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.


  • koolhed

    Mmmm… I smell something yum… it’s (potentially) FREEDOM.

    • Evan

      You get a cookie.

  • Vet for Trump

    I think there would also be an uptick in building your own at home, if treated the same as building your own firearm.
    I built mine on a Form 1s, waited almost 9 months for the 5.56 to be approved and almost 6 months for the 30 Caliber.
    The 5.56 cost me about $100 in parts, the 30 Caliber was $190 and change for parts.
    All you need is a drill press and vise..
    And $30 each for laser engraving by Tar Heel State Firearms.

  • Renov8

    Speaking for myself, I am not going to pay more for a suppressor if the HPA passes. In fact, I will more than likely build my own and won’t pay the rip off prices manufacturers are charging for their sound suppressing tubes. All the marketing in the world will not convince me or many others that the cost for a suppressor is reasonable.
    This industry needs some culling. Time for the true 2nd Amendment companies to come forward and the greedy SOB’s to go under.

  • Joe Liberty

    I feel like as much as the HPA, anticipation of 41p is responsible for the sales dip. More than a few people put in more forms than they would otherwise (Did you see silencer shop’s literal truck load of forms?) and are still paying off their credit cards. So there was a sales bump, followed by a big dip. It’s also harder now if you have a trust, and it’s taking time for folks to get the energy to go through that new process. (You try getting my wife to spend her time off getting fingerprinted at the police station.)

    • Sickshooter0

      Totally agree. 41p dampened my buying frenzy.

  • The bigger questions is why are suppressor prices so high in the U.S.? In other counties, where they are unregulated, you can get a .308 suppressor for less than $200. They are pretty simple items and easy enough to make on your own. Would HPA pass, could we see the prices start to fall? It’s interesting because prices are so artificially high now, it would be odd if a rapid demand increases were not met with a short term rapid price increase until we would see new suppliers come into the market.

    • Pat

      Because in the US every can, with the exception of rimfire, is expected to do 5 different jobs and be able to jump from rifle to rifle. So companies had to invent mounting systems that were quick yet extremely sturdy. IF it passes you will absolutely see prices come down. You’ll see the cans with the various mounts from to $600-$800 likely

    • Aurek Besh

      Because of regulations leading to a relatively limited market, there’s not much opportunity for manufacturers to make money off higher volume and economies of scale. Also because of the regulations making suppressors difficult to obtain, service, and replace, the trend in the US is for making them from extremely durable heat-resistant alloys like inconel or hastelloy, which are very expensive even as a raw material and are difficult to machine.

  • rdsii64

    I just hope the HPA gets to the president’s desk without being watered down or some kind of poison pill added. As far a suppressor prices go, if the HPA passes, the market will find a new normal and we go from there. The silver lining is that these “so called” solvent kits, can be sold as 80 percent suppressors over the counter much like 80 percent AR receivers.

    • Sledgecrowbar

      I think solvent trap kits will become obsolete, won’t they? One could just buy a can without any paperwork at all, or will they be serialized like firearms? If they are, then I could see the immediate market need being fulfilled by “suppressor kits” instead of solvent trap kits. Hopefully if they are serialized, one could still manufacture them as you can with firearms now, you just have to get a serial for it if you want to transfer it to anyone else.

      • Anon. E Maus

        Indeed, hell, I can see the old “PET bottle stuffed with steel wool” become a popular DIY item for people who shoot a lot of .22LR

      • Josh

        80% doesn’t require a serial, so I don’t see DIY suppressors needing them either.

        I think solvent traps have a place, just like 80%s do, and in the same way some people choose to pick and choose AR components rather than buying an OTC option.

  • raz-0

    I think the timeline is off.

    1) There are so many people with machining capability in the AR space right now looking for something to keep money moving. Silencers aren’t that complex, and I suspect manufacturing capacity could be ramped up really quickly.

    2) You left out the fact that you WILL be dealing with multiple states banning them, and existing bans, and court cases. I suspect demand and supply will be more weirdly dynamic than anyone might suspect.

    I suspect there won’t be as big a shortage as you think and I don’t think it will take less than 3 years to settle in terms of whatever a settled market might be. It’l definitely be a market constantly in peril from state legislation in the short term.

    • Mark S

      I don’t think as many states will move to ban them as you think. The gun friendly states, the 39 with ‘shall’ concealed carry or constitutional carry won’t. Of the remainders, they already have enough regs against gun owners, are they going to ban accessories? CA, NY and some others maybe, but many won’t bother.

      • raz-0

        Well I think those that already prohibit them will continue to do so. That’s NY, NJ, HI, DE, VT, IL, RI, MA, MN and IA restricts modern ones.

        I’d expect a hard push in CT and WA as well at least.

        • Joseph Goins

          Iowa legalized suppressors last year.

          • raz-0

            Than the website with their legality chart needs to update it.

            Regardless, that’s a lot of people not instantly coming in line as buyers.

          • Milk Manson

            Does this shift IA down into your hard push group (with WA and CT), or ?

            I’m asking because WA just legalized a couple years ago.

          • raz-0

            Dunno about IA then. Wa will be a hard push because you have billionaire ballot measures pushing gun control. The fights already there, and no way they would ignore this.

      • jcitizen

        Kansas is in the middle of a court case about this very thing on silencers, because they want a precedence on the SCOTUS, to respect state’s powers on how they want to regulate firearms inside state lines. Kansas actually passed a law saying that enforcing federal rules that are different than the state rules would get the federal officer arrested!!

  • glenn cheney

    This business of hanging out the OUT OF STOCK sign for everything gun related as anticipation and expectations builds is currently being enjoyed by our beloved industry.
    Forums are still spewing hate on cheaper than chit.
    Same will go for suppressor manufacturer’s. Having said that, if the HPA were to pass, if I was a manufacturer, facing a saturated AR market with Creedmore being about the only new need niche market (long distance) I would:

    Announce the following: Buy any AR platform in our current line, caliber of your choice, and receive a FREE SUPPRESSOR.

    I just boosted my end of year bone, boosted long gun sales in the competitive AR sector, single handedly secured and dominated the suppressor going forward.
    Of course, if you only needed the supressor, we’d sell you one near cost to maintain market share, drive out of the field thinly capitalized manufacturers, and protect my job and company’s standing.
    As in most things in life, this will not end well for many trying to find their niche.

  • Eric Lawrence

    Something that isn’t discussed is the used suppressor market. Right now due to the need for a 200 dollar transfer and 6-9 month background check a transfer between individuals is nearly impossible. If I want to sell a 600 dollar can to a friend then I have to price it as a used item plus take off the $200 for the tax stamp he has to pay. Which means I might get an offer of $150 for that $600 dollar suppressor. Even worse is selling to a shop since they essentially have to pay the tax twice.

    When the HPA passes there is no private party 200 dollar stamp needed, so I can sell that can for $400, or more if the supply runs out quickly and without any wait to either a private party or a shop. Even better, if I bought a 5.56 can and sold the rifle but am stuck with the can I can trade straight up for a 9mm can from a private party or shop that needs a 5.56 can but has a 9mm can he is stuck with.

    • Joseph Goins

      The real question is: why would you sell it in the first place?

    • jcitizen

      The author says shortages will cause a spike in prices – It would be a while before the price of your suppressor went down enough to damage the value. If you are worried about your investment, that much, you could always sell it off then. As for me, I’d keep it, because it would be and example of an original registered product, and I’d think that would have interest for collectors, and if the NFA comes back on a political backlash in the future, you would not have to worry about paying a future tax.

  • Mystick

    NFA transfers are a parasitic industry that only exists due to bureaucratic legacy. They are part of the unproductive “wheel-spinning” compliance economy that is only contributing as a loss-leading revenue stream for the government and sucking yet more money out of the consumer without gain. It is akin(but also different) to many laws being written up by lawyers to be so complex as to require the services of a lawyer to understand and ensure compliance – hence guaranteeing growth of their own industry.

    • Ebby123

      That is very well put.
      Value added to economy: 0
      Resources extracted from economy: Millions of dollars a year.

    • jcitizen

      If I’m getting your statement right, it actually costs more than 200 dollars just to process the stamp. Now that I can agree with!

      • Mystick

        Indeed. It is a net loss per “transaction”… due entirely to unnecessary bureaucratic red tape empires.

  • Cal S.

    Like I said, I’m gonna buy up a couple ‘solvent traps’ and finish them myself. That will hold me over for a few years (or until they break).

    • Joseph Goins

      Legally speaking: now that you stated that you intend to do so, acquiring the “solvent traps” without a stamp is a felony.
      If you think you are really skirting the law, don’t advertise it as you are wrong.

      • Cal S.

        I’m very well aware of that, but thank you anyhow. I’ve clarified that in the edit. I was speaking in future terms, as a way to beat the rush in supply and price hike after the HPA passes. By then, it shouldn’t be any different than completing an 80% lower, right?

  • Dustin Edwards

    I wonder if HPA will allow manufacture of home made suppressors or if they have to be serialized

  • Secundius

    I suspect that Buying Habits aren’t going to change after the New Law takes effect. I don’t expect a Mad Rush on Gun Shops, when you can buy at your Leisure…

  • Jeff Goldstein

    When suppressors are removed from the NFA, I don’t see them to be regulated at all. After all they are just another firearm part. That being the case, Ruger and Sig already make suppressors so they could quickly ramp up manufacturing. Costs would go down a lot and many would be incorporated in firearms right from the factory. What I see as a more interesting development is the other article in this issue which is making one piece 22 rimfire suppressors out of plastic with only a metal threaded bushing. The price could be so inexpensive that you would use it until it didn’t work any more due to fouling and then you could throw it out and buy another.

    • Anon. E Maus

      Oh man can you imagine buying a 10/22 rifle or Charger pistol with a built in silencer? Or just the Mk.IV pistol coming with a threaded barrel and a silencer in the box.

  • evi1joe

    I would think there would be quality screw-on cans for 1/3rd of today’s prices, but we’d see a lot of innovation too, and some people will always pay a lot for the new thing.
    And this rate though, with all the tweeting and golfing and rallies, he may never get around to the HPA.

    • Secundius

      Why don’t you try a #4009 Fuel Filter and a Thread Adapter. About as CHEAP as your going to get…

  • macabre12345 .

    The result will be states or the federal banning of silencers in the long run. If the state bans it you will have to turn them in or sell them out of state and you lose the NFA provision to own them. The same will happen if there’s a federal ban after this administration.

  • Hurri Cane

    So what will this do to the “solvent trap” business?

    • Secundius

      Probably “Nothing”! Solvent Traps are Plumbing and Electrical “Fixes” to Problems that Require mating Two Different Sizes of Pipes or Tubing…

  • MissileMech

    Dear Silencer/Suppressor Manufacturers: I really want to be able to afford to suppress multiple guns for different types of hunting, but we are a family of four so it’s cost prohibitive at today’s prices. I would buy cans for 4 shotguns, 5 rifles, and 2 handguns if I could. Waterfowlers and other bird hunters are dying for offerings for shotguns. When you do get into the shotgun space, don’t forget that there are bores other than 12 gauge!

    • Secundius

      For a Shotgun, interchangeability may not be possible. But for the Others, Pistols and Rifles. Commonality is possible, as long as you go/use the Highest Caliber/Bore Diameter and Multiple Thread Adapters/Solvent Traps. Or just Buy Inexpensive Automotive/Truck “Oil Filters” or “Fuel Filters” and an Assortment of Thread Adapters/Solvent Traps…

      • MissileMech

        For waterfowling your shooting steel shot at fast moving, small targets. Hanging a bulbous fuel filter on the end of my Beretta is just not going to be accurate enough. The Salvo is an elegant solution, but it’s another $1K/ gun on top of an expensive sport. The kicker is that the expense is driven by a law and not the market place. My hope is technology will catch up and manufacturers will see the demand. I don’t know any waterfowlers who wouldn’t buy a suppressor if one was og reasonable cost. Say $500 or less. Alas. A dream!

        • Secundius

          I’ve forgotten, but isn’t there a “Smithy” on one of the “TFB” websites that Integrated a “Suppressor Barrel” to a 6.5 Creedmoor Ruger Precision Rifle?

          I believe the NAPA 4009 Fuel Filter measures ~5.5-inches long by ~3.64-inches (outside) diameter with a 1.000-12-inch thread. And depending on Manufacturer, costs between $37 to $43 USD…