Silencer Shop: The Beginner's Guide To Silencers (aka Suppressors)

by Pete
Silencer Shop: The Beginner’s Guide To Silencers (aka Suppressors) 

About a decade ago I discovered a ‘cheat code’ for my love of shooting firearms – silencers. With the right suppressor, the right host (gun), and the right ammunition, the enjoyment of shooting is elevated to the next level. So, after many years, about 200 silencers, and hundreds of thousands of rounds on target, it wasn’t a surprise that Silencer Shop asked me to share this ‘cheat code’ in the form of a beginner’s guide to silencers. If you are new to the world of quieter shooting, or you could use a refresher on the process, stick around while we discuss the basics of buying, transferring, and using suppressors.

Silencer Shop: The Beginner's Guide To Silencers (aka Suppressors)

Above: The YHM Bad Larry – (Silencer Shop)

Silencer Shop: The Beginner’s Guide To Silencers (aka Suppressors)

Here are some helpful resources and links as you read through the first part of the guide:

What Is A Silencer?

Let’s start at the beginning.

Silencer Shop: The Beginner's Guide To Silencers (aka Suppressors)

Above: SIG Sauer rifle suppressor – more @ Silencer Shop

A firearm silencer, also known as a suppressor, is a device that attaches to the barrel of a firearm to reduce the noise and visible muzzle flash when shooting. Silencers work by slowing down and cooling the escaping gases from the explosion occurring in the barrel that pushes out the bullet, which makes the escaping sounds quieter. Obviously, suppressors don’t make guns completely silent, but they significantly reduce the noise, making it safer for the shooter’s hearing and less likely to disturb people nearby (your friends and neighbors). They are often used in hunting, shooting sports, and by law enforcement officers and the military.

Are Silencers Legal?

Tell me where you live, without telling me where you live…

Credit Silencer Shop -

Yes, silencers are legal in the United States, but they are heavily regulated by a 90-year-old law called the National Firearms Act (NFA). To own a suppressor, individuals must go through a transfer application process with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). This includes submitting fingerprints, a photograph, and a background check, as well as paying a $200 tax for a federal tax stamp. Additionally, state laws vary, and while many states allow suppressors, some states have strict regulations or outright bans on their possession and use.

It all sounds a bit daunting, but Silencer Shop has streamlined everything into a few simple steps.

What Are The Benefits Of Shooting Suppressed?

It’s not just about looking cool (although it does work for that).

Silencer Shop: The Beginner's Guide To Silencers (aka Suppressors)

Above: The YHM Phantom 22 –

Shooting with a silencer on a host firearm offers several benefits:

  1. Hearing Protection: Suppressors reduce the loud noise of gunfire, helping to protect the shooter’s hearing as well as the hearing of those nearby.
  2. Reduced Recoil: The suppressor helps to mitigate the recoil, making it easier to stay on target and improving shooting accuracy.
  3. Lower Noise Disturbance: Lower noise levels mean less disturbance to the surrounding environment, which is especially beneficial in urban or residential areas.
  4. Improved Communication: Quieter shots make it easier for shooters to communicate with each other during activities like hunting or training.
  5. Decreased Muzzle Flash: Suppressors reduce the visible flash from the gun, which can help maintain night vision and reduce the shooter’s visibility to others.

Overall, suppressors enhance shooting safety, comfort, and effectiveness. Basically, life is better with a suppressor.

What Are The Steps To Buying A Silencer?

The process looks and sounds more complicated than it actually is.

Silencer Shop: A Beginner's Guide To Silencers (aka Suppressors)

Purchasing a suppressor is a multi-step process, starting with selecting and buying a suppressor from Silencer Shop’s website. The staff is available via phone, email, and online chat to help you choose the best suppressor that finds your specific needs. At the time of ordering, you will also need to add a $200 NFA tax stamp for each suppressor to your cart, as required by federal law. When checking out, you’ll choose how to register your suppressor, commonly done through a Silencer Shop Single Shot Trust. You’ll also select a local dealer, known as a Powered By Silencer Shop dealer, who can assist with submitting your eForm 4 application to the ATF.

Silencer Shop: A Beginner's Guide To Silencers (aka Suppressors)

Above: The SilencerCo Osprey 2.0 – (Silencer Shop).

Next, you will need to complete your Silencer Shop profile. Visit one of the hundreds of Silencer Shop kiosks in the United States to scan your fingerprints and provide biographical information – a process that takes about five minutes and is done only once, no matter how many suppressors you purchase. In the rare case that there is no kiosk location near you, or you simply prefer paper and ink, the FD-258 fingerprint cards can be mailed to Silencer Shop. Then, use the Silencer Shop smartphone app to upload a passport-style photo to your profile.

After completing your profile, you’ll receive an email from Silencer Shop with a document containing all of the required information. Review and digitally sign this document from your computer or mobile device. Then, register for an ATF eForms account, ensuring all your information matches your Silencer Shop profile exactly. The ATF eForms account is necessary for submitting your electronic Form 4 to the ATF.

Finally, you’ll receive another email from Silencer Shop with the subject line “Ready to Certify.” This email includes your local dealer’s phone number. Schedule a time with your dealer to certify the form, and together you will submit it to the ATF for processing.

How Long Does It Take To Receive ATF Approval?

Silencer Shop: A Beginner's Guide To Silencers (aka Suppressors)

Above: The SureFire SOCOM 556 RC2 (top) and the SureFire SOCOM 556 RC3.

The waiting really is the hardest part of this entire process.

After purchasing a silencer and submitting all the required paperwork (mostly digital forms) to the ATF, the approval process typically takes several months. The average wait time for ATF approval can range from 6 to 9 months, although it can sometimes be shorter or longer depending on various factors, such as the current volume of applications and specific details of your application (trust documentation, etc.). Patience is key – as the approval process is thorough to ensure compliance with all federal regulations. Once approved, you will be notified, and you can then pick up your silencer from the dealer you selected during the purchase process.

In recent months, the wait time for some eForm applications has dropped to weeks, and sometimes days, allowing some shooters to buy a suppressor during the week and be shooting with it on the weekend. As the saying goes, the best time to buy a silencer was yesterday, and the second best time is today.

Several popular silencer models are preferred for their performance and versatility across different firearms. Here are a few standout options and the firearms they are commonly paired with:

Yankee Hill Machine (YHM) Turbo K: This suppressor is designed for heavy use, made from heat-treated stainless steel and Inconel. It is known for its affordability and robust construction, making it a popular choice for AR-15 rifles chambered in 5.56mm. The Turbo K is full-auto-rated and offers a good balance between size, weight, and sound reduction ( TFB – Silencer Saturday).

Silencer Saturday - The Best Suppressors On The Market Today

Dead Air Nomad-30: This suppressor is known for its lightweight, versatile design and is suitable for a wide range of rifles. It features an improved baffle design for excellent sound reduction and is compatible with Dead Air’s Sandman series front caps. The Nomad-30 works well with various rifle calibers and is known for its durability and adaptability ( The Firearm Blog).

Silencer Saturday- The Best 300BLK Suppressors Available

SIG Sauer SLX 5.56 QD: The SLX series from SIG Sauer is designed to meet military demands, featuring a Clutch-LOK QD mounting system and an internal multi-flow path that reduces toxic fumes by 70-80%. This suppressor is ideal for use with supersonic ammunition and is praised for its performance in reducing flash and fumes. It pairs well with rifles like the SIG MCX, M400 Switchblade, and AR-patterned rifles ( TFB – Silencer Saturday).

SILENCER SATURDAY: The SIG SLX 5.56 QD Rifle Suppressor

SilencerCo Omega 9K: This compact suppressor is popular for use with 9mm pistols and submachine guns. It offers excellent sound suppression and minimal weight, making it an excellent choice for various hosts, including the Glock series, SIG P226, and Beretta M9A3. Its compact size makes it particularly well-suited for tactical applications ( TFB – Silencer Saturday).

SILENCER SATURDAY #144: Top 9mm Pistol Suppressor Hosts

SureFire SOCOM 556 RC2: This suppressor is widely used by military and law enforcement agencies for its reliability and performance. It is compatible with 5.56mm rifles and offers outstanding sound reduction, minimal point-of-impact shift, and a robust construction that can withstand harsh firing schedules. The SOCOM 5.56 RC2 is ideal for tactical and precision shooting applications ( TFB – Silencer Saturday).

SILENCER SATURDAY: Short Silencer, Long Barrel? Surefire SOCOM556-MINI2

Silencer ‘Cheat Code’ Beginner’s Guide Wrap-Up

As I have said many times in the past on our Silencer Saturday series, the best suppressor is one that meets your needs, fits your budget, and is available for purchase. It’s easy to get entranced by silencers used by the military, seen in the movies, or the latest release and ad campaign. To avoid possible regret, have realistic expectations and select the best model that works for your application. We will get deeper into the selection process later in the series.

Thanks for reading. Be safe, have fun, and we’ll see you back here at TFB (and Silencer Shop) for more silencer content.


Silencers - Science

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Join the conversation
  • Treefroggy Treefroggy on May 30, 2024

    I live in Maryland . You can own a silencer . I do , but Maryland still sucks .

  • Anthony "stalker6recon" Anthony "stalker6recon" on Jun 03, 2024

    I have never understood why this blog continues to use the erroneous word "silencer", no such thing exists.

    Only on holyweed movies and a few ignorant places online (think quora) does anyone use such words.

    "Suppressor Saturday" has just as much ring to it, without the ignorance.

    • BaconLovingInfidel BaconLovingInfidel on Jun 03, 2024

      @Anthony "stalker6recon" Our friends at ATF call them
      silencers as did the original patent.