“Suppressor Export Act” of 2016

Suppressor Export Act of 2016

The American Suppressor Association (ASA) is always fighting hard for our rights with everything related to silencers. This past Friday, April 29th they helped get another bill from pen to paper which will help silencer manufacturers in overseas sales.

Currently, US silencer manufacturers cannot sell their product to other countries as a result of a small provision written in 2002. The actual memo is unknown to the public and the ASA has requested the State Department make the information public. So far their request has been ignored.

What the “Suppressor Export Act (SEA),” or H.R. 5135, looks to effectively accomplish is allow for the US to sell silencers to foreign markets. There currently are many countries, foreign militaries, and global law enforcement agencies that view US-made silencers as the best in the world. It’s a market that could be easily tapped into and create more American jobs if there were not roadblocks in the way.

Republican Congressman Chris Stewart of Utah’s 2nd District (R-UT-02) introduced HR 5135 and it immediately received backing from 17 co-sponsors.

The silencer company with the largest market share of the US suppressor industry is actually from Stewart’s home state of Utah. Silencerco may only be 6 years old, but they have quickly cemented themselves as THE silencer company in the US. If the Suppressor Export Act were to pass Silencerco and many others could experience a lot of growth. This is good for the US economy, employment, and many other cascading benefits.

Knox Williams, the president of the ASA, stated:

With no legitimate justification, the State Department is unilaterally preventing American manufacturers from competing in countries like the UK, France, and Norway. While they may be willing to sacrifice domestic manufacturing jobs, we are not. We applaud Representative Stewart and the 17 original cosponsors who have signed on to the Suppressor Export Act for their willingness to stand up to the State Department and let them know that American jobs are worth more than bad policy based on old misconceptions.

A summary of the Suppressor Export Act can be seen HERE.

The outdoors, fitness and anything related to firearms are my passions. I am a S&W Armorer, Glock Armorer, reloader and am coping with an addiction to classic S&W and Colt revolvers (by buying more revolvers). I’ve been a guest writer for Sierra Bullets and love long walks to the gun range.


  • NorwayBM

    Hmmm… Maybe I can get the real deal for my Mark 23…

  • LG

    Secret laws and secret courts. Is this what the Revolutionary War and WW2 fought for?

    • Saxonist Sealclubber

      So Communism could take over half of Europe and influence the rest of the world for nearly 60 years by exporting it’s sick and twisted ideology.

  • Pete M

    Now we need the ‘Suppressor Import Act’ to compliment this one.

    • Audie Bakerson

      Better yet, repeal the NFA entirely.

    • Pod

      Our cans are second to none, sure, but at the same time it’d be cool to get some of the import brands into the US like B&T and Ase Utra without the legal red tape and all that. Right now if a foreign suppressor maker wants to sell in this market, they basically need to set up shop in the US.

      • MechanizedSwede

        I own a couple of ase utra cans, and they are really outstanding, especially with their borelock brakes. Would be nice to have a surefire or silencerco can here in sweden!

        • Pod

          Let’s get some trade going! 🙂

          • MechanizedSwede

            Hahaha sounds like a plan, my bl7 isnt goin anywhere. But the sl5 i might consider 😉

  • Lance

    Won’t pass, we would need a President Trump to sign it into law.

    • NorwayBM

      Stock up on canned food, Trump is coming!

      • livingonenergydrinks

        More like stock up on everything walmart sells, as once his tarrifs go into effect, things at walmart will get expensive.

  • iksnilol

    Best suppressors in the world?

    Eh, way too long to be called that IMO. Though if this passes I am getting a Silencerco Sparrow. :O

    • nova3930

      Get a Sparrow anyway! Or Spectre II. I own the latter and have shot the former and they’re both fantastic.

      • iksnilol

        The Sparrow I’ma get if it becomes legal, it isn’t even too long. Okay, sligtly but considering it is a .22 I can live with 3 cm extra length.

    • PBesand

      Actually, I had seen you post something like this before and just out of curiosity, what country are you in and what’s a typical suppressor size there? Because, frankly, 7-9 inches is a lot to hang off the end of a rifle!

      • iksnilol

        Typical suppressor in Norway extends about 10 cm (4 inches). The “long” muzzle mounted ones extend up to 14-15 cm. The longest I’ve seen is a QD one for 5.56 that has a total length of 19 cm (14.5 past the muzzle).


        • PBesand

          Wow! That is short! And they seem to provide the same amount of sound dampening. Looks like we’re a little behind on design!

          • iksnilol

            Well, we usually put the expansion chamber behind the muzzle, so that saves length. And we don’t mind making cans that are wide (like 5 cm wide).

            Though that might make them less flexible or something. And if I know one thing about US suppressors is that you guys like flexibility. Buy one can and be done with it and all that.

  • gimmer

    How about just making them non-NFA items in the first place?

    • livingonenergydrinks

      Agreed. But of course ear doctors will lobby against that.

    • ProLiberty82

      Yeah it seems a bit ridiculous the amount of hassle involved to get a suppressor in the US, here in Socialist Norway I can walk into a store and buy a crate of suppressors with no paper work or questions asked!

    • LG

      That still would not obviate export restrictions.

  • Ken Rountree

    They wont be able to compete in foreign markets. Too expensive. For example suppressors are completely unrestricted here in New Zealand and they start at under $100 ($US68) for 22 rimfire or under $300 ($US204) for centrefire.

    • Pod

      On the technical front, how do suppressors made in your country stack up against ours? US companies might be able to compete on that, potentially.

      • Denis

        If suppressors were not restricted in the us, they would not be nearly as expensive a company wouldn’t need to make 400 for every suppressor sold to be profitable to maintain business because the demand and competition would be higher

        • Bill

          +1 I would set up the Hi-Point of silencers over night.

    • Jack

      It’s naive to think that pricing structure would remain the same for foreign sales. The technology isn’t any different for NZ as it is in the US. The laws and relatively small market for NFA items in the States keep the prices up. As mentioned in some other comments, how does your $US68 rimfire can stack up to a US competitor? I’d genuinely like to know. I think there would be a huge shift in pricing and availability on cans of they were regulated like “normal” firearms.

    • ProLiberty82

      You have to keep in mind that there are different markets for different grades of suppressors out side the US, here in Europe we have disposable suppressors that last roughly 1000 shots for $80 and then we have Mil-spec ones (B&T etc) for $1000 that will last 50.000 shots of full auto, both are profitable in their respectable markets.

      In the US that $200 tax stamp makes disposable suppressors not as attractive and they tend to lean more to Mil-spec ones only because they last a long time so you don’t have pay another $200 dollar after a short time of use.

      There are plenty of “buy once” types here in Europe so the more expensive US Mil-spec suppressors will do well here as well.

    • micmac80

      Exactly ,as US silencer manufacturers long ago went into dream world and many cost much more than Euro competitiors.

    • Calimero

      In France – where suppressors are still relatively easy to own – we indeed have super cheap 22LR suppressors.
      Goes from 30EUR (incl 20% VAT, when comparing prices you should assume $1 = 1EUR) for cheaper designs (which work surprisingly well) to 100EUR for a nicely machined B&T suppressor.

      When it comes to handgun/subguns and rifle suppressors, things are obviously more expensive.
      You can go ASE UTRA or B&T or local mfgrs. Prices range from 400EUR to 900EUR depending on quality, attachement methods, …

      I think that suppressors in the US a overpriced because of compliance overhead but also because this is an enthusiasts market: people who are willing to pay a $200 tax and wait months to get their paperwork back won’t settle for some cheaper stuff.

      We actually have the same phenomenon here in France, but on guns. Getting a firearms (the fun stuff like handguns, semi-auto rifles …) in France involves some paperwork. And you can only own 12 category B (fun stuff) guns.
      You end up discarding cheap stuff to get mid to high level guns.
      And you end up with the same thing as with suppressors in the US: market is mostly mid-to-high end.

    • A Fascist Corgi

      American suppressor manufacturers are fleecing the hell out of people. Several hundred dollars for a metal tube with baffles? That’s more than an AR-15, an AK-47, a Walther PPQ pistol, et cetera. Don’t try to tell me that it’s harder to make a suppressor than it is to make an entire firearm…

  • Pod

    From what I gather, US companies can export cans if the exportation is to fulfill an authorized military contract. Like if the UK purchases some M4s, they can probably request that the order include the US-built cans that would be paired with them…

    • Ben Pottinger

      So as long as the end destination is to kill people it’s totally OK to sell them overseas? But you can’t sell them to target shooters or hunters. Funny how that works. You have to love how the government thinks.

      • Pod

        Exactly. If the Norwegians want Silencerco cans for their military, no problem. Just the usual bid process from an allied nation and a few months later, there’s crates of Omegas flying off to Oslo. If a gun shop in Oslo wants to sell Silencerco cans to the Norwegian public (remember, cans are unrestricted in Norway) then that shop is SOL.

  • JumpIf NotZero

    fighting hard for our rights

    Um… This is them fighting for THEIR rights, actually.

    • Bill

      Fighting for their pocket books more like it.

    • Dan

      Yep won’t benifit us much, if at all.

  • Greg

    I don’t want to be rude, but what agencies see the American suppressors as the best and for what exact reason? From what I know suppressors are a lot more common in Europe since they’re unregulated (look at pictures from hunting in Scandinavia where almost every gun has a suppressor) and a lot cheaper and considering the quality of European made arms in general I have a hard time believing that they’re that behind in quality/functionality as this article suggests.

    • Bill

      American agencies.

  • ProLiberty82

    FINALLY! I have been looking for a suppressor for my FNX45 Tactical, though there are a lot of sound suppressors to choose from here in Europe the .45 selection is abysmal! The one from B&T only suppress 21db (dry) and is not user serviceable, while the AAC Ti-Rant 45 suppresses 30db (dry, and 40db wet!) and I can take it apart and completely clean it my self, guess which one I’d like to have.

  • Benjamin Goldstein

    Sweet So New Zealanders will be able to walk into a gun shop there and walk out with an American Suppressor soon, no questions asked ….

  • Geoffry K

    This could bring prices down as there is a restricted market for suppressors in the U.S.
    Having to pay a $200 Tax to the Feds and then several hundred to over a thousand for a suppressor is stupid.
    I can’t afford a commercial suppressor so I build my own and give Uncle Sam the $200.

  • Luc Walgraeve

    State Dept ask us that end user (from gvt agency) came at airport to pick up suppressors and put them as consignee but import licence was on our company name ……. they don’t know law in others contries and don’t care if what they ask us is not possible here …….. they are more crazy that our own administration……

  • NorwayBM

    Pretty sure Tronrud Engineering did that first. They have one of the worlds most advanced 3D-printing machine.

  • Ben Pottinger

    Sorry, I’ve fired a B&T 45 acp suppressor and while it’s well made it most certainly isn’t as quiet as the Tirant 45 or the Osprey 45. Both significantly out perform it. I’d say the B&T wet is comparable to those two cans when their dry. I’ve also fired a cheap 70-80$ ASE Ultra 22lr suppressor and it was excellent. I tend to agree that US suppressors are overpriced at the moment. I’d suspect you’d be wrong to think NZ had a bigger market for silencers then the US does though. They may be easier to get but the US market is giant. Some 400,000+ were registered last year and the numbers are apparently 3-4 times that so far this year according to major retailers. Just have a look at the number of US suppressor companies VS the number of NZ suppressor companies. People tend to mention two companies for the entire non-US market, ASE and B&T.

    What you see in the US is regulation driven. Because of the long wait and 200$ tax companies are competing on quality and robustness more then price. If the HPA passes you’ll see a drastic shift in the market as price suddenly becomes a major factor.

    • vladof

      i confirm the fact of “quietness” when you fire them wet, in this case the ti-rant is much more effective, but as i said, much more bulky, it’s not a rocket science about this one, more K-type baffle and a larger diameter, the B&T use the older design “stars” baffle used in the Knight Armament. actually the ASEUTRA dual rimfire (steel) is the best 22lr suppressor i ever shot, freaking heavy but for it’s size it outperform anything i’ve seen before, specially when you shoot them on a CMMG 22lr upper in full auto. Actually the only great market for suppressor export from the US is the 12 bore one, i don’t know any good twelve caliber suppressor here in EU, hushpower in the UK made some but not really effective, in fact i never tried the SALVO 12 in person and i don’t make my impression on youtube video. But anyway, a 600$ msrp suppressor in the us, export, transport, taxes, vendor margin; you can easily get into a 900/1000€ one. SilencerCo suppressor are nice because of there design, if they are imported one day, i will buy an OSPREY for my USP tactical for sure 🙂

      NZ is not the only country, UK, Finland, Norway, Russia, France, Switzerland, Germany …

      • Ben Pottinger

        We must have very different ideas of “bulky”. The tirant is almost exactly *one inch* longer and the same diameter as the b&t impulse IIA (the one I shot) yet is *ten times* quieter! In fact, the tirant has the same or slightly better performance dry that the b&t does wet! But if the length bothers you that much they still have you covered. Just get the tirant 45S, it’s one inch *shorter* than the b&t with almost identical performance. Personally I’d get the 45m and have the best of both. In short config it’s shorter than the b&t and still quieter and in “long” config it’s one inch longer and 20 times quieter (wet) than the b&t is (since decibel is logmerithic).

        The b&t stuff is exceptionally well made, it’s just really old technology. Even with the stupid NFA nuance the US suppressor industry has really pushed the state of suppressor technology forward very quickly. Can you imagine how good American suppressors will be if we ever get rid of the silly restrictions?

        • Vladof

          B&T is very VERY overpriced … and you’re right about the technology (baffle design/stack) he don’t change the baffle design for years now, they always use the same “STARS” type baffle, for all caliber. i have 2 host in 300BLK ready for a good suppressor in my vault, so yeah i want to see some US product on the market here and i’m very curious about the next generation of product. The other side of the opportunity is getting some “collectible” item’s like a Knight suppressor for my MK23 and another one for my M4A1, not for performance (actually the B&T Impuls as the same performance than the knight, same internal design, same baffle stack), just from a collector perspective.

  • Saxonist Sealclubber

    Which means now they have to pay ITAR…. Making it even more difficult for start ups to get into the game.