Are Fake Suppressors Legal

Are Fake Suppressors Legal?

by

John Wise
February 3, 2022
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Many people don’t know that fake suppressors are a thing, but they are. If you are one of the many people who didn’t know, you must be wondering what people use it for, why someone would buy it, or whether it is legal to own one.

Suppressors are Illegal only without a tax stamp. Fake suppressors are legal without them because they do not suppress the gun’s sound in any way. You can check if your suppressor is affecting the sound of your gun by shooting it next to a sound level meter with and without the suppressor attached.

This article will discuss the differences between a real suppressor, whether it is legal to have a face suppressor, the pros and cons of fake suppressors, and more. So continue reading for more information about these topics.

What Is A Fake Suppressor Used For?

Fake Suppressor

Although fake suppressors don’t provide any tactical benefits, most people only use them for aesthetic purposes. Many people refer to them as being “tacticool.” The fake suppressor can also add weight to the front of your gun, making it slightly easier to control and fire.

Real suppressors are legal for lawful reasons in 42 states, but they come with restrictions. You must register the suppressor to get a tax stamp. Whereas fake suppressors are legal anywhere, they don’t require a tax stamp. In some cases, using a fake suppressor can help your gun meet the required length.

Fake suppressors are often built of the same or similar materials as real suppressors, such as aluminum or steel, are treated with the same external coatings, and can be attached to a barrel in similar ways. The only way to know whether it’s real or not is to shoot one and hear how it sounds or peek inside, either with an x-ray for a sealed can or by dismantling it yourself.

There have been various rumors that owning a silencer requires a “Class 3” license, but this is just not true. When you first acquire the suppressor, you must pay for a “tax stamp,” but no recurring fees or licensing. This tax works similarly to paying sales tax on a transaction, except it goes to the federal government rather than the state.

Between fake suppressors and real suppressors, there is a significant legal difference. Fake suppressors are available immediately, are significantly less expensive, and do not require a background check, registration, Identification, fingerprints, or a $200 tax stamp. Whereas buying an actual suppressor does. 

The Pros And Cons Of Fake Suppressors

The lack of regulation is the biggest advantage. There is no lengthy process to obtain one, and there are no additional charges. Fake suppressors, like actual suppressors, can add weight to the end of your gun’s barrel, which can be advantageous in some situations. Adding weight to the front of your weapon can reduce recoil and improve shooting performance.

Fake suppressors add length to the barrel of your gun in addition to adding weight. Because short barrel rifles (SBRs) are subject to limitations and legislation. Permanently attaching a fake suppressor to a shortened barrel allows you to achieve the barrel length requirement while avoiding legal wrangling.

They’ve become a big part of what makes a gun “tacticool,” Adding a fake suppressor gives it a tacticool look without the legal process. The world of NFA (National Firearms Act) items, including actual suppressors, can confuse those unfamiliar with them.

A false suppressor has the “tacticool” benefit noted above. However, they may still attract unwanted attention at the range because they seem authentic. Some folks still believe real suppressors are illegal (they aren’t; they’re legal in 42 of 50 states), and they may Confront you about the legality of a product.

Worse yet, if you show a fake suppressor to law enforcement, they may not recognize it isn’t real. Suppose they demand your NFA registration documentation, and you don’t have any because what you have isn’t a real suppressor. In that case, it could cause Unwanted problems until it gets resolved.

What Is A Suppressor?

A suppressor also called a silencer and a sound moderator is a muzzle device that reduces the acoustic intensity of the gunshot sound and the recoil when a gun is discharged. Modulating the propellant gas’s speed and pressure from the muzzle and thus suppressing the muzzle blast when a gun gets discharged.

Like other muzzle devices, a silencer can be a detachable item attached to the muzzle or a built-in element of the barrel. A standard silencer is a metallic cylinder (typically made of stainless steel or titanium) with internal sound baffles and a hollow bore that allows the projectile (bullet) to leave normally.

The bullet passes through the bore with little resistance during firing. Still, most of the expanding gas ejected behind it gets trapped by the baffles, which provide a longer and more complex escape path, lengthening the release time. That causes the gas to slow down and spread its kinetic energy over a broader surface area, diminishing the explosion intensity and loudness.

Silencers can also reduce recoil during shooting. The silencer expels almost all gases towards the front of the gun, unlike muzzle brakes and recoil compensators that reduce recoil by redirecting the muzzle blast sideways.

On the other hand, internal baffles significantly lengthen the duration of gas release and reduce the generated backward thrust. The weight of the silencer and its mounting position (at the very front end of the barrel) will also aid in reducing muzzle rise.

Is It Better To Get A Real Suppressor Or A Fake One?

Actual suppressors indeed come with additional hurdles and expenditures avoided with fake suppressors. The only legal way to reap the benefits of a real suppressor (whether manufactured or homemade silencer) is to register one, pay the tax, and wait for it to be authorized. It mostly comes down to what you want to get from a suppressor.

If you contemplate getting a suppressor just to have that “suppressed look,” then getting a fake suppressor is better. If you want to change the intensity of your gun’s sound, then getting a real one is well worth it.

What Is A Solvent Trap?

A solvent trap is a cleaning mechanism for firearms that captures cleaning solution and disposes of it efficiently. Cups, sometimes known as dividers, are used in solvent traps to catch byproducts formed during the cleaning process. At first glance, solvent traps and suppressors look very similar in many ways, but they have a few distinct differences  

Solvent traps don’t have a hole drilled through the center and don’t have a serial number engraved on them. Their design usually doesn’t allow for shooting, but these similarities encourage people to convert a solvent trap into a suppressor. If you were to convert a solvent trap into a suppressor, you would still have to register it as an actual suppressor.

Conclusion

Fake suppressors are not illegal, but they could still get you into trouble if someone asks you for your documentation because they think it is real. The only way to tell if your suppressor is fake or not is by shooting it with and without connecting the suppressor and then comparing the sound. Fake suppressors don’t add any real benefits besides aesthetics, weight, and overall length to your gun.

If you want the benefits of an actual suppressor, going the extra mile and doing the required steps to register a suppressor is well worth it. Still, if you only want that suppressed look, then a fake suppressor is perfect. Because solvent traps are so similar to suppressors, many people convert them into suppressors. However, if you want to do this, you will still need to register it as a standard suppressor.

References:

John Wise

John Wise has a rich background in the use of firearms and has also worked in building construction, particularly designing and installing soundproofing systems for homes and offices. Over the years, he has acquired a ton of experience in sound dampening techniques, technologies, and equipment. Leveraging that rich experience, John Wise now dedicates a chunk of time to show just about anyone how to drastically minimize noise pollution in their spaces, whether at home or workplace.