Hey, aren’t those things illegal?
No, of course not. In fact, silencers have never been illegal under federal law. They are
however prohibited in some states, but they are perfectly legal in Pennsylvania.
Don’t you need some kind of license to own a silencer?
No. The ownership process is only slightly more complicated than purchasing a regular
firearm and requires very little paperwork. However, there is a one time transfer tax of
$200 that must be paid in order to take possession.
Can anyone own a silencer?
Anyone who is a legal US resident, over the age of 21, and is a non-felon can own a
silencer. Basically, anyone who can legally purchase a handgun can also purchase a
I heard that once you own a silencer the ATF can come to your house whenever they want for an inspection. Is that true?
Absolutely not! You don’t give up any rights when you purchase a silencer.
Do silencers really sound like they do in the movies?
Don’t believe everything you see in the movies. Each caliber and firearm has its own
characteristics when suppressed. A .22LR firing subsonic ammunition (less than the
speed of sound) will sound very similar to what Hollywood portrays in the movies. A
.223 Rem or a .308 Win firing full power loads will be quite a bit louder due to the
projectile’s velocity. Once the projectile exceeds the speed of sound, there is a sonic
crack that is louder than the firearm’s report. Silencers from the major manufacturers in
most cases will suppress the gunshot noise to safe levels that will allow shooting without
using hearing protection.
Can I travel with my silencer, or does it need to stay in my home state?
Traveling with a silencer is perfectly legal as long as it is legal at your destination. You
may also travel through states which prohibit their possession as long as it is properly
secured in a locked container. It is recommended to always carry a copy of your approval
paperwork along with the silencer as well as exercising common sense.
I have a very accurate rifle I’d like to put a silencer on. Will it ruin the accuracy?
No, it won’t. In fact, many shooters will notice a decrease in group size with the silencer.
The point of impact will shift since you are effectively hanging a weight on the end of the
barrel, but will be repeatable each time the silencer is installed. The rifle will simply need
re-zeroed for use with a silencer.
Why would anybody want to own one of those? Nobody really needs a silencer do they?
No, I suppose you don’t really need a silencer, but they do offer several benefits to
shooters. Following are just a few of the benefits of using a silencer:
Reduced noise and recoil – the reduction in recoil and reduced noise make shooting much
more enjoyable and cause less fatigue.
Increased safety and more effective training of inexperienced shooters – new shooters
will be less intimidated by noise and recoil, and will be less likely to develop bad habits
such as flinching. Shooting safety is also increased since range commands will be easier
to hear without bulky or uncomfortable hearing protection.
Reduced likelihood of disturbing neighbors, livestock, or wildlife – if you are fortunate
enough to own enough land to shoot on, you are much less likely to offend the neighbors,
disturb livestock, or scare off local wildlife with gunfire.
How do I attach a silencer to my gun?
Depending upon the type of firearm you would like to suppress, the existing barrel would
either need to be threaded by a competent gunsmith, or the barrel would need to be
replaced with an extended and threaded barrel. Most rifles and .22 rimfire pistols can be
threaded by a gunsmith. Centerfire pistols generally will need to have the barrel replaced.
For a listing of threaded barrel manufacturers please see the Threaded Barrel
What’s the difference between a silencer and a suppressor?
Nothing. They are just two different names for the same thing. The words can be used