Who Is Allowed To Shoot Or Use My Silencer? (2023)

Who Is Allowed To Shoot Or Use My Silencer?

April 07, 2020


We’re getting asked “who can use my suppressor?” more than ever these days. The answer is relative to how you registered your silencer, the state you live in, and the responsible persons you’d like to use your silencers.

Lending a silencer to a family member or friend may seem like a no brainer. Questions around the particulars of communal ownership are amongst the most common, especially during COVID’s social distancing requirements. Sharing an NFA item (Silencer, SBR, AOW, etc.) is a bit different from sharing a gun with someone you trust.

When someone calls in asking “who is allowed to shoot my suppressor?”, we need to know:

  1. How did you register your silencer?

  2. Is the borrower listed as a responsible person on your trust?

  3. Do you want to add a responsible person to your trust?

  4. Does your borrower have any legal restrictions?

  5. Is your borrower local or in a different state?

Also, if you’re looking for a simple guide, we’ve made a useful flowchart using yes or no questions to quickly determine if you can let someone use your silencer.

Who Is Allowed To Shoot Or Use My Silencer? (1)


We recently wrote a blog post on A Buyer’s Guide: Individual vs. Trust in which we show a graph on the similarities and differences between the five different registration types. Each option offers varying degrees of flexibility and simplicity, which in turn dictates who is allowed to use, borrow, and/or transport your suppressor with or without you there.

Individual: If you filed your suppressors as an individual, you cannot lend your suppressor to anyone without you being physically present. Period.

Single Shot Trust / Single Shot Unlimited Trusts: If you filed your suppressors using our Silencer Shop Single Shot trusts or our Single Shot Unlimited trusts, then you will need to use an addendum to add your trustees (see Adding a Responsible Person to an Existing Trust section below for more details).

Traditional NFA Trust: If you filed your suppressors using our Silencer Shop traditional NFA trusts, your trustees listed will be allowed to borrow your silencer. If you want to add someone to your trust who wasn’t originally on there (say a friend or family member), read below for Adding a Responsible Person to an Existing Trust.

Non-Silencer Shop Trusts: You may have a trust that was drafted long ago, before you had the option to use Silencer Shop’s streamlined paperwork. In this case, you will need to consult legal counsel on what is allowed and what is not.

Corporation: If you filed your suppressors under a corporation, officers listed on that corporation are allowed to use those silencers. You may need to consult legal counsel depending on how the paperwork was drafted.

Responsible Parties (Trustees and Officers)

You may have read about the 41F implementation in 2016. 41F enacted all responsible parties submitting the same information as the owner of the trust, also called the trustor. This includes submitting to the ATF demographic information, a photo, and fingerprints of every responsible person listed on the trust along with the Form 4. The reason for this is the role responsible parties can play in terms of handling an NFA controlled item.

Not to be a huge Captain Obvious here, but being a responsible party is a huge responsibility. In most trusts, responsible parties get almost the same permissions as the owner of the serialized items listed on the trust. Meaning that trustees have full ability to use your silencer (or whatever other NFA item is listed on your trust) without you there. The main distinction between being a trustor and a trustee is that the owner of the trust is able to add or remove trustees.

Adding a Responsible Person to an Existing Trust

Now, you may be asking yourself what if I want to add a responsible person to my trust that already exists and the ATF already sent me my approved tax stamp? Adding a trustee or officer to your existing trust varies depending on your trust.

With Silencer Shop’s trust for example, a simple addendum is required. If you filed your silencer under a Single Shot trust, the addendum was provided in the packet given to you, but if you filed under a traditional NFA trust, you will need an addendum to get started on the process. The same goes for removing someone from your trust.

Either way, don’t fret. We can help! The simplest way is to give us a call at 512.450.9446 or email us at trust@silencershop.com for the addendum and more information. Once the proper paperwork has been completed, your new responsible party will then be allowed to use your silencer.

Is the Party Allowed to Use Silencers?

Before you go and add a responsible person to your trust, you need to ensure that the party is not considered a restricted person. Whether you are present or not, the use of your suppressor by someone considered a restricted person is not allowed, and cannot be added to your trust as a responsible person.

If someone checks one of the boxes below, they are considered a restricted person and cannot use or borrow your silencer, with or without you there. This includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Convicted of domestic assault

  • Convicted of a felony

  • In the country illegally

  • Is a user or possessor of an illegal substance

Remember, if a person is prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm under Federal or State law, they cannot be in possession of your registered NFA weapon. For a full list of prohibited persons, read The Gun Control Act (GCA), codified at 18 U.S.C. § 922(g).

State Laws; what state do you and your borrower(s) live in?

Finally, no matter what, you must abide by the law. If your state doesn’t allow silencers, we heard PODS works great for a quick move. Don’t forget to buy yourself an exclusive States that Don’t Suck t-shirt to commemorate your decision. But we digress; if you’re in a state or the person who wants to borrow your silencer is in a state that doesn’t allow NFA items, then it simply isn’t allowed.

You may see now why we said that someone borrowing your suppressor is a little more involved than a simple yes or no answer and depends on a few factors. Sharing might be caring, but in this day and age, you need Lysol and a trust with pre-approved responsible parties. That being said, we hope this flowchart and blog post help clear the air with lending a silencer or borrowing one.

Additional Resources:

41F and Gun Trusts

What is a Responsible Person?

How to Buy a Silencer in 9 Simple Steps

3 Comment(s)

Huntin’ buddy

I want my son to get my suppressor when I pass. Do I need a trust for this ?

Reply Dec 09, 2022 21:57


A trust is the most simple and straight forward way to bequeath an NFA-item once you pass, Huntin' Buddy. - Chase

Reply Dec 09, 2022 22:33

Kareem Chivers

Can my wife use my silencer inside our home for self defense if I am not present? My silencer is registered as a individual trust in my name.

Reply Nov 16, 2022 23:10


Hey Kareem, if the silencer is owned by a trust, she could be added and would be able to possess and use the item outside of your presence. If the silencer was filed as an individual, only you and the people under your direct supervision can use the suppressor. - Chase

Reply Dec 09, 2022 18:42

Silencer Dad

Can my minor age son legally use my silencer at the range with me? The silencer is registered to me in a gun trust. My minor is listed as a trustee but only when he turns 18 since because the law does not permit a trustee to be active while still a minor. Based on the above guidance in this posting and some other consulting info, I don't think he is legally allowed to use the silencer even with me at the range.

Reply Oct 08, 2021 01:19


Hi Silencer Dad! We don't want to lead you down the wrong path, this is not legal advice and all legal advice should be provided by your legal counsel. That being said, as long as you are in the immediate space of the item while it is being used by your son or another individual (as long as it is not a PROHIBITED PERSON), your son is fine to use the item because you are still in possession of the item.

Reply Oct 11, 2021 14:20

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Who can use your suppressor? ›

You should only let someone you trust use your suppressor in the first place, whether it's while they're shooting with you present or they're a person named on the trust that holds the suppressor.

Who can shoot my NFA item? ›

For any NFA firearm, you can let other people use the trust as long as you are supervising them. The rule of thumb is to keep the firearm within your line of sight. For example, if you are shooting at a range, you can let your son shoot the firearm as long as you are standing there with him.

Can I use my suppressor on any gun? ›

You can put a silencer on almost any handheld or shoulder-fired gun and even large firearms like a . 50 caliber rifle. However, first, you need to find a compatible suppressor. A compatible suppressor is one that fits your barrel type and supports your caliber.

How many times can you shoot out of a suppressor? ›

How long do suppressors last? With proper use a quality-built suppressor should last thousands of rounds but abusing anything can shorten its life. Even with proper use the baffles inside can eventually burn out.

Do I have to carry my tax stamp with my suppressor? ›

Your silencer ownership doesn't change if you lose your original tax stamp from the ATF. When you use your silencer or NFA Firearms you should carry a copy of your approved stamp with you and a copy of your notarized gun trust (if applicable).

Do I need a gun trust for a suppressor? ›

Yes, gun trusts or "NFA trusts" are highly recommended for the best NFA ownership experience. While not required for ownership, a gun trust has many benefits that you do not enjoy as an individual. A suppressor trust can help you to get the most out of your NFA tax stamps.

Can a friend shoot my suppressor? ›

Before you go and add a responsible person to your trust, you need to ensure that the party is not considered a restricted person. Whether you are present or not, the use of your suppressor by someone considered a restricted person is not allowed, and cannot be added to your trust as a responsible person.

Can you be gifted a suppressor? ›

The short answer is yes, you can put your suppressors and any other NFA item in a will. If you don't have a will, the person who takes over your estate can inherit them or pass them along to the correct person. Whether you file your NFA items as a trust or individual, passing down your suppressors is the same.

What happens to NFA items when someone dies? ›

Once you die, the NFA items will need to be transferred to the heirs of the Will.

Can you shoot regular rounds through a suppressor? ›

No, generally speaking, you don't have to use subsonic ammo with a suppressor. However, you might find that running your suppressed gun with subsonic loads makes for a better experience overall because it does reduce overall sound.

Can the ATF enter your home? ›

To sum it up, just because you purchase a silencer, the ATF or other law enforcement agencies may not enter your home unless accompanied by a warrant signed by a judge and issued with a probable cause. That being said, they may enter if you have given them permission to do so.

Can you shoot any ammo through a suppressor? ›

You can absolutely run supersonic ammo with a suppressor, you just need to be aware of the fact that it will not be as quiet as subsonic ammo. The silencer can only do so much, and you'll still hear the supersonic crack as the bullet breaks the sound barrier after it leaves the suppressor.

What ammo is best for silencers? ›

Optimal Ammunition for Silencers

Subsonic ammunition generally travels slower than 1100 feet per second (FPS). Since it's below the speed of sound it's significantly quieter, as it's not breaking the sound barrier. The most commonly used subsonic ammo is 9mm, 45ACP and 300 BLK.

What is the difference between a silencer and a suppressor? ›

There's no difference between a suppressor and a silencer, they're simply two words for the same object. The term suppressor came about due to a variety of factors in the gun industry.

What does running a suppressor wet mean? ›

If you add a liquid into those baffles (hence the term wet), those gases and sound waves have something extra to pass through, and that results in a reduction in both heat and noise. Running a suppressor dry simply means shooting it normally, with nothing added.

What are the restrictions on buying a suppressor? ›

To legally purchase or possess a suppressor you must: Be at least 21 years of age to purchase a suppressor from a dealer. Be at least 18 years of age to purchase a suppressor from an individual on a Form 4 to Form 4 transfer (contingent on state laws).

Can you transfer a silencer to someone else? ›

Once you have a Form 4 in hand, you can arrange with the new buyer to come and take possession of their new-to-them suppressor. We mentioned above that you can sell your suppressor to someone who lives in another state, but the process is more involved.

What happens if you get caught with a homemade suppressor? ›

Possession of a silencer is a felony offense in California. If convicted, depending on the circumstances, you could face 16 months, two years, or three years in state prison, along with a fine of up to $10,000.

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