Ever since moving from Maryland to Colorado I’d hoped to take advantage of the far more liberal gun laws and enjoy ownership of a cool piece of hardware that would lessen the damage I do to my ears, and perhaps earn me some gun nut cool points. I’m talking of course about a suppressor, a cylindrical baffled tube that fastens onto a threaded barrel of a rifle or pistol and dampen the noise and sometimes recoil of the shot. I did my research and decided that the Sparrow 22 from SilencerCo was most appropriate given the application I was most interested in. I’ve experimented with subsonic ammunition and wanted an opportunity to take multiple squirrels from the same area to increase the heft of my bag by the end of the day. A suppressor seems like a great way to achieve that. Additionally, the Sparrow is a multi-caliber suppressor that supports being run on nearly all flavors of .22 Caliber, 17 HMR, and FN 5.7. This means that I can run it on my small game and carry pistols!
After I selected the suppressor I was interested it made some sense to head to my local gun shop and talk to some folks in the know. I talked to Jake at Iron Horse Armory in Parker, Colorado. It’s a small shop but there’s a ton of knowledge in the brick-and-mortar joint nestled into a strip mall. I picked the staff’s brain for the better part of an hour and they walked me through the process. Many of the shops in town are tied to SilencerShop, an online store and clearinghouse for all things suppressor related. They’ve turned the paperwork shuffle involved with buying a suppressor into a streamlined art-form.
Just add your suppressor, National Firearms Act Tax Stamp, and a SingleShot Unlimited Trust into your cart, select your local gun shop — preferably one with a fingerprinting kiosk inside it and away you go! I chose the trust option because I could easily add my wife, brother, and father to the trust at a later date. Since, like many married couples, my wife and I live together it’d legally plausible that she can be in possession of the suppressor, she’ll need to be added as a “responsible person” on my trust. But when I’m acquiring my first suppressor, I’ll keep the trust to just me to minimize complications, she can be added to the trust at a later date at any time — mostly through the website and kiosk. Until then, when I’m not using it, it will live in the safe, not that I have to worry about even possessing the suppressor for another several months. Another good note on the SingleShot Unlimited trust is that I can add multiple suppressors as opposed to having one trust per NFA item, which just seemed ridiculous.
I went to silencershop.com and filled out a profile which was pretty straight forward. If you’re going to fill one out, for the love of god make sure that you’re at least using SSL (https://) in front of the URL, they’ll ask for things like your social security number, photo, and fingerprints. If you’re not too keen on buying things on the Internet, or don’t like the idea of doing taxes by software you probably will find the process a little uncomfortable. A lot of information is going to go through the Internet in order to buy you some convenience here. By pre-filling your profile and selecting your suppressor in advance you can save a ton of time and paperwork.
On the website you step through your profile, filling out all of the relevant information for purchasing a firearm as you would in person to include questions about your mental stability, drug use status, and citizenship status. If you install the SilencerShop App on your phone you can also take and upload a passport photo, or a photo meeting the requirements of one to the website to be approved. It’s little more than a selfie in front of a white wall, but it’ll do the trick.
Despite my visit to go see Jake, I didn’t actually need to go to Iron Horse before filling out my profile and buying the suppressor at all. At this point though it becomes required to get your fingerprints done. In many of the “Powered by SilencerShop” stores there are kiosks that have a platen where you can get your fingerprints taken care of inkless and stain free. The process took about ten minutes worth of pressing and rolling of my digits and I was all squared away. Now SilencerShop has all of the required information to do the following for me:
- Register a Trust in my Name
- Cut a check that I already paid for ($200) for the NFA Tax Stamp on behalf of the Trust.
- Apply for a Form 4 on your behalf (Tax Stamp).
- Submit Fingerprint Cards as required by Law.
- Apply for an ATF Form 3 in order to transfer the suppressor from SilencerShop to your Local Gun Store and then on to you.
So what now? I submitted all of my required information, my credit card was billed for the full amount of my new Sparrow 22 and the legal paperwork. Now it’s just time to wait. I could compulsively check NFATracker to see if the wait times are getting better, but I’d better not. This is the waiting game, and with average wait times coming in at 8-10 months I’ll be happy if I have my suppressor in my hands by the time squirrel season is just about ready to be out again. I’ll give everyone an update as things move along, but so far the process has only been a pain in the wallet. One of my coworkers from Texas warned me though, suppressors can be addictive. I’m already planning on getting a multi-caliber rifle suppressor for my big game rifles. I can’t wait to dive into doing the research.
Update: I wanted to update you all on the status of my suppressor as it moves through the process. Below are dates milestones occurred so you can get an idea as to how my process is going. Your mileage and wait times may vary.
- 3/8/2019 – SilencerShop account created, data filled out, fingerprints taken, photo taken. Made purchase of the Tax Stamp, Trust, and Suppressor that day.
- 3/13/2019 – DocuSign for the Trust sent to me, signed and submitted.
- 3/18/2019 – Dealer signed ATF Form 4, SingleShot Trust Filed and in hand, SilencerShop submitted Form 3 to the ATF for approval.
- 3/20/2019 – SilencerShop lists the Form 3 status as Approved. This seems odd. Form 4 listed as Signatures Complete.
- 3/29/2019 – Form 4 was printed and mailed to ATF.
- 4/4/2019 – ATF Tax Stamp Cashed, check cashed to process for tax stamp.
- 4/19/2019 – Suppressor at dealership, waiting.
- 2/4/2020 – ATF Form 4 Approved, I am allowed to take possession of my Suppressor!
- 2/7/2020 – Took possession of my SilencerCo Sparrow 22 and ATF Tax Stamp.