Category Archives: Firearms Building and Gunsmithing

How to build and/or gunsmith on certain platforms.

How To Find Out Torque Specifications for Screws and Bolts: An Outstanding NASA Reference Guide

We’ve all been there – you’re working on a project and wondering how much to torque something so either we don’t bother or just take a guess. What I only found out recently was that in 2017, NASA published a really cool guide called “Installation Torque Tables for Noncritical Applications” – with the document ID as NASA/TM—2017-219475.

The document provides the torque specifications for a ton of general purpose fasteners that do not have an exact specification assigned – hence the term non-critical. As you can imagine, they get very specific in critical/risky situations.

At any rate, given the size of the bolt or screw, the thread pitch, the material and the depth, they provide a reference torque specification you can follow for both metric (M6, M8, M10, etc.) and SAE (#8, #10, 1/8, 1/4, 3/8, etc.) fasteners. Note, they provide an assembly torque (which is a 65% load from failure) and 100% torque. I use the assembly torque spec.

They also recommend that the depth of thread engagement be 1.5x the diameter of the fastener. So a 1/4″ (0.25″) fastener should have at least 0.25″ x 1.5 = .375″ (3/8″).

Here’s an example table. This is for fasteners going into 6061-T6 aluminum with a thread depth of 3/16″. If we go down for a 10-32 UNF screw, the assembly torque is 22.2 inch pounds. I’d use that lacking any other detailed information. I could go up to 34.2 inch pounds but I have stripped so many fasteners I don’t risk it. I’m a huge fan of Loctite so I go with that and the assembly spec.

Kudos to the two authors and to NASA for making it available. The PDF is a cool reference document and one I use whenever I can’t find a specific torque value for a given application. All you machinists and engineers – you know way more than me so please let me know if you have other resources you recommend.

To access this cool guide, click here for the NASA link or click here for the copy on our server.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Neiko 1/4" Dr. Torque Wrench | 20-200 In/Lb Auto Click Adjustable Gauge Ratchet

$29.85
End Date: Wednesday Dec-11-2019 13:17:37 PST
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Used Craftsman Torque Wrench 3/8" Drive, 25 - 250 inch pounds. part # 44593

$14.95
End Date: Thursday Jan-2-2020 5:32:38 PST
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1/2" Torque Wrench Snap Socket Professional Drive Click Type Ratcheting

$27.40
End Date: Sunday Dec-15-2019 11:44:07 PST
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Neiko 3/8" Beam Style Torque Wrench | 0 - 800 IN/LB 90 Nm

$19.95
End Date: Sunday Dec-22-2019 16:07:46 PST
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TEKTON 24330 3/8-Inch Drive Click Torque Wrench, 10-80 Feet Pound

$39.99
End Date: Thursday Dec-19-2019 8:46:51 PST
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Neiko 1/4" Beam Torque Wrench | Reversible Socket Type 80 In/Lb Or 9 Nm

$23.97
End Date: Sunday Dec-22-2019 15:15:04 PST
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1/2" Torque Wrench Snap Socket Professional Drive Click Type Ratcheting

$27.20
End Date: Friday Jan-3-2020 19:28:00 PST
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CRAFTSMAN 31423 Micro-Clicker TORQUE WRENCH 3/8in Inch Drive Click 25-250 in lbs

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End Date: Thursday Dec-26-2019 12:12:44 PST
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Polymer80 Glock Builders: There is a TON of parts on eBay

If you are working on a Polymer80 build or even wanting to overhaul your existing Glock, there are a ton of parts on eBay.  You can find some good deals but I would recommend you stick with reputable brands and sellers. For the sellers, I would look for lots of sales – at least over 30 and ideally hundreds – and very good scores.  There are cheap imports/knock-offs showing up so beware no-name stuff.

The following are all real-time listing on eBay so you can go there and find parts.

Polymer80 PF940v2, PF940C, & PF940CL Magwell - High Profile - ISLE MFG

$24.99
End Date: Wednesday Jan-1-2020 6:12:54 PST
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Steel City Arsenal 9mm Upper Parts Kit for Glock Gen 1-4 Polymer 80 w/Liner Tool

$79.99
End Date: Tuesday Dec-17-2019 16:11:31 PST
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Polymer80 PF940v2, PF940C, & PF940CL Magwell - High Profile - ISLE MFG

$25.99
End Date: Wednesday Jan-1-2020 6:12:54 PST
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Extended Magwell for Polymer 80 Glock Frame

$20.00
End Date: Wednesday Dec-18-2019 12:48:04 PST
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Alpha Se7en Compact Aluminum Flared Magwell for Polymer 80 PF940C | PF940V2 P80

$35.95
End Date: Monday Dec-23-2019 18:11:23 PST
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Polymer80 PF940v2, PF940C & PF940CL Magwell - Low Profile - ISLE MFG

$24.99
End Date: Tuesday Jan-7-2020 12:16:41 PST
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Glock 27 OEM Style Slide Std Sights Black G27 Gen 3 940SC Polymer 80 OEM - USA

$144.99
End Date: Wednesday Jan-1-2020 5:27:51 PST
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Steel City Arsenal Slim magwell for Polymer 80 PF940CL Compact Long Frames- Anod

$74.99
End Date: Sunday Dec-29-2019 8:36:06 PST
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AlphaWolf Slide for Glock 26 Polymer80 Gen 3 w/ Dovetail and OEM Rear Serrations

$179.95
End Date: Friday Dec-13-2019 19:33:55 PST
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For GLOCK Gen 1-3 G17 or Polymer 80 Lower Parts Kit OEM 9 millimeter Choose Kit

$79.95
End Date: Wednesday Dec-18-2019 7:05:17 PST
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Steel City Arsenal Slim magwell for Polymer 80 PF940C Frames- Anodized Black

$74.99
End Date: Tuesday Dec-17-2019 16:11:25 PST
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For GLOCK Gen 1-3 G17 or Polymer 80 Lower Parts Kit OEM 9 millimeter Choose Kit

$51.95
End Date: Wednesday Dec-18-2019 7:05:17 PST
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Full Replacement Parts Kit For Gen-3 Glock 17 Polymer-80 Spectre PF940-v2 LPK

$91.97
End Date: Friday Dec-20-2019 16:10:48 PST
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GLOCK 19 Gen 1-3 Lower Parts OEM 9MM Polymer 80 PF940C OEM Kit G19

$52.99
End Date: Thursday Dec-26-2019 16:55:17 PST
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Steel City Arsenal magwell Specifically for Polymer 80 PF940V2 Frames- Ano Black

$74.99
End Date: Tuesday Dec-17-2019 16:11:25 PST
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Glock OEM Lower Frame Parts Kits For Glock Gen 1-3 G17 And Polymer 80

$50.95
End Date: Friday Jan-3-2020 18:28:01 PST
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Glock 19 LPK NEW OEM 9mm Gen3 Lower Parts Premium Ext Upgrades Fit Polymer 80

$55.75
End Date: Sunday Dec-29-2019 22:16:34 PST
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Polymer80 PF940v2, PF940C & PF940CL Magwell - Low Profile - ISLE MFG

$24.99
End Date: Tuesday Jan-7-2020 12:16:41 PST
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Polymer80 PF940v2, PF940C & PF940CL Magwell - Low Profile - ISLE MFG

$24.99
End Date: Tuesday Jan-7-2020 12:16:41 PST
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Full Replacement Parts Kit For Gen-3 Glock 17 Polymer-80 Spectre PF940-v2 LPK

$50.90
End Date: Friday Dec-20-2019 16:10:48 PST
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Lone Wolf Distributors Lower Parts Kit for Glock or Polymer80

$74.99
End Date: Wednesday Jan-1-2020 12:14:18 PST
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Steel City Arsenal Magwell for Polymer 80 PF940C Compact Frames Battleworn Gray

$79.99
End Date: Tuesday Dec-17-2019 16:11:25 PST
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SCA Karve Slide for Glock 19 Gen 3 Battleworn Gray slide w/RMR Cut Polymer 80

$299.99
End Date: Wednesday Jan-1-2020 14:27:35 PST
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Glock 19 Slide G19 P80 Polymer 80 Compatible Gen 3

$169.99
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Polymer 80 PF940C Glock 19 rail protector

$30.00
End Date: Saturday Dec-28-2019 6:35:35 PST
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9mm Economy Upper Parts Kit with Guide Rod fits Glock 19 Polymer80 PF940V2

$79.95
End Date: Tuesday Dec-31-2019 14:59:00 PST
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9mm Compact Premium Lower Parts Kit for Glock 19 Gen3 and Polymer80 PF940Cv2

$64.95
End Date: Saturday Jan-4-2020 8:25:47 PST
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For Glock G 26 / 27 Gen 1-3 Lower Parts Kit Polymer 80 NEW Factory OEM Parts

$47.97
End Date: Tuesday Dec-31-2019 10:40:02 PST
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For Glock Factory OEM 9mm Gen 1-3 LPK G-19 Polymer 80 BRAND NEW (Black Color)

$35.00
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For GLOCK G 19 Gen 1-3 Lower Parts Kit OEM 9 millimeter Polymer 80 Genuine Parts

$74.95
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Polymer80 PF940v2, PF940C & PF940CL Magwell - Low Profile - ISLE MFG

$24.99
End Date: Tuesday Jan-7-2020 12:16:41 PST
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Glock 21 21SF Gen 3 Slide Upper Barrel Glock OEM G21 Made In USA PF45 .45 NEW

$419.99
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Full Replacement Parts Kit For Gen-3 Glock 17 Polymer-80 Spectre PF940-v2 LPK

$37.97
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Full Replacement Parts Kit For Gen-3 Glock 17 Polymer-80 Spectre PF940-v2 LPK

$42.95
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Talon Grips for Polymer 80 PF940C and PFC9 in Black Granulate 267G

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Glock Slide G17 Gen3 - Black Cerak And Stainless - Works W/ Polymer 80

$249.00
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For Glock Factory OEM 9mm Gen 3 LPK G-17 Polymer 80 TRIGGER & MAG COMBO SET

$119.00
End Date: Thursday Dec-12-2019 22:36:36 PST
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Steel City Arsenal Magwell for Polymer 80 PF940V2 Full Size Frame Battleworn FDE

$79.99
End Date: Tuesday Dec-17-2019 16:11:26 PST
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Full Replacement Parts Kit For Gen-3 Glock 17 Polymer-80 Spectre PF940-v2 LPK

$37.97
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If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


PSA AK-V Part Three: Changing the Brace, Adding a Red Dot and Installing A Quick Takedown Pin For The Dust Cover

Out of the box, the AK-V is impressive. The trigger is decent, the grip and handguard are functional but there were three things I really wanted to do – move to a SBA4 brace, install an optic and create a quick takedown pin so the dust cover could be removed (the big reason I bought the AK-V from a business perspective). So let’s step through each.

Replace The SBA3 Brace With An SBA4

Yes, they are both adjustable braces but that comparison ends there. The SBA4 is much more sturdy and has five length of pull adjustment positions. The SBA4 does go on sale and that is the time to buy one. I got mine for $99 at PSA’s July 4th sale and there was free shipping!

The SBA4 is the top brace and the SBA3 is the bottom. You can instantly see the SBA4 has more bracing and is bulkier. The back end does not flop around either unlike the SBA3.

Now PSA did something with the SBA3 that is a best practice. They staked the castle nut to the receiver end plate. Now, I started thinking about what would be my easiest option and it dawned on me that if I was SB Tactical and wanted to control cost and complexity, I would try and have as few inventory parts as possible and that means as few buffer tubes. Guess what? The SBA3 and the SBA4 both use a Mil-Spec 6 position buffer tube. Problem solved. You can remove the brace just like most AR/M4 stocks – lift up on the locking pin and slide it right off.

The Castle Nut has two real solid stakes in it. Kudos to PSA.
Ta-da! Under the brace is a Mil-Spec buffer tube or “receiver extension” depending on who you talk to. The SBA3 and SBA4 use the same tube!! Note, the weapon is upside down for this photo.
Here’s a good shot of the receiver. See that small vertical slider switch just above the mag catch? That’s the bolt release. The M4 buffer tube / receiver extension they are using is rock solid. If it is made by someone else, I don’t recognize it.
Here’s the tail end of the SBA4 on the left vs. the SBA3 on the right.
The SBA4 uses the same buffer tube and slides right on in place of the SBA3 brace.

The result is a very sturdy brace. After comparing the two, I will only use SBA4 braces going forward.

Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Optic and American Defense Mount

I doubt I will ever go past 100 yards with the AK-V and a much more likely engagement distance is 50 yards so a red dot is perfect. I’m a huge Vortex Optics fan and this was a perfect situation for their Crossfire Red Dot mounted on an American Defense AD-T1-L STD quick detach mount. They are my favorite combination of price and performance these days.

By the way, be sure to keep a couple of spare 2032 Lithium batteries in your case or range bag. Nothing dampens a range trip like dead batteries. It’s also why I use a quick detach mount – if the batteries are dead or that optic fails, I am yanking that optic off.

With the AD-T1-L STD mount you are a tad higher than the AK-V’s sights. I plan to watch how they relate at the range so I can ballpark where to aim if the battery is dead and am in a rush. Practice, practice, practice and not just when everything works.

Here’s the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot on the American Defense AD-T1-L STD mount. If you wonder why I use American Defense, it’s for the quality. Cheap Chinese/import quick detach rings shoot loose, don’t return to zero and bend/break over time. AD stuff is rock solid made from aerospace aluminum. Note, you can see our Quick Takedown Pin just above the handguard and I’ll cover that next.

The AK-V Dust Cover Quick Takedown Pin

I had to look up — I built my first Yugo M92 in 2012 and instantly hated the hinged dust cover. I drilled out the rivet and came up with a stainless pin with a ball detent and pull ring to secure the cover. The rest is history. I wound up making pins for the M92/M85, Tula and Bulgy Krinks use the same pin, Vepr shotguns and now the AK-V.

The reason for wanting a quick takedown pin is plain and simple, when you want to clean the weapon or work in the receiver, the hinged dust cover is in the way. To remedy this, you can install our AK-V quick pin and it’s about a 10 minute job if you know how to strip down an AK. This is a quick overview:

  1. Ensure the weapon is empty.
  2. Field strip the weapon like you would any AK, remove the gas tube and the lower handguard so they are out of the way. 
  3. The AK-V’s hinge is simply a 5/32″ roll pin that needs to be tapped/punched out so use something like a bench block to support the weapon and create a hole/gap for the pin to exit into.
  4. Use a 5/32″ roll pin punch and a hammer to tap the roll pin out.  You can save it for the future in case you ever want to use it again for some reason. 
  5. Put the dust cover back in place with the hinge holes lined up and slide in our quick takedown pin.
  6. Re-assemble the weapon.
  7. Done
Here, I have the rear sight block fully supported by the bench block behind it and am using a 5/32″ roll pin punch and hammer to drive the roll pin out.
What makes a roll pin punch different from a normal punch is the dome in the middle that centers the punch on the pin and makes driving the pin out very easy. It also reduces the risk of a regular punch slipping off what you are working on an scratching the finish.
So this is what you wind up with once the roll pin is removed.
This was my first attempt because I am right handed. Having the pull ring there right next to the gas tube locking lever was just too much. I flipped it around and had the pull ring on the other side of the gas block.
This is how I am running it now. The pull ring is on the left / non-operating side and the ring is tucked just behind the handguard.

We have the pins up for sale on our website now. Click here to order one.

Summary

Looking good!

The AK-V was almost done at this point. I still needed to lubricate the weapon and put it in a suitable case. I’ll tell you about that part of the journey in the next post.


This is a four part series on the PSA AK-V 9mm:


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Great Animated Video That Shows How A Glock Pistol Operates: It Really Clarifies Things!

As the saying goes, a pictures is worth a 100 words. Well, this video is worth a few thousand. I am very, very impressed by the fire control group that Gaston Glock created with the three integral safeties. In talking with a lot of Glock pistol owners, they aren’t very clear on how the pistol operates and now I can share this video with folks.

This example screen shot from the video shows how a case is extracted and then ejected. The level of detail is exceptional. Note how the creator of the video shows you a faint ghost image of the pistol around the components he is demonstrating.
In part of the video, the creator shows you how all three safeties work. The above screen shot is from the part of the video where the firing pin safety mechanism is explained.

Matt RIttman created this animated video and really did a service to the firearms community. The computer animation is excellent and the operation of a Glock 19 Gen 4 is very clear. This is a must see for any Glock or Polymer80 owner. I’m not a huge fan of Glock pistols but I am of pistols with the Polymer 80 frames/receivers because of the grip angle. I’ve now built two and legally registered them in Michigan.

Here’s the Video

It’s only 2:54 long and totally worth your time:

I hope you find this as interesting as I did.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


What To Do When Your AK’s Barrel Is Too Big For Your Front Trunnion?

A few years ago, I bought a 1969 Polish Radom Circle 11 AKM kit from Arms of America. It has laminate furniture, matching parts and they populated a new Polish Chrome Hammer Forged (CHF) barrel with the front, gas and rear sight blocks. Furthermore, it was headspaced. I double checked that before I pushed out the barrel pin and then the barrel – that’s where things got interesting.

Pressing Out The Barrel

I have a 30 ton H-style hydraulic press with a 20 ton air-over-hydraulic bottle. The thing is a brute and have used it many, many times over the years on gun and car projects. There are a few things you learn over the years – 20 tons is 40,000 pounds and is a serious amount of pressure – steel parts can bend, break or even shatter under those loads. You learn to go slow, watch carefully feel the pump and listen. I also learned long ago to use the air to move the ram quickly but always do the real work by hand for those very reasons – I’ve bent the crap out of stuff in years past because you can’t tell what is going on.

I wear a full face shield when working with a press. I’m not joking when I say things can go bad fast when there is a lot of pressure. When you push out a barrel, you just don’t expect a ton of pressure from a new kit – at least I don’t. I’ve had some real hairy barrel pins and barrels in years past when dealing with surplus… but not on a new kit with a populated barrel … not until now.

Pressing Out the Barrel

As you can guess, the barrel did not press out easily. I had to apply a boatload pressure – way more than average. So much that I put a 3/4″ piece of plywood between me and the trunnion/barrel assembly. I was also checking and double-checking that my barrel press tool squarely on just the barrel and not a part of the trunnion – guys I was nervous.

I reached the point where I knew I was squarely on the barrel and something had to give. I was whacking on the press trying to shock the barrel out and I kept upping the pressure – pump, whack, pump, whack… Finally the barrel came free like a gun shot. Guys- do you remember the old Romy kits where the pins and barrels sometimes felt like you were taking your life into your own hands? That’s what this felt like.

I actually inspected the front trunnion very carefully looking for cracks. I then inspected the chamber end of the barrel – nice and smooth – remarkably smooth. No signs of galling. Ditto on the inside of the trunnion. I suspect that someone was using some kind of press system that included a barrel support and slammed that new barrel in using a level of force I couldn’t do without damaging parts. I noted to myself that reassembly was probably going to be just as colorful.

Building The Kit

Nothing new about building the kit – I had fun. In the below photo, the front trunnion and rivets are just sitting there. I was mocking things up and they are not actually set. I installed the trigger guard taking care to orient the selector stop properly and using a rubber band to keep the assembly together as I used my press and an AK-Builder trigger guard rivet jig to do the job.

The rubber band keeps the receiver down on the trigger guard jig so the rivet, selector stop and trigger guard all stay in place while you move around. The AK-Builder jig really does a nice job.
Here, everything is drilled and seems good to go.

So let’s get back to the main point of this blog post and why you are probably reading this – what do you do when the interference fit is too tight and the barrel will not go into the trunnion all the way.

Life Got Colorful Trying to Press The Barrel Back In

Yeah, that tight fit came back to haunt me. I tried polishing the trunnion and applying non-seize. Usually this works for me but when I went to press the barrel back in, it would not go. I saw the barrel begin to deflect in the press and immediately stopped. Let me explain what I mean by deflect – a material will bend so much and spring back into place. When I saw the barrel begin to deflect, I immediately stopped – it was taking way too much pressure and I was risking bending the barrel permanently. It was time to press the barrel back out and rethink the situation.

Here’s my barrel and my receiver. I double-checked the barrel to make sure I did not bend it – I got lucky. I always get worried if I see the barrel start to deflect/bend — they don’t always return to true.

So, what this confirmed for me was the someone slammed this thing together – hard. An AK barrel is press fit into the trunnion. To do this, the barrel is a tad bigger than the hole made for it in the trunnion by about 0.0010-.0026″ (0 .025-0.065mm) according to Robert Forbus who is a true machinist and has shared a ton with the AK community – click here for his page). At the tighter end (around 0.002″) it is getting hard, if not outright impossible, for someone to press the barrel into the front trunnion without the proper specialized barrel press equipment that supports the barrel. I have a big press but nothing to properly support the barrel in these high-pressure situations. It would likely warp like a wet noodle if I just kept adding pressure.

I don’t own a machine shop but I am a redneck with a shop. I needed to open up the barrel channel in the trunnion and opted to use an OEM brand brake hone. Why? Because I’ve used these small bore hones in the past for other things and was pretty sure it would work for this too.

I also need to point out that I have no way to accurately measure the barrel or the trunnion so I figured I would remove a bit and try to install the barrel, remove a bit and try, over and over until it went in. The next picture shows my OEM hone (and the Lisle is virtually identical):

This is an OEM Tool brand brake hone and the Lisle unit looks virtually identical.

Take a look at the above picture – by tightening the knurled nut at the base of the spring, you can apply more and more pressure to the 220-grit stones at the end of the arms. (The Lisle tool’s stones are 240 grit purely FYI – not a big difference.) I just used the basic pressure and did not increase it. Life lesson for me years ago – it’s easier to take more material off than it is to put it back on.

I applied cutting oil to the trunnion liberally and then slid the hone in and out with my drill on slow speed. I would do this for a bit, clean stuff, and then tested how far the barrel goes into the trunnion by hand and then keep removing more. This is not the time or place to get impatient.

By the way, OEM makes fine 400 grit stones that you can swap into place and use to polish the interior further if you . I got the job done with the 220 grit stones and silver Permatex anti-seize compound. If I ad the 400 grit stones handy at the time, I would have done so but I did not. Also, be sure to clean out the grit/dust before you try to reinsert your barrel.

My one action photo and it was blurry! You get the idea. Keep it lubed with the cutting oil and keep moving the unit in and out so you are polishing the whole barrel channel.

This is a down and dirty “git ‘er done” approach and will make machinists cringe. I go slow and test — I would push the barrel in, test and the press it back out if need be. [Click here to see how to make a barrel backout tool].

*IF* you see a bur or squished rivet protruding in the trunnion, then carefully grind that down with a Dremel and polish with the hone. Don’t try to do it all with the hone or you will be removing material elsewhere that you may need – the arms are spring loaded and independent so they will go where ever they can. This is a pro and con.

After a couple of tries, the barrel went all the way in with the press. To be safe, I confirmed the head space using real Manson brand 7.62×39 gages (use real gages folks and treat them well – don’t go cheap). The barrel headspaced just fine so I pressed in the pin and finished the rifle up.

Bottom line, a brake hone can help you carefully remove steel from the front trunnion and get a tight fitting barrel to go in. It worked wonders on this 1969 cold warrior that is now ready to go to the range.

The 1969 Polish AKM rebuilt and ready for the range!
The rifle is wearing one of our Polish Tantal/AKM grips as a 922r compliance part – we make them by hand here in Michigan from a glass fiber reinforced polymer.

Click here to learn more and order one of our Polish Tantal/AKM grips.


One of our fire control group retaining plates. that fits all AKMs and rifles that use standard AKM fire control groups.

It also has an ALG fire control group – they are awesome triggers – and one of our fire control group retaining plates. Click here for our fire control group retaining plates.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Upgrading To Truglo TFX Pro Sights On Your Glock Compatible Pistols Including Polymer80s

The factory sights on Glocks leave a lot to be desired in my opinion. I like fiber optic sights but also want sights that generate their own light at night. Fortunitely, TruGlo has upgrade sights for Glocks that can do just that. They are the TFX Pro model sights.

The fiber optics use daylight and are very nicely visible. I know there is a trend for red dot optics on pistols but I would rather opt for simplicity. The other really nice thing about these sights is that they use tritium to generate their own light at night – some sights make you charge them with a flashlight but not these. The only issue to bear in mind is that the Tritium isotopes with flouresce for about 10 years and then be dead. My thinking is that is a loooonnnngggg time from now plus it just would affect the night use at that time.

So, let’s get to it, Installation has two discrete steps – replacing the back sight and then the front sight. Both of these can be done by most home gunsmiths because the Glock design is pretty forgiving. Some pistols require a top notch MGW sight pusher to be removed but not the Glocks. The below is based on my experience installing these sights both on my Polymer 80 based Glock 17 and 34 Gen 3 compatible pistols.

Tools & Supplies

I’m kind of like Tim The Toolman Taylor, if you remember the show Home Improvement. I like tools and don”t need much an excuse to buy one in order to try and do the job the right way. When it comes to the rear sight, some guys use a 3/9″ piece of Delrin or wood dowel to tap the old sight out. Because of my hand tremor, that’s risky for me so I looked into sight pushers and decided to go with the Wheeler Engineering Armorer’s Handgun Sight Tool.

For the front sight, a dedicated Glock front sight tool can make the job a ton easier because they are shallow and have a magnet that will hold the tiny screw in position while you get it started. A regular nut driver is too deep and the tiny screw will fall into it vs. being held nicely in position.

You will need some medium Loc-Tite to secure the front sight screw.

Tape to wrap the slide and protect it is a recommended. I use painter’s tape.

Getting Started

  1. Make sure the weapon is unloaded and clear – no magazine and nothing in the chamber.
  2. Remove the slide
  3. Remove the spring and the barrel to get them out of the way – you don’t need to remove anything else.
  4. Wrap slide with painters tape to protect it from scratches leaving the two sights exposed.
  5. I did my back sight first and then my front sight.

Procedure – Back Sight

  1. To remove the back sight. I followed the instructions with the Wheeler unit and flipped the pusher over to use the angled face. Mine was set for straight-edged sights from the factory.
  2. I also oiled all of the threads on the Wheeler.
  3. I secured the slide in the Wheeler unit taking care to make sure the slide was the right height so the pusher would engage the sight and not bind on the slide.
  4. The factory Glock rear sight pushed out incredibly easily. I can see why some guys just drive them out. However, I really liked the control the Wheeler gave me.
  5. I then lined up the replacement sight and pushed it into place – checking over and over and making minor adjustments to ensure it was in the center.
  6. The Truglo has secured by a set screw that I backed out, put a dab of blue/medium Loc-Tite on and then tightened down.
  7. That was it for the back now on to the front.

Procedure – Front Sight

  1. Turn the slide upside down and you will see a small hex head screw that must be removed. I used my Glock Front Sight tool for that.
  2. Push or tap out the original sight.
  3. The replacement TruGlo unit is a tight fit I had to firmly press it into position. It is an interference fit so don’t remove a ton of material so it just falls into the slot cut in the slide. It needs to be pressed in as this helps with alignment and retention.
  4. Put blue/medium Loc-Tite on the screw before reassembly. This is mandatory. If you do not, it will shoot loose over time and you will lose your front sight.
  5. Use the Front Sight tool to reinstall the screw with the Loc-tite and tighten it down.
  6. Done.

Conclusion

I really like the TruGlo TFX Pro sights. They are very visible both during the day due to the fiber optics and at night due to the Tritium. They were well worth the investment. I hope this helps you out.


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Amazon product links are at the bottom of the post.

Three Simple and Inexpensive Must Have Upgrades on Glock 17 Gen 1-3 Type Pistols To Improve Handling

I am learning a great deal about Glocks via the Polymer80 frame based Gen 3 model 17 and 34 pistols I built. In working with the pistols, I found there are three upgrades that were required immediately for me to more readily operate the pistols. Anybody can do these three – replace the slide stop, slide release lever and the magazine release. Fortunately they are relatively inexpensive so let’s step through each in this post.

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Slide Lock Lever

Okay, when I started the Glock 34 compatible pistol using the Polymer80 PF940v2 frame, I had never really stripped a Glock before. As soon as I was working with the slide I absolutely hated the barely protruding OEM Glock slide lock lever. Because of my carpal tunnel and years of abusing my hands, I could barely feel the blasted thing let along get enough grip to easily pull it down. Seriously – I hate that little part. It turns out that I’m not alone. A ton of groups make a replacement unit and they just make the slide stop a hair longer and it makes all the difference in the world. I ordered one off Amazon made by Fixxxer that has worked just fine for me.

This will take about five minutes. Procedure:

  1. Ensure the weapon is clear, meaning unloaded and no cartridge in the chamber.
  2. Remove the slide
  3. Before you remove the slide stop, note which way the depression is oriented at the top of the slide stop – the new one will need to face the same way.  The hooked face should face rearward.
  4. Use a Glock takedown tool or a small screw driver to reach in and depress the spring that pushes the slide stop up.
  5. When you push the spring down, the existing slide stop can slide right out
  6. While continuing to press the spring down, slide the new one in.
  7. Confirm the orientation is correct – the hooked surface should face rearward.
  8. Test by pressing down on the release – it should spring back up. If not, look to see if the spring fell out or there is debris in the spring channel preventing it from pushing the release back up.
  9. Re-assemble and test your pistol.

Slide Release Lever

The Glock 17 has one of the worst slide releases I have ever felt. It’s a vertical tab that gives you virtually no surface to really push down on. Now, the 34 came with an extended release and that’s where I learned that it is a way better design than what the 17 has. A ton of vendors make and sell their versions. I just bought and installed a Glock 34 slide release on my 17. If you’re keeping count, this means the 34 really on has two upgrades I would recommend as it already has the improved slide release.

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The first slide release I tried to do was a pain and took probably 15-30 minutes as I tried to figure things out I’d not seen a Glock’s insides before first hand. The second one took about 10-15 minutes and the third time (when I actually replaced the 17’s slide release lever with the 34 model), it probably took me about 5-10 minutes. In short, there is a learning curve.

Procedure:

  1. Ensure the weapon is clear, meaning unloaded and no cartridge in the chamber.
  2. Remove the slide.
  3. Use the first punch to push the trigger pin almost all the way out from right to left when you are looking down at the pistol with the front facing away from you. This should not take a ton of force. I find some light taps with a small hammer help me but some guys do it entirely by hand.
  4. I said stop short of pushing the pin all the way out because you just need to get it out of the slide release. You thin pull your pin punch back out of the release also but still capturing the trigger.
  5. The slide release lever will lift right out.
  6. Put the new slide release lever in its place.
  7. Push the pin punch back into the release lever to orient it. This worked for me vs. trying to get the pin itself back in. Keeping it all aligned was the trickiest part when I first started.
  8. Push or lightly tap the trigger pin back into place while driving the old pin punch out. Again, the punch is there keeping everything aligned so it’s acting like a slave pin. As you tap the real trigger pin in, the punch backs out.
  9. Re-assemble and test your pistol.

Magazine Release

The other issue I found was that the OEM Glock magazine release was too short for me to easily reach forward with my thumb and drop the mag. Again, found I was in good company because a ton of other people feel the same way. Now, I opted for the Tango Down Vickers extended magazine release because it just sticks out maybe an extra millimeter or so and it makes a huge difference. Some other magazine releases are really only suited for competition because they are easily bumped and the mag released.

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This is another quick and easy one. I did it one with a screw driver, once with needle nosed pliers and once with curved hemostats. All three work but I think the curved hemostat is easiest.

This will take about five minutes. Procedure:

  1. Ensure the weapon is clear, meaning unloaded and no cartridge in the chamber.
  2. Remove the slide so you have a clear view down into the magwell
  3. Remove the spring wire from the magazine release by working it out of the groove cut in the side of the mag catch. Look at the replacement unit and you will see the slot I am referring to in the middle of the magazine release that is just big enough for the wire to slide into.
  4. Remove the old unit and slide in the new unit
  5. Move the wire back into the slot and test – it should spring back out when you depress it,

Conclusion

I hope this helps you out. I find my two pistols a lot more manageable with the above upgrades and well worth it.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.

Amazon product links are at the bottom of the post.


SLR Rifleworks Mag Wells for Polymer80 PF940v2 Frames Are Great

When I first looked at the Polymer80 PF940V2 Frames, these are the full sized frames you’d use to make a Glock 17 or 34 compatible pistol for example, I noticed the magazine opening was narrow, had a minimal bevel and there wasn’t a ton of supporting material either. Cosmetically, to me anyways, it just looks unfinished.

I’ve had a number of pistols over the years and found aftermarket magwells very beneficial for two reasons – first, they help guide the magazine into position when you are in a rush and this is the biggest reason. Second, they can protect a polymer frame from a ton of abuse.

What I found out after doing some digging was that Glock mag wells will not fit the PF940v2 frame, which isn’t surprising. The one thing you also need to know is that the PF940v2 full size frame and the PF940C compact frame also use different magwells. A vendor accidentally sent me a C-series magwell and it absolutely would not fit my full size frame.

So, I did some digging and you’ll notice there are magwells of differing sizes with some having a very wide flare and some have more moderate flares. What I did find surprising is that a cottage industry has popped up on eBay sellding 3D printed magwells. On one hand, they are really cheap. On the other, I question how long they will hold up to real world abuse. I definitely knew I wanted an aluminum magwell.

I settled on a unit from SLR rifleworks. It is nicely made and fits the PF940v2 grip really well. I was so impressed that I bought a second and now have them on both my G17 and G34 pistols. My G17 is the grey pistol in the photos and the G34 is the olive drab pistol. Both are based on receivers built from PF940v2 frames.

This is the GL-MW-P80 Magwell adapter from SLR Rifleworks.
Here’s the view from the bottom.

Installation is simple. Insert the front of the grip into the front of the magwell at an angle and then push the back down to fully seat the unit. Put a bit of blue medium strength Loc-tite on the screw and screw it into the hole that is drilled in the back of the frame and you are done. Even though the used a flat head screw for presumably an even more secure hold, you can’t feel it when you are gripping the pistol.

Note that you tip in nose first and then push down the back to seat it properly.
Here is a view from the back with the screw installed.
Here’s the bottom. No, this is not a paid review. I just really like the mag well.
I’ve not had problems with any magazine fitting or dropping free. This is an OEM glock 17 round magazine and it’s also worked well with 33 round Glock mags, plus both 22 and 31 round ETS mags.
Glock 34 compatible pistol with a Streamlight TLR02 HL G light and laser plus a Tyrant Designs brake.

So, I’m very happy with the results and have no hesitation recommending them.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Tips For Building Smooth Operating Polymer80 Glock-Compatible Pistols

Folks, Polymer80 is making some solid 80% frames that you can easily machine into a lower receiver that accepts Glock parts. The design of the frame and jig are elegantly simple and the quality of the end product is really up to you. The great news is that you don’t need to be a machinist to do the work. You just need to be patient, follow instructions and pay attention to details.

In my last post, I linked to a number of resources you can use to guide you through your build. My aim is to give you a bunch of tips that can help you turn out a quality receiver. Let’s hit the four categories of things you will need to do.

Drill Six Short Holes As Labeled On The Jig

If you are concerned that this will take a ton of work, Polymer80 has designed a frame (what will ultimately become your pistol’s lower receiver). Folks, you drill six holes – the jig is marked with the exact spot and which size drill bit they supply that you should use.

The jig is clamped standing up and a hand drill is used to make the holes. Polymer80 supplies the drill bits for you. Note, my Ryobi cordless has a level indicator and it made it a lot easier to get things square.

Tips:

  • Stand the clamp on its side and secure it in a vise. It was not designed to be drilled laying on its side.
  • You want the jig to be held firmly at its bottom by the vise but do not crush/deform the plastic.
  • Using a drill with level indicators can greatly aid you in making a hole at right angles to the receiver.
  • Do not drill the holes straight through. Because the frame is relatively thin, it is forgiving if you drill a short hole slight off square, meaning not perpendicular. If you go straight through then you are way more likely to be way off, ruin the geometry and have just ruined the receiver, So, drill three holes on each side, six holes in total, being careful to line them up as best you can.
  • Take the time to read the jig markings – the M3 holes are for the pins that hold the blocks in place. The larger M4 bit is for the trigger pin.
  • After drilling, blow out your frame to get all the little pieces of plastic debris out. A common problem guys run into is having a small piece of plastic down in the slide stop spring channel that the recoil spring can hang up on. So, blow it out. I use compressed air in my shop but do what you can even if it means blowing with your mouth and visually inspecting the frame to make sure all the plastic scraps from drilling are gone.
  • Use a deburring tool or razor to carefully remove any waste plastic sticking out from either side of the plastic surface that you drill.

Remove the Tabs From The Top Of The Frame

This seems to freak people out because they think they are going to need a milling machine. You definitely do not need a milling machine – you can use a Dremel or file to remove the tabs. The trick here is to remove the tabs and have the end result look decent and not like a hack with a file went crazy and turned out something fugly.

My dad’s nail nippers – this tool is probably almost as old as me so maybe 40-50 years old. I’m using it to “nip” off each tab to reduce the amount of plastic I need to file or Dremel down.

Tips:

  • The first step is to get rid of as much of the tabs as you can with nail nippers. The idea is simple, snip off a bunch of the material so when you either Dremel or file the remainder down, you have less to deal with. On my Glock 34 build,I used an old pair of nail nippers (in the photo above) that belonged to my dad – my way of remembering him. On the second one, I took a cheap set of nippers and ground the head down so they would cut the tabs off even closer to flush. Either way works.
  • Leave the jig on if you want to play it safe. When you see red filings or dust from sanding, you know you are going to deep and need to stop,
  • You can either Dremel or file the balance down but when you get down near the surface start using a sanding block. Just take a piece of wood, wrap a strip of sand paper on it and then sand the receiver using even pressure. Start with 100-120 grit sandpaper and then go to 220, 440, and then 800. If you want to go higher, go right ahead but at some point your plastic is as smooth as it needs to be.
  • I use the little rubberized abrasive Dremel bits to smooth things out. You then apply a drop of oil and you will never know the tabs were there.

Clear Out the Barrel Channel

Again, the dreaded need for a milling machine seems to exist and again, you don’t need one. It is really important you do a nice clean job with a smooth finish or you will have seemingly random jams as the operating spring catches on some part of the frame that is still in the way.

Tips:

  • You want to only remove the designated slot they show in the instructions plus what needs to be removed is marked in the casting. Like I said, they put some thought into this.
  • DO NOT TRY TO REMOVE IT ALL AT ONCE!! You remove the material in sections.
  • If you decide to use their supplied end mill and put the frame in your drill press, do not treat the end mill but like a drill bit. An end mill bit requires a very rigid machine and that the operator has carefully and firmly secured the work piece. In short, you can’t plunge the end mill into the plastic with your hobby drill press without considerable vibration. The trick come down with the drill press (if you have one) and cut off a little crescent at a time. If you have mill, just ignore me – you know what to do I bet.
  • Some guys will use regular drill bits and drill a series of holes in the area that needs to be removed.
  • Unless you are a machinist and know what you are doing, don’t try to mill or drill material right up to the line where they say to stop at. Instead, remove material just shy of the line and then use a sandpaper to do the rest. I wrapped 100 grit sand paper around a dowel to rough in the shape and then went to 240 grit to finish up. You really do not need to go beyond that unless you want, The goal is to have a smooth surface that the barrel and spring will not catch on during operation.

Polish Metal Surfaces

When people make parts they usually get them close enough and call it even. This means there are small tooling marks, grooves, bumps and rough areas left in general. When you look at a firearm made by a high-end shop, you will notice that the surfaces are incredibly smooth – sometimes polished to a mirror-like surface.

Have you ever bought a firearm and at first it was really rough and over time in “wore in” or maybe somebody said “broke in”? What is happening is that the rough spots are smoothing out with wear. We identify the surfaces and do the same thing very easily.

These rubberized polishing bits for Dremels are awesome and you can get sets of them off Amazon.

Tips:

  • With polishing the goal is always to remove as little material as possible using polishing bits, stones or really fine 1000+ grit sandpaper.
  • Polish the hardened locking block rail system bearing in mind how it contacts the slide. You just need to polish the parts that engage the rail and not everything.
  • Same goes with the rear rail module that is just stamped stainless steel
  • Look at the trigger and polish all surfaces that rub against each other – the connector, trigger bar, etc.
  • When you are done, lightly grease these surfaces (I like SuperLube) and then cycle the action by hand a few hundred times and the same goes for squeezing the trigger. You will find that the action will smooth out even further … unless you do an awesome job polishing and everything is already mirror smooth.

In Conclusion

I hope this helps you out. My two Polymer80 built pistols are the smoothest cycling pistols I own now.

6/20/2019 Update: The Glock 34-style pistol is now my favorite. It is a tack driver and I plan to replace the trigger at some point this summer or at least go with some reduced power springs to lighten the pull.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


How to legally build a Glock compatible pistol using a Polymer80 frame in Michigan

I wrote about this also in my post about starting a Polymer80 build but thought I would break it out for people who just need to find out about this one thing – how to legally build a Glock compatible pistol using a Polymer80 frame in the state of Michigan.

For those of us in Michigan, we know we have some additional laws on pistols that other states do not. To be honest, before I started this project I wasn’t really sure that I could even do this legally so I started researching.

Before I go further, I’d better give the legal disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. The procedure I am going to outline is for a non concealed carry permit holders. I do not have a Concealed Pistol License (CPL) and my understanding is that the process is different and easier if you do have a CPL. Making registrations easier is yet another reason that I want to get my CPL this year.

Let’s Get Into The Details

To do this legally in the state of Michigan is actually pretty straightforward. First, you need to go to your local Sheriff and get a pistol purchase permit. I called first to make sure I understood where to go, what I needed to bring and so forth. All they wanted was my drivers license at this point and they did not want me to bring in any thing having to do with the pistol and definitely not the pistol itself.  This is not like the old days when you had to take your pistol in for inspection – you are just picking up forms after they run a background check on you.

The lady I talked to on the phone at the sheriff’s department was very helpful but she wasn’t sure what to do until I told her I was building from an 80% lower. When I asked her what I should do in regards to the manufacturer, model and serial number she recommended that I contact the Michigan State Police firearm records division and for your reference, their number is 517-241-1917

The folks I talked to there on two separate occasions, instructed me to complete the purchase permit form with the maker as “SELF-ASSEMBLED”, model as “NONE” and serial number as “NONE”. I filled out the rest of the information in regards to the caliber, number of shots, barrel length, overall length and whatnot same as always. I then mailed the forms in to the address at the bottom of the form.

My local Sheriff’s department was very helpful and recommended that I wait until I was done with the build because the purchase permit was only valid for 30 days. I confirmed this with the Michigan State Police Firearms Records division and they too were very happy to help.

I wrote this post to get rid of the fear uncertainty and doubt that some people seem to have. You can do this. To be safe, I would urge someone from Michigan to do their homework and confirm my findings so you can legally enjoy your resulting pistols just like I plan to.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.