NFA Wait Time Update March 2024

If you have purchased NFA items before, you have likely experienced a wide variety of frustrating wait times as your suppressor or SBR sits in "jail."  I have had approvals range from a 29 day Form 1 SBR to several Form 4 Suppressors in the 13 month range.  As frustrating as that has been, the ATF has recently announced that they are working to address the long wait times.  While we heard that when the e-file system came out, what has been going on for the last couple months?  Are wait times really coming down  Let's take a look at what the ATF says is changing, then let's look at some examples of recent wait times:

Faster Approvals

The ATF hosted a town hall meeting during which they claimed that approval times are coming down.  They referred to the dropping wait times and quick approvals as "the new normal."  Stating that the faster wait times are a direct result of a deliberate move towards more efficient approvals.  They are continuing to implement improvements aimed at reducing both individual and trust applications.

Trust Bundling

On of the new changes in the name of efficiency is in the use of "trust bundling" for batch approval for items submitted under the same trust.  This is aimed at trusts that have one responsible party and have two or more pending applications.  They said they have already started this process with applications submitted as individuals and it has started bringing down wait times.

Standardized Trust Approval

Another process aimed at speeding up approvals is the use of software to recognize "standardized trusts."  For some of the popular trusts out there that can be purchased, such as those through Silencer Shop, this could allow a reduction in review time related to the wording of the trust and therefore faster processing.  

On a similar note, ATF noted that some of the third party processors have helped to reduce the processing time by having someone reviewing applications before they are sent to ATF, reducing forms that are kicked back due to clerical errors.  


So, that sounds great, but what are we actually seeing for real approval times?  This info is sometimes hard to come by, but several sites such as the ATF, Silencer Shop and National Gun Trusts can give us some idea.  

Social Media

Over the last few months I have been taking screen shots of some of the approvals that Silencer Shop has posted on social media, some of those times have been impressively fast.  The first approvals are back in January, but the second set is from January through March, check out the difference in times:

ATF Website

As of March 29th, the ATF website is stating the following for wait times:

Form 1-                     Paper- 57 days      Eform- 32 days

Form 4- Trust            Paper- 283 days    Eform- 196 days

Form 4- Individual    Paper- 280 days    Eform- 89 days

These stats show better Form 1 and somewhat better numbers for the Form 4- Individual applications.  But those are averages, so they can include forms with issues that may have delayed processing.

Silencer Shop

Silencer Shop processes an enormous volume of NFA items and has a pretty good idea of current trends.  If you watch their social media they will often post trends in approval times, but most of the time they seem to be highlighting the fasts approvals.  While those are great, they may not always be an indication of average wait times.  They do have a page on their website dedicated to wait times.  The wait range isn't always helpful, but take a look at the median wait to get an idea of what you could expect:

National Gun Trusts

On National Gun Trusts, they are showing Form 1 wait times from 31 days to 281 days.  With eForm applications being significantly faster.  Form 4 applications are more consistent between eForm and paper, but with higher wait times between 168 days and 241 days.

Hopefully the trends that we are seeing with recent approvals are in fact here to stay, but it seems like each time the application times go down we see them climb again fairly quickly.  Either way, if you are interested in a suppressor or SBR, you might as well submit the form now.  Whether the wait times are days or months, you'll never get your NFA items if you don't get started.

Check out some of my other NFA posts below:

Eform Wait Times - June 2023

90 Day Form 4 E-File


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