ATF eForms Are No Sweat

As a Class III shop (SOT shop), we are often asked what it takes to buy a suppressor/silencer/”can”. For the uninitiated/uneducated, it looks to be a daunting task.

Let’s start with the basics. Yes, in Texas, you can own suppressors/silencers. We own several for various purposes, and they are very useful from plinking to hunting hogs or other critters.

For the sake of this blog post, I will refer to them as suppressors, because there is a misconception they silence the shot. They do not. Even in the little .22LR using subsonic ammo, a good suppressor makes it sound like a nail gun. But I digress.

Buying a suppressor requires three steps: First, buying the model you want. Second file the proper ATF Form and submitting it to the ATF to obtain the $200 “tax stamp”. Third, forgetting about it because its going to take a really long time for the ATF to approve it and provide the tax stamp.

The form in question is known as the “Form 4”. Previously, this was submitted via paper in the mail, along with fingerprint cards. As of December 2021, the ATF has made an electronic version of the Form 4 available through their eForms website. This is a good thing.

We’ve gone through the eForm process, and while not perfect, is a vast improvement over the paper copy. And the ATF has promised faster approval times; 60 days instead of 360 days in the case of paper forms!

So what does it take? First we suggest you head over to or head into their physical shop, as they make it as painless and straightforward as possible. When you find what you like, select Scattered Rock Armory as your dealer, and finish the checkout process. Think of them as the suppressor and process broker, and not the selling dealer.

From there, Silencer Shop will send you some electronic documents to sign. You will need to find a Silencer Shop Kiosk to go through the fingerprinting process as well. Once that is done, they will send the suppressor(s) to us to hold until approval.

This is where it becomes interesting; we fill out the Form 4 together, either in person or remotely. I will do some magic on my side, and you will sign the Form 4 from your phone or PC in the same “session”. Then its submitted to the ATF and we wait together. Quick and painless!

As an alternative to Silencer Shop, we can order you a suppressor and file the Form 4 electronically together here at our shop. We can even help with the fingerprints and picture taking. We even supply the drinks while we go through it together. We lose the Silencer Shop automation, but you get a better price since they don’t take a cut. And you get drinks.

Now for the best part; if you are “local” to us, we offer to meet you at your range now and then to let you have what’s called the “conjugal visit” in the suppressor world; the ability to shoot it before approval. As long as we are present with it, this is fine and legal since its still in our possession at the range even though its on your gun. This allows you to dial it in, ask questions about it, and if you want, set up to have us engrave it with trust info and/or alignment mark while we wait for approval…all for free since you bought it from us.

Finally at some point the ATF will approve the form and a piece of paper called a tax stamp that proves you paid $200 to have it appears. When that glorious day arrives, you will come by the shop, fill out a 4473 as if you were buying a gun, and I hand you the suppressor(s) and the tax stamp(s) that proves you legally own what you bought?

Simple no? Once you have gone through the process once I guarantee two things: First, you will see its easier than it looks. Secondly, you will be quickly looking to do it again on another suppressor or two.

If you are ready to take the plunge, and have more questions, or not sure what suppressor to buy, feel free to reach out to us. We are happy to answer questions, even if you buy from someone else, because we are focused first on enabling people to enjoy the sport, and not to make a profit. How many other shops can say that?