Being Prepared to Repair Your Guns

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

To those of us who carry, our guns are an important part of our lives. We become accustomed to them and the added security they provide to our lives. Many of us have developed other habits as well, to go along with carrying, such as always taking a seat where we can see who comes in the door of a restaurant and scanning the street when we walk out the door. We feel half-naked if we find ourselves in a situation where we are forced to leave our guns behind.

Yet with all our concern about our guns, there are times when we just miss the boat. I’m specifically referring here to the ability to maintain our guns in a crisis situation. When your gun breaks and you can’t find a gunsmith around, that gun is nothing more than an expensive paperweight. Better to be able to take care of it yourself, if you need to.

The good news is that guns actually aren’t all that hard to work on, at least not to do common repairs and modifications. If you are fairly good with tools, chances are that you’ll be able to learn how to do most maintenance work on your guns yourself.

Clean and Oiled

The first part of maintaining any firearm is keeping it cleaned and oiled. I’ve been surprised at how few shooters I know regularly clean and oil their guns. Maybe that’s because I was in the military and every time you touched your gun, you had to strip it down and clean it.

But there’s a reason why the military trains soldiers to care for their guns that way. That’s because dirt is the enemy of firearms. Actually, it’s the enemy in more ways than one, as dirt can cause jams, as well as causing excessive wear. Dirt acts as an abrasive, whenever the gun cycles, especially if it gets into anywhere where there is metal rubbing against metal.

I don’t clean my guns as often as I used to in my military days, but I still field strip my carry gun monthly, so that I can clean and oil it. A lot of dust and lint tends to get in the gun from carrying it every day, so I usually have to blow out the trigger mechanism with compressed air, as well as normal cleaning.

The other part of this that I see is people either not putting any oil on their guns or putting too much oil on them. In the case of too much, it’s not that they pour it on, it’s just that they oil the gun every time they shoot it, without ever cleaning the old gummy oil out. This builds up deposits of residue in the gun, which will eventually harden and can cause malfunctions.

Keep Basic Parts

The second part of maintain your firearms is to have a stock of the most commonly needed parts on hand. There really aren’t all that many of them, so we’re not talking about a huge investment here. But in an emergency situation, especially a post-disaster time, you may not be able to find parts anywhere.

So, what parts should you have?

  • Spring kit – Springs are the single most likely part to go bad. Not only that, but you might lose one when working on the gun
  • Parts that contain springs – Some parts, like the slide stop lever on a Glock, have springs built into them. These springs can become bent to the point where they are no longer functional
  • Pin kit- Pins basically can’t go bad, but it’s easy to lose one when working on the gun
  • Extractor – Probably the most common non-spring part to break
  • Firing pin – These can break or just wear to the point where they are no longer effective
  • Gas rings (for AR-15) – This is a wear part that has to be replaced from time to time

In addition to these basic parts, you should check to see if there are any parts that tend to break for the specific guns you own. Each gun is unique and could have parts which are a problem.

Get the Tools

You will likely find that there are a few specific tools that you’ll need, which you don’t have. When I built my AR-15, I had to buy a few specialty tools. Likewise, I’ve found that I needed some very small hex wrenches for working on my guns, as well as some drive pin punches. As you learn about repairing your guns, you’ll probably find a number of tools mentioned by the instructors. Take note of those and make sure you buy yourself good ones.

Learn the Trade

Finally, you want to learn how to do the work. This is extremely easy in this day and age, as you can find videos for a huge amount of things on YouTube, including complete breakdown and reassembly of just about any firearm on the market.

Since you don’t know what specific repairs you are likely to need, the best thing to look for is videos which will show you full breakdowns and rebuilds. Going through these a few times, taking your own guns apart and reassembling them, will ensure that you know how everything goes together. Then, if a part breaks, you’ll know how to get to it and how to put it in.

You might also want to try and find exploded view drawings of the guns you have and print them out. I have these for various firearms, and find them extremely useful for identifying parts and showing the orientation of how they go together. While not a perfect reference, they provide a lot of useful information in an easy to use manner.

So, there you go. Follow those few steps and you’ll be ready to maintain your own guns, ensuring that they will always be there to work for you. And as always, keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand (as well as your repair parts).

Dr. Rich

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