Suppressors for Safety PSA (VIDEO)

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Did you know that civilians can own suppressors, also known as silencers, in 41 U.S. states? Thanks to the efforts of the American Suppressor Association and its industry partners over the past few years, we’ve seen more states adopt legislation legalizing civilian ownership of silencers. Suppressors for safety has been a core talking point.

In this PSA sponsored by SureFire, I was invited to the SureFire Institute where I hosted a PSA with Mitchell McAlister (Australian Special Forces) and Jason Davis (Arcadia Police Department) to promote the civilian, military, and law enforcement use of suppressors as safety devices.

If you’re interested in learning more about civilian suppressor ownership, check out the PSA below as well as the American Suppressor Association and its members.

Here’s the full PSA video:



Chris Cheng

Chris Cheng is History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 champion and author of “Shoot to Win,” a book for beginning shooters. A self-taught amateur turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career.

He is a professional marksman for Bass Pro Shops who shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community. He resides in San Francisco, CA and works in Silicon Valley.

www.TopShotChris.com.


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  • Pmdata

    It’s time for suppressors to be non-NFA items. The fact that they are considered firearms still *baffles* me (see what I did there). It’s a threaded tube with holes for crying out loud.

    Suppressors should be over the counter items for anyone who wants to help preserve their hearing or be respectful to their neighbors where they shoot.

    Suppressors make our sport much more enjoyable.

    • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

      The only issue I have with this is that if they are dropped from the NFA and no longer considered firearms, they may start getting banned as they are no longer seen as protected by the 2A.

      What I would like to see is that they simply get dropped from Title 2 to Title 1, which will still open up their availability to WAY MORE people, and then we can fight for them in states like CA where they are outlawed as protected by the 2A.

      • milesfortis

        Possible, but not as likely these days as in the last few years, several states have repealed their ‘silencer’ bans and simply require possession in accordance with federal law.
        And since all arms and their accoutrements, not just firearms, are ‘arms’ and the 2ndA states ‘arms’ and not just ‘firearms’, I don’t think the attempt would go very far.
        However, I can accept them simply being removed from the purview of the NFA….for a start.

      • Tom Currie

        The “protected by the 2A” argument simply won’t fly for suppressors. If that argument were valid then there would be no bans on machine guns and short barreled rifles, both of which fit the test as “military-type weapons appropriate for use in an organized militia” as described in United States v. Miller

        • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

          Tom, if you look into the history of the NFA, they originally wanted to ban machineguns outright however it was felt that the 2nd amendment wouldn’t allow for that so instead they “settled” upon a tax (which was unobtainable for most people at the time) instead.

          History is going to show that machineguns and short barreled rifles ARE protected by the 2nd amendment. You just need to realize we don’t even HAVE a fully fleshed out 2nd amendment yet. Heller was only decided in 2011 and the legal landscape hasn’t been fully navigated since then.

  • USMC03Vet

    The additional fees, paperwork, and delayed approval discourage me enough to even consider it. Continously dropping hundreds of dollars over time for a chance months away to actual get and be able to use said thing while begging daddy govt just is not very appealing to me at all.

    • Pmdata

      Think of it this way: by not buying a suppressor, you are allowing your rights to be hindered more than if you just started the process and waited.

      Buy a 22lr or 9mm suppressor, file the paperwork, pay your tax and forget about it.

      The NFA was meant to be a barrier to entry and an indirect ban. By not playing the game, you let the ban happen.

    • BillC

      Yeah, I had that mentality too, put then I pulled my head out of my ass. Yes, I disagree about everything with the NFA.
      Quicken Trust took 5 minutes and free.
      Notary at my bank, 8 minutes and free.
      Suppressor at silencer shop, 10 minutes and $1100. Yes that includes the stupid tax stamp. 4 month wait which passed the time by working.
      SBR time. Did this online 20 minutes before I was going to the airport for international travel. Including paying the stupid tax stamp online with a credit card and scanning the Trust. 3 1/2 month wait which I passed the time by working.

      I don’t agree with the NFA, but saying how difficult it is as an excuse, almost a badge of honor, for not doing it is piss poor. You are playing into and accepting a deterrent. Couple hundred and some months is a low barrier to entry, However there shouldn’t be one, but there is.

      • RICH

        AGREED… NFA gun trusts are the way to go ! I have done 2 sbrs, 3 suppressors a suppressed barrel 10/22 and in the process of a full auto piece of history. More people should take the time to look into an NFA gun trust…. it’s well worth the money. I paid $250 to get mine written up by a local Attorney ! Piece of cake…… !

    • milesfortis

      That’s what the transfer paperwork is for, literally to make it so onerous to own that the majority of people won’t.

      Reading the original congressional hearing records, the intent was to ban them, but the law sharks couldn’t see a way that would pass constitutional muster at the time.

      So, they decided that taxing them under the almost limitless congressional taxing power at, for the time, an unusually high rate and requiring bureaucratic paperwork that could be completed at the government’s leisure was enacted. The effort was also extended to the several states, which can still be seen in the ‘uniform machinegun acts’ that from state to state use almost the exact same wording.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Yeah, but they are freaking cool.
      Just do it, dude.

      • iksnilol

        Also they are practical, suppressed 308s with 18 inch barrels are really nice for hunting. That’s the common rig in Norway.

    • whskee

      I looked at it as an investment on future fun. I enjoy shooting suppressed a whole lot more. Using a trust, my family is covered legally and my stuff gets passed from father to son and hopefully on down too as any other firearm should be passable. I hate the wait, but like Bill says in his comment, just carry on your day to day routine. Keep calm and wait on…

    • Mike Price

      That’s a lot to do with it alright.

    • Mike Price

      On top of the outrageous cost, $600 for $20 worth of machined parts, what do you do when your Chief of Police says he doesn’t think you should own one and doesn’t sign you Form? Go spend $10,000 for a lawyer? Yeah, it’s more of a hassle than it’s worth.

      • whskee

        You forget that clown, and you get the Trust that you should have got in the first place. Eliminate the middleman. The Trust gives you a lot of protections and freedoms you can’t get through the standard process.

      • Cymond

        If you really think they’re charging $600 for $20 of machined parts, then file a Form 1 and make one yourself. Heck, start a company and run the competition into the ground.

        • Mike Price

          I’m retired and busy enough now making and selling Taurus CT9 32 round magazines that nobody makes or sells. I’ve seen several suppressor designs that you could build for around $20. I seen pictures of one made out of flash light body tube and machined 1/2” spacers and some hardware from the hardware store.

          • iksnilol

            Yeah, but the expensive suppressors aren’t made like that. Parker Hale and the improvised suppressors you describe are the silencer equivalent of zip guns.

            Besides, you also have to calculate machining. Time ain’t free.

          • Cymond

            Yeah, cheap suppressors are possible, but that doesn’t mean that commercial suppressors are made the same way. You can make a “shotgun” out of 2 pieces of pipe, an end cap, and a screw. That doesn’t mean it’s comparable to a Benelli.

            As for the not-so-quiet 308 suppressor … yeah, duh. We’re talking about a major supersonic centerfire rifle caliber. In some cases, a 308 may still be over 160db with a suppressor, which is loud enough that you definitely still need hearing protection. If you want something crazy quiet, the new Dead Air Mask-22 suppressor on a bolt-action is only 2 db louder than dry firing (at the shooter’s ear). It’s quieter than a kid’s bb gun.

          • Mike Price

            Better yet do a integral suppressor. I seen a marlin camp 45 carbine with integral made from turning down the barrel from about 8” in front of the breach out to the end of the barrel. You didn’t hear anything but the bolt closing.

        • Mike Price

          The guy shooting one of those high dollar suppressors on a sig 308 at the range beside me a week ago was not all that quite. It really didn’t do that much. Even with suppressor it was somewhat loud.

    • Mike Price

      Really the ATF should be overhauled or done away with and all these stupid to understand laws cleaned off the slate and start over. Dump the confusing laws that ATF agents really don’t understand themselves.

      • RICH

        The thing too many people overlook is that the ATF tax stamp for NFA items was set in 1934 at $200. IT HASN”T HANGED SINCE ! People whine and complain about it and it will eventually be raised to todays equivilent of what $200 was in 1934…. about $3,500 ! ! Just like people began sending a barrage of questions to ATF about the ‘SIG brace’ being used on the shoulder….. it was ok untill ATF became innundated with way too many questions about it….then it became ‘illegal’ ! ! Just sayin’….. ! !

        • Mike Price

          Not a firearm. Should be on the shelf like any other accessory. It’s a joke that has went on for too long. These guys have watched too many gangster movies with hit men.

        • Mike Price

          Interesting that even with no suppressor somebody could get shot and nobody hears anything. What’s the difference.

        • Mike Price

          If somebody wants to bump somebody off with a silenced gun, they will just make one in a couple hours with some stuff from the hardware store. It’s back to just putting burden on the gun owner and that is all it is. In the meantime the government will just keep paying for more hearing aids for the elderly.

  • Phillip Cooper

    Totally agree suppressors should be OTC, unregulated. It’s a freaking pipe FCS…

    However, since they are- what are the legalities of buying a suppressor. I know that CLEO has to sign off, you pay your $200 and send it off to Big Daddy Gov and wait for permission, then pick up the item.

    Are they bound to a specific firearm? Can I, for instance, order a .45 suppressor and run it on every damn 45 I own, or 5.56, etc?

    • BillC

      I wouldn’t put a pistol can on a rifle, rifles have much higher pressures. Some 9mm cans can take the pressure of 300blackout SUBSONIC. I just got a Sikencerco Omega and I run it on every damn rifle I own except for .22lr. 22 is very dirty and it must be used on supprssors designed to be thoroughly cleaned, most cans for centerfires really don’t have to be cleaned. If you get a .45 can, it can be run on pretty much any pistol.

    • David

      Legally, you may put the suppress or any firearm. Practically though, only on firearms of the proper caliber, and sometimes barrel length, as suppressors often have limitations on how short of a barrel you can use.

    • BillC

      Also, if you can do a Trust, do it that way. You can put yourself and others on it, dont need fingerprints and a CLEO signature, and their are mechanisms for transefer of ownership in the event of your death; unlike an individually owned NFA stamp. People will over think Trusts, pay lawyers hundreds to thousands. Just do Silencerco or Silencer Shop’s online trust for like just over $100 if you don’t feel comfortable doing Quicken’s $5 Revocable Living Will Trust. Just make are you give your Trust a short, easy name.

    • iksnilol

      Too short barrel and the suppressor will erode or blow up(and won’t be covered by warranty if the barrel is too short).

      Using an overbore suppressor (IE 308 suppressor on 5.56) will result in a bit less sound reduction. Doing the opposite will obviously resut in a ruined silencer. Still, be wary, because you could theoretically put a 9mm suppressor on a 5.56 rifle but that sucker would blow up due to too high pressure.

      It’s best to just ask the manufacturer what’s okay. I believe there’s .22 LR cans that are even rated for 5.7×28.

    • whskee

      So, buyer beware applies and research is your friend. You need to look at your needs and think ahead. A trust saves a lot of trouble and affords you extra legal protection, and also eliminates a lot of the CLEO process such as sign off and photo/fingerprints. I would NOT get a NFA item without a trust. The trust affords you extra protections and freedoms you should have in the first place. If you don’t get a trust and change your mind later, it counts as a transfer to move your existing item into the trust and you’ll need new tax stamps/$200 per item + wait time.

      I strongly prefer modular/adaptable systems because I can get more usage out of that purchase. Look for the caliber ratings. Some .45 cans are capable of running .300 blackout in subsonic ONLY. A full power rifle cartridge will damage most pistol cans. Many rifle cans are multi-cal rated, so you purchase a 7.62mm can and can put 5.56mm through it for example. But yes, you can move your can to whatever other host you please so long as it is within rating for that host.

      My multi-cal rimfire gets run on several different weapons, from pistols to rifles. It’s user-serviceable so I can maintain it easily. I look for modularity(multi-cal), serviceability, mounting options, and sound reduction as my primary points. There are some cans out there that can run virtually anything through them, but they make some sacrifice I don’t want to accept. I like a lot of SilencerCo’s offerings, they seem to get it that we aren’t all rolling in cash and you can get a lot of mileage out of their offerings..

  • Phil Hsueh

    Arcadia PD, as in Arcadia, CA? If so, it’s pretty interesting that you got a CA cop for your PSA, too bad the idiots up north running the state won’t listen and let us at least go through the hoops that others have to to get NFA items.

  • Mike Price

    I fully agree. In this age of noise pollution all firearms and owners should be able to buy suppressors without the hassle and tax. It reduces shooting hearing damage. I shot guns all the time when I was a teenager without hearing protection. Never gave it a though or just didn’t bother with it much. Now have 20% hearing loss. It would sure make shooting a gun more fun for everybody with out the jarring noise of somebody’s hi power going off. In several other countries like France, no permit is even needed for suppressor.

    • iksnilol

      Yep, it’s nice living in one of those countries (Norway in my case). Package deals that include a rifle with a mounted scope and shortened barrel with suppressor are common. I’ve been considering one myself if I can’t build the Mauser I want for cheaper.

      • Mike Price

        Yeah and we are suppose to have all this “freedom” over here. Trying to scare everybody on guns here now and ban them.

        • iksnilol

          Same thing in Norway. After the Utøya massacre they wanted to ban all semi-autos and to regulate how much ammo you can have. Currently you can have 10000 rounds + 5000 rimfire without alerting the fire department.

      • Mike Price

        I owned a Sonics suppressor at one time. Long ago. Back is filled with rifle pellets and front is made of one long piece of aluminum round bar with a machined wide spiral groove down it the whole length. Simple to make and it worked very good. You would need a lath. They were selling them as parts kits back in the 80’s for about $59 until the ban on them. Todays price would be $100. Far from the $700-$800 they want today.

  • Southpaw89

    Promoting suppressors as PPE (personal protective equipment) seems like a good tactic to take, while most people think of PPE as something that the user wears, like ear muffs, safety glasses or gloves, it is very common to see it on the device being used, such as blade guards on power tools, or better yet, a muffler on a car. Another good argument that hasn’t been very successful on its own, but may serve a supporting role, is that many nations with much stricter gun laws consider the use of suppressors to be good manners, as you are less likely to disturb those around you. And having seen deer only trot a short distance after hearing the shot from an unsuppressed hunting rifle I would say that there is little cause to argue that one would give a hunter an unfair advantage. I hope this campaign not only succeeds in getting suppressors legalized in more states, but also succeeds in proving to Washington that they don’t need to be so severely regulated.

    • iksnilol

      The PPE argument is a real and strong one. Because while I have no problem wearing ear pro doesn’t mean that somebody who is unaware of what I am doing won’t wander by. Imagine you are shooting and a hiker or something passes by, if you didn’t notice them you will have damaged their ears.

  • RICH

    Great and informative video Chris. I retired after 30 years in Law Enforcement and can definately attest to the positive aspect of suppressors. As with Mitch I also suffer from tinitus as well as a 10% loss in hearing. Muffs work well on the range but when involved in a ‘live fire’ incident in an enclosed space all it takes is one incident to permanently damage your hearing. The ‘ringing’ that you experiance from tinitus is unimaginable, especially when you are trying to go to sleep or if there is a lack of background noise ! ! I currently own 3 suppressors as well as a Ruger 10/22 with a YHM suppressed barrel…. they are all a pleasure to shoot ! !
    Keep up the good work, Chris…… !

    • iksnilol

      Preach it! I’m not a soldier or anything but I have mild tinnitus from weddings and other various gunfire. I am okay though, can still sleep without a fan on but I can’t handle a quiet library.

  • Tom Currie

    Yes, suppressors ought to be the first part of the NFA to attack via congress (irrespective of attacking the entire NFA in the courts). Suppressors are not firearms. They have very little usefulness for a criminal (and it is easier to suppress the sound of a gunshot with various improvised devices than to walk around with a suppressor on the end of a firearm) and perhaps most importantly, reducing the sound of a gunshot is a SAFETY issue. Hell, if OSHA took an honest look at police and armed security officers, they would all be required to use suppressors because they cannot generally use hearing protection if they have to shoot ‘on the job’.

    Some countries have much stricter limitations on firearms than the US, but strongly encourage the use of suppressors due to the health benefits for shooters and the advantages of reduced noise for the public.