So What Happens if the Hearing Protection Act Passes? – My Opinion

While TFB endeavors to avoid the politics itself, we do deal with the fallout of various political decisions. California’s new “gun control” laws being a perfect example of it, prompting innovation for “features” that previously that did not exist. Another is the Hearing Protection Act, which is having ramifications within the market today, intentional or not.

Today, while the market waits to see if the bill is going to pass, suppressor companies are seeing demand drop significantly. In fact, suppressor giant SilencerCo has announced a series of layoffs due to cratering demand as buyers are looking to potentially avoid the recently enacted 41F rules. As an FFL myself, I’ve seen my suppressor transfer business crater in the last month alone.

If the HPA does not pass, it will largely be a return to business as normal, with likely steady increases in NFA items sales as the ATF works to get down processing times under the new administration and as the demand for suppressors increases.

But… what if the HPA passes?

I see three phases to the post HPA world.

First Phase 1-6 Months

Assuming near immediate implementation of the bill, current suppressor companies are in a prime place to cash in. Demand for suppressors will skyrocket and due to limited production capacities (due to NFA restrictions), availability of cans will be limited relative to demand.  Prices will likely increase over what is seen today as the total value quotient changes without the NFA tax and from high demand. Current OEMs will run lights-out and work to bring on capacity.

Second Phase 6 Months – 3 Years

This is where things start to get interesting. Suppressors, at least basic ones, are very simple and easy to manufacture items. Any shop with a lathe can produce components and produce they will. With demand skyrocketing, your “typical” firearms companies will get in the suppressor game, adding in their capacity to a high-demand market. In the second six months, as new companies and offerings come online, pricing will start to fall and in the second year, it will be a near race to the bottom. Similar to “The Panic” buying from a few years ago, production will catch-up to demand and an excess of inventory will start driving prices down… way down, especially with suppressors being much easier to make than a completed firearm.

Third Phase – 3 Years +

After the prices hit bottom, the market will start choosing its winners and losers. Those without compelling offerings or solid pricing will shrink and potentially go out of business, including well-known brands if they opt to compete by reducing pricing without right-sizing other operations. There will be sufficient capacity and most buyers will see suppressors on the self ready-to-buy at most gun shops. Pricing will stabilize, significantly below pricing today (I would estimate great cans to be 50-60% of today’s pricing with reduced overhead, regulation, and increased volumes). At this point, suppressors are commonplace.

Long Term

If anything, the prospect of the long-term effect of deregulating suppressors is exciting. One of the things that struck me during my world travels was the shooting culture in Scandanavia. For them, it was considered rude to NOT have a suppressor on a firearm. I would expect this to be the same in the US with cans being affordable and readily available. Say goodbye to nasty multi-port brakes (unless serving as the mount and sacrificial blast baffle for a solid can)!

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Joseph Goins

    Most people in the gun community tend to be big fan of the Revolutionary period. Thomas Jefferson once wrote in the Declaration of Independence: “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed” The late, great political philosopher John Rawls expounded on that idea in his seminal work “A Theory of Justice”: “an injustice is tolerable only when it is necessary to avoid an even greater injustice.” I believe that not rocking the boat on gun rights is the wisest course of action given the present situation. Consider this realistic scenario:

    The year is 2018. President Trump just tweeted that “Hillary was a loser and Pocahontas can bite me.” People are upset by this and other behavior he exhibited in his first twenty months as POTUS. They turn out in massive numbers to vote. The Senate Democrats retain all twenty-three seats they could have lost, including the ten that came from states where Trump won in 2016. Trump takes this personally and says that “everyone who voted against me is a whiny little b***h.” In doing so, he further instigates the liberals and some members of his own party. Lifelong Democrat Chelsea Clinton takes up her parents mantle and leads the Democratic party to a crushing defeat of the Republicans. They take over the House, and they gain back the nine Senate seats the Republicans flipped in 2014.

    In this scenario (which is highly believable in my opinion), the Democrats could do whatever they want with a solid supermajority in the Senate and a simple majority in the House. The trouble with messing with gun rights is that the outcome only works until a new administration takes over. They could eliminate the NFA and create an entirely new behemoth that most gun owners wouldn’t like. They could ban private sales (after all, everything supposedly affects interstate commerce). They could ban all new SBRs/SBSs. They could prohibit the transfer of existing items. They could disallow adding names to NFA trusts whereby the ownership eventually ends. They could reinstate the Clinton ban. They could eliminate internet ammo sales. They could do just about anything and it would place the gun community back on the defensive with a lot more at stake than what we ever had to deal with when Obama was president.

    Note #1: Silencer regulation made sense in the 1930s since people were using them to poach livestock, but it is absolutely pointless now and should be deregulated entirely. After all, it isn’t even a firearm.

    Note #2: While my example equates Democrats as being anti-gun and Republicans as being pro-gun, I do know that this doesn’t hold true for everyone in those parties.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Americans have the attention span of gerbils so this is a plausible scenario. And im sure it has also occurred to someone in the current administration which is why Trump is attempting to install a more authoritarian system of government like his BFF Putin.
      Its ironic that for most of the 20th century the left was excoriated for having even the appearance of Russian sympathies.

      • Joseph Goins

        Quite ironic. The most interesting thing overall is that Trump didn’t give a damn about former National Security Advisor Flynn’s dealing until the public became aware of them. That’s what gets me. He runs the White House like his own version of the Apprentice. More interesting. More high stakes.

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          Any regime that values individual loyalty over legality will always curve towards authoritarianism.

          • Joseph Goins

            Too right, mate.

    • john huscio

      Democrats don’t generally win in red states. I would almost bet real money the dems lose more seats in ’18 as the party of obstructionism.

      “Silencer regulation made sense in the 1930s since people were using them to poach livestock,”

      Is there any evidence for this? I’ve head it was to prevent (starve) poor people from “poaching” wild game…..

      • Joseph Goins

        [1] The “red states” up for grabs aren’t really red states; they are toss ups. That is why I included the part out them flipping from Democrat to Republican in 2014 which was after the Democrats flipped them in 2008.

        [2] “Party of obstructionism” didn’t work against Republicans in 2016. It won’t hurt Democrats in 2018 at all. I wager to say that it will help as Trump is doing things that are extremely unpopular, unconstitutional, and unbecoming a head of state.

        [3] Poaching wild game was an tertiary concern. President Roosevelt and Congress passed massive controls on food production with the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933. One of the things they did was to pay farmers for destroying excess crops and killing off “unneeded” livestock. The theory was that doing so would raise the price of food thus making farmers earn more money (a form of redistribution) and ending the Great Depression. The ranchers were weary of such a plan because of the value of a single cow if it was lost. Before AAAof33, a single bull would be worth $50. After AAAof33, that single bull would be worth $300. The ranchers were always concerned about poaching a single cow, and they were livid about it after AAAof33 because losing a single cow would be financially equivalent to losing six or eight previously. They ranchers then lobbied to ban silencers as a way to protect their livelihoods. It was added with relative ease to the National Firearms Act of 1934. (My numbers are not accurate, but the principle is still valid.)

        • actor44

          Meddling with one part,or facet of dynamic Human behavior to perfect the whole is worse than cancer .This has never improved society ,but the Left is unable to control,or resist their compulsion’s regardless of outcome . The same result; tyranny ;…when an individual uses gov. to eliminate farmers problem in your example,created by earlier meddling . 90% of gov. bureaucracy ,& regulatory agencies Needs eliminated !

  • Major Tom

    It seems TFB is still suffering a bug that duplicates (or in this case triplicates) articles.

  • Mark

    How about integrally suppressed firearms?

  • Don Herbel

    Hey guys, just be glad Trump is Prez….how would you feel if that dizzy Democrat bitc* had won?