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How-To: Details of Buying a Suppressor for the First Time

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I have been a gun enthusiast for a long time. It started off with an obsession with pistols, which later evolved into rifles and, eventually, shotguns. I have come to realize I just love guns and everything about them. However, I have never owned a suppressor, which led me to my first time buying one.

Buying a Suppressor for the First Time

I am a certified instructor teaching thousands of people a year in concealed carry classes, firearms safety classes, and how to clean and maintain firearms. Not to mention personal protection.

One thing I never really dove into was the suppressor world. Naturally, as I have evolved my firearms horizons, there are not a whole lot of categories left to explore. This brings me to learn about buying a suppressor.


Like many people, suppressors intimidated me because of the tax stamp business. I knew I needed to obtain a tax stamp, but how do I do that? All I really knew was adding a suppressor to a firearm would cut down the sound decibels, felt recoil, and improve accuracy a bit. But I admittedly knew nothing else about them.

I did what anyone would do in 2020 during a pandemic and jumped onto the internet for information. You know, if it is found online, it must be correct.

I found a plethora of overwhelming information about different cans and companies. How suppressors work, varied construction materials, etc., but how the hell do I go about buying one? That info just didn’t seem to really exist online.

I knew I needed to fill out NFA paperwork, get fingerprints done, pay my $200, and purchase a can. But how the heck do I do all of that? Where do I start? Well, if you’re looking to get into suppressors and are left scratching your head about where to start, keep reading.

Diving In

My first stop was the gun shop. This seems like a very simple task and a great place to start the process. However, unfortunately, too many shops treat newbies like me like we are inferior and are just not helpful at all.

This is sad and unfortunate but proves to be so true way too often. It was to be the case with my journey into suppressors as well. I stopped into two different local shops to ask about the process of buying a suppressor and was greeted both times with attitude and sarcasm.

Instantly, I felt like I was doing something wrong by asking simple questions. And although these shops sort of answered my questions, I ended up walking out of there still not really understanding the process. I finally took a trip to another Michigan shop a little further away from me called Not Just Guns.

This place came highly recommended by some friends, so I took the trip. A good shop is the key to success when it came to learning and understanding the suppressor process. Stan and Mike at Not Just Guns took the time to walk me through the entire process. They answered all of my questions and gave me more information than I could even process at one time.

The staff at Not Just Guns were very helpful.

They did all of this while making me feel comfortable and never once belittled. The first step was done—find the right shop. Now the second step was finding the right suppressor for me and buying it.

Permanent Decision

I shoot a lot of guns. So, I really wanted something versatile that I would be able to transfer from one gun to another. The thing I realized quickly with suppressors is that you are stuck with your decision once you make it.

It is not like you can purchase it, not like it, and then sell it like you can with a gun. So, you really need to put thought into what suppressors you are going to be getting.

Luckily, SilencerCo has a solution for someone like me that wants to be able to have one suppressor that will work on multiple platforms and even with different calibers. The SilencerCo Hybrid 46 was the perfect solution for me.

I selected the SilencerCo Hybrid 46.

The Hybrid 46 is compatible with pistol calibers from 9mm to .45 ACP, rifle calibers from 5.56mm to .45–70 Govt, and many in between. You can even run it with .458 SOCOM if you want. The Hybrid is rated for full auto and can even be used with magnum loads.

This was the perfect can because I wanted to run it on both pistols and rifles. SilencerCo makes it extremely easy to adapt the Hybrid to any gun with a slew of compatible accessories for mounting on pretty much any platform. Now that I had my suppressor, it was time for step three.

Filing the Paperwork for a Suppressor

This is part of the process most people understandably get very intimidated by. It’s the paperwork to make it all legal. A suppressor is an NFA (National Firearms Act) item and requires a tax stamp.

The paperwork can be a bit confusing if you don’t know what you are doing. But again, a good shop like Not Just Guns made the process very simple. You need to get your fingerprint cards done, and some shops now even have fingerprinting capabilities right at the shop.

Then, fill out the NFA form for the suppressor and pay your $200 dollar luxury tax to good old Uncle Sam.

The paperwork involved in buying a suppressor is intimidating for many.

Trusts & Beneficiaries

You do have some options that need to be thought through before you put in your paperwork. You must decide if you want to put the suppressor into your name directly or if you want to set up a trust for the suppressor. It is important to understand what this means.

So, if the suppressor is only in your name directly, then you are the sole owner of that can. You must be in possession of that suppressor or be the only one with access to it. No one can take it to the range without you being present the entire time.

Also, if you are the sole owner, you must put the suppressor in your will. And whoever you give it to has to do the paperwork like it is a new purchase.

Now if you set up a trust for the suppressor, you can put multiple people on the trust. This legally allows them to use that suppressor without you being physically present. In other words, if you want to let somebody borrow your suppressor and take it hunting, you can do that by putting them on your trust.

You can have many different people on your trust. However, only one person on the trust can be identified as the beneficiary if you were to die. The entire process sounds like a lot. But it is just as easy as filling out a 4473 to purchase a firearm.

Now that you found your shop to help with the process, purchased your suppressor, and paid for the tax stamp, the hardest part of the entire process comes—waiting.

Hardest Part

You must wait for your stamp to come in while your poor suppressor sits in a gun shop safe. All alone in the dark and cold for what seems like forever. I waited almost nine months for my tax stamp to come in from the ATF so that I could go pick up the Hybrid 46 and actually start enjoying it.

The hardest part was waiting for the tax stamp to come from the ATF.

I did take a few trips out to Not Just Guns for other purchases during those long nine months and got to hold my new suppressor while I was in the store. It is kind of sad, though, just a tease. It’s like when you look at a gun at the gun shop that you know you can’t take home. But this one you have actually already paid for.

You are so close at this point, and all you have to do is wait for that day to finally come when you get that call from the gun shop telling you that your tax stamp is in and you can come get your suppressor.

When you go to pick up the suppressor, you will have a little more paperwork to fill out. At this point, it is just basic transfer paperwork that takes the suppressor out of the shop’s books and says it is in your possession now.

Parting Shots – Suppressed, of Course

Remember to always have a copy of your tax stamp and paperwork with you when heading anywhere with the suppressor. Put a folder together that always goes with the suppressor when you go to the range, hunt, or just travel anywhere. Do not allow anyone to borrow your suppressor that is not on your trust either.

As I said before, the process was something that intimidated me a bit, but I am glad I decided to go for it. The Hybrid 46 from SilencerCo has made shooting pretty much every gun with a threaded barrel more enjoyable. Likewise, it does wonders while hunting.

If you have ever thought about buying your first suppressor but never knew how, I hope you make the jump and find a shop like Not Just Guns to assist you through the process. Rediscover all your guns all over again with the addition of that suppressor.

For more information, please visit NotJustGuns.com and SilencerCo.com.

This article was originally published in the Personal Defense World June/July 2022 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions at OutdoorGroupStore.com. Or call 1-800-284-5668, or email [email protected].

Buying a suppressor made all of my guns more enjoyable to shoot.

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