Measuring Your Firearm: Does A Suppressor Count As Barrel Length

Measuring Your Firearm: Does A Suppressor Count As Barrel Length

Measuring Your Firearm: Does A Suppressor Count As Barrel Length

There’s a lot of talk and debate about barrel length in the gun community. Some people prefer longer barrels for the increased ballistic performance and accuracy while others are partial to shorter barrels for their maneuverability and concealability of them.

In most cases, barrel length is nothing more than personal preference. However, there are instances where barrel length is very important. Like, the difference between felony firearms charges or not, it’s kind of important.

This is something that you have to consider when dealing with NFA firearms such as a short barrel shotgun (SBS) or a short barrel rifle (SBR), where barrel length is absolutely critical to staying within the confines of the law and on the outside of a prison cell.

All this talk of felony charges and prison cells may seem doom and gloom, but it doesn’t have to be so long as you have done your barrel length and/or overall length measurements correctly.

So, to answer the question of whether a suppressor counts as barrel length, the short answer is yes with an if, or no with a but.

Don’t worry we’ll clear all of that up in this piece.

Measuring Your Firearm’s Overall Length

When you’re dealing with potential legal issues, it’s very important that you get your measurements right. Not only does this mean ensuring that you read your tape measure correctly, but also that you’re taking the measurements correctly in the first place.

The ATF has its own procedure for measuring barrel length, and contrary to some people’s beliefs, the government doesn’t like putting good people behind bars, so the ATF has made its measuring procedure publically available so that you can duplicate it at home. To do it their way, you measure from the closed bolt (or breech-face) to the furthermost end of the barrel or permanently attached muzzle device.

Barrels are measured by inserting a dowel rod into the barrel until the rod stops against the bolt or breech-face. The rod is then marked at the furthermost end of the barrel or permanently attached muzzle device, withdrawn from the barrel, and measured.

When Does A Suppressor Count As Barrel Length

In the vast majority of situations, muzzle devices (flash hiders, muzzle brakes, suppressors, etc) are not permanent. They’re threaded onto the end of the barrel and can be removed if you so choose.

You may be asking, “But what about Loctite or Rocksett?” Yes, those make it hard to remove the muzzle devices, but they aren’t considered permanent.

Just as the agency has its own method for measuring, the ATF also has its own definition of the word “permanent,” and again, they make it publically available. The definition is laid out in chapter two of the ATF’s National Firearms Act Handbook:

Permanent methods of attachment include full-fusion gas or electric steel-seam welding, high-temperature (1100°F) silver soldering, or blind pinning with the pin head welded over.

Under this definition, Loctite, Rocksett, or any other such adhesive methods do not count as a permanent attachment. That definition is also why the phrase “pinned and welded” is heard a lot when dealing with rifles that have barrel lengths that are under 16″ but are not classified as SBRs.

The only way a suppressor would count for overall barrel length would be if you permanently attach it to a given firearm in one of the ways mentioned in the definition above.

There’s nothing saying that you can’t permanently attach your suppressor to one of your firearms, but then you give up one of the biggest benefits of a suppressor: the ability to use it on a variety of different firearms so long as they are caliber-compatible.


Why You Need to Measure Your Weapon

As we mentioned at the very beginning, measuring your weapon properly is very important to ensure that you are not unintentionally entering NFA territory. Failure to measure correctly means that you could end up creating an SBS or SBR, both of which are only legal if they are registered as NFA items.

While we mentioned that the government doesn’t like putting good people behind bars, the fact of the matter is that ignorance of the law is no excuse. The information about NFA items is readily available and compliance is easy. We’re not saying you’ve got to like it. We’re just saying that we know you’re a law-abiding gun owner and we know that you aren’t trying to purposefully run afoul of the NFA and the ATF.

Get A Suppressor Today!

All of this might still sound a little confusing, but it shouldn’t deter you from getting a suppressor. The fact of the matter is that it’s never been easier or faster to get a suppressor than it is right now.

When you’re ready to take that next step, give Silencer Central a call. We’ve been selling suppressors all day every day for more than 15 years. In that time, we’ve become the nation’s largest silencer dealer and are licensed to sell to people in all 42 states where suppressors are legal.

Let us handle all of the paperwork, break up your payments with our interest-free eZ-Pay plan, and then mail your suppressor right to your door upon approval! We said it’s never been easier or faster to get a suppressor and we mean it.

Give us a call and get a suppressor today!