View Full Version : making a suppressor

August 25, 2009, 09:46 AM
i've started looking for information on suppressors. plenty of information out there but i have one major confusion. since the atf fee is for a "transfer," what are the rules for a hand built suppressor? where would i find this info?
i've been a machinist for forty years so building a quality suppressor is not difficult for me. actually they are very simple devices.
i live in texas where owning a suppressor is legal.

August 25, 2009, 10:06 AM
A form 4 is an “Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm” what you are looking for is a form 1 “Application to Make and Register a Firearm” (type of firearm is silencer).

You can find it here http://www.titleii.com/TitleII.com/Forms.html

The most important "rule" is not to start before you get have approved paper work in hand.

August 25, 2009, 10:47 AM
thanks, jmorris. that helps. the important rule... i would never do that!

Willie Lowman
August 25, 2009, 11:41 AM
It should also be noted that once you make your suppressor, the ATF frowns on you doing additional work on it. For that you must take it to a "licensed manufacturer"... That means no making new baffles or end caps or having extra baffles sitting around.

James K
August 25, 2009, 12:13 PM
Hi, Willie,

Do you happen to know a source for that? AFAIK, once I own a registered silencer (suppressor), I can repair it or adjust it if I want, just as I can repair a legally owned and registered machinegun.


August 25, 2009, 12:28 PM
Do not use the ATF form 1 from the title ii website. It is the old version and might not be accepted in the future. Go here; http://www.atf.gov/forms/5000.htm#firearms to get the ATF forms you need, including the form 1 and form 5330.20. The $200 tax is paid anytime an unlicensed person such as yourself makes any title 2 firearm, including the AOW's, which are just $5 to transfer after they are made.

Make sure you have a good design, it can not be modified or parts replaced once the silencer is finished, unless it is sent to an FFL/SOT class 2 manufacturer for repair or replacement of parts. Even a licensed manufacturer can not make repairs that lengthen the tube.

The ATF does not prohibit you from making repairs. As long as you are not replacing parts, making the tube longer or changing the bore size, then you are OK. Here is an ATF FAQ on silencers; http://www.atf.gov/firearms/nfa/041708silencer_faqs.htm

You may want to submit your forms, fingerprints, photos and check now, then complete your design. It is taking up to six months for approval these days. I have been waiting since June for my latest one. You can not make parts until the approved form is in your hands. I suggest that the first part you make is the tube, then engrave it immediately.

Remember that technically silencers are illegal in TX. Registration with the ATF protects you from prosecution, not arrest. From the TX gov homepage; Sec. 46.05. PROHIBITED WEAPONS.
(4) a firearm silencer ;
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor's possession was pursuant to registration pursuant to the National Firearms Act, as amended.

I have never heard of anyone being arrested for silencer possession as long as they were able to show their form 1 or 4 to the police when asked. Http://www.silencertests.com and http://www.subguns.com are the two best sources for info on silencers I know of. Good luck.


Superhouse 15
August 25, 2009, 12:37 PM
There is much info available on different designs here:

Plenty of experience and good ideas available.

August 25, 2009, 03:30 PM
The link above looks like the AK Forum website?

August 25, 2009, 04:16 PM
Do you happen to know a source for that? AFAIK, once I own a registered silencer (suppressor), I can repair it or adjust it if I want, just as I can repair a legally owned and registered machinegun.

There are parts, then that are parts. Here is what he is talking about.


AUG 23 1999


Dear Mr. Bardwell:

This is in response to your letter of June 28, 1999, regarding the repair of a silencer by an individual owner. You ask "whether it is lawful for the owner of a lawfully possessed silencer ... to repair that silencer himself, by replacing unserialized internal components with new components of his own making." You cited the replacement of a worn out plastic "wipe" or damaged baffle as an example.

As you are aware, the terms "firearm silencer" and "firearm muffler" mean any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a portable firearm, including any combination of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for use in assembling or fabricating a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, and any part intended only for use in such assembly or fabrication. Thus, certain internal components, intended only for use in a silencer, are silencers as defined.

If an individual made one of these parts, even for use as a replacement part, the individual would be making a silencer. Under the provisions of the National Firearms Act, any person must apply for and receive permission to make a silencer and pay the making tax for each silencer made. This would require the individual owner to file an ATF Form 1 application for each silencer part to be made with the payment of $200.00 for each application prior to making any replacement part.

In regard to the two parts in your cited example, we consider a baffle to be a silencer, but a wipe, which is usually nothing more than a rubber or plastic disc with a hole in it, is generally not considered to be a silencer. Thus an individual owner could replace a wipe.

For the replacement of a part or parts that meet the definition of a silencer, the individual owner would need to arrange for the transfer of the silencer to a Federal firearms licensee who is qualified to manufacture silencers.

If you have questions about the classification of other silencer components, please provide us with a description of them or should any additional information be needed, please contact Gary Schiable at (202) 927-8330.

Sincerely yours,

Kent M. Cousins
Chief, National Firearms Act Branch


Willie Lowman
August 25, 2009, 07:44 PM
Thank you, HKmp5sd.

That is exactly what I was referring to.