I’ve often wondered how many gun owners out there are willing to be their own armorer. Most of us are able to do the usual field stripping and cleaning routine. However, if a part were to fail, or you wanted to make an upgrade, would you be capable of doing the job yourself? As an engineer, I am usually surrounded by mechanically-inclined folks, but I have wondered how far that ability extends with most gun owners. What are your thoughts and experiences with gun repair and service?
I had a friend that told me he took his gun to someone to put a trigger kit in it. when he got it back it would not fire. He had all the old parts but didn’t feel confident to do anything himself. I told him I would take a look at it but would not promise anything. Turned out whoever he took it to had bought and put in the wrong kit. unless some major mods were made with a Dremel tool and files it was never going to work. I put all the original part except the new springs back into I ad according to him it worked better than when he bought (used).
So to answer your question, I am willing to give it a try but would not want to do major mods unless it was my own and I was sure of what I was doing.
I would love to have a deeper skill set to allow me to work on my guns. I built all of my AR’s and I feel pretty capable when it comes to the basic maintenance. But the SMITHING is what I would love to learn. I must say, I give that to a pro. After all, cant take chances with my weapons it could be life and death. I need to know the person working on them is a pro. Therefore I am VERY picky. In fact only 2 people have ever worked on mine outside the basis.
I already work on my own guns only because my grandfather taught me how to take guns apart and fix what needs to be done since there wasn’t a gunsmith anywhere near us and he was also taught by his father and the US Army when he was young.
Eh, sometimes I want to, others times not so much. I have built a 1911 before and it was kind of fun at times. I like to shoot and I like to drive, but I doubt I’d ever build a hotrod so…
I watched a YouTube video on how to install a new trigger in my pistol and quickly decided that was getting past my comfort level. I’m not opposed to the idea at some point, but would have to get the right tools and instruction before I would attempt it.
I’m broke and in college. I can’t afford a gunsmith so I am forced to do stuff myself, and be right the first time. I also have an annoying tend to be somewhat overly confident in myself. Sometimes it comes around to bite me, most of the time it does not. I built a muzzleloader kit a year or so ago and fired it. That gives you some confidence. Plus my dad is a mechanical engineer that lives nearby, so that also helps.
I do my own work. I like to work on things, take them apart and put them back together again. I’ve been working on cars since I was a teenager, built and wired electric guitars and guitar speaker cabs as well. I also like woodworking and pondscaping.
When I worked construction for a bit as a glazier, I moved into the fabrication shop, metal working, operating brake shears, brake presses, welding, plasma cutting, and xyz tables
I’ve worked on my Glocks (26, 17/22, 19/23, 21) Mossberg 500, Ruger 10/22, and AR15s. I only swapped my grips on my P228 and break it down for cleanings. When I had my MAK90 I would play with that as well.
I enjoy working on my own gun’s. With the price of gunsmith’s and the time they take, I would rather do my own work. Also when you do your own work, it help’s you understand how your gun operate’s and why it operate’s. All you have to do is do your research first, then just take your time. Don’t rush.
The only time I will let someone else work on one of my guns, is if I question my own abilities for that particular project, (I am very critical about myself) then I will let one of the old timers that I know help me. Most of the time, they will let you do it with them so you learn, (if they like you). I learned this with my STI 2011 (.40cal). When you buy parts for a race gun, they ALWAYS have to be custom fitted, even a slide release has to be filed down and fitted for your gun. Have some fun with it, YouTube is awesome, don’t just watch one video, there’s a lot of yahoos out there. Try something cosmetic at first, get very familiar with things, start small and grow.
I have been thinking about this very subject myself! I have watched you tube videos and seem to tear into just about everything else so yeah my pistols would prob.get hands on by me also if there’s something I want changed! Hey if I get it apart and cant do it there’s always the community here to help me get it back together!! Right ? Lol
Casey, it would most likely be difficult to give you that kind of advise on here because of liability, I think I remember Dawn mentioning that at one point, but I think we could do that in a private conversation if need be. Maybe Dawn will see this and straighten me out on this if I’m wrong. (She’s pretty good at that,)
Hi Nathan! I’m a design engineer myself and since I’ve got experience with a pretty wide variety of designs, materials and manufacturing practices of many different scopes. I have no problem with attempting to be my own smithy and I know what’s over my head and what I can do and can’t do to make any of my firearms reliable and safe. I’ve seen some gun owners that couldn’t hold a screwdriver correctly to some that seem not all the bright, but are awesome when it comes to firearms and their repair. So long as someone has the competence to fool around with mechanical items, they would be fine working on firearms so long as they’re honest about themselves and their abilities. If in doubt, take it to someone who knows. I’ve had people bring me guns they had in an old chest and ask me if it was safe to shoot when it looks like the thing was a toy. No one knows everything I tell them and if they’re not like a retiree or someone trapped in their house all the time, I’ll take it to someone who knows and ask their opinion because I could be wrong to tell them it’s scrap or yea, shoot it. If they’re capable, I tell them to take it to a gun smith and offer a few locations for them to go. Some I’ve offered to take to the range to shoot it. All depends. Great inquiry Nathan.
Well said Steve-G and I think you’re right. Like I just found out there’s a liability if you change a plug in say a friend’s house. If it goes up in flames, and it’s electrical, you could be liable and it’s because you were trying to help someone and you wind up in trouble.
Casey, yes there’s lots of great you tube vids out there to help out, but don’t be suckered into thinking it’s just as good as having an armorer right there beside you. There’s steps involved often that don’t get mentioned because it’s like second nature to people who know. They don’t mean to mess you up, it’s just taken as everyone knows to do that a lot of times. Be cautious if you’re not sure and totally safe and ask someone if you don’t know.
It’s like my electronics instructor always said (was a very bright man) “Ask and you’ll be dumb for 5 minutes. If you don’t ask you’ll be dead or dumb the rest of your life” (Jim Kolesar, 1978 quote). It’s the smart play.
As of right now, I am not comfortable with physically making changes to my gun. Maybe one day when things are a little slower in my life and I have time to learn how to and focus. The most I have done so far is upgrade the rails on my AR and add some accessories like Bipod legs, A light and an AimPoint Pro. On my two Glocks I changed the sights to Tritium sights for nighttime use.
I will do simple add ons like sights and basic parts replacement. Any intrusive upgrades or repairs I entrust to a certified gunsmith. I know my limitations.
Be sure to keep good records of any modifications to your firearms and the reasons for said modifications just in case…
If you ever are in a self-defense incident, you’ll need to be able to defend why you did what you did. I’d include details as to why you did, when, the products you used, etc. The more details you have the better.
@Dawn, Great advice to record modifications, even simple ones. I did not think of that but will do that very soon.
The only modification that I would caution people on is switching to a much lighter trigger pull or putting something that screams “I want to hurt someone” on their gun.
The trigger poundage is partly for safety reasons and a really light trigger pull doesn’t come across as a good thing to a jury. The visual modification that represents hate or wanting to hurt someone will get you in hot water if you ever have to defend yourself legally for your self-defense actions.
@Dawn I see your point Dawn but a trigger pull mod can be done for other reasons. My .357 had a trigger mod done before I bought it (used). It has the lightest trigger pull I have ever come across (a gunsmith I showed it to said it was the second lightest he had ever seen). It’s a double action revolver and the only time the light pull comes into play is if I am shooting it after I have manually pulled the trigger back.
For me it is part of the reason I feel I am so accurate with it (it is sighted in for 100 yards for deer hunting). Once I am on target there is no time for anticipation to screw up my shot, it is already going down range. I would not want something that light on any of my semi automatic handguns but I feel it is just fine for that gun. Now if I had a semi-auto with and extremely hard pull I might consider a trigger kit to make it more reasonable but not just to have a “hair trigger”. IMO something that light on a semi-auto screams self inflicted gunshot wound.