Skip to main content

Silencer Central Factory Tour: Take A Look Behind the Curtain

Join Firearms News contributor Patrick Sweeney on a tour of the Silencer Central headquarters, one of the largest suppressor manufacturers and distributors in the country.

Silencer Central Factory Tour: Take A Look Behind the Curtain

The Silencer Central headquarters, in Sioux Falls, is a fine bit of architecture and gets better on the inside. 

Affiliate Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. We earn from qualifying purchases.

You would be excused if you thought South Dakota was just another angular state somewhere West of the Mississippi. I can tell you that the place I just visited, Sioux Falls, is really nice. And as far as suppressors are concerned, it is the center of the universe. At least that was the impression I got from a recent visit. The first sight of Silencer Central is the really classy looking building they re-habbed to have a home, and the interior is new and modern-looking without being the obnoxious modern business style that is easy to hate.

I dropped in to see what was going on there, see what the operation was like, and to perhaps fondle a few silencers. The last part first: Silencer Central offers a full line of excellent silencers, and as far as fondling a few goes, well, you know the scenes from comic books when we were kids, of Scrooge McDuck lounging on a pile of money in a room full of money? Except that it would be uncomfortable, that could be done at Silencer Central. They have a storage room with shelves, floor to ceiling (and it’s a tall ceiling, 20-plus feet) packed full of silencers. Rows of shelves. On the order of a hundred million dollars’ worth of quiet-making gizmos. I, and the other writers who were there thought we were prepared. We were slack-jawed. How does one go about building such an operation? Simple, and we got the story from Brandon Maddox, the CEO of Silencer Central. You build that from an insane amount of work, starting from being an unsatisfied silencer purchaser himself back in the beginning. Then, a near-mind-melting reading, absorbing and parsing of federal regulations concerning things silencers. And finally, by setting up shop, with a proper suite of licenses both federal and state, in every single one of the 42 states where silencers are legal to own.

silencer-central-factory-tour-02
How to succeed: simple, hard work, attention to detail, and focus on customers. It sounds easy, but it is not. Brandon Maddox made it sound easy. One aisle of suppressors, and you need a ladder to reach to top shelves.

Oh, and as a last and best step, by developing the software that lets Silencer Central help you fill out the paperwork, and form a trust, and here’s the best part; if there’s something missing, or something wrong, in the digital form as you’ve filled it out, it won’t let you proceed. That means you can’t make the spelling error or click the wrong box, that means nine months later your transfer application is returned with a big red “Declined” stamped on it. How good is it? The declined due to paperwork error was some vanishingly small fraction of one percent of all transfers they have submitted. Oh, and as an aside, the reason it takes nine months to a year for your transfer? It would seem that in calendar year 2023, the ATF will have passed the million-transfer mark for a single year. With that many applications, you do not want to make a mistake, and Silencer Central covers that for you.

As a service to their customers, Silencer Central also offers barrel-threading. No need to track down a gunsmith with an accurate-enough lathe, or a machinist who is willing to work on your barrel while you stand there. Just ship it and wait. The threading is done on a CNC lathe, but the operator doesn’t just plug in your barrel and hit “Go.” I watched a barrel being threaded, and he did all the proper steps of indexing, measuring, adjusting, and then checking the progress of each step. Could he have done it faster? Yes. But he could not have been more attentive. That was my impression of the entire operation, from packaging and shipping, to customer service, even the occasional walk-in was treated as a customer, even when they were just curious. “Silencers? Really? They are legal?”

Now, some of you are asking how does a silencer company in South Dakota deliver a silencer to your front door? I mean, the whole “state line” thing that keeps a lot of other items from being shipped has to apply, right? Simple: once you have worked with the Silencer Central crew and applied for your transfer (and made your trust) the paperwork goes to the ATF. Once they say Yes, Silencer Central ships your suppressor to their dealer in your home state. Then, since you have already filled out all the necessary paperwork, the dealer can then re-box it and mail it to your front door.

Brandon has a grand tale of the experience of telling the ATF that their own regulations allow it to happen that way. He even had to go to D.C. and face a conference room full of ATF supervisors and managers, explaining their own regs. Now, before you chuckle up your sleeve too much at the ATF, put yourselves in the shoes of a state supervisory agent. Your state just legalized silencers. You’ve never had to deal with a silencer since the academy, because, oh, the states you worked in hadn’t approved them yet. Twenty years on the job, and now some guy from a state out west wants to sell them here? This has to be explained. Which Brandon Maddox, did, and nothing personal, but you didn’t know the regs as much as the guy who spent night after night, months on end, reading the regs. So as far as delivery is concerned, Silencer Central is now fully into the 21st century.

silencer-central-factory-tour-03
Details, details, details. Yes, the computer does it right, but it never hurts to double-check, which the machinists at Silencer Central do.

And their silencers are, also. We went to the range to do some shooting (we’re gun writers, the guild requirements insist on it) and I tried the full range of Silencer Central silencers, from the Banish 22 up to a Banish 46. The Banish 22, on a bolt-action rifle, was so quiet that it was not easy for us hearing-eroded writers to hear the plink of impact on steel at 50 yards. The Banish 46 was mounted on a .45-70 lever action rifle, and yes, it is quiet. In the inevitable competition later that day (again, we’re gun writers, there has to be some kind of a contest) one of the shooters, not me, decided that the only suitable target for the .45-70 rifle was a spring-loaded hinged prairie dog steel plate. The resulting impact not only knocked the prairie dog back, but upended the stand, and tumbled it back a couple of rotations. Just to be a little more civilized, a Banish 338 on a Savage bolt gun, fed .338 Lapua Magnum ammo, really sets the steel plates at 400 yards swinging.

My favorite is the Banish 30, a modular suppressor rated to take it up to the .30 magnums, and yet can be used on smaller calibers as well. I’ve got one in the safe that I’ll be reviewing soon, but I looked forward to, and enjoyed testing it on several different .308 bolt guns. One last detail that you might not have been aware of: Silencer Central can also provide you with silencers not made by them but made by other companies. When I first noticed other-brand silencers on the inventory shelves at Silencer Central, I figured they were R&D. You know, buy the other guy’s stuff, test it, and see how it rates? I don’t know about today, but back in the old days, the auto companies used to do that. I drove a lot of “not Ford” vehicles that Dad brought home from the R&D pool. But no, Silencer Central in this case is the sales agent for the other companies. Since Silencer Central has such a well-run sales and delivery system, it would be crazy to not take advantage of that. So, the other companies, at least some of them, do. Need a trust? Need a barrel threaded? Want a silencer, or another, or a bunch more? You’re in luck, while the center of the silencer universe is in South Dakota, it is just a click away: SilencerCentral.com




silencer-central-factory-tour-04
The lineup of silencers we tested on the trip, from .22 rimfire up to .45-70 capable, and lots of options in-between.

If you have any thoughts or comments on this article, we’d love to hear them. Email us at FirearmsNews@Outdoorsg.com.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Gear

Federal's “Punch” line of Personal Protection Ammunition

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Guns

KelTec's new KSG410 and R50!

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Gear

Liberty Ammunition

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Guns

Springfield Armory 9mm Saint AR15

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Guns

Rock River Arms New ARs

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Guns

MKS 10mm Hi-Point Pistol

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Guns

Magpul FDP-9

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Guns

Legacy Sports New Howa Rifles

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Guns

Aero Precision Bolt-Action Rifle Line

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Guns

American Tactical, Inc. New Single-Shot Folding Rifle

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Guns

American Tactical, Inc. 9mm GSG-9 Pistol

FN America has brought out a scaled up version of the 9mm FN 509 pistol chambered in 10mm Auto. Firearms News Editor-in-...
Guns

FN America 510 Tactical 10mm

Firearms News Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW OUR CURRENT ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Firearms News App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Firearms News stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Firearms News subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now