Good afternoon everyone and thanks for joining us for another edition of TFB’s Silencer Saturday brought to you by Yankee Hill Machine, manufacturers of the inexpensive yet very effective Turbo K 5.56mm Suppressor. Last week we took a look at the new YHM MARC Chassis, A tough suppressor cover from Liberty’s Defense and the cheap insurance offered by suppressor alignment rods. Today we finally dive back into a subject I started here at TFB four years ago – building your own Form 1 Suppressor. Yes, it’s legal to build your own silencer, no it’s not hard and the process is very rewarding. Let’s get to work.
SILENCER SATURDAY #121: Build Your Own Form 1 Suppressor – Part 1
DISCLAIMER: You are responsible for following all local, state and federal laws and regulations. The information presented here is for educational use only. When in doubt and before making any firearm, consult with an attorney and/or the ATF for official guidance.
If you thought you’d be racing out to the hardware or auto parts store today for fender washers and drill bits, you are going to be sorely disappointed. Today is an administrative paperwork day. In fact, we won’t be buying a piece of raw material, tooling or any other overt act until we have an approved ATF Form 1 – Application To Make And Register A Firearm.
With simple tools and common materials, making a silencer is not a difficult process. However, there are dangerous legal implications for building an unregistered silencer in the United States. As much as I despise the National Firearms Act of 1934 and subsequent legal and regulatory additions, the laws are clear: making an unregistered silencer can lead to criminal prosecution and jail time.
Warning: Do not start buying materials or manufacturing parts without an approved ATF Form 1 for your silencer project.
I’m not sure I can be any more clear on this subject. Don’t risk a criminal investigation by skipping steps or ignoring the laws.
As I have said in the past, as rewarding as building your own silencer can be, I believe that first time buyers should stick with commercially available products from reputable manufacturers that provide good warranty service. There’s a reason that engineers design quality silencers – maximizing performance while limiting weight and preserving durability is not an easy task. The last thing I want you to do is build a Form 1 Suppressor as your entry into the world of quiet shooting, be disappointed by its performance an then swear of all suppressors for good. I’ve made recommendations for “best in class” suppressors in the past, but since we are discussing options, here are my suggestions:
- Rimfire Silencers: Dead Air Mask, SIG SRD22, Q El Camino
- Pistol Silencers: SilencerCo Octane 45HD, Dead Air Odessa 9, Rugged Obsidian45
- Rifle Silencers: YHM Turbo/Turbo K, YHM Resonator/Resonator K, Dead Air Nomad/Nomad L, Dead Air Sandman S, Q Trash Panda
This list is not comprehensive – there are other great manufacturers producing suppressors with excellent performance that I don’t have first hand knowledge with some of them. Thompson Machine, Innovative Arms, Bowers Group just to name a few.
- TFB’s Build Your Own Silencer – Part 1 – https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/07/09/build-silencer-part-1/
- TFB’s Build Your Own Silencer – Part 2 (Legal explanations) – https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2018/09/29/build-silencer-part/
- TFB’s ATF Form 1 Application EForm Guide – https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2018/11/07/tutorial-eforms/
- TFB’s Guide To Silencer Shop’s Form 1 Service – https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2017/06/21/atf-form-1-silencer-shop/
- AR15.com – Silencers – Build It Yourself (Forum) – ar15.com/…/Silencers-Build-It-Yourself/55
Build A Form 1 Suppressor – Series Overview
Here’s the outline of the series. The NFA world requires patience – We’ll be lucky to get through the process start to finish in about two months.
- Part 1 – ATF NFA Form 5320.1 Form 1 Application (You Are Here)
- Part 2 – Form 1 Suppressor Designs, Calibers, Materials (Pending)
- Part 3 – Building Your Form 1 Suppressor (Pending)
What Type of Form 1 Suppressor Should You Build?
Most makers start with a rimfire suppressor as their entry into the Form 1 world. Inexpensive, simple designs and lower round pressures compared to their centerfire counterparts, rimfire silencers are a low risk, high reward category.
I mostly disagree with this theory. I buy rimfire suppressors for the absolute best suppression possible and I’m willing to pay for research and design work done by an actual engineer to ensure that I get real performance.
Instead, I suggest that Form 1 makers look at a 7.62 rifle suppressor as their first build. While still being relatively simple to make, the performance on supersonic rounds can be a significant departure from from unsuppressed shooting. There are a few safety caveats here that we will address in parts two and three, namely material selection, hoop strength and barrel length/muzzle pressure restrictions.
For today, you only need to make two decisions:
- Overall Length
A caliber must be submitted on your ATF Form 1 Application and will need to be engraved on your Form 1 suppressor.
An overall length must be submitted on your ATF Form 1 application. You will be able to build a shorter silencer than what is listed on your approved Form 1, but you will not be able to build a longer silencer.
Step By Step ATF Eforms Application – Form 1 Suppressor
The ATF’s Eform website is far from perfect, but it beats using paper forms. In addition, at the moment approvals are running around 21-28 days start to finish. For that reason alone I am going to suggest everyone use the AT EForms system.
- Login: Using your previously saved username and password.
- Register: Fill out your information correctly and receive a account verification email.
2. Home Screen:
Here is where you can find a listing of your previously approved forms and draft forms awaiting to be submitted.
3. Select Form 1 by using your mouse to flip to the Form 1 option.
4. Select Trust, Legal Entity or Individual application type.
5. After reading the notifications, click next at the bottom of the screen.
6. Select ‘Tax Paid’ and click next.
An internal control number is optional and is only for you to track specific applications.
7. Fill out you personal information.
- Check ‘No FFL’ if you don’t have one.
- For Tile of the Submitter of the Application user “Owner” for individuals or “Trustee” for trust applicants. Corporations or entities should use their position within the organization.
7a. Complete the background question and click ‘next’ at the bottom of the page.
8. Complete the Responsible Persons questions.
- The contents of the page is long, you may need to change the size of the page to see all of the fields.
- If you are using a trust or entity, you must complete a Responsible Persons Questionnaire for everyone considered a responsible person. They will all need to be uploaded to the 5320.23 ‘select file’ field.
8b. Complete the Responsible Persons questions.
- Upload a square passport style photo in the ‘Photo’ column.
- Fill all the fields. A UPIN is only required if you have been issued one (rare).
9. Chief Law Enforcement Officer Notification.
Fill out the information for your CLEO that you will mail his files for notification. No approval needed.
10. Add Firearm in the Line Item section of the application.
11. Click ‘By Manufacturer Code’ and enter FMI in the ‘Manufacturer Code’ box. Click ‘Verify Manufacturer’.
12. On the next page, select SILENCER in the ‘Product Type’ drop down menu. Then check the box for “My item is not in the list, create new item.” Add:
- Model – your choice
- Unit of measure
- Overall Length
- Serial Number – your choice, must include at least one number.
- State your purpose for making a silencer (don’t be fresh).
13. The next page is not required unless you have a very specific reason to show your proposed build.
14. The details of your Silencer are now complete.
SILENCER SATURDAY #121: Build Your Own Form 1 Suppressor – Part 1
15. Upload your trust or entity documents in the electronic documents section of the application. Individual applicants do not need to upload any documents.
You may receive a warning about your model or manufacturer being “unknown”. This is normal and will be addressed by an examiner in a few days, usually without you having to do any additional work.
The model or manufacturer you have indicated is either “unknown” or is not listed in the ATF reference tables. ATF will have to validate the information you provided prior to rendering a decision on your application. This may extend the average processing time for this application. Please attach copies of any additional information that you feel will assist us with this validation.
17. Pay/sign/submit. – Page 1
- Disable Pop-up blockers
18. Pay/sign/submit. – Page 2
19. Payment success page.
20. Close pop-ups and click ‘Sign & Submit’.
21. Enter your password and click submit.
22. The Eforms home Screen now shows your Form 1 as SUBMITTED/IN PROCESS.
23. Email received from the Eforms system.
- Submitted/In process forms that don’t go to PENDING RESEARCH will receive a cover sheet that will be mailed (by you) with two completed fingerprint cards. Roll your own easily. Request fingerprint cards for free here. Fingerprint ink pads can be found on amazon for around $10.
- Some mobile email programs will not show the attachments. Use a desktop version or a non-mobile device.
24. Draft Form 1 received.
To be continued…
We’ll be back with regular reviews for the next few weeks while we wait for our approvals. Until then relax, be patient, stay safe and healthy and we’ll see you right here at TFB.
On this day, formerly known as Tax Day, we remember a time when Americans used to storm post offices across the country to send their taxes off to Uncle Sam. Tax Day might be postponed, but the American Suppressor Association is still hard at work!
At the American Suppressor Association, we believe that the National Firearms Act = Taxation Without Justification! That’s why, for years, we have led the charge to get rid of the unjustified tax.
Help us fight the Man by using some of your tax refund on a raffle ticket (or a hundred) to support ASA’s campaign to end the taxation of suppressors! Consider it an investment in a brighter future. And hey, you could win one of three incredible prizes in the process (all tax stamps included)!
Hurry while you can, it ends April 30th.
Silencer Saturday is Sponsored by Yankee Hill Machine:
Buy YHM silencers and accessories at:
DEALERS: If you want your link to buy YHM suppressors included in future Silencer Saturday posts, email: [email protected]