View Full Version : Silencers for Air Guns-Are they Legal??

February 2, 2005, 11:24 PM
Although a little off the intended topic for this forum I own a Drozd CO2 powered machine gun that shoots up to a 6 round burst of BB's and is totally legal to own without any paperwork. My question is this. Can the Silencers listed in the following website be brought into this country if they only are for BB guns (.177 cal.)??? Although part of me says absolutely not there is another part saying if these are legal to purchase in England without any paperwork why wouldn't they be allowed here legally??? After all England has some of the strictest gun laws in the world...I may have to end up calling or writing to the BATF on this one. The site is:


Thanks for your thoughts and opinions in advance.

3 weelin geezer
February 2, 2005, 11:34 PM
I'm afraid it is not illegal to have as long as you pay the $200 tax. How you import it is another matter. I think you have to have a permit or something. Thats where you may run into a snag. Whats allowed to be brought in. If it is not, then how can you have one? I have heard somewhere that supressors for paintball markers that quiet the report of said guns are also classified as supressors. Since there is no license to make these, they are considered home made and non taxed thereby rendering them illegal for that reason. Their laws are just different as to where you may shoot and how you are permitted to have a firearm. Kinda like a policeman that has an m 16 but it doesnt really belong to him but he gets to carry it out for 'official' duties and to be used only to carry out those dutes.

February 2, 2005, 11:58 PM
If it can suppress a fiream at all, the ATF consideres it to be a suppressor and it must be registered.

February 4, 2005, 09:07 PM
I ended up doing a google search and found a terrific article written by Beeman confirming what you have said...The interesting thing is that the site in England wrote me back and said 'no problem at all shipping them to you...they would be labled as a cocking device.' Oh and then 'your local laws would apply.' So thank you again I won't be ordering one of those...regardless of their less than accurate answer.

February 4, 2005, 09:40 PM
There is some gray area as regards silencers and airguns. If you can prove that it can't be used on any firearm (that really means ANY firearm--not just the ones you own or ones that are common) then you might be ok. Don't ask me how you would go about proving that. The only way I know that is nearly foolproof is if the silencer is integral to the airgun and can not be removed without destroying it. Importing one is a very bad idea, and buying one through the mail is an almost equally bad idea.

February 5, 2005, 04:51 PM
Silencers/suppressors are themselves considered firearms. So they have all the controls of a normal firearm AND all the controls of an NFA device.

Now that being said suppressors are also considered impliments of war. Their importation is HIGHLY restricted. So no some guy in the UK can't just mail you one and call it a "cocking device".

That being said the BATFE knows that lots of people are doing this and I've only heard of two people actually ever getting in trouble.

As to making one that would only fit on an airgun or building it to an airgun and getting a "pass"...nope there is NO SUCH thing. A suppressor is a suppressor as it's made and as it's assembled. The parts, although not serialized, except for the tube, are still controled as well. For example we build suppressors, we have tons of baffles that we use, we can have as many baffles as we need/want but you as an individual can not ONE spare baffle.

How to you find out if an airgun suppressor would be a legitimate firearms suppressor, you register to make a suppressor (form 1), pay the tax, wait for approval, build it, then submit it to the tech branch for evaluation. If it's found that it's not one...you get your money back. If it is, your covered.

FYI: there hasn't been one yet that hasn't been considered a firearms suppressor. I've seen tubes of toilet paper get the silencer treatment, I've seen pieces of string considered a machine gun.
It's all about the item and the intended purpose and if that goes over the threshold.


February 6, 2005, 05:36 PM
I made a fake supressor for my Drozd. Looks cool, makes hip-shooting easy and cost under $4.

Hint: The short, threaded extentions used in lawn sprinkler systems are a nice slip-fit over the barrel.
Use two, one screwed into the other, a 4" piece of threaded plastic pipe and a 6" copper tube glued over the 4" pipe.
Turn the threads off the extention that slips onto the barrel and cut it down so it slides on as far as possible.
I finished mine with Brownell's spray-on Parkerizing.

Cape Canaveral

February 20, 2005, 01:45 PM
thanks for the info John, and for what it's worth unlike what the person aluded to in the reply prior to yours it was not "some guy" saying this could be done legally but rather a company in England that I put a link to in my initial post/question....
It is scary to think that a company would not only pose as Pro importation...but that it was not even raised as a concern as to how to do it and what I could 'expect to happen' if I did place the order.
thanks again

Blind Tree Frog
February 20, 2005, 10:26 PM
Yeah, last I heard when I was into paintball, like John said, as long as the suppressor cannot possibly be used on a real gun, they don't care. It's only when it can be used for something other then the air gun that they notice.

February 20, 2005, 11:59 PM
It's not illegal for a company in England to sell to you. The BATF can't enforce any U.S. laws against them.

The importer will be the one who is prosecuted. You can buy airguns with integral silencers (they can't be removed without destroying them) and I've seen at least one place in the states actually selling airgun silencers as separate items. I've never heard of a prosecution in the case of the integral models nor even in the case of someone buying one that has been imported by a dealer although the latter seems to be a really bad idea to me. The best way to get nailed is to try to import one yourself...

February 21, 2005, 08:55 AM
Another issue no one has brought up yet is that there are .17 caliber firearms available. So the issue of adapting a suppressor to an appropriate firearm would not be that difficult, thus most likely highly illegal.

February 21, 2005, 11:19 AM
Being a suppressor doesn't automatically make the device an NFA item (Yes, ATF claims they do, but as usual, they have several dozen exceptions to their own rulings). Being a suppressor that is detachable and thus capable of fitting an actual firearm is the killer. Power fasteners like Hilti use blank cartridges to shoot fasteners into steel and concrete and they have "silencers" built into them. If you go to their website, you can buy "silencer" kits to fit on their guns.

So if you made a paintball gun with the suppressor a physical, permanent part of the gun, there would be no way for it to function on a real firearm because there is no way to get it on a real firearm.

Blind Tree Frog
February 21, 2005, 11:26 AM
For a paintball gun, I think if you can get a silencer to fit to a barrell, the fact that the hole is over .6" in diameter might be a good starting point to argue it won't work for a real gun.

But this is a bb gun so, back to figuring out how to do it

February 23, 2005, 09:44 PM
I'm from the UK and I was amazed at the surpressor laws here. There should be several suppliers in the UK, but I think the BATF would be interested in your purchase. I guess you could take your chances having it mailed to you, but I have plenty of stuff I decided to sell off there rather than risk it.

February 24, 2005, 01:01 AM
The ATF's say, looks like a no-no: http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/faq2.htm#a9

February 28, 2005, 07:41 PM
The BATmen don't regulate air rifles or their accessories. Some high-end air rifles have integral suppressors built in - that's fine, no regulatory problems. Even some low-end air guns have "suppressors" or "noise limiters" built in.

The key is, "built it." They're not something you can just remove with an allen wrench or screwdriver.

As far as aftermarket air-rifle suppressors, the problem is, can the air-rifle suppressor be MADE to fit a real firearm? It doesn't even have to work well, or at all . . . if some BATman can use play-dough and duct tape to attach it to a firearm, you may very well have a serious legal problem. Ditto if it can be readily modified.

As far as some things being in a "gray" area . . . do YOU want to be a test case?

March 11, 2005, 04:24 AM
you will have pay the $200 dollar tax. however you can send the suppressor to the technology department, if they consider the suppressor is unable to used on a firearm they will refund your money. i would advise you to weld the suppressor on to the barrel. :cool:

March 6, 2007, 11:58 PM
I'm considering a design, where by the exterior of the barrel of a .177 cal BB gun is threaded and ported (both legal). Then construct the exterior component (tube) so that it screws over the outside of teh ported section of barrel. This is a compound design - one half integral to the gun and the other half completing the function of a silencer.

Separating the tube from the barrel renders the tube inoperable as a silencer. Further, because the threaded portion of the tube is on its interior, it cannot be readily adapter to a firearm. It would require the firearm itself to be threaded on the exterior of it's muzzle and be ported.

The act of attempting to complete the silencer's function to a firearm would obviously be considering "making" a firearm per ATF Form 1. But it certainly is not "readily" adapted to a firearm, nor is the tube component a functional silencer, in and of itself. It requires the interior to work and that is built into the airgun.

I believe this renders the design outside of the firearm category - any thoughts?


March 7, 2007, 03:25 AM
What would keep it from working on a 17M2 with a similarly threaded and ported barrel?

My take is that if you want a silencer buy a silencer. They are legal to own as long as you follow the law. They're not cheap, but they're cheaper than a lawyer.

March 7, 2007, 06:41 AM
This would violate the law. Considerations then would have to be made on the mechanism used to fasten the tube to the barrel to prevent its application to any known firearm.

Many of the .17 Mach 2 firearms fire a .177 caliber round and have fluted and ported barrels but the desgn mentioned above is secured using threads on the outside of ther barrel. If there is one with external threading (which is illegal as far as i know) then incapatible threading would be required, perhaps something exotic like reverse threading. Anything that prevents it from being "readily" adapted should suffice.

To buy a funtioning silencer, by default means you're purchasing a firearm. This catagory of firearm requires a permit an all that that implies. If the community can come up with a bullet proof approach (no pun intended) then the we can perminently carve the federal government out of our sport.

March 7, 2007, 05:59 PM
If we are still speaking of airguns, I think it was Gamo that has just come out with a 1200fps rifle with some big thing on the end of the barrel that is advertised as a supressor of some sort.

Why they would put the thing on a supersonic airgun is beyond me unless the rifle was so damn loud that it really needed it.

You could probably use heavier pellets and get the velocity trans-sonic for some serious quiet fun with small game.

March 7, 2007, 08:53 PM
You're going to love this ...
... Things took a turn, however, when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents raided Crooker's home in June 2004 as part of an investigation into the sale of an air rifle equipped with a silencer and seized his computer. Unable to crack the PC's security features, the agents sent it to the FBI's Cryptologic and Electronic Analysis unit, court records say. ...http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=197700861

So if you plan on putting a silencer on your air gun remember to wipe the **** from your PC :D

March 7, 2007, 08:57 PM
Wow, I can't believe it took me this long to take notice of this thread. Actually, the BATFE has ruled on this very subject. It is NOT legal to make a silencer for an airgun because it is POSSIBLE for that silencer to be used on a traditional firearm. I believe, IIRC, the case in question was about silencers for paintball guns. Someone asked BATFE about their legality and they got the answer that they had to be registered as NFA because they acted like a traditional silencer and it was possible to affix them to a traditional firearm. Remember, if it quiets the noise down even 1db, it must be registered with NFA. I'll dig around and see if I can find that ruling...

OK, so I found it. The ruling is that if the silencer is an integrally, permanently attached part of the air gun (or paintball gun in this case) then it is not a "silencer" as defined as part of the NFA. If all or part of the silencer is detachable, then it falls under the NFA and must be registered accordingly.

March 7, 2007, 11:46 PM
That must be how Gamo is getting around the regulations with this new beast of an air-rifle. It does not look like the supressor is detachable.

The ad is in the new American Rifleman, I think. It looked pretty nifty, but with the BATFE constantly reversing itself it seems like Gamo may be taking a risky gamble with this one.

March 7, 2007, 11:52 PM
So because my idea has a portion that's removable, even though not readily adaptable to a firearm, still qualifies as a silencer?

The good news is, if I had a silencer welded to my pellet gun then it's legal! There are legal catch-22s for the federal government and gun owners here though.

The first problem for gun owners being - how do you get to the point where you weld a DIY silencer on to your gun? You have to build it first. This puts you legally in a "make firearm" activity requiring an ATF FORM 1 to be filed and approved plus a $200.00 "Make" tax. Even if you ignore this, then once it's built you are in possession of a firearm requiring a permit with all of the federal and state regulations that apply - basically everything you need to get a handgun. All of this falls under the Brady Gun Control Law meaning that even though this effort is being spent on a pellet gun which has no juristiction under the law - you are completely bound by it. So you can have a silencer on your pellet gun, you just have no easy way to get it on the gun.

We also find the government in the other catch-22, legally speaking. A "prohibited person" (18 usc, sec 922) ends up being denied the ability to do something that is perfectly legal (that is... have a perminently afixed suppressor on an airgun). This is because they cannot engage the "make" or permit process under current gun control laws. They end up as an entire class of people being denied due process; a very serious violation of the constitution.

The community could push for reform but many fear the resulting spotlight would be a call to arms (ironic pun) for gun control advocates to push for tighter regulations of airguns. I buy this as a plausible fear. But to some extent, this means a certain measure of control is forced upon our community that extends far beyond the legal reach of firearms law. This kind of reminds me of a Ben Framklin quote - "Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither"

March 8, 2007, 12:27 AM
The good news is, if I had a silencer welded to my pellet gun then it's legal! As you point out, that's only AFTER it's attached.A "prohibited person" (18 usc, sec 922) ends up being denied the ability to do something that is perfectly legal (that is... have a perminently afixed suppressor on an airgun).No, they're only denied the right to MAKE one and afix it themselves. They can have an integrally silenced airgun from one of several vendors.

March 8, 2007, 06:48 AM
Or they could gather all the necessary components and use a construction method that begins by welding the first components (washers i.e., baffles) to the barrel then the subsequent components to it. You'd have to be certain of your design and technique.

Rediculous - how did the laws come to this place?

March 8, 2007, 12:13 PM

March 9, 2007, 12:07 AM
For paintball, use a Smartparts barrel. Not "silent" but from being on the receiving end I can tell you its very hard to figure out where those shots are coming from.

And airguns, I think people get too hung up on high power. An R-7 can be shot all day in your backyard, and unless someone sees you they'll never notice. Shoot a 1000 fps aigun and they'll notice. Frankly, you'd be better off shooting CB longs.

March 9, 2007, 01:40 AM
I've had someone ask me if I were shooting a .22rifle on one occasion while I was sighting in my R1 air rifle. For urban environments, the less powerful airguns tend to be a better choice for unsilenced work.

And if you want silenced performance, there are a few manufacturers out there who will oblige with integrally silenced airguns.

March 9, 2007, 10:55 AM
The bottom line legally - airgun owners are denied the ability to engage in a perfectly legal activity (sound suppression of airguns) because that activity is surrounded on all sides by a legal mote with little real due process to assist them. A legal island in the middle of a sea of laws.

There are some routes to remedy. The first is case law. One would have to draw the federal government into a legal battle and have them lose and lose badly. The precedent would essentially melt the draconian laws. This would require an individual with extraordinary financial means and intestinal fortitude. This isn't very attractive to anyone, I'm sure.

Anonther would be to engage in legislation reform; repeal of the federal and state laws restricting the use of suppression technology. This is first a cultural and educational effort to turn the public's opinion of the technology and its benefits. The reformation of the law itself would likely take the form of an intense punitive threat to anyone using suppression technology in the course of a crime while generally allowing manufacture and ownership to take place legally.

If making the legal leap to firearms is too extreme for the public to digest, then perhaps a more defined measure of control of suppression technology should be designed. This might involve protecting your rights by means of putting a heavier burden evidence on the government to prosecute airgun owners with suppression technology. Changes to the laws should include the obligation of the prosecutor to demonstrate both means and motive defined in the law as "readily adapted" and "intent to adapt" the silencer to a firearm.

The "intent to adapt" would mean evidence of some kind supporting the defendent's motive to suppress a firearm under their control instead of the federal free-for-all prosecution for anyone suppressing an airgun that exists today.

The "readily adapted" would mean the construction and form factor of the device would have to, with very minimal effort, be adapted to a firearm under control of teh defendent or of reasonable means to be obtained.

A "demonstrated affixed dependency" would provide legal protection from the "readily adpated" clause. I.e., the only removable portion of the device renders it useless for suppression and only by taking actions to modify a firearm or the construction of the device could someone restore suppression capability. This would prevent a silencer free-for-all by would-be makers from claiming their designs are for airguns. Owning a firearm anmd a device modified to adapt to one another in order to complete the function of suppression would be a crimal act (I know there are already some laws restricting threaded barrels on firearms for this reason).

Who's for legal reform?

March 9, 2007, 03:54 PM
It's not illegal for a company in England to sell to you. The BATF can't enforce any U.S. laws against them.

The importer will be the one who is prosecuted.

How so, if the only "importer" is UPS?

March 9, 2007, 09:13 PM
The importer is you. UPS is the common contract carrier.Anonther would be to engage in legislation reform; repeal of the federal and state laws restricting the use of suppression technology. This is first a cultural and educational effort to turn the public's opinion of the technology and its benefits. The reformation of the law itself would likely take the form of an intense punitive threat to anyone using suppression technology in the course of a crime while generally allowing manufacture and ownership to take place legally.A huge effort. You'd have to re-educate an entire generation or two. And when you were done, you could do what you can already do. (Have a silenced airgun.)

You'd just have a wider selection. (Assuming there's enough market to make it worth the manufacturers' while.)

March 9, 2007, 11:06 PM
Something that really needs to be considered is the effectiveness of a silencer on an air gun. Many of your more powerful airguns are "springers". These guns produce much of their noise from the mechanism (spring) releasing when the trigger is pulled. Anyone that has owned a powerfull springer will note that they are truly scope killers because of the violent recoil action that they produce which follows the forward lunge. Just put a $100.00 scope on a Chinese springer or a good German RWS springer and watch what happens. For these springers, it would be like putting a silencer on a revolver.

March 9, 2007, 11:12 PM
Yup, I seem to recall reading that something approaching 40% of the "discharge sound" from a springer is mechanical noise and not muzzle blast.

March 11, 2007, 06:52 PM
A huge effort. You'd have to re-educate an entire generation or two. And when you were done, you could do what you can already do. (Have a silenced airgun.)

Except you could build the piece yourself for $12 in parts from a hardware store and outfit any and as many air rifles as you like.

What manufacturers currently offer suppressors on air guns? I've seen a thing on the end of Gamo models but this is explained as a handle to aid in the cocking of the break barrel - not to reduce the report of the discharge.

March 11, 2007, 07:06 PM
Except you could build the piece yourself for $12 in parts from a hardware store and outfit any and as many air rifles as you like.The price of an integrally silenced airgun is usually commensurate with a similar quality non-silenced model. And the silencer along with the airgun is warranteed by the manufacturer.

So, considering that the only real benefit is being able to get a wider selection of silenced air rifles and factoring in the effort of re-educating 400 million people to your point of view I just don't see this as a cause anyone's going to take up. If I see it on the ballot, I'd vote with you, but IMO, even within the shooting community, you'd have a hard time getting a majority to agree...

Some makers that offer integrally silenced airguns:
AirForce Airguns
Air Arms (Used to--may still)

March 12, 2007, 05:47 AM
If I see it on the ballot, I'd vote with you, but IMO, even within the shooting community, you'd have a hard time getting a majority to agree...

I haven't heard anyone straightforwardly address the reason our government so intensely controls suppression technology. Is it purely a question of tactical advantage in a fire fight or other crimes?

Thanks for the manufacturer info. Pricey stuff but very cool.

March 12, 2007, 07:41 PM
Is it purely a question of tactical advantage in a fire fight or other crimes?

It is purely Hollywood. Suppressors aka Silencers are used by assassins and other would be murders to kill people without attacting attention. Based on this belief, they have no legitimate use and are regulated. Without this protection, the streets would be awash with blood.

March 12, 2007, 10:09 PM
It is purely Hollywood.Exactly what I was going to reply. Most people have their opinions of silencers formed for them by the movies.

March 13, 2007, 05:57 AM
A few years ago I had a conversation with a French national - explaining the wisdom of the founding fathers writing the right to bar arms in our country's constitution. That this was to guarantee our rights by offsetting the power of the government or worse, an invading force.

This was dismissed are pure illusary because of the might of our polioce and armed forces and the government's ability to deny basic facilities like water and power. My sense was then that out right to bare arms was still a prudent measure balance.

Now in Iraq we have seen just how effective an armed civilian population can be, even against the world's most powerful army. I contend my French friend was wrong. Don't get me wrong, I hate the war personnaly and it has taken a grave toll on my family. But it objectively demonstrates that any government should think long and hard before choosing an armed response to resolving conflict in an armed nation instead of diplomatic means.

Now we have arrived in this country to a place where we have all but given up our right to own a gun. My sense is these laws should be repealed. In the immortal words of Benjamin franklin - "Those who give up freedom for security deserve neither."

The fact that the population could be duped into outlawing a threaded metal tube is an alarming indicator we are headed in the wrong direction.

March 13, 2007, 07:23 AM
So air guns are firearms? I they wil shoot as automatics, dosent that make them subject to NFA rules then? Seems the supressor would be a moot point.

March 13, 2007, 08:16 AM
No, airguns are not firearms as defined by ATF. There are full auto airguns that are legal to own.

March 13, 2007, 11:43 PM
If they are not firearms, then how would a supressor for a non-firearm be subject to NFA regs?

March 13, 2007, 11:54 PM
Suppressors are NFA items in and of themselves. Doesn't matter what you PLAN to use them on--only what they CAN be used on. That's why the only way to be safe is to make the suppressor integral to the airgun so that it can't be detached.

March 14, 2007, 05:31 AM
Yes. This is what I meant when I said it's an island of perfectly legal activity (having a supressor on an airgun) surronded by a sea of laws preventing yoo from getting there.

I suppose you could buy all the components and weld each one, one at a time to the barrel as you build it. That way you're never in possession of a silencer apart from the integral design completed in-place on the airgun.

April 5, 2007, 09:23 PM
Contruct the silencer from tape and paper products. They are durable for a reasonable amount of rounds.

There are two key factors for preventing violation of any law: First, contruct the device directly on the airgun (no complete structures can exist off the airgun, lest they present a possibility of being afixed to a firearm) and second, construct the device in such a way that will be totally destroyed at any attempt to remove it from the airgun (easy to do with tape and paper).

April 6, 2007, 07:12 PM
Doesn't matter what you make it out of, if you put a potato on the end of a muzzle you have to register it. http://www.saysuncle.com/archives/2006/02/25/registering_my_fingers/

April 7, 2007, 08:29 PM
The loop hole is not based upon the materials themselves but the combined effect of the process and materials.

Any substance concerntrated at the muzzle that will slow the release of gas without detrimental degradation of the projectile's trajectory will effectively supress any firearm - no doubts paper and tape will do that. If you make one, you have yourself a serious "make firearm", NFA problem. Whether or not you agree with the law, there's little doubt you're breaking it.

The loop hole is made by two key distinctions that I believe place the process and its result outside the qualifying description: 1 - at no time is a suppressor constructed apart from the airgun and 2 - that by no means could the completed design be removed from the airgun without completely destroying its construction.

You'd end up with a wod of paper and tape - as likely a suppressor as any other collection of gas permiable, low density objects you find in your house - socks, toilet paper, dish rags, etc.

So it's the process and the materials. The process avoids the existence of a suppressor apart from the airgun, the material prevents its in-tact removal, Combined they make it impossible to be used on any firearm.

Then again, I'm not a lawyer. If it does violate the law, I'm interesting in learning how.

May 6, 2007, 11:02 PM
There are several high-end pellet guns that have intrigal suppressors in them. You can order these guns right online and they ship directly to your door. I dont know how these are ok, and home-made units for the same are not...???


My cousin's friend got nailed to the wall for making a silencer out film canisters for his pellet gun, and another one out of PVC pipe for his paint-ball gun. He did get off on the charges with a severe slap on the wrist... because his attorney was so damn good. (thankfull this kids parents were well-to-do).

I seriously do not know what in the hell the BATF&E was thinking? Witch-hunting a child like that? Granted this happened during the Clinton administration timeframe, when the ATF prosecuted law-abiding citizens more harshly than criminals (and sometimes they still do...), but for legal *risks* I wouldn't try it. I know there is a LOT of ways the manufacturing law can be interprited, its not a wise decision to make that choice on your own.

If you really want to know, write the question down and mail it to your local ATF office.... then call them and ask. (You want to write them because they are legally REQUIRED to respond to all written coorospondance reguarding clarification or verification of laws/regulations.. this way you have the SAIC's written response). When push comes to shove, it comes down to that Field Office's views and interpretations of the laws that will direct your local DA to file a motion for arrest, and if they are unwilling to, the ATF will get a Federal Judge to sign off on the motion. The ATF will always wait for the judge or DA to sign off on their request before they perform the actual arrest... they cannot just come onto your property at will nor can they search your premisis without your consent or warrant. That is if you own the property.. If you rent... I hope you are friends with your landlord... because if he gives permission for them to enter your place, your hosed.... so if you rent... HIDE your $hi*! :-)... Even with the landlords permission, they cannot search. they can only file charges on what is out in the open.


May 7, 2007, 12:24 AM
Any substance concerntrated at the muzzle that will slow the release of gas without detrimental degradation of the projectile's trajectory will effectively supress any firearm - no doubts paper and tape will do that. If you make one, you have yourself a serious "make firearm", NFA problem.

Right. Problem is, an airgun is not a "firearm" under federal law, IINM. So none of that matters or applies. Suppress to your heart's content, I do believe. But the above advice is good about writing the BATFE to be sure.

May 7, 2007, 10:24 AM
Problem is, an airgun is not a "firearm" under federal law, IINM.If the device constructed is considered a silencer by the BATF, it's regulated in and of itself--regardless of what it is attached to or what you intend to attach it to.

May 7, 2007, 10:34 AM
#1 A suppressor is a suppressor regardless of what it is being used on.

#2 To own a suppressor you have to fill out the paperwork and get the 200 dollar tax stamp.

#3 Many people have said things like its just for a paintball gun or its just for a bb gun. Those people found out the hard way the GOV does not care.

#4 Make no mistake a suppressor is a NFA weapon. It does not make a difference what is is going on.

Chris Phelps
May 7, 2007, 11:50 AM
I am surely late, but I will step in from the paintball gun aspect.

I contacted BATFE about 3 years ago asking about suppressing the volume of my paintball gun, and was given the go-ahead for my idea... since it was neither a permanent or detachable item... or even an item at all, really.

I had a small chunk of fiberglass that was left over from a repacking job on the exhaust of my 4 wheeler. All I did was wrap duct tape ONCE around each end. Make sure you leave it open... if you have a fully closed off area, you have just overstepped your bounds. They said this was fine, since there was no shell/casing and since I would have to literally destroy the fiberglass to remove it from the barrel.

FYI - it didnt do anything anyway. It just slightly altered the report.. thus making me much easier to find mid-game. After about 5 minutes into a game, I pulled the fiberglass off and trashed it.

On another note... when it comes to paintball guns, there is no way of making anything permanent or integral... the barrel is still removable. Since the barrel is about the same size as a normal 22LR suppressor, this is a HUGE no no.

May 7, 2007, 12:14 PM
If the device constructed is considered a silencer by the BATF, it's regulated in and of itself--regardless of what it is attached to or what you intend to attach it to.

Oh, ok, gotcha - sorry, I'm dense....

May 20, 2007, 07:33 PM

excellent discussion of the subject.

Working Man
May 28, 2007, 12:15 PM

Thats interesting. Action Pursuit advertised silencers years back when I use to
look through their magazine. I wonder if they just were not very effective or
if those companies were walking on thin ice.

June 16, 2007, 10:29 PM
Built in supression:

June 16, 2007, 10:48 PM
Use a watter bottle stuffed with cotton : )

June 16, 2007, 10:50 PM
I talked to ATF on this very matter just over 20 yrs ago. I asked about suppressing an airgun since the airgun was not considered a firearm. I was told that so long as it could not be made to work on a firearm it would be legal. So I took the airgun I had at the time that I wanted suppressed, turned down and ported the barrel, and made end collars to hold a very thin walled tube on the barrel which was packed with cotton. It worked great. if you removed the end collars, the whole thing became a bunch of loose parts due to the ends not being attached to the tube. Also, Even if you were to put it on a barrel, you would first have to turn it down, or bore out the collars, and port the barrel. This is modifying the firearm. Therefore, it will not attach to and suppress a firearm without modification to the firearm first. Simply threading the muzzle would not be sufficient. During the AWB, and even now, you can screw a muzzle attachment to the end of a rifle's barrel and then blind pin it and the attachment is considered permanently attached and the threads not to exist. This is legal. Simply drilling out the blind pin will undo this, but that doesn't matter because machining is required to facilitate the removal.

August 13, 2007, 06:05 AM
Here is a review of Gamo's air rifle having an integrated silencer.


They described the difference with super sonic pellets like going from a .22 long to a .22 short. With regular pellets, it doesn't seem to offer much reduction.

This would seem to be insuffient for urban or even suburban target shooting. If you shoot something that sounds like a .22 in close quarters, it seems like you should expect a visit from the police.

Nonetheless - it does demonstrate a flexibility by the BATF in regards to the employ of silencer techonology on air rifles. It is absolutely legal to suppress an air rifle. The trick is getting to that point without having a silencer detached from the rifle itself. A slippery legal slope.

August 14, 2007, 03:47 PM
Has anyone ever asked the ATF if possession of a small gasoline engine with a detachable muffler is a firearms violation? Some of these could be slipped over the muzzle of a .22 rifle and I am sure that the decibel level would be reduced by at least one db.

In England engine mufflers are called silencers.

I have read the Beeman article and under no conditions would I construct my own air gun silencer without a BATFE letter of approval. $200 hundred dollars is a lot cheaper than paying the cost of a trial and getting convicted. I would buy a legally imported airgun with a silencer if the ATF has approved it with a letter as they do for the sale of "assault weapons".