Silence is golden for South Dakota Suppressor
Even if the Russians don’t come, apparently the Americans don’t want to take any chances.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) recently released March background check figures for gun purchases and totals jumped more than 300,000 from February. Nearly 1.7 million firearms were purchased last month and that continues a 32-month trend of over 1 million monthly purchases.
“These numbers show month after month that Americans, by the millions, aren’t just talking about the value of their Second Amendment rights, they’re acting on them,” says NSSF’s Mark Olivia.
One person familiar with this trend and following the unprecedented wave of gun sales for several years is Brandon Maddox, the founder of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Silencer Central. The company manufactures high-quality silencers (also called gun silencers) for all kinds of firearms and sells them directly to consumers. And they sell a lot of them – over 100,000 a year. These devices reduce the decibels a shooter absorbs to about the level they would get if they were wearing earplugs. Thanks to Silencer Central’s efforts to revolutionize the process of buying a silencer, the suppressor category is one of the hottest sectors in the entire outdoor and shooting industries.
Maddox is an unlikely catalyst for the rise of the suppressor market. A pharmacist by trade, he met his future wife, Megan, at a pharmacy conference in 1999 and the couple married in 2001. They then moved from Florida to Sioux Falls in the early 2000s and worked for Cigna Tel-Drug, a mail-order business. pharmacy. His experience selling pharmaceuticals in multiple states gave him valuable experience as he considered starting his own suppressor business.
Megan, originally from South Dakota, came from a family of hunters and shooters, but not Brandon. “If I was going to fit into the family, I figured I better learn to navigate the world of sport shooting,” he says. His introduction to shooting sports began when he began helping ranchers control an overpopulation of prairie dogs whose holes are dangerous to cattle and horses. “Every time I shot, the rodents would scatter into their holes because of the gun blast,” he says. “Then I discovered a suppressor at a local gun show…and that changed everything.”
Suppressors are carefully regulated by the federal government and buying one requires a level of paperwork normally reserved for buying a home. Surprisingly, it’s much easier to buy guns and ammo than a non-lethal suppressor. The traditional method of buying a silencer looks like this: a customer goes to an armory, chooses the model they want, buys it, the store then has it delivered to the store where they hold it to the Office of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) approves the purchase, which may take up to two years. During this time, a shopper hopes that the store will not close and that the store is able to track their purchase. The process is so incredibly confusing that Maddox knew there had to be a better way. “It was clear to me that the local gun shops just weren’t set up to sell them, at least not effectively,” says Maddox.
That’s when Maddox saw his opportunity. “What if I started a business that only sold and distributed suppressors?he thought. Maddox applied his experience in the pharmaceutical industry to his budding suppressant company. “It’s like tracking the details of a prescription,” he says. – good product, serial number, county, documents, etc… it must be very detailed, and most gun shops are used to selling guns that the buyer takes possession of the day even – not a year or two later.
Maddox started his silencer business as South Dakota Silencer in 2005. Possessing a federal firearms license, he began selling silencers at gun shows throughout South Dakota. “Silencers are like handguns,” Maddox explains, “you can only legally buy them from an authorized dealer, and a dealer must be licensed in the same state where the customer resides and have a physical location there. .”
When Maddox started his silencer business, he bought silencers from several manufacturers, but these devices were geared more towards tactical shooters. “It just wasn’t our clientele,” Maddox says. “Most of our customers were hunters who wanted suppressors that were lighter and quieter so they wouldn’t spook game when shooting.”
Today, in addition to what is manufactured in South Dakota, Maddox has shops at 24 other locations manufacturing muffler parts and five facilities assembling finished units. Additionally, the company has offices in all 42 states where the use of suppressors is legal, which is why it changed the company name to Silencer Central in 2019. “Each facility operates in three shifts to meet the ask,” he said.
Uses for suppressors range from any shooter who simply wants to preserve their hearing, to state wildlife officers who use them to help control overcrowded white deer herds in and around residential areas. When it comes to controlling vermin – whether wild pigs, prairie dogs or coyotes – suppressors are a particularly valuable tool, but their use extends to every other form of hunting and of shooting that benefit the 15 million hunters and 130 million gun owners in the United States. Their line of Banish suppressors includes seven options for calibers, including .22 rimfire, .223 Remington/5.56 NATO platforms, 9mm, .40-.45 caliber handguns, two caliber options .30 and .46 as well as straight wall cartridges like .450 and .458.
However, it was Maddox’s revolutionary approach to simplifying the process of obtaining a suppressor that led to the company’s meteoric growth. “Our secret is that we make the process of buying a suppressor super simple,” Maddox told an audience of several thousand hunters in Dallas last January. By attending consumer shows across the country, Maddox has become something of an evangelist of silencers, for once hunters use his products, most don’t want to leave without them, nor do they hesitate to praise the virtues of silencers to their friends. . Simply put, customers are quickly becoming brand ambassadors and word of mouth has helped Silencer Central capture around a quarter of the 750,000 unit market in 2021, a figure Maddox expects to top 1 million by the end of 2020. 2022.
“When people stop by our booth to buy a suppressor,” Maddox explains, “we take their fingerprints, take their picture, and complete the paperwork required for the BATFE. Once a transaction is approved, we send the suppressor directly to them. We’ve taken what was previously a two-year process and condensed it dramatically, typically to less than eight months.
The company now has 170 employees and is continuously growing – 100 in the last year alone. They’ve doubled their sales nearly every year since 2005, and they’re on track to open a modern new headquarters in Sioux Falls in June, a completely renovated building that once served as Cigna’s home delivery pharmacy building, his former employer. With a proven distribution model and infrastructure in place, Maddox is considering other opportunities to distribute additional products with its unique approach. Unsurprisingly, Silencer Central’s meteoric growth has caught the eye of potential investors and strategic partners, so Maddox is weighing options to take the company to the next level.
Ironically, for a brand specializing in volume reduction, Silencer Central is making a lot of noise in the booming filming industry.