About Aaron Spuler

Founder and Executive Editor for The Weapon Blog, Aaron is a firearms enthusiast and recreational shooter.

5 Must-Have Tools for the DIY Gunsmith


Great gunsmiths are part mechanic, part artist, with some chemist, engineer, woodworker and stage magician thrown in the mix. A Great gunsmith produces ballistic masterworks that end up on display in places like museums.

If you own guns, not only should you know how to maintain them properly, but also how to perform minor repairs. While most of us are not accredited gunsmiths, we can still learn some uncomplicated “home gunsmithing” tasks.

The following is a list of five tools that every DIY gunsmith should have on hand:

  1. Bench Vise

A good shooter’s workbench needs at least one solid bench-mounted vise. Before you can work on a gun, you must hold it still. Since most of us aren’t born with three hands, the best way to hold your gun still is with the help of a bench vise. You can position the vise body in many different ways to help you do all sorts of tasks.

For a gun that allows removable magazines, you can buy a specially-made block that nips into the mag and fits well into the vise, so you can position the gun without parts resting on the vise itself. You can also upgrade your vise by making use of non-marring jaws.

  1. Brass Hammer

A brass hammer is useful for freeing up choke tubes, driving taper tins, tapping of frozen screws, and fitting crescent butt-plates. Brass will not damage or nick high-quality steel, and any marks can be cleared quickly. Many firearm enthusiasts also find ball-peen hammers handy due to their round surfaces.

Most gunsmiths use a rawhide hammer for where direct impact in gun work is needed. A rawhide hammer can deliver an accurate blow that shield pins, punches and soft tender parts from flaring or mushrooming.

  1. High-Speed Rotary Tool

The rotary tool is a DIY gunsmith’s best friend. Polish, polish away. A high-speed rotary tool will make you a very happy little tinkerer. Just use it with caution and respect. These best Dremel tools rotate at speeds of 25,000 RPM or more and can easily damage firearms beyond the capabilities of the kitchen table gunsmith. You will use this for buffing, polishing, grinding, hogging out stocks for glass bedding, and who knows what else.

  1. Bench Block

Bench blocks are used to balance gun parts during pin driving or pin removal. Nearly all blocks are made of wood or nylon and will not mar the gun’s surface. Cylinder-shaped segments can be positioned in the block’s furrow to prevent the part from swaying and can make detail work easier to perform.

  1. Gunsmithing Screwdrivers

Nothing is as annoying as working on a gun and ending up with a dented screw head because of using over-the-counter screwdriver sets from the hardware store. Screwdrivers used in gunsmithing have beveled, and tapered heads used to hold and fit the type of screws found in various guns. If correctly used, specialized gun screwdrivers are designed to prevent scratching the weapon’s finish or damaging the slot edges. The most frequently used gunsmith screwdrivers are the magnetic-tipped screwdriver and the fixed-blade screwdriver.

Magnetic tip screwdrivers are designed with hollow handles and have interchangeable screwdriver bits and heads. The magnetic tips come in handy when holding and picking up even the tiniest screws.


Sure, there are plenty of other items that avid gunsmiths will find necessary. Blanks and Snap caps are great, as are bedding kits, files, and more items than one can list. However, these are the basics that every DIY gunsmith should have.

Whether you wish to become a weekend firearms hobbyist or a professional DIY gunsmith, it is important to invest a few bucks in high-quality DIY gunsmithing tools designed specifically for use on firearms.

NFA Industry CEO’s work with ATF to Streamline the Form 4 Application Process

Firearms industry representatives met with members of the ATF in Washington D.C. to confirm the adoption of an industry developed processing technology designed to streamline the current NFA transfer system. Several weeks ago, a working group of industry representatives including the CEO’s of Dead Air Silencers, Gemtech,Silencer Shop, plus several senior ATF representatives successfully pilot tested a new barcode system and form generator which grossly reduces data entry processing delays and provides virtual error free data exchange between dealers and the NFA processing center.

The new “barcode system” has been approved to take immediate effect. ATF has already acquired the systems hardware and the form generating system is accessible on the represented manufacturers’ websites at this time and can be made available at no cost to any other interested industry members. The system can be used by dealers to generate a barcoded Form 4 for the transfer of any NFA products.

Here is how it works, a dealer simply logs on to any participating industry member’s website, including the respective websites for Dead Air, Gemtech, or Silencer Shop to complete a customer’s Form 4 using the form generator. The form generator pulls data from several different data sources and auto-populates the correct FFL number, address, etc., without additional input from the dealer. The buyer’s information and product information are then entered by the dealer and the form is printed. The printed copies will feature a 2D barcode on the ATF’s copy of the generated form(s). All of the information contained in the Form 4 is encapsulated in the barcode itself. None of this information is transmitted, saved, or otherwise accessible to any of the supporting industry members.

Once the barcoded form is received by the NFA processing center, it is scanned into ATF’s system. This new process requires only seconds and has virtually no error rate. In adopting the new system, ATF will have cut significant resources typically required for data entry that can be focused on other parts of the NFA process. (Forms previously spent anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months waiting for data entry.) The new barcode system will benefit both ATF processing and consumer wait-times without requiring additional manpower or substantial hardware upgrades.

The adoption of this new system would not have been possible but for the assistance and cooperation of the ATF. Accordingly, the industry representatives involved would like to extend our special thanks to ATF for their hard work and effort in making this new system a reality

Hogue Announces Their Fixed Magazine Solution: The Freedom Fighter

While I applaud their entrepreneurial spirit, I do not believe that the name choice was a good one. Calling something a ‘Freedom Fighter’ that effectively neuters your rifle seems like a misstep to me.

Hogue Incorporated is proud to announce the Freedom Fighter, their AR-15 fixed magazine solution. “Many shooters are now required to convert their AR to a fixed magazine,” said Hogue owner Patrick Hogue. “When installed properly, the Freedom Fighter blocks the magazine release until the rear pin is removed and the upper receiver is lifted upward and away from the lower receiver.”

The Freedom Fighter contains a drill jig, drill bits, bushings, springs, pins and the set screws necessary for three installations. To ensure proper operation, a qualified gunsmith is recommended for installation as modification to the firearm is required. When the jig is inserted into the mag well a hole is drilled into the lower receiver creating a tunnel to accommodate the Freedom Fighter plunger pin and spring. The pin is retained with a set screw. Once the rifle is reassembled with the Freedom Fighter installed, the pin will not allow the mag catch to operate unless the upper receiver is swung open putting the firearm in a “disassembled” configuration.

The patent-pending Hogue Freedom Fighter will keep your firearm looking completely original after conversion. Once installed, it is simple to return the firearm to detachable magazine capability. The Freedom Fighter has an MSRP of $49.95 with a refill kit for three additional installations available for $29.95. The installation video is viewable at http://www.hogueinccom.

Airsoft Laws in the UK

Are you looking to buy your first airsoft gun? You could think that buying one is quick and easy, a matter of just choosing the best, buying and taking it home for you to admire. Sadly, the process is not always that simple. Purchasing your first gun is more complicated than it appears. Besides, it causes a huge deal of confusion especially if you’re a new player. This article will look at the different dos and don’ts to guide you through the entire process.

The Legal Process

A majority of people are of the notion that airsoft guns are illegal. In the United Kingdom, several cultures are often terrified of anything which resembles a gun. They view all guns to be unlawful, and destructive to a growing economy. In this case, the most compelling things airsoft has over your regular paintball gun is that the airsoft gun can attach a range of airsoft accessories and that it looks like a real firearm, which is desirable for players who would like to play more realistic games.

Interestingly, it is 100% legal to use an airsoft gun when used on private property or at an adequately controlled or organized event. However, it is necessary to hold the right documents and be over the age of 18. Surprisingly, the law states that it is illegal to sell a realistic imitation of any firearm.

What does this mean? Well, the sale of airsoft guns exists through the Violent Crimes Reduction Act of 2006. Despite this, it’s wrong to say that airsoft guns are items sold or bought against the law. In a real sense, they have been categorized under the RIF group.

But what is RIF? Simply put, it’s anything that resembles or is perceived to be a weapon. Such is regardless of its ability to produce any projectile. It could be made from foam, wood or be an airsoft gun.

According to this law, it means that airsoft guns should be made and sold as Imitation Firearms instead. Here, it is worth noting the omission of the word ‘realistic.’ If such a situation were to happen, then the world of airsoft firearms would have come to an abrupt and sad end.

Section 38 explains a “realistic imitation firearm” or RIF as only an imitation of a firearm. However, the distinguishing difference is that it needs to have an appearance that separates it entirely from a real gun.

It must be coloured entirely using bright and unrealistic colours. The most common colours according to the law are red, bright green, blue, and orange. You can customize your gun to have less of the black colour, or a realistic type of colouration and the rest should be some “unrealistic” colour.

Several guns that you’re likely to find are imported to the United Kingdom through the United States and Asian markets. Such means that they come with a bright orange part around their muzzle. Even so, there is no law in the UK which stipulates such a type of colour customization.

After proposing these regulations, a lot of lobbying from the community of airsoft stores created the niche activity of airsoft guns in the eyes of the UK government. Eventually, they came up with a defence for the sale of RIFS.


It’s important to know that defences are used in place of RIFs. There is no ‘permit’ needed to own an airsoft. Despite this, you need to have a legal and credible reason to use a realistic imitation firearm. Also, there are some exceptions under certain activities.

There is no clear membership or scheme system that’s recognised by all authorities in the UK. The main reason behind this is the manner in which the defence was issued and the varied and disparate situations when giving an RIF.

To sell or buy an RIF from various retailers, you must have first convinced them that you are a legally certified airsoft holder. The manner which you take is defined by the self-policing means of the chosen retailer. Usually, retailers access a database to find a registered player if they purchase an airsoft gun which is not in a bright colour.

Retailers might find themselves under the cold and harsh arm of the authorities if they were to sell an airsoft to the wrong individual. Therefore, to avoid such terrible circumstances, retailers require some insurance policy. What does this mean? Well, to buy an airsoft gun, you should first belong to an airsoft site or club which take note of all their airsoft activities. Through this, it is possible to show that they believe the legitimacy of the individual in question.

Defences and Membership

Several schemes or clubs allow airsoft lovers to join to watch their different activities. Hence, they can prove their legitimacy within controlled and organised airsoft events. Remember that none of these clubs are currently classified under legal or official endorsed methods. Even so, some airsoft sellers prefer their clients to hold memberships in any scheme of their choosing.

Some good examples of these projects are:

  • British Airsoft Club
  • Ukara
  • Swat Pass

You need to consult your preferred retailer and discover the types of clubs or schemes that they recommend and use. If you can’t qualify for airsoft, fail to convince your retailer, and you’re above 18 years, you get a “two-tone” gun. Such is also outlined as an imitation firearm (IF). Besides, it is illegal to customize your firearm, through painting or other forms of modifications, once you are unable to get a defence.

What Does a Defence Allow?

Once you qualify for an RIF, you can now purchase an airsoft gun, but that is all that it gives you the authority to do. Similarly, you should not display an RIF in public. If you want to carry one, put it in a concealed box or bag where others can’t see it.


The United Kingdom is a country that puts the lives of its citizens to heart. With the growing rise of terrorism threats and attacks, security has never been higher. Therefore, even though some of the stipulations mentioned above may appear harsh, but unfortunately for UK gun lovers it’s something we have to accept.

It would be in your best interest to familiarise yourself with the law or you may find yourself on the wrong side!

Bio: Jamie Bell is the owner of Airsoft Deals, a UK based airsoft store which sells a range of airsoft accessories online.