Own (a certain muzzle brake)? Get your Form 1 ready.

According to 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(24):

The terms “firearm silencer” and “firearm muffler” mean any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a portable firearm, including any combination of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for use in assembling or fabricating a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, and any part intended only for use in such assembly or fabrication.

According to this ATF ruling, even if a device was not intended to “silence, muffle, or diminish the report of a portable firearm,” when it becomes readily usable for that purpose, it is a sound suppressor under the above US Code. The device in question was a paintball gun “suppressor” that reduced the sound of a .22 by under 8 decibels.

No definition of actual sound reduction required to be considered illegal was given in the ruling. Therefore, we may assume that any device capable of reducing sound by even a single decibel is illegal. There are no allowances for devices that were not ostensibly intended to reduce the report of a firearm, but do so as a consequence of their design.

Unfortunately for owners of (a certain muzzle brake) such as myself, in my recent testing, it proved to be one decibel quieter than the same weapon without a muzzle device (This is in line with other informal testing that I have seen conducted by people such as myself – however, it is more offensive to the ears of some people because of the frequency of the report, not because of the number of decibels emitted).

Were I to continue using this device, knowing that it apparently diminishes the report of a firearm, it would seem that I would be committing a felony.

I must make it clear that I will continue to use this device and that this post was created solely to point out the ridiculousness of what is apparently interpreted to constitute a “silencer” under 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(24). See this page for information on a related topic, although the following would seem to indicate that since the brake does not have any of the following features, it would generally not be considered a silencer on its own:

General characteristics of known firearm silencers include:
1 Ported inner tube (bleed holes)
2 Expansion chambers
3 Baffles or washers which create seperate expansion chambers
4 sound dampening material such as foam, steel wool and other materials
5 End Caps
6 Encapsulators



Filed under News Stories/Events/Opinion

7 responses to “Own (a certain muzzle brake)? Get your Form 1 ready.

  1. Ferris2son

    That ruling is 5 years old. I think if they wanted to go after muzzel brakes that might decrease report from a downrange measure, they’d have done it.

    Besides, you’re young. 10 years is nothing. It’s the $250k you need to worry about. Not to mention that a good shave and some lip gloss and you’d make a good cellmate.

  2. Mike

    That ruling is still in effect, though. And the original ruling is way older than 5 years. I was a paintball player at the time that the original ruling came out. Suddenly all the “suppressors” were only available attached to barrels. It was closer to ten years ago, but I think it was a little further back than that.

    BATFE will go after anything they can. Their job isn’t to enforce the law or stop bad guys. It’s to hound and harass us every inch they can. The only reason I can think of that they haven’t done this yet is because they haven’t realized that they can. Thankfully, they’re not terribly bright.

  3. willardcw4

    It lowers the sound by any amount, but from what standard? Would the A2 be the sound level from which all other muzzle devices are compared to? Seems arbitrary considering you can buy a barrel without a muzzle device… The addition of an A2 onto a plain barrel would reduce the sound, so is that illegal?

  4. tcbacjoe

    i wouldnt be surprised to see this happen. certain breaks make it quiet for the shooterand loader in front of the muzzle. what testing proceedures if any are in use. probably the smae testing used for machine guns….

    also make note of the fact that the atf also considers piston driven silent ammunition to be a silencer, even though it contains no common suppressor elements.

  5. This is the same ruling that made the moderator on the XM177 series of carbines a silencer.

    That was a 2-3db reduction.

  6. farmboy7.62x51

    ..I am getting so tired of the government trying to control every aspect of my life. This is not the country my grandfather fought for in WWII. These A.T.F rulings, can be interpreted to be so far reaching…

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