Ruger now in the business of making silencers

Ruger Silent-SR

The Ruger Silent-SR retails for $449. (Photo: Ruger)

Another step toward defining silencers as staple accessory, powerhouse Sturm, Ruger & Company announced its own rendition of the heavily regulated item.

Ruger released details Thursday on the Silent-SR, a can designed to handle .17- and .22-caliber rounds. The company touts that it can reduce sound pressure levels by 40 decibels and that it’s rated for full auto rifles and pistols.

For major gun companies, Ruger joins the ranks of Sig Sauer, a company that launched a line of silencers in 2013 and a major ad push for the items last year. In the past, Ruger has adapted to the evolving industry by offering pistol and rifle variants that are suppressor-ready (meaning a threaded barrel).

Silencers have rapidly becoming mainstream in the past decade as more companies dedicated to the niche market began promotional campaigns by raising awareness of the legality of the item.

Because of the increased desire to own one and lobbying efforts, 41 states now allow civilian ownership of the federally regulated item. Also, a bill to remove silencers from the list of prohibited items in the National Firearms Act is currently pending in the U.S. House.

Currently, to own a silencer, buyers must follow a series of clerical steps that include passing a background check, paying a $200 tax stamp and registering the item with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

According to data released by the ATF in July, the number of registered silencers spiked last year by 39 percent, putting the total number of silencers sold in 2015 to 792,282.

The number of forms processed for NFA items — including silencers, machine guns, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, and other destructive devices — has gotten five times bigger since 2005, growing from 41,500 to more than 230,000 in 2014.