What to Expect from your First Suppressor Purchase

So, you’ve been thinking about purchasing your first suppressor from Creative Arms LLC.? This article explains what to expect the first time visiting our office to purchase a suppressor. For the sake of this article, we will start with you having picked out a suppressor to purchase.

Looking to set up your appointment? Give us a call at 515.645.5909 to reach our staff or email us at sales@creativearms.com.


The first Step

Once you’ve selected a suppressor the first step is to determine how you’d like to purchase it. You have two options: as an individual, or in a trust. Both options have pros and cons, below I have listed out some for each route. In either case we will collect electronic fingerprints and photograph to submit via the Eforms system for processing.


When you purchase as an individual the suppressor is registered to you and you alone. You do not need to set anything up prior, we will be able to process your form 4 that same day in about 30 mins total.

Pro: Processing times seem to be slightly faster. There is no additional paperwork besides the form 4 and 4473 transfer once approved. You can simply walk in the day you want to purchase and complete the NFA form 4 with us.

Con: The suppressor is registered to you and you alone; this means that if you have others that want to use it you MUST be present. You CANNOT share your suppressor with someone (family, friends, others) if you are not physically there. At the time of death you can list it out in your will but that heir will have to do a separate NFA transfer without having to pay $200 via an ATF Form 5.

Things to bring to your appointment: (if you already have an eforms account please bring Username & PIN info) You & your ID. We simply need you to arrive with a drivers license or main form of ID to process your form 4.



A trust is a legal entity that you set up via 3rd party. This can be done through specialized lawyers or companies that offer trust services. The trust will need to be set up AHEAD of your appointment and all listed Responsible Persons within the trust will need to have the background check, fingerprints and photos completed for the Form 4.

Pro: Anyone you list in the trust will be able to have access to use the suppressor at any given time. This is great for medium to large families, allowing for all NFA items to be placed in the trust. The trust can be edited, meaning you can add or remove people at any given time. You can list out a beneficiary(s) to pass the suppressor down to and seamlessly have that transfer done if they are in the trust.

Con: A trust often costs $80-$140 to have set up initially. From a paperwork standpoint the initial visit from everyone listed in the trust can be time consuming (anyone listed in the trust as a responsible person will have to be entered into the Form 4 with fingerprints and photos) Anytime you make additions to the trust and have purchases in the future those individuals need to come in to complete the background info.

Things to bring to your appointment: (if you already have an eforms account please bring Username & PIN info) Your completed, signed and notarized trust. Everyone who is listed as a responsible person and ID’s for each person.


In the Office

Once you have selected the route you’d like to go the paperwork process begins. Here at Creative Arms LLC. we utilize the new ATF EForms system. This system allows us to process your NFA form electronically, this means no more “lost” mail-ins and no additional paperwork to manage.

Create an Eforms Account

The first thing we will do if you do not have an Eforms account is set one up. This eforms account will be required to either be linked to the individual or someone that is listed in the trust. (most times this will be the settlor)

*This allows us to process the eforms and have it registered to you electronically. At minimum you will need to have a functioning email address.

Once your Eforms account is registered you will have a username and (4 digit) PIN in which we will use at the end of the form 4 process.


Gather Personal Info

Next, we will gather all the materials to process your Eform. At Creative Arms LLC. we have an electronic fingerprint scanner and specialized software that allows us to quickly gather your Electronic Fingerprint Files for submission. We then will take your photo in house and create a profile that is housed within the software.

*note that this software is encrypted and requires specialized authorization to access the files. We take our electronic security very seriously.

*For those that have a trust with multiple people we will then gather all the fingerprints and photos of everyone that is listed within the trust.

In the case of those that have a trust we will then create a copy of the trust at the time of purchase to submit within the Form 4. (this will also electronically submitted)


Completing the Form 4

Now that we’ve gathered your info and fingerprints it’s time to complete the ATF Form 4. You get to hangout in the conference room with us while we complete the form. We then upload your Electronic Fingerprints, Photo (and copy of NFA trust) through this process. This process takes roughly 10 minutes as we go through each page. Once we reach the final page we will get to the payment section.

Pay & Sign

Once we reach the last page of the Form 4 we will then need to charge $200 electronically via Credit/Debit card, this payment is for your NFA tax stamp. Once paid we will confirm your information one last time, use your username and PIN to sign, and then complete the process by submitting the form. You and the submitter (our staff processing the form 4) will then receive emails stating that your form 4 is now in process.

Wait & Approval

You’ve now officially got a form 4 in process! Now the painful wait of approval begins. Currently we are seeing an average of 90-160 days for approvals. It is argued that those with trusts and multiple people can have longer waits as the ATF // FBI have to complete background checks on everyone listed, but we have not seen a considerable difference in time compared to those as individuals.

Once approved, you and the submitter will receive an email notification from the Eforms system! This approval will have a copy of your approved and signed ATF Form 4. We then will contact you about coming in to pick up your suppressor. Once you arrive, we will complete a 4473 to transfer the suppressor from our books to you. This 4473 does not require a secondary background check but we will need your Driver’s License one more time.

For those who have orders in process, we do not have access to see how “soon” will your tax stamp will be approved. You and the submitter will receive the approval email at the same time. To get the status of your transfer from the ATF, call the NFA Branch directly at: (304) 616-4500. You will need to provide your name (or the name of your trust or corporation), the serial number of the suppressor, and the name of the transferor.


Have any other questions regarding NFA processing? email us at sales@creativearms.com and we will be happy to answer your questions.


  • Steve
    Posted August 23, 2022 7:58 pm

    Are suppressors “married” to a certain gun you purchase them for and to be used with that gun only. If so then do they need to be pinned or welded to the gun you purchased it for. Lets say I want a suppressor to use on multiple 5.56 rifles, can I have all those rifles threaded and use one suppressor? Does the suppressor need to have the stamp info or SN engraved onto it?

    • creativearms
      Posted August 23, 2022 9:56 pm

      Steve, good questions. To begin suppressors are required to have the manufacturers markings: name, city//state, model, cal and SN. All of that is done in house prior to you purchasing so you don’t really need to worry about that step. The tax stamp //registration is per item, so in this case it’d be for just the suppressor and the suppressor alone. You could then use said suppressor on any firearm you desire without issue. For use on multiple rifles, items like our F.U. muzzle device // F.U. mount are ideal as they act both as attachments and three prong flash hiders when shooting un suppressed. For instances like our Integrally suppressed rifle we have our removable mono core which is itself the serialized item. This can then be removed from the rifle for service or if you want to utilize the suppressor on another rifle you can do that with a supplied tube//mount. Hopefully this answers your questions fully!

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