This month, I would like to touch a little on “home gunsmithing”. I know every one of you is a “gun person” and therefore wants to learn as much as you can about your firearms and how they work. Education is a great thing, otherwise there would be no Gunsite. On the other hand, lack of education can get us into trouble. There was a time when our firearms were all very similar in design and therefore similar disassembly/reassembly. There was also a time when many of us had time and tools to complete “routine” maintenance on our equipment such as oil changes, blade sharpening, carpentry, electrical and firearms maintenance. For good or bad, that has changed quite a bit. While many still do so, be honest with yourself; how many of you even change the oil in your vehicles anymore much less perform “tune ups” or repair break downs? How many of you do your electrical repairs in the house when there is a break down? (How many of you ever replaced a fuse in a fuse box? Fuse box; what is that?)
The point is that firearms have changed as well as have the tools required to do the job. I certainly admire the independent spirit that wants to take care of all of their own problems, but you may be surprised at what I see come through the shop. It is not uncommon for a person to save money, take time from work, travel great distance and show up for class only to find out that the modifications made are either inappropriate or poorly done and result in fighting the equipment for the first couple of days and then have to have it repaired anyway.
More critical than that is when a firearm is disassembled by pulling/pushing pins only to lose those parts that have the mystical ability to “disappear” in midair. Come on, who has not worked on a firearm and experienced that situation when a part flies, you see it bounce once, twice and then disappear? You can look for hours and it is not there. Often two weeks later, it appears right where you were looking. The gun part gods love this ability. Often replacement parts are hard to find and of course when you order one, the shipping is 10x the cost of the lost part. More importantly though is the situation when parts go back together easily and it seems to be right, only to find out that the firearm does not function properly. An example of this is the Glock. There is one pin that must be first out and first in. It can be put together out of order without noticing anything wrong, but when you shoot it, it becomes a single shot pistol. There was an officer in our department that experienced this and when he qualified a year later (ridiculous isn’t it) he realized he was carrying a single shot pistol for a year on duty. Many other firearms also have similar requirements.
Well folks, moral of the story: if you plan to do detail disassembly of your firearms, get qualified training. If not, limit yourself to common field stripping until you can learn more. Also consider utilizing professional services. Remember that if you are carrying a firearm for personal defense, the number one requirement is reliability. If you or someone else, unqualified, performs work on your firearms, you are taking the chance of carrying a brick.
If you have been through a class I have had the opportunity to introduce myself, you should remember that I inform everyone that I offer services outside of Gunsite, but my priority is to students in the class so that they can continue their class uninterrupted. If you are planning on attending a class, contact me before and we can discuss proper modifications. You can also ship your firearms ahead of time and I can have it ready for you. After class you can leave them with me for detail cleaning or further modifications. I often perform detail cleaning midweek during lecture times.
This may sound a little like a sales pitch and maybe it is partially is. After all if I don’t make a living, I won’t be there when you really do need me. But more important folks, is that as Gunsite students, you are training for real life fighting conditions. This is not the time to compromise on service work or modifications to the tool that means more than anything else in the world when the time comes. As Col Cooper said, your response should be “I knew this was going to happen one day, I know what to do.” The same can be said for your equipment. Mike says “I knew this was going to happen one day. I know what to do and I know my equipment will do the job if I do mine.”
2900 W Gunsite Rd
Paulden, AZ 86334