How to Get a Silencer for Your Handgun

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Silencers, also known as suppressors, are legal to own in most states but are generally very difficult to obtain. Suppressors are regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934, and require special permits, permissions and fees to own or transfer. Also, the only dealers allowed to sell or transfer suppressors must have a Class 3 license, which is a permit designed for the sale of so-called destructive weapons. The rules for purchasing a suppressor, or for who can own one, can vary from state to state or county to county, but the process is generally the same.

Find a dealer with a valid Class 3 license. All gun stores must have a Federal Firearm License, which classifies what types of guns the store is allowed to sell. Call dealers in your area and ask if they are licensed to sell Class 3 weapons. Some Websites, such as nfadealers.com, contain lists of registered Class 3 dealers.

Fill out the required paperwork for a background check at the dealer's office. The forms will require you to provide photo identification, a current address, criminal history information, your Social Security number and your birth date. This information will allow the dealer to set up federal paperwork to eventually transfer the silencer.

After the dealer provides you with a fingerprint card as part of the application packet, take the card to your local sheriff or police station and have them complete it with you. Only a qualified police technician can fill out a fingerprint card.

Obtain signatures on the background paperwork from the local chief law-enforcement officer, such as the sheriff or police chief in your county. Every agency is different, so call ahead and ask whether there is a specific time or process required to obtain signature for a Class 3 weapon.

Return the fingerprint card and signatures to the dealer, along with the required federal tax stamp fee. The fee can vary, so ask your dealer how much you should expect to pay. The tax stamp fee pays the federal government to process your paperwork and transfer the silencer.

Return to the dealer after the federal government completes your background check, and pick up your suppressor. Expect to wait up to four months for the background check to be completed in most cases.


  • The rules for obtaining a suppressor are very specific and should not be deviated from for legal reasons.
  • Never try to make your own suppressor.


About the Author

Heath Robert has been a professional writer since 2001. Covering news, politics and local communities, he has worked for daily newspapers across Colorado, including the "Columbine Courier" and the "Colorado Statesman." Robert holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in journalism and political science.

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