How to Sell Suppressors

Selling ATF-regulated items is a relatively simple way to gain more business.

How to Sell Suppressors

The ongoing boom in suppressor sales provides plenty of profit potential for FFL dealers who add a Special Occupancy Tax (SOT) license and gain the ability to sell ATF-controlled firearms and suppressors.

While there will be additional paperwork for you and your customers, it can open up a whole new market. And the process isn’t too complicated. 

The more recent changes require LEO notification and a few extra documents. Buyers purchase and pay for the suppressor and $200 tax stamp at the same time the dealer helps them complete a Form 4, then gather the required fingerprint cards, obtain the required LEO signoff, submit, and wait. Wait times are averaging about six to eight months, but after the wait is over and the tax stamp is mailed to the dealer, the customer can pick up the suppressor. Owners are required to carry a copy of the tax stamp paperwork with the firearm at all times. 

Generally, ATF-regulated items have a higher-than-average margin, with most purchases based on ordered inventory, but dealers should choose carefully on which suppressors to stock. All are not equal. 

Dealers should stock a variety of the most popular suppressor categories, including rimfire, handgun, rifle and crossover category suppressors that can accommodate many calibers. There are more than a hundred suppressor manufacturers now, which leads to another consideration of which brands to get behind and stock.

Rimfire Suppressors

By far the largest selling category of suppressors are the inexpensive entry point rimfire suppressors. The plus side of this category is that experienced suppressor customers usually own multiple rimfire suppressors once they catch the suppressor bug. Most models are rated for all rimfire cartridges from .17 to .22 WMR and offer simple ½-28 threading patterns and can thread on to the plethora of threaded rimfire guns now available. Key features are very low report and the ability to easily disassemble and clean out all that very dirty .22LR gunk. The AAC Element 2, Ruger Silent-SR, and Liberty Regulator are all quality suppressors that perform well, are quiet, and are very easy to clean when the gunk starts to build up.


Handgun Suppressors

Centerfire handgun suppressors are a bit different than rimfire and rifle suppressors in that they require a booster to function with the unlocking tilt-barrel function of most handguns.

A booster essentially “boosts” the recoil to guarantee function and overcome the weight of the suppressor on the end of the barrel, which would otherwise cause the handgun to malfunction. Most centerfire handgun suppressors offer either a booster lockout or a fixed thread adapter to allow use on fixed barrel centerfire pistol caliber carbines. There are some centerfire handgun suppressors that are also certified for rifle calibers, with most approved for use with subsonic 300 Blackout and, although louder than a rimfire suppressor, also capable of shooting rimfire rounds. 

In all but a few cases, centerfire suppressors are offered in 9mm and .45 caliber, which can be used with 9mm, .40 and 10mm firearms. Sig Sauer has delivered quality from their ammo, arms and optics. The Sig SRD9 and SRD45 suppressors are no exception, equipped with included booster lockouts, the 9mm with the most popular 1/2 inch - 28 tpi (threads per inch) and M13.5x1 mm LH thread adapters and the SRD45 with. .578-inch - 28 tpi and M16x1 mm LH thread adapters.

Rifle Suppressors

This category is also a bit unique, with two major categories that include Quick Disconnect (QD) and thread-on models, which are generally preferred for precision shooters under the belief that the threading alignment improves accuracy. Most customers will prefer .30-caliber models approved for up to .300 Win Mag for the multi-caliber flexibility, which usually ranges from .17 rimfire to .300 Win Mag, including .308 and 5.56 AR-format firearms.

QD models offer customers a big advantage of quickly moving the suppressor from one gun to another with one or two full turns. Generally, the QD-mount suppressors have some type of proprietary muzzle device that allows secure attachment and removal from one firearm to another while still retaining a muzzle device and protection. The other option is a simple threaded suppressor that can still be moved between firearms, but not as quickly, and which exposes muzzle threads to damage with continual installation and removal.

Most feel threaded suppressors promote a bit more accuracy due to the fixed barrel threading, however, the customer choice usually comes down to looks, weight, size, brand reputation and a threaded or QD option. Pricing is also important, but from personal experience, a high-quality .30-caliber suppressor is a worthwhile investment.

Multi-Cal Suppressors

Multi-caliber suppressors, with the ability to shoot nearly any caliber from rimfire to large centerfire rounds, is another important category. Most are only limited to the size of the bore, but they do compromise weight, length and a little performance for the caliber flexibility.

A few of the newer options include the Griffin Hybrid 46, rated from .22LR all the way to 458 Socom and every caliber in between. My Liberty Mystic X is another option, rating from 17 M2 to .300 Win Mag. Multi-cal suppressors are a great way for a customer to purchase one suppressor and use it across almost any firearm. Eventually, the limitations may drive customers to purchase more specialized suppressors that excel for a certain caliber and application.


Sales Cautions

With customers purchasing so many different types of firearms, from handguns to PCC, AR-format pistols and short-barreled rifles, it is critical to ensure that the suppressor they are purchasing will fit their intended application. For example, many rifle-rated suppressors are rated based on a standard 16-inch barrel and are not rated for use with shorter AR rifle-round barrels like common 7-, 10-, and 12-inch barrels. It should also be noted that centerfire handgun suppressors rated for 300 Blackout are typically rated for only subsonic rounds and usually only for certain barrel lengths. Dealers should ensure customers are checking that manufacturer ratings match their intended use or be able to provide this information at the point of sale for spontaneous purchases.


ATF-Regulated Sales

Once dealers have their SOT, there are two options for sales and processing paperwork. The manual paperwork processing is the typical process, but it does require time and can be irritating for customers who just want simple transfers and special orders.

Many dealers are opting to become a SilencerShop Dealer to ease the paperwork burden for both the dealer and the customer. SilencerShop has made it easy for dealers with a nationwide network of in-dealer self-service kiosks. Instead of dealers needing to complete the paperwork, the kiosk or SilencerShop website walks customers through all the forms, saving all submission information, including digitizing fingerprints to make future purchases even easier. There are advantages to having the flexibility to complete ATF paperwork manually, but there are also definite advantages for dealers to use SilencerShop to reduce inventory requirements and still give the customer exactly what they want. 

Dealers often forget that the most important aspect of obtaining an SOT and supporting ATF-regulated item sales is that it is an entirely new and fun category that gets customers excited and coming back to your store. For mature gun owners and buyers, suppressors, SBRs and other regulated items are often on the wish list.



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