Get a Suppressor in as little as 30 days with the NEW ATF eForm System – Step-by-Step

There’s likely never going to be a better time than the present to buy a suppressor. The ATF has finally moved the process for buying a suppressor into this century with online eForms that now support electronic Form 4’s (Form 4 is the ATF name for the application you use to transfer a suppressor, pay the tax, and register). This will substantially cut the time required to purchase and possess a suppressor or silencer. 

Traditionally, after purchasing a suppressor, the buyer mailed a paper Form 4 to the ATF. The old paper process is taking from 9-14 months. You could literally join a dating app, meet a woman or man, date, and have a baby faster than the Federal gov’t could approve you to own a suppressor. Imagine stacks and stacks and stacks of paper in the form of fingerprint cards, trusts, corporate documents, passport photos, checks, and Form 4 applications in a disorganized pile on a government bureaucrat’s desk. To be more exact, 200,000ish applications sitting on 25-35 desks.  You sent papers in and they had to enter all of it into a computer. It’s no wonder that they were so behind. That’s how the application process worked up until just a couple of weeks ago. 

What changed? The application process (Form 4)  was moved to a computerized cloud-based eForm system. There are several things that speed the process up, including no more U.S. Mail going back and forth. The biggest factor is that you digitally input all the information, saving the ATF from doing the data entry.  Essentially, as soon as your application is in, the approval process can begin. 

If you buy a suppressor now using the new eForms system, you’ll jump in front of the thousands of paper applications still sitting at the ATF waiting to be processed. The ATF believes that electronic Form 4’s will eventually be processed in as little as 30-90 days. 

Is 30 days or less actually possible? Yep. The ATF has been accepting eForm, Form 1 applications (the name of the application you use to make and transfer your own suppressor or make an SBR) via their slow and crappy website for several years. We had several writers here at GunsAmerica get eForm, Form 1’s approved in as little as 12 days in just the last few months. The longest one took was 33 days, so 30 days is certainly possible. Regardless of whether it takes 12 days or 87 days, the sooner you apply, the sooner you’ll get to reap the benefits of having a suppressor.

There are several options available for using the new eForm system to buy a suppressor.

Option 1: 

Buy a suppressor online from your house. I’m currently in the process of buying a suppressor online through Silencer Central. Silencer Central is a dealer for most major brands of suppressors.  Silencer Central will set you up with a Gun Trust (included in the price of the suppressor), they manage the entire eForm application process, and then once approved they deliver the suppressor to your doorstep. They also have an eZ Pay plan option where you can make payments if that’s easier for you. I’ll be reporting back on how this process went for me, but so far it’s been incredibly easy because they do all the hard stuff. If you prefer doing stuff face-to-face, they also often have booths at outdoor trade shows where they can get all of your stuff done while you’re there. I believe they’ll be at SCI (Safari Club International) in Las Vegas next week.

Option 2:  

  1. Find a local dealer that has the suppressor you want in stock. Generally, you can’t do this in your underwear. 
  2. Pay for the suppressor.
  3. Find a lawyer that understands the ATF and pay him to create you a gun trust. They’re state-specific. Make sure it’s legit. If it’s not you could be illegally in possession of an NFA item that carries up to 20 years in prison. 
  4. Register on the ATF’s eForm website. The register button is at the bottom of the page. They’ll assign you a Username (it will come in an email). You create a password and PIN.
  5. Fill out the electronic version of the Form 4 using the eForms website.
  6. Go have a passport-style photo taken. 
  7. Visit the State Police or your local jail and have them take your fingerprints. 
  8. Mail the fingerprints into the ATF or upload them on the website.
  9. Upload your photo to the eForms website. 
  10. Upload your trust into the eForms website.
  11. Add Responsible persons and their photos and fingerprints.
  12. Pay the ATF $200 electronically.
  13. The ATF will email you or notify you of where they are in the process.
  14. When you are approved, drive to your dealer and do a 4473 background check before taking home your suppressor. 
The register button is a the bottom of the page. Once you’ve registered, you log in and start the application process.

Option 3:

For now, the ATF will still accept the snail mail paper Form 4’s. So, if you prefer the old school paper application process and don’t mind getting a year older waiting, that is still a viable option.

Regardless of which option you use for purchasing your suppressor, now is a great time to get one and it’s easier than ever. Watch for future articles regarding the process of purchasing a suppressor as well as look for an upcoming installment on why you should use a gun trust.

About the author: True Pearce is the Managing Editor at GunsAmerica. He’s a competitive shooter, hunter, instructor & attorney. You can see and follow his adventures on Instagram. @true1911 https://www.instagram.com/true1911/

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • David DeLain April 19, 2022, 5:49 pm

    BS! It hasn’t sped anything up, still waiting on two e-files.

  • Mauser6863 February 28, 2022, 8:40 am

    You don’t have to go to a police department or government agency to get finger prints. I went to my local Postnet store and they were able to get it done and had the correct cards in stock. Did the same thing for my state CCW. I did the gun trust online and that worked out great. Submitted my Form 1 to “make” a SBR and it took 6 months under the old e-Forms system.

    It is my understanding that the second application within a 12 month period will be approved faster, as they are just reviewing changes (if any) compared to the most recent forms submitted. We will soon see if that is true.

  • Steve February 21, 2022, 10:10 am

    I would love to have a few suppressors. But I don’t want to give the government any more information about me than it already has.

    • Mauser6863 February 28, 2022, 8:45 am

      The Government knows everything about you. Any data they don’t have in their system they are buying en-mass from Google, Facebook and other Data Miners. Unless you are living in a shack, don’t have a cellular phone, an email, social security number, bank accounts, driver’s license and never purchased a firearm from a FFL dealer, etc. You are in the system and the Black helicopters will find you.

      They are watching, F-them. Live your life, do as you please. Now you know and knowing is the first step on the road to wisdom and freedom. Good Luck.

  • Robert February 13, 2022, 9:57 am

    The seller I am dealing with is a well know one . I am not a dummy. The seller does have a dealer with a kiosk.
    All that in place and yet the process is a very hard to understand one and you have to advocate for yourself in constantly as the process and especially “next steps” and NOT offered by seller unless you pull it out yourself.

    30 day approval? You must be kidding!

  • Tommygun851 January 13, 2022, 1:17 pm

    How does Silencer Central handle the photos and finger prints for the applicant and their trust members??? Are they done online directly with the company or does the applicant still have to go out and shlep all the stuff together as in step two?? If SC doesn’t do all that stuff directly for the customer then the only difference between step one and two is the free trust and if you don’t need that then the only other advantage is the underwear thing!

  • Mike January 11, 2022, 5:27 am

    Would I have to repeat steps 3 -10 for every suppressor I wanted to buy?
    Who is “Add Responsible persons and their photos and fingerprints.”?

  • Jim January 10, 2022, 7:45 pm

    This is not the first article I’ve seen suggesting an Eform would jump the line in front of the entire backlog of paper forms. Is this coming from the ATF? Seems like a great way to tick off thousands of people who’ve been waiting up to 11 months or more. How does the backlog clear?

  • Rick LePage January 10, 2022, 2:04 pm

    There is no background check when picking up your NFA item. That’s what the check box on line 28 of the 4473 is for.

  • Betty1* January 10, 2022, 11:00 am

    Don’t tell me what or what not to do in my underwear.

  • john January 10, 2022, 9:16 am

    My son and i both filed electroncially, and we are now in month 13!! Still dont have them. Dont get your hopes up any time soon!

  • Jack007 January 10, 2022, 6:13 am

    Why all the push for trusts? Am I missing something? Can you not eFile a Form 4 and/or a Form 1 as an individual? I don’t need or want my guns in a trust.

    • Silencer Central January 10, 2022, 11:09 am

      @jack007 – You can absolutely file as an individual… But we do offer a Free Gun Trust on the suppressor you purchase.

      Two big reasons we do this are:
      1) The trust allows you to share your suppressor with anyone on your trust
      2) Trusts ensure the next generation inherits your suppressor without all the legal mess.

      • Shane J January 11, 2022, 6:01 pm

        So (Silencer Central), I am a past customer from the Dakota Silencer days. Is this E form article accurate in your experience thus far? If that’s the case, I have about 3 more gun mufflers I would like to purchase. Thanks in advance for any info you can provide in accordance with this article.

    • Don January 10, 2022, 11:33 am

      The reason for a trust is so that you can control who has access to the suppressor and what happens to it after the owner passes away (so that heirs don’t unintentionally break the law). If you are the only one that will ever need or have legal possession of the suppressor in or out of your household or the ease of transfer after your passing, no need for a trust.

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