SIG Sauer Sues ATF Over Very Loud ‘Silencer’

The NFA sections of Texas Law Shield and U.S. Law Shield applaud gunmaker SIG Sauer, which has filed a civil suit against the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives because the agency wrongfully classified a SIG “muzzle brake” as a silencer.

SIG claims that gun silencers are “subject to burdensome legal requirements” and by calling its muzzle brake a part for a silencer, the federal agency is subjecting the company to “economic injury.”

Backstory: The gun maker’s suit, filed in the U. S. District Court of New Hampshire, states that SIG submitted a SIG MPX machine pistol with its muzzle brake to the ATF on April 4, 2013 for evaluation.

The SIG MPX submachine gun operates with a fully closed and locked rotating bolt system, has a gas-operated short stroke piston system, and allows the operator to change barrel length, caliber and stock configuration in the field.

The semi-auto carbine version, the MPX-C, has a 6.5-inch barrel with a 9.5-inch-long muzzle brake permanently attached, making the overall barrel length 16 inches. Because the MPX-C meets the legal barrel-length minimum, it was supposed to be sold as a conventional rifle without going through the expensive and time-consuming NFA process.

SIG claims the muzzle brake “effectively reduces recoil and muzzle rise when a shot is discharged” and as such, it’s not subject to regulation under the National Firearms Act.

“If classified as a silencer, no market exists for the subject device given that it will not silence, muffle, or diminish the report of a firearm and yet it would still be subject to the burdensome requirements set forth above as if it really is a silencer,” according to the suit.

Of course, as our NFA members know, silencers are subject to specific marking, record keeping, and transfer restrictions. Accordingly, SIG alleges that since silencers are “subject to burdensome legal requirements,” ATF is subjecting the company to economic loss of sales of the MPX-C.

The ATF ruled that the device is constructed as a silencer component known as a “monolithic baffle stack,” the suit states. SIG asked the BATFE to reconsider, while reporting that sound meter testing proved the device amplified, not muffled sound, when a gun with it was fired.

ATF Director B. Todd Jones is named as defendant in the suit and has 21 days, after being served, to respond to the civil action.

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