There are a number of physical formats you can consider when buying silver:
Physical precious metals like silver are a hedge to the traditional banking system. In a crisis, if the system collapses, it may very well take your property down with it (if it can).
If there is a run on the banks, having your silver under your direct control means they can't confiscate it, block access to it, or have loaned it out in a leveraged fashion.
Buying silver on credit or speculating on the future price can lead to getting yourself in a significant financial jam.
Instead, put some money to the side that you're sure you're not going to need in a short time horizon, and use that to invest.
When investing in any asset, including silver, it's important to keep the time horizon in mind. Prices fluctuate, and over a longer time horizon there's a better chance of your investment appreciating in value.
The last thing anyone would want is to invest money they'll need in the coming months, only to have the market move against them. Talk to your financial adviser, and carefully plan any future purchases.
It's important to comply with the law when it comes to buying silver, and knowing what they are goes a long way.
Under a certain dollar amount, there's no need to declare (which may be attractive to some), but once you hit a threshold you will need to (and should) declare your holdings.