When it comes to shooting suppressed, I’ve found that people have a lot of questions, especially with regard to hunting. I started hunting with a silencer years ago, and I tell everyone that it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. The process and paperwork often intimidate people, but once you know where to start and what you need, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it earlier!
Why do you want a silencer on your gun? So many people who have shot firearms their entire lives now suffer from significant hearing loss. Unfortunately, hearing is one of our senses that, once gone, cannot be restored. I wear hearing protection as often as possible, but a suppressor adds another layer of protection. For example, one of my favorite suppressors, the Banish 30, reduces the sound of a .308 by 34 decibels (dB) or more. Not only is it great for the shooter, but anyone around you will appreciate it as well.
New shooters also tend to react to the sound and the recoil of a firearm, which affects accuracy. A suppressor reduces both, making shooting a gun less intimidating and more enjoyable for all shooters, even experienced ones. I’ve also found that sound suppression increases my odds on winter coyote hunts—particularly for chances at multiple songdogs.
What’s the legal situation for suppressors? Currently, they are legal in 42 states, and 40 of those 42 states allow hunting with a suppressor (the exceptions being Maryland and Connecticut). Silencers are illegal to own altogether in: California, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Delaware, Hawaii and the District of Columbia.
What is the process of buying a suppressor really like? First, you must buy a tax stamp for each suppressor you purchase and get approved by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The waiting period is currently about six to eight months. However, there is a company out of South Dakota that has streamlined the process, making it easy for anyone to get what they need. Silencer Central (formerly Dakota Silencer) has been in business for more than 15 years.
For years my dad had been kicking around the idea of buying a suppressor, so for Christmas this year, we bought him a Banish 30, which is ideal because it will work on his AR-15 for coyote hunting, and his .308 for deer hunting. In fact, you can use the Banish 30 on any gun .30-cal. and under. Banish also offers a .30-cal. thread adapter for AR-15 barrels. Although it comes as a 9” suppressor, you can shorten it if you want with the included wrench. Easily remove two baffles, put the end back on, and now you have a 7” can.
After Christmas, my dad called into Silencer Central, and the staff helped him through the entire process in less than 15 minutes. His local sheriff’s office was no longer doing fingerprints due to COVID-19, so Silencer Central even sent him a fingerprint kit. Once he receives ATF approval, the suppressor will arrive at his front door. Silencer Central also set up a National Firearms Act (NFA) Gun Trust for him, so he can pass down the silencer to future generations.