Tag Archives: (Class III)

Hunting, Quietly

With the first commercially successful firearm suppressor – Hiram Percy Maxim’s “Silencer” – hitting the market around 1902, the devices drew initial praise from outdoorsmen.

That old “Bull Moose” Teddy Roosevelt loved them and even corresponded directly with Maxim on the subject of using cans for his hunting rifles.

Like Teddy, I can appreciate a big ol lever gun, complete with a suppressor. Plus, with up to 80 percent of American hunters not using ear pro in the field despite the fact that high-quality electric muffs and inserts can be had for under $100, suppressors are a legitimate safety tool.

In 1934, these simple gun mufflers went were unfairly criticized and then outrageously regulated by Congress under the National Firearms Act. At around the same time as the NFA was enacted, many states placed local bans on the legal possession and use of the devices, a punitive reaction based largely on misinformation. In short, people became irrationally afraid of something that was both inherently useful and misunderstood at the same time then got the government involved.

Meanwhile, in Europe, it is considered polite to be a gentleman hunter with a “sound moderator.”

Meanwhile, over on this side of the pond, in the past couple of decades, better education and advocacy have led to state after state repealing those old circa 1930s misguided restrictions. Today, the devices are legal for consumers to possess in at least 43 states and can be used by sportsmen in the field in most. Since 2011 alone, the American Suppressor Association points out that four states have legalized suppressor ownership and 18 have legalized hunting with the devices. 

I guess a lesson is that the more things change, they can always change back.

There are now over 5 million NFA items on the books, including 1.3 million suppressors

The number of National Firearm Act items saw a huge jump in the past year — including a 50 percent increase in suppressor registration and 39 percent bump in short-barreled rifles registered — according to new data released by federal regulators.

The report provides an overview of the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, which is the federal list of all items, such as suppressors, SBRs, short-barreled shotguns, destructive devices and any other weapons logged under the NFA as of April, and updates figures released in February 2016.

In the 14-month period between reports, the total number of NFA items of all kinds has climbed to 5,203,489 — an overall increase of more than 800,000 items.

While the numbers of AOW’s, machine guns and SBSs all saw negligible increases, the biggest jumps in the 14-month interlude came in the numbers of registered SBRs and suppressors.

More in my column at Guns.com

Varmint package from SilencerCo and CZ

Utah-based SilencerCo last week unveiled the latest entry to its Summit line of limited edition customized suppressor/firearm packages with a CZ rimfire offering.

Centered around a CZ 455 Varmint, the package includes interchangeable 17.2-inch heavy barrels in .22LR and .17HMR, each with 1/2x28TPI threads to accept the matching SilencerCo Sparrow suppressor. Each barrel is serialized to the receiver.

I must admit, I do like the aesthic of old world craftsmanship with hand-rubbed walnut furniture, and a nice CNC can.

Rare transferable anti-tank gun likely headed to the scrappers

This beautiful Lahti was listed for sale on social media for $10,000 with a matching toolkit, four magazines and 10 rounds of 20mm ammunition. The thing is, it was improperly transferred and now the feds have it. (Photo: The Rifleman)

The L39 was designed by Aimo Lahti, the Thomas Edison of Finnish gun engineers, and is a109-pound semi-automatic rifle built around the largest 20mm shell the in existence in 1939. Using the Swiss 20x138mmB Solothurn Long cartridge, the gun was readily capable of piercing 20mm of armor at 100-meters and 16mm out to 500 meters with enough energy to put most of the Soviet tanks of the era on the menu. While Russian tanks became more heavily armored as the war progressed, the L39 was still valuable as an anti-material gun and used much as the Barrett .50 cal is employed today.

Just 1,850 production version L39s were built in Jyaskyla at Valtion Kivaaritehdas, the state rifle factory, and about 1,000 were surplus in the 1960s, many arriving in the U.S.

And last week a  Federal Firearms Licensee who wrote some hot checks to get tranferrable one from a collector in Michigan, then tried to resell it without the proper NFA paperwork, was found guilty of illegal possession of a destructive device, meaning the gun, now confiscated, will likely get hacked up.

More in my column at Guns.com

Kwajalein calling

Rock Island Auction House has released some teaser information about their upcoming Premier Auction in May, and it has just about one of every full-auto or select-fire offering on your fave list.

While they do not have the full item descriptions listed yet, they have released some highlight images and what they show– besides the regular fare of 19th Century collectible lever guns and 18th Century dueling pistols– is a cornucopia of Title II/Class 3 items. Outside of the full Call of Duty collection, you aren’t going to find these guns in one place. There is even a Heckler & Koch HK21, a type I haven’t seen since I worked with NASA.

Among the neater pieces I saw was a Japanese Type 11 light machine gun– Kijirō Nambu’s take on the French 8mm Hotchkiss chambered in 6.5x50mm Arisaka. This particular piece was captured on Kwajalein Atoll in 1944 by the Recon troop of the 7th Cav.

More (including a lot more photos) in my column at Guns.com

Enjoy the silence: There are more than 900,000 legal NFA-compliant suppressors out there

hk 91 with suppressor and m1 garand silencerco photo

New data released last week by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives shows FFL numbers rebounding, over 9 million firearms produced in 2014, coupled with healthy import and export activity.

The statistics are part of the agency’s 2016 Annual Statistical Update of Firearm Commerce in the United States.

Sweeping in its context, the report gives the public a rare glimpse into the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, which is the federal list of all items, such as suppressors, SBRs, short-barreled shotguns, destructive devices and any other weapons logged under the NFA as of February 2016. While this figure includes Post-86 Dealer samples, SOT production guns up for sale and LEO guns as well, most of these are in civilian hands.

Comparing last year’s report with the new information shows the aggregate number of NFA items of all kinds have climbed to 4,436,096, adding over a quarter million devices to the registry in a twelve-month period from February 2015.

This includes:

2,545,844 Destructive devices (mostly live ammunition over .50 caliber in size)
902,805 Suppressors
575,602 Machine guns
213,594 Short barreled rifles
140,474 Short barreled shotguns
57,777 AOWs (pen guns, cane guns, shorty shotgun pistols)

Suppressor numbers have just reached for the cheap seats in the past five years. In 2011, there were 285,087 cans registered– meaning U.S. silencer ownership has more than tripled in the past half-decade.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Strange things turn up in the strangest places

In the 1970s the springboks of the South African Army were facing a tough uphill fight against Cuban/Soviet/Warsaw pact backed rebels coming out of Angola that were well supplied and well funded. They also had a shit government in the apartheid regime that made it an international pariah.

With their standard medium machine gun being the FN MAG58 (which was cut off from import)…

fn mag

That’s M240 to us…

…as well as earlier WWII era Mk1 and Mk2 BREN guns that had been modded with R1 flashiders, rebarreled to 7.62×51 and set up for FAL mags wearing out, the SADF needed an in-house gun.

sadf bren

Dem combat shorts and tactical basketball shoes, doe

This led to the Denel (Vektor) produced SS-77 machine gun designed by Richard Joseph Smith and Lazlo Soregi, named for the two inventor’s last initial and the prototype acceptance year.

Reverse engineered from the Soviet PK with a few twists and “Nato’d up” in 7.62x51mm, the gun is hearty and, at 21 pounds sans belt due to the use of composites over the more traditional Warsaw Pact wood furniture, isn’t that chunky when compared to the competition.

The PK is/was well used and loved throughout Africa :

A Ugandan soldier tracking down Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) fugitive leaders takes position behind a machine gun at a forest bordering Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, near river Chinko, (File photo).

Mmmmm, just look at all that 7.62x54R…A PK-equipped Ugandan soldier tracking down Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) fugitive leaders takes position behind a machine gun at a forest bordering Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, near river Chinko, (File photo).

So the SS77 just made sense and has proven just as popular as the FN MAG and the PK in certain circles.

However, they just aren’t seen in the U.S. much– which meant when the BATFE found one in the storage locker of a dead Albuquerque meth dealer and suspected murderer (Walter White, is that you?) last year it was just odd.

vektor ss77
Oh yeah, and to further twist the tale, the gun was stolen from an gun dealer in 2009 by the FFL holder’s sister who happened to be the grandkid of a former Truman cabinet member and long-time senator.

Funny how the world works.

Boy Scouts use donated guns, suppressors in unique training program

When I was at an ASA shoot in Nashville back in April, I first heard about this and have been researching this for a bit. Its a little personal to me as I learned to shoot in the scouts and have taught rifle marksmanship at several local camps off and on for the past decade.-CE

Scouts in Maine are getting a chance to participate in the shooting sports with an increased level of safety on behalf of new suppressors, rifles and ammunition contributed free of charge.

This spring, the Boy Scouts of America’s Pine Tree Council, which serves ten counties in central Maine, took possession of a windfall of gear with the help of gun rights groups and the shooting industry. That equipment is allowing the scouts at Camp William Hinds, a 280 acre facility in the state’s Sebago Lakes Region, to use suppressor-equipped rifles, pistols and shotguns during its week-long summer camps this year.

The equipment came from a variety of vendors to include Sturm, Ruger & Company, which chipped in eight American Rimfire .22 rifles with threaded barrels; a local federal firearms license holder, Furlong Custom Creations, who handled the transfer paperwork; and two suppressor companies, Gemtech and SilencerCo, who contributed both devices and ammunition.

Venture Scouts, aged 14 and up, are using suppressor-equipped Smith and Wesson 22s in their pistol course. (Photo: Gemtech)

Venture Scouts, aged 14 and up, are using suppressor-equipped Smith and Wesson 22s in their pistol course. (Photo: Gemtech)

More in my column at Guns.com

Suppressor numbers nearly 600,000 nationwide, becoming mainstream

Once the fodder of Hollywood spy movies and pulp fiction novels, the NFA-compliant suppressor is becoming ever more common in its use and adoption with numbers at an all-time high.

No matter whether you call it a silencer, a suppressor, or just a can, the mechanism defined by the National Firearms Act of 1934 as any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a portable firearm, is shedding decades of misinformation and rapidly becoming more and more mainstream. According to figures released by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives earlier this year, there were, as of March 2014, no less than 571,750 legal suppressors listed in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR).

As benchmark in the increase in the number of yearly transfers done on NFA items, such as suppressors, in 1984 the ATF collected just $666,000 in transfer and making taxes on these items. Three decades later, with no increase in the tax rate, the ATF collected almost $18.2 million in transfers, according to its 2013 figures, an increase of over 2,700 percent.

suppressed 1911as
Read the rest in my column at Guns.com, where I get the low-down on the suppressor industry from the head of the American Suppressor Association.

SR-71 Pilot’s Survival Kit

Flying over Soviet-controlled airspace in the coldest part of the Cold War, U.S. recon aircraft (spy plane) pilots carried some interesting gear if needed.

U-2 Pilot Survival Kit including Machete, hunting knife w scabbard, sharpening stone, pliers, file, monocular, insect repellent, compass, whistle, etc (plus other goodies)

U-2 Pilot Survival Kit including Machete, hunting knife w scabbard, sharpening stone, pliers, file, monocular, insect repellent, compass, whistle, etc (plus other goodies)

The kit above, it should be noted, is not complete.

In 1960, sheep-dipped US Air Force Lt. Gary Powers was somewhere that never existed in a plane that wasn’t on the official record.

Francis Gary Powers and a U2. Now that's one tight suit.

Francis Gary Powers and a U2. Now that’s one tight suit.

His plane, the U-2 recon aircraft was shot down over the Ural mountain city of Sverdlovsk in the Soviet Union.  Placed on public trial in Moscow, Powers admitted that his craft was in fact a CIA operated top-secret spy plane. In the trial, the Soviets produced a silenced Hi-Standard model USA-HD caliber .22LR, serial number 120046. The serial number is not listed in High Standard’s books and it has commonly been surmised that it was sold on spec to the CIA for operatives in the 1950s. Others were reportedly made without any markings whatsoever to be ‘sterile’ and thus deniable.

Francis Gary Power's gun, still in a Moscow museum since 1960.

Francis Gary Power’s gun, still in a Moscow museum since 1960.

Then came the SR-71, which, as far as is known, was never shot down on a mission.

One long-standing joke/urban legend was that the SR-71’s survival kit contained: “One forty-five caliber automatic; two boxes of ammunition; four days’ concentrated emergency rations; one drug issue containing antibiotics, morphine, vitamin pills, pep pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizer pills; one miniature combination Russian phrase book and Bible; one hundred dollars in rubles; one hundred dollars in gold; nine packs of chewing gum; one issue of prophylactics; three lipsticks; three pair of nylon stockings.”

Life Hacker did a decent write-up on what one of these kits contained.

SR-71 pilots survival kit

SR-71 pilots survival kit in a museum, as told by Lifehacker


Well now TSC Machine Shop is billing their new HKG3K-B Title II (Class III) NFA-registered Heckler and Koch light machine gun build, tongue-in-cheek, as part of the SR-71 kit.


If you were lucky enough to land in one piece, one of these would be a heck of an interesting survival guns if lost ‘somewhere over Siberia’.

Now that's what I'm talking about

Now that’s what I’m talking about