, we have imported a little over half of the replacement shrouds against the total number of SDs imported between april and october of last year. Thus far we’ve replaced about 7% of shrouds in the country, so we’re going to be at this for a while it seems.

    • Chris, thanks for your comments.

    • Hannibal

      I wanted to buy this gun from a local pawn shop. before I do, how can I tell if this change has already been made to the gun in the pawn shop without disassembly?

  • Pissed Off American

    The only thing I am giving the BATFE is a bullet in their brain.



  • GOSMERon 09 Sep 2010 at 1:05 pm link comment

    Call us back at 800-290-0065 or email to Please be aware though that next week, week of Sept 12 thru 18th, I, my sales manager and my CSR are all travelling to overlapping shows. We just don’t have the bodies. Have you sent in your shroud? We have full instructions on our home page as well, just scroll down to the recall notice and follow the instructions.
    Actually too, unless you are unsure if your shroud is applicable to the recall, I’m not too sure what you need to contact us about as all the available info is out there and you are obviously aware.
    We have a serial trace in a link on our home page, you plug in your serial and it tells you what to do.

    Since this recall was kicked off in February, we have received back 53.4% of the total amount of shrouds imported.

    If you have a new GSG-522 model of any design, your shroud is not part of the recall.

  • jaquebauer

    What is the Gestapo afraid of–some 16 year old using the tube to build a real supressor ? I guess its only a matter of time before liter size pop bottles become NFA items, or small engine mufflers, or spin on oil filters, or pop up sprinkler heads. When will the insanity end?–When all firearms and anything that attaches to one is banned, confiscated, or licensed. The Police State is here my friends. The crawl began long ago, but Obama took it to the max.