Boom in suppressor sales

Interesting piece in a Texas paper on the boom in suppressor sales:

“Nationwide, more than 22,000 of these noise suppressors were sold this year — 9 percent more than last year — and the most were sold in Texas for at least the third year in a row, according to statistics released by the National Shooting Sports Foundation…”

Suppressor manufacturers are telling me there’s more interest than they’ve ever seen before, both from LEOs and civilians. I think that’s great…more and more people are catching on that America is the only country with a psychosis about mufflers. I’ve noticed, however, that in New Zealand rimfire suppressers have “soared” in price to as much as $100. I’m going to push NSSF pretty hard on calling for suppressors to at the very least be moved from the $200 transfer tax, same as machineguns, to the $5 AOW tax. In a sane world, suppressors would be immediately “decriminalized” and promoted heavily as the safety device they are. I’m also going to talk to the big suppressor manufacturers and see if we can come up with a common campaign.

I’m setting up a “house carbine,” a la Ed Head’s flattop AR, suppressed and sighted dead on at 15 feet with an Aimpoint Micro. It is a dedicated tool for home defense. I’ve got a SureFire suppressor in the works.

Many jurisdictions where suppressors (and other controlled items) are legal for civilian ownership, it is hard and near impossible, to get the necessary law enforcement sign-off.

The ATF paperwork requires fingerprints, passport-type photo and a letter from law enforcement. If your local LEO is antigun, no sign-off. There are some options in that case. The first is a “gun trust.” The trust is able to acquire Class 3 stuff without the fingerprints or CLEO sign-off. Ditto for corporations, including Subchapter S corps. Do I need to tell you that you need LEGAL ADVICE before you proceed down any of these pathways?

I also want to be clear that suppressors should be removed the 1934 Firearms Act. They are safety devices, not “tools of assassins” or any of the other crap they’ve been saddled with by Hollywood and mediocre mystery writers (“silence” that revolver, dude!). To me, the fact that we now issue AR-15/M4 carbines to law enforcement knowing that the officers will suffer permanent hearing damage if they touch that issue carbine off in a closed space…especially when the solution is simple, affordable and readily available.

There’s also the issue of access to places to shoot, especially in urban areas…oftentimes the critical issue is noise, and, hey, we know how to fix that (why rub an ranges in France require suppressors).

I realize we have a long way to go, but I think if we decide this is an important issue I think we can make some headway.


  1. Hey, Michael. As a seemingly staunch advocate of the suppressor (you already sold me), how about doing a piece on SG or BD? I know you already did a SG episode on suppressors, but I don’t remember seeing what I’m about to suggest. To demonstrate the amount of effectiveness, take 3 types of sound readings for each caliber and weapon type (large and small/rifle and pistol). I’m not sure of the name of the device used to measure sound levels, but use it to measure the sound level of unsuppressed fire, suppressed fire, and a control sound (say television or loud stereo). If you really want to get fancy, take the same sound readings in open and closed spaces (to show how it works defending your home, and protecting your family’s hearing while your at it). This demonstration could be useful on both ends of the sound spectrum. Obviously, to the loud end of the scale it shows how much of your hearing can be protected. To the soft end of the scale, do you think it could debunk the Hollywood myth of the silent kill? Don’t you love how it always sounds like a muffled sneeze? For those who’ve never experienced it (and probably won’t have easy access to experience it), I think it would be a really enlightening experiment. What do you say?

    PS, I remember one time at an outdoor range (with a covered firing line) that my hearing protection wasn’t completely secure (don’t wear a watch cap under your ear muffs, it defeats the protection completely, even if it’s bone chilling cold). Every time I fired (all 2 shots), my head rung like a church bell and my vision vibrated as though my head was a one. That’s bad news when you’re facing a creep who just broke into your house and is on his way to hurt you. I definitely think the suppressor is another good way to stay in a defensive status. You’re impaired when shooting the gun stuns you too.

  2. I have been told that silencers were included in the 1934 NFA at the insistance of the National Park Service, which was concerned that Depression-era poachers would use silencers to decimate game populations.


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