Category Archives: Uncategorized

S&W M&P .22 WMR Photo Gallery

As I mentioned in the last post, I am a new owner of a S&W M&P .22 WMR pistol. It wasn’t really planned – I had young nieces coming to visit and nothing really that I would consider a good pistol for them to start with. It worked great – I have no hesitation recommending it based on my experience.

At any rate, the last post goes into more detail and you can click here to read it. I took a ton of photos of the pistol and figured that I would go ahead and share them.

Click on one of the photos and you can navigate around and see others:

I hope you find the photos helpful. I am very impressed by the pistol – that’s for sure.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Fixing the Water Inlet Valve on a KitchenAid KRMF606ESS01 Refrigerator

Well, when I was little it seemed like fridges (“refrigerators” for people who prefer the full word) lasted an eternity. When we bought this KitchenAid KRMF606ESS01, I thought I was buying a top of the line quality fridge, but that’s no longer the case – appliance manufacturers don’t necessarily want them to laste forever because that means no more sales to a given customer.

A year after the warranty the ice maker stopped working and the service person whom I trust told me it would cost a considerable amount of money to replace the circuit board. So, strike #1 against the KitchenAid. Despite being “stainless”, the shell of the fridge rusts. Strike #2. Strike #3 is the topic of today’s blog post. The water inlet valve failed and leaked water all over our wood floor.

Let me set the stage – I went through the kitchen to my shop and when I came back in I saw wet footprints – my foot prints – from the floormat in front of the fridge to my shop door. ARGH! I was hoping maybe someone spilled water and didn’t clean things up so I removed the mat, mopped up the water with a towel and watched new water slowly emerge from under the fridge. Crap. I immediately wondered about the water lines on and in the fridge. The supply line was copper tube and it had looked great the last time I pulled out the fridge so I doubted it was that but I couldn’t ignore it either or it would ruin our real wood plank floor.

Turning off the water

Most fridge installers put a vampire tap on a water line to get the supply needed. In my case, I knew there was a tap under the house. We have a crawl space that isn’t bad compared to some that look like they are a scene from a horror movie but being a pretty big guy with a sore back I have to fold myself in half and do a crab shuffle over to where it is about 50-60 feet from the entrance. Short translation – it’s doable but I swore the whole way over to it.

See that far center column in the dark? Yeah, I was heading just to the right of that and swearing the whole time. It was way easier getting under there 25 years ago.
I don’t know if these things have a formal name – I’ve always heard them called “vampire taps”. They re put on copper supply like with a rubber gasket between the part of the saddle with the valve and the pipe. The two halves of the clamp are screwed together and then the handle is screwed down until the sharp end of the valve pierces the relatively soft copper. You then back the valve off (meaning turn it counter-clockwise) and water begins to flow through the supply line. So, with this in mind, I needed to close the valve which means turning the small handle you see clockwise until it stops thus closing the valve. I’ve needed pliers in the past to deal with hard turning valves and these things are also known to leak when you try to close them. I got lucky – it both turned easy and it shut the water off entirely just the way it should.

Confirming it was the inlet valve

In reading, there are a few ways these inlet valves fail – they can leak water on the floor but still work and dispense water, not leak but dispense water very slowly, or don’t work at all. I was 90% sure it was the valve given past experience with other fridges so the first thing I did was to pull out the unit.

If you have never pulled your fridge out before, let’s start here. See the plastic facia/cover below the door? That is just for looks and pulls off but you need to open the lower freezer door to do so. Note the rust on the “stainless” steel skin above and to the right of the KitchenAid logo. “Stainless” is a generic term and really the resistance to corrosion is dependent on the alloy used. Whirlpool/KitchenAid went with a cheaper alloy to save money so it’s not very “stainless” over time.
By pulling the freezer door open, the entire plastic covering is exposed and it literally just pulls forward – no screws or freaky little clips to deal with. They know folks will need to pull this off periodically (or they should) to clean the condenser coils under the unit. So, pull it off and completely remove it.
The fridge has four wheels to allow you to move it but if these small levelers are in use it will not want to move. Take a small wrench and turn the head of the bolt to retract the leveler on each side. The fridge will now pull forward. Peek in back to make sure you have enough water line to do so. The water supply line and the power cord will limit how far you can pull the unit out until you disconnect them – if you even need to. I never unplugged my fridge while working on it for example.
There was a real small chance that the supply line was loose so I tightened it just a tad and then hand my wife watch the valve for leaks as I went back under the house to turn the tap back on. It’s way easier and cleaner to do it with two people. So, I turned it on and she called down that water was going on the floor and I shut it off. The water started right under the valve and everything else was dry … my money was on the inlet valve was the culprit and it was.

Okay, the water inlet valve is a small electricslly controlled valve that is turned on and off by either the ice maker (that no longer works) or a person wanting cold water from the dispenser pushing their cup against the on-off switch. The valve body is made of plastic and that is what failed. The only saving grace is that the engineers put it at the back of the fridge and it is very easy to access and change – literally a 5-10 minute job. You can easily buy one online without spending a fortune.

To order parts for your fridge, you need to know the exact model number – in my case it was a KRMF606ESS01. You can find this info inside your fridge – in my case this sticker was on the inside top left of the unit facing down hence the camera angle is looking up.

I spent some time searching on Kitchen aid KRMF606ES01 water valve and found out that my fridge has two – one at the inlet (that I needed) and one inside that I did not so make sure you order the right part. The valve part number I needed was W10394076.

Direct from KitchenAid I could get the part for over $95.49. No, Whirlpool, I didn’t feel like spending a fortune by ordering it direct. I kept on searching and found it in the $70s then the $50s and then hopped over to Amazon and found it for $27.99 with free Prime shipping. It got great reviews and I ordered it on Saturday with delivery on Monday. Guess what – it was the exact same valve. Strike #4 for KitchenAid by the way.

I’m jumping the gun a bit but this is the sticker on the original that I removed from the fridge. Note the maker is Robertshaw and their part number was K-78282 with Whirlpool’s W1039476 part number indicated.
Same maker – Robertshaw – slightly different part number K-78282-AM — the suffix probably denotes some relatively minor changes. No Whirlpool part number on and and no ghastly markup either. It is an exact match otherwise.

Replacing the valve

First, make sure the water supply is turned off and have a container you can set the supply line in just in case it drops. I’ll step through this with photos:

get the the fiberboard back cover out of the way by removing the screws around the edges. Doing this gives you easier access and you can make sure there are no drips when you are done.
Always compare new and old parts to make sure they match. I have been burned so many times over the years that this comparison is automatic for me now – don’t assume anything.
I’d recommend moving connections one by one. Take one off the old valve and put them on the new one. Then again, you have three very different connections so mixing them up would be next to impossible. Do note the orientation of the electric connection and keep it the same. In this case, I am using the adjustable wrench to hold the steel bracket and a flare nut wrench to loosen the water supply line. Never use an adjustable wrench on flare nuts – if the jaws give you can round over the nut so at least use a fixed wrench or better yet a flare nut wrench.
The waterline in the bottom is connected via a “push-to-connect” or “push connect” ,fitting. Push the blue collar in towards the valve body while pulling the outlet water line away and it will come right out. Note where the white electrical wire is for reference. Looking at the valve from the back, it is on the left side.
This is everything moved to the new valve. I then put it in place and secured it with the original screws. Again, note where the white wire is at. I didn’t want to find out if it mattered which side was connected so I just followed the same wiring orientation on the new valve, Also, use the adjustable wrench to hold the valve body while tightening the flare nut.

And with the new valve unit installed and my wife watching everything, I headed back down into the crawl space and turned the water on. No leaks. She tried the water dispenser and it was actually putting out a larger volume of water also – our jet had always been on the anemic side.

So, I waited while she filled a few big cups of water and threw them out to purge the lines. She also didn’t see any leaks so I headed back up after a few minutes hoping my crawl space work was done … and it was.

I looked for myself and it was definitely a much stronger jet of water – it had never moved that much water.
After a half hour of careful monitoring for leaks, I sealed it back up. I then waited a few hours and double checked by moving it forward a tad and checking around underneath with a flashlight and no leaks so I slid it back in place. When you slide it back, make sure the power cord and water supply line do not get caught on anything.

With the fridge back in place, use the levelers if you need to – I don’t actually.

I didn’t get photos but the last thing I did was to use a long brush made for cleaning condenser coils to do just that. As lint and dust build up on the condenser it becomes less efficient, the fridge runs more and your electric bill is higher. The lint and dust there by the way because of an electric fan that is running underneath to help cool things off.

The last step is to open the lower freezer door and push the plastic cover back on the bottom. Done.


A week later and it is still running great. I hoped that the ice maker might start working again but no luck there. We bought am Aglucky counter top ice maker a few years ago that we’ve been very happy with.

I paid a premium for a supposed top-of-the line KitchenAid fridge and I don’t think the same level of quality is there. We have a Samsung fridge downstairs that has been flawless for us. When we replace this main fridge in the kitchen it may very well be a Samsung but it will not be a KitchenAid.

In the mean time, if you are having problems with your water inlet valve, I hope this helps you solve your problems and save some money.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Use Super Glue to Seal and Stabilize Wood

Have you ever had wood that is in tough shape or is too soft to work with? A quick fix is to use super glue on the wood and let it set. Let’s talk about this for a minute.

Super glue is actually a family of glues called “Cyanoacrylates“. The patent for the original product goes back to 1942 when BF Goodrich was looking for a clear adhesive for gun sights in WWII. As they say, the rest is history.

There are many different brands and types of super glue. For the brand, I stick with name brand and usually get biggger bottles from firms such as Bob Smith Inc (BSI), Starbond, Loctite, Gorilla Glue, etc. With the no-name generics, you never quite know what is really in the formula or how good it is.

The glues are available in different viscocities/thicknesses also ranging from Super thin to normal, to gel, etc. For our purposes, we want th thinnest glue we can buy. Why? Because it will really soak into the wood and follow all of the little cracks that are opening, seal and reinforce them.

So, when I say I am using it to seal and stabilize, what do I mean? To seal means that water can’t get in. To stabilize means it is soaking into the soft wood, filling small cracks and when it dries it will harden the treated area. I’ve used this to fill small cracks in wood rifle stocks, knife handles, tools, furniture – anything with wood.

Super Glue is good for stabilizing but not filling an area. If you need to build something up, fill in a gap, or rebuild an area, then use an epoxy.

These slats bench slats had chunks of wood missing that I built up using epoxy. I sanded them down flush and then applied two coats of thin CA glue to the surrounding wood to stabilize it. I then used an opaqe wood deck stain and you couldn’t even see the repairs.

I apply several coats. The first one I apply quite a bit of glue and just let it keep soaking in. You’ll see it following cracks and what not. Once I get the surface soaked, I stop and let it cure. I typically wil do 2-3 coats/applications depending on how bad the wood looks. Usually after the second coat everything is sealed stabilized.

As it cures you will see a light white-ish smoke. Don’t get the fumes in your eyes or it really stings – you don’t want to breath them either. Small pieces like a knife handle aren’t too bad. For pieces bigger than that, all of the fumes really make this something you either want to do outside or in a room with really good ventilation.

Let me show you a few photos form a recent project where I needed ro reinforce the area around a wood gate latch. The wood was in really tough shape and I didn’t have the time to go to buy the lumber, cut it and make a new one. I keep thin super glue in stock at all times for all kinds of projects so I just did that

Starbond makes good CA glues from my experience. I’ve used a number of their forumlas and been happy with the results. As you can see, the wood is in tough shape. It probably should be replaced but I don’t have the time.
I let gravity work with me and apply the glue to the top of the wood and let it soak into the end grain. I could see it going down the board and the wood looking wet where it travelled. You’ll use a fair amount of glue doing this, I went across the entire top of that board and watched for the glue to penetrate – in this case I wanted it down near the screws. When it the glue cures, the stabilized wood will still a bit darker than the surrounding untreated areas.
This board was in really tough shape. It soaked in a lot of glue and I kept adding it until I saw it saw it in that big crack.
Here, the CA can help seal the top and stop the small cracks but there is no way it can fill the big crack.


You can definitely use thin super glue to seal and stabilize wood. Use a reputable brand and work in a well ventilated area.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

We are Labelling Our Custom 10mm Mags For Rock Island Armory A2 HC Pistols

We’ve made and sold hundreds of our custom magazines for the Rock Island Armory (RIA) A2 HC (High Cap) 10mm & .40 S&W pistols. These pistols are based on the Para design with a staggereed magazines that hold 15 rounds normally. Our mags hold 16 and are slightly longer.

The main reason I am writing this post is that our magazines use tubes originally made for the Para P14 pistol chambered in .45 ACP so they are stamped “P14-45” and there hasn’t been an elegant way to change that – the tubes are hardened and trying to stamp something else in would be messy. A laser engraver is an option but I don’t have one.

I was working on another project involving “permanent” labels – these are labels that have a really strong adhesive and last far better than regular labels. “Permanent” is a marketing term though – they can wear off, etc.

At any rate, it dawned on me that with the right size, I could have a clear thick vinyl label made with white ink that has “10mm & .40 S&W” written on it and that’s just what I did. You’ll find these on the baseplates going forward

So, yes, our tubes still have P14-.45 on them but now they have the correct chambering on the decal on the baseplate.

This is a normal baseplate with the label.
This is a baseplate that has been riveted closed because the tube has been blocked to 10 rounds. We also make 15 round limited mags. They are for folks who live in an area that has magazine limits.

By the way, if you ever want to confirm whether one of my mags is for 10mm or .40 S&W, the gap between the front feed lips will be between .370 and .390.

If you are interested in buying a magazine, please click here to go to our store. All of our magazines are converted, tuned and tested by hand one at a time.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Latex-ite UltraShield Driveway Sealer Has Limits – It Seals But Does Not Repair

My wife and I wanted to seal our 160 foot long x 12 foot wide driveway in 2022. My first thought was to use a service but they were sold out for the season by the time we asked so we decided to try and do it ourselves.

What I found out is that the old days of buying some liquid tar / oil based product are gone. You have to buy all these different products that are based on latex of some other chemical. You need one thing to seal holes, another for big cracks and the sealant. Okay, we have a big driveway and it is beat to hell, falling apart and really ought to be replace but we couldn’t afford it. So, what did we do? We took a gamble and the results are so-so but I learned a lot and want to share them because I bet they will help you regardless of brand or product you are using.

Getting Started

I did the math and bought a bunch of pails of Latex-ite UltraShield. What I did was I took the length of the asphalt portion of my driveway x the average width in feet. I then divided this by their average coverage ratio: 160×12/200=9.6 pails. I think I actually bought 10 pails at my local Home Depot but ecause my driveway was in such tough shape, I wound up actually using 14.25 pails for two coats.

There were areas where the old asphalt had crumbled and disappeared. I bought bags of Quickrete asphalt patch to fill in these places. I first broke out the old material into rough rectangles and dug down another inch.
This is the result – I used a tamper to beat it down as best I could and then sprinkled the top with sand so it wasn’t so sticky.
Our driveway was in tough shape – we knew that but were hoping to extend the life a few years. After we filled in the big holes – one of which you can see part way down.
My friend John had a good suggestion – heat up old pieces of asphalt with a ground torch and beat them into holes. So I did that in some places where missing asphalt caused a gap.
I read the Late-Ite Ultra Shield directions, watched several videos and new surface prep would be key. I burned off grasses and moss with the ground torch, sholved the grass back off the edge, blew it clear with a blower and then washed it – literally. That is my pressure washer – I went down the whole driveway and first applied Purple Power to clean and degrease it and then another pass with just water in the pressure washer to get rid of the cleaner. It was so clean you could eat off it … time would tell me I got it that clean in most places but not all.
The day before I flipped them so the solids would break free of the bottom and go towards the lid.
The recommend applying the sealer by going left and right with a squeegee – overlapping the last pass and pressing it into the asphalt.
When I got done it looked amazing. You can see all the still wet sealant in the cracks.
I then applied a second coat. The first coat used up each pail real fast due to the cracks. The second coat went much faster and each pail went further. By the time I was done, I had used 14-1/4 pails of sealant and the coverage comes out to about 134 sq ft/gallon if I am doing the math right.

The Results Six Months Later After Winter

I had a really bad experience once with a wood deck repair chemical that claimed to fix anything that looked awesome in the summer but then the wind literally blew it off in sheets during the winter. The deck sealer had glowing reviews that first summer and then got absolutely smalled with one and two star reviews at Lowest after the first Winter. My point is that I have been sitting on a ton of photos and stuff since last fall to see how it would actually hold up before I wrote this post.

The first thing I want to be clear about in fairness to Latex-ite is that they tell you over and over it is a sealant and will not fill big cracks. Well, even though I searched a ton, I ignored that. I shouldn’t have.

Latex-ite is basically a glorified black paint that dries and hardens on clean solid asphalt to seal it. Well, it looks brownish as you are applying it but it turns a nice rich black as it dries and cures.

One thing I learned is that where it can’t get a good grip, it peels up so a oily, dusty or dirty surface will not work. I tried to do my mother-in-law’s little short driveway in a rush and didn’t get it pristinely clean in all places so I can tell you it doesn’t stick plus I had a few on our driveway as well.

You also need to squeegee it in place to force it into cracks, crevices and pores but if applied too thick, such as in the tons of larger cracks on my driveway, it will crack, break down and otherwise slowly disappear.

In short, it is just a sealer and gives you a good looking new black coloring on your asphalt. It really is not a filler, glue or anything else in terms of fixing things.

The following photos show the difference between mid-September 2022 and March 2023:

Most cracks over 1/4″ do not have any visible selant in them. The black sealant is on most of the larger pieces – the brown tracks are where we drive and yes, the area is very wet every spring.
This view is bakc towards our house. The family who had the home built in the 70s had a concrete driveway poured closer to the house and asphalt from a certain point to the road. It was probably a cost savings move and the asphalt is neither very thick nor sitting on a very well prepared bed.
You can see how the sealant is breaking down into flakess and separating.
This is by one edge – it tells you that I didn’t get the drive way as clean as I thought in all places. Again, the sealer can’t bond to dirt so it will curl or float there and rapidly break down as you drive over it.


What I want to take from the blog post are some key lessons learned:

These new drive way finishes – all of them that no longer have oil/petroleum products in them – have limits so carefully read their instructions, application notes and reviews by others. If they say they can’t do something then respect that. My biggest regret in hindsight was trying to use the sealer to fill the cracks – it can’t and the maker said so.

Surface prep is key followed by applying two good coats with a squeegee. The Quickrete patch held up fairly well. The sealer helped keep it from falling apart during freeze-thaw cycles, something I have experienced multiple times in the past.

John’s idea of heating up asphalt pieces and beating them in place worked just fine – no surprises there.

What are my thoughts on Latex-ite UltraShield? Well, to be completely fair to them, the product performed as they said it would. If my driveway wasn’t in such tough shape, I bet it would have held up better. In places where it could get a firm grip on the asphalt it still looks good.

Am I going to use it again if I try to reseal the whole drive again? Maybe not. I would really like to find something that is more flexible given my driveway’s shifting nature but first I need to apply crack filler before doing anything else.

Does it look better than before I started all this? Yes, I think it does. Not as good as I would like but it is better. At best, I am playing a delaying game. We will need to replace that driveway at some point but if I can get another 5-10 years out of it then great.

Let me stress this one more time – regardless of brand or product, unless your driveway sealer or finish says it can fill cracks and gaps the sizes your driveway has, you will need to take care of them first.

I hope this gives you some food for thought.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

How loud is a GX CS4 Compressor? It’s not bad at all – what I also learned is that cheap sound level meters aren’t consistent

There’s an old saying that nobody is sure of where it came from that says if you have one clock you know the time. If you have more than one, you are never quite sure. The reason for this is that if the clocks have different times then which is wrong or right? Well, I guess now we have time servers, atomic clocks and what not to help answer “what time is it?”.

Now why did I open with that? Well, the only sound level meter I had to measure the decibels of anything was my phone and two different apps that kind of agreed. When reading reviews, folks would say that phone sound level apps were not accurate. Well, I decided to buy a sound level meter to be more accurate … that was in 2017 and I thought I knew how many decibels things were using my cool BAFX3608 meter.

Fast forward to February 2023

I decided to test my GX CS4 and I also wanted to test some airgun moderators so I thought I would order in a few more inexpensive sound level meters to get readings in different spots – a BAFX3370, a Tadeto SL720 and a XRCLIF-1359.

I was using my GX CS4 compressor to top off my 6.8 liter carbon fiber bottle and thought it would be a great time to get sound readings from relatively the same location. I lined them up and took a video to capture sound readings on each meter at a certain time by freezing the video.

Here’s the video so you can hear the compressor and see the meters:

How did they do?

Well, I recorded the readings at 4,11, 16, 21, 26 and 31 seconds. I then calculated the average of the four and compared the meters to the average. The BAFX 3608, BAFX 3370 and XRCLIF were closest. The Tadeo was introducing quite a bit of variation into the samples. With one exception at 26 seconds, it always registered the lowest decibels. Excluding the Tadeto, the average spread was 2.97db across the three meters. With the Tadeto, the average spread increased to 6.8db.

By the way, the manufactures claim +/-1.5db of accuracy for the two BAFX meters, +/-2.0db for the Tadeto and +/-1.5 for the XRCLIF. That means the ranges should have been at most 3.5db apart. The recorded data showed spreads far wider than that.

What this spread tells me is that the two BAFX units and the XRCLIF are in relative agreement given their stated accuracy. My tendency is to think they are closer to whatever the real measurement actually is and discard the Tadeto data. It also tells me that when you buy cheap uncalibrated sound meters you get cheap uncalibrated sound meters.

What about the apps?

I tried the both the “Sound Analyzer” and “Sound Meter” apps for my Samsung Galaxy S20FE. The Sound Analyzer reported an average of 79.3 and the Sound Meter app averaged 80. The sampling was done by holding my phone about the same distance from the CS4 and letting each app collect data for about 30 seconds. Given how fast the CS4 pumps, the apps had quite a few cycles to record.

This is a screen capture of the Excel file I created to look at the data.


I have a vague idea that the average sound level was somewhere between 81.5 to 86.1db as the machine operates if I exclude the Tadeto’s recordings. The samples were drawn at different times and the pump had a repetitive rhythm to it so I am sure the volume did differ but looking at the spread across the meters and the deviation from the average tells me that three meters are closer to one another (the two BAFX models and the XRCLIF) and the Tadeto is an outlier. The apps don’t really agree with anything either.

To wrap it up, thanks to my PC periodically synching its clock to a time server, I know it is about 9:20pm right now. What were the actual sound levels during each of those samples … now that I don’t really know with any precision – I have a ballpark range. I guess some day I will need to buy a quality calibrated sound level meter – what I probably should have done from the start. If you need to buy a meter and can’t afford a higher end unit – buy either the BAFX 3370 or the XRCLIF-1359. The BAFX 3608 is no longer made (as mentioned – I bought it back in 2017).

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.

Are you trying to save money and time on firearms and related items? Try Gun Deals

In searching on the web, I’d seen links to Gun Deals once or twice but never bothered because of the name. My mental scam filter is always set to high in other words. They recently reached out to me about their service so I took a look and was surprised.

Gun.Deals – yeah, that really is their website but wha I didn’t know is that it is a free to the user search engine where you can plug in what you are searching for – firearms, ammo, optics, lights, knives, etc. – and then they return listings at various websites so you can see the prices. You can then click on a result to learn more or order directly from the merchant’s website you go to – Gun.Deals helps you find the deals but they aren’t the actual seller, which is just fine. You can go to merchants you like and skip ones you do not.

They have advertisements and ways for vendors to post listings so I sure they have a number of ways to make money but it is not off you. It’s the same as you using any other search engine but they have tuned Gun.Deals for the things we care about.

One of the biggest value adds in addition to just finding items and seeing their prices is whether they are in stock or not. They also split out “in stock” vs. “out of stock” listings via their real-time inventory information, they can save you time and frustration as well. A pet peeve of mine is searching for something and going through website after website of vendors listing the product but not having it in stock.

Screen Shots

So you can get an idea of what the site looks like, I just went to their main page while writing this post:

This is their main page that came up for me just now. I then entered “Glock 29” in the search bar.
It came up with both the Glock 29 Gen 4 and the SF. I clicked on the Glock 29 Gen 4 and the above is what came up. It separates listings that are in stock from out of stock automatically and that is really cool.


With money tight these days, add Gun.Deals to the websites you go to for checking prices, finding deals, etc.

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PSA AR Build Kits Are Affordable and Fun To Build

I’ve pointed thius out before – I really enjoy building firearms. I don’t have the hardcore machinist skills to build one from scratch – I wish I could though – but I do enjoy assembling and tinkering plus I don’t mind some fitting / fabricating. With this in mind, I have a lot of fun building ARs from PSA kits because they are affordable, reliable and accurate. I’m not going to waste time with the whole manufacturing tiering or the rediculous “poor” labels – that’s all they are. Now, if you are in the military and you need special weapons, you aren’t reading this post – it’s that simple. If you are like most folks and want to build an AR that you can enjoy with friends and family, then read on.

Founded in 2008

For those of you who do not know Palmetto State Armory (PSA) – they have been around since 2008. It was founded by Josiah McCallum after his Iraq deployment and he started it in his garage. To put it mildly, he has been growing PSA ever since into the powerhouse it is today. Folks, PSA has a ton of offerings now – ARs, AKs, pistols, ammo, parts … the list goes on and on. One thing you will notice is that they are constantly learning and evolving.

I’ve Only Had One Problem

So, I bought and built my first PSA AR many years back – I looked at my order history and it looks like it was 2014. In all the years, I can only remember one problem – they forgot to include the disconnector. I contacted customer service and had one a few days later. That was probably a year or two after my first one and I’ve not had a problem since. You’ll notice now they bag their parts by grouping so this probably helps with quality control considerably.

Have I ever had a part fail? No – not that I recall. I normally will put a few hundred rounds through a build, eventually get bored of it and have my FFL, Michigan Gun Exchange, sell it to fund another project. So all I can tell you is that my experience with their AR kits has been very favorable and have no reservations telling someone to use them – especially if they want to start and learn.

What options do they have?

Whew – they have tons and tons of kits and parts you can choose from. Different barrel lengths, handguards, furniture, triggers, and so forth. You can buy a kit with everything except for a stripped lower receiver or you can buy assemblies such as a build kit for a stripped lower to then use with whatever upper receiver you want.

The point is that they have something for everyone and if you are patient and watch their Daily Deals (you can sign up for their emails) then you can get a great deal. For example, the kit I built this time is their “PSA 16″ 5.56 NATO 1:7 MIDLENGTH NITRIDE 13.5″ LIGHTWEIGHT M-LOK MOE EPT RIFLE KIT W/ MBUS SIGHT SET” – which means in has a 16″ barrel that is chambered for 5.56 NATO with a 1:7 twist and black nitried finish, has a 13.5″ M-LOK handguard, comes with Magpul MOE grip and buttstock, their enhanced polished trigger (EPT) fire control group and has a set of Magpul BackUp Iron Sights (BUIS). Yeah, they pack a lot into that description. The kit comes with everything you need except for a stripped lower receiver (I used an Anderson I already happened to have) and the best part was that it was only $479.99 vs. the list of $799.99.

This is PSA’s Model 516446780 parts kit that comes with everything you need except for a stripped mil-spec lower receiver.

Serves as a foundation

The AR parts are all Mil-Spec – what this means is that rifles that use parts built to the original military specification dimensions can use other parts. For example, I prefer the Magpul ACS stocks – they just feel better to me. Because the PSA buffer tube is Mil-Spec, that meant I coul easily replace the MOE buttstock that came with the kit with an ACS.

My point is that a PSA kit can serve as a foundation that you can very readily build on. Down, the road if you want to change out barrels, triggers, uppers, etc. you can easily do so. If something has a problem and you need to replace, again, there will not be a problem finding parts.

By the way, I would recommend a spare parts kit regardless of brand AR you are using – they are usually relatively inexpensive and include wear items, such as the firing pin, plus parts that get lost – for example, the takedown detents.

A quick comment on the EPT triggers

The PSA EPT triggers are a decent. I recently did a test on a number of triggers and a Mil-Spec Aero brand trigger had an average pull of 6 pounds 12.4oz. The PSA EPT had an average pull of 6 pounds 12.3oz and that was with both lubricated by oil. So, not a huge benefit but I do like them – just don’t expect a world of difference is my point.

If you really want a remarkable trigger, buy the PSA 2-stage trigger that has an average pull of 4 pounds 9.5 oz when lubed. It’s a must-have upgrade for only $64.99 and yes, you can always change to it later.

How do you assemble these kits?

Really, the only thing you need to assemble is the lower. PSA has already done the upper and headspaced it just to be safe. In theory, Mil-Spec barrels going into Mil-Spec uppers should not need headspacing but the reality is that you better check it just to be safe and PSA does.

I did a whole series of posts back in 2017 about building AR lowers – click here for a list that will open in a new browser tab.

The reference source I used to learn how to assemble AR lowers way back when is the guide on There are now tons of videos out there as well and you can learn a great deal by investing a little time to watch them. For example, here is one from PSA and here is one from Midway USA.

This is my latest 16″ PSA AR build. It has a MOE stock, Magpul BUIS and a Vortex Optics UH-1 sight.

Recommended Tools

Over the years, I have bought and tried quite a few tools but there are just a few that have stood the test of time that I still use. I figured it might help you to have a list so you can consider whether you want to pick them up or not.

  • Trigger Guard Jig – there are a ton of ways to do the trigger guard roll pin but a tool makes it really simple and reduces the odds of marring the finish or snapping an ear off the receiver.
  • Magazine Catch Punches – folks, Wheeler and others make long roll pin punches that have a vinyl coating to help install the mag catch. They are totally worth it. No more tearing up your finish or having to apply duct tape – these tools help you get it right the first time.
  • Front Pivot Pin Detent Jig – installing front pivot pin’s detent and spring is next to impossible without the right tools. Wheeler and others make a very simple pin set to help you save your sanity.
  • Trigger slave pin – greatly simplifies installation of the assembled trigger, disconnector and spring assembly. We make one 🙂
  • Magpul Castle Nut Wrench – I have used a wide variety of tools over the years ranging from the old GI tool to bizarre looking combination wrenches. If you want a solid tool that will hold up over time, the Magpul wrench is the way to go.
  • Gunsmith Punch Set – there are tons of makers. Basically you want a wide range of punches and roll pin punches. I have a mix of punches from Tekton, Weaver and Wheeler plus ones that I have no idea where they came from.
  • Non-Marring Hammer – You’ll need a small hammer from time to time that will not tear up your finish – I use Vaughan hammers.
  • Automatic Punch – I have a tremor so my hands shake. To stake the rear castle nut, I just use a good General brand automatic punch. It’s not as deep/good of a stake as a hammer driven punch but I do the automatic punch repeatedly to deform the surface and lock the nut.
  • Magpul BEV-Block – If you plan to install barrel nuts or muzzle devices, you will need a really secure means to hold the barrel and receiver securely. DO NOT use the blocks that just use the pivot and rear pin holes your you are apt to bend them. I did that once. Get a BEV block. It’s way, way easier and does a great job.

In Conclusion

If you are looking for something fun to do and there are tons and tons of tutorials out there – build an AR. The PSA kits are reliable and very affordable with different options to suit your tastes.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.