We live in a society where mechanical skills are less highly valued than the ability to gather Facebook friends and Instagram followers. Where replacement trumps repair, and repair is some other guy’s job. So I have no doubt that the vast majority of GLOCK owners know little to nothing about how their striker-fired handgun actually works. They only know their GLOCK goes bang when they pull the trigger.

Which is, it should be said, enough. The odds that they’ll need to fix their firearm on the fly are almost as small as the number of XD owners who admit GLOCK perfection. To be fair, I imagine a fair number know how to take a GLOCK apart and clean it.

How deep is your firearms knowledge? Can you fully strip your gun and explain every moving part’s function? Or are you one of those gun owners who concentrates on your firearm’s functionality, and that’s enough?

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57 Responses to Question of the Day: How Well Do You Know Your Firearm?

  1. “How Well Do You Know Your Firearm?”

    Very well. For example, last night my S&W M&P and I had dinner together and discussed its hopes, its dreams and the metaphysical ramifications of early voting.

    It was an illuminating conversation and after listening to my gun, I am more able to understand things from the black perspective.

  2. I like to imagine, in my mind, the sequence between pressing the trigger and the bullet leaving the end of the barrel. All of those myriad of events heppening in such a short time period.

    • LOL. If cursing is still optional, you’re either a saint or you may need more and different types of firearms!

      • I mean, you really haven’t lived until you’ve spent 15 minutes on your hands and knees looking for a tiny, tiny spring that you suddenly discovered had magical powers and could fly… /;-D

      • Northern Saudi, assembling the 1911 (late to the game and outta of 9’s). That dam spring launched across the room, banged on a wall catching the attention of the whole room. A Lance Corporal called out, I’ll get it for you sir. I replied stand fast and suffered the indignity of retrieving it.

    • …which is why I now buy spare springs for pretty much every gun I own before first disassembly.

      Oh … And wear safety glasses!

      • Those are actually two pieces of good advice. I had a similar incident to Mk10108’s one time just doing a basic slide reassembly on a pistol with a non-captive spring that got away from me and it hit the wall with such force that if there had been someone standing there, I might have had to call 911 AND my homeowner’s insurance company.

        Now let us never speak of it again!

        • My dad launched a 1911 bushing into our large kitchen window once. It was an expensive cleaning job haha. He was banished to the garage for all future cleaning.

    • Do retaining pins count equal to springs? Countless hours on my knees looking for those (D$%@W((& things that don’t exist in any other world but that of “gunz”.

    • Springs across the room? You’re a weenie. I managed to misassemble a gun so effectively that when I fired a shot at a range, the gun sort of “self disassembled” on the firing line. I wasn’t very embarrassed, you understand, since I had only come to shoot that gun, so had nothing else to shoot, and left. Turned out, I left a part behind in the dark, had to order a new one.

      OTOH, in answer to the basic question, by the next time I took that gun to the range, I knew how it worked *REALLY* well!

  3. I can tell you how every part in a sig 238 / p220. / glock 19 fit and interact with other parts.

    I understand guns enough that given a few days and a few tools I could make a rudimentary one.

    • I’m not familiar with the Sig, but if I had to repair a Glock with random parts and springs from non-gun parts, I feel comfortable enough to do so. It’s fun to see people’s faces when you detail strip a Glock with a ball point pen.

  4. I still struggle with the idea of the straight pull bolt-action. I can watch animations of the internal actions, see the bolt moving IRL, but there’s still this portion of my brain which refuses to accept that yes, even though the bolt was pushed straight in, the lugs are in fact in their recesses and it won’t just unlock when fired.

    • I find that it helps not to compare a straight-pull bolt action to a turn-bolt action but rather think of it in the context of gas-operated semi-automatic actions. The action is exactly the same, with only the source of the backward force being different, namely your hand instead of gas pressure.

  5. I’m an old gearhead wrench turner who dates back to the days when we drove old POS cars because that was all we could afford. We kept them running through baling wire, duct tape and the grace of God. I served as a machinist’s mate in the navy, worked as a stationary engineer, and taught electro mechanical material handling equipment most of my adult life when I wasn’t sheriffing. I do most of my own gunsmithing – I’ve built two ARs, done some minor work on 1911s, built a couple of black powder rifle kits, and reload most of my ammunition. So I’d say that I’m pretty familiar with things that go bang. I’ve bought several guns because the action fascinated me – a Swiss K31 straight pull and a CZ52 with the roller lock breech – for example. I love to tinker with mechanical stuff and firearms, especially the older ones, are wonderful pieces of mechanical stuff.

  6. I’m busy learning my job, where I learn something new every day, taking care of a three year old, being a husband, and practicing marksmanship. Stripping and cleaning is enough for now.

  7. I can’t stand it if I don’t have at least a basic understanding of what’s going inside anything that I use, be it a firearm, computer or leaf blower.
    As a child it drove my parents crazy because I took everything apart to see how it worked.

    • Word, none of this stuff is magic. While my friends will throw up their hands and go looking to buy a new one of whatever broke I’m already prying the case/housing open to see what makes it tick and how I can get it running again.

  8. I have always been able to visualize the inner workings of things. It has helped me tremendously over the years in my life careers as a plumber, air conditioning, electrical, rebuilding pumps, and now as a commercial locksmith. This has naturally extended to all of my firearms as well. I know every nuance of my 870 I have had since I was 16. Yes, I had intimate knowledge of my firearms, before they were tragically lost in the boating accident while hunting fish.

  9. “We live in a society where mechanical skills are less highly valued than the ability to gather Facebook friends and Instagram followers”

    I know some young people at work that when asked if they know how to change a tire on their car they answer “call AAA”. A younger person asked me once what I was doing one particular weekend and I said I needed to change my brakes and rotors on one of my older trucks and her face was absolutely awestruck that someone knew how to do that. And, BTW, I am a Software Architect and deal with geeks all day and would think that they had some mechanical aptitude but most can use or fix a computer better than anyone but anything not computer related, not so much.

    The lack of skills is a boon for those I know in the trades for home repair and service.

    “How deep is your firearms knowledge? Can you fully strip your gun and explain every moving part’s function?”

    That all said, I have taken several gunsmith classes and fix anything I have unless I need a super expensive or special tool and then I defer to a shop with a real gunsmith who has the tools. So, for me, the answer is yes and have fixed some other guns that are not mine at the range a few times as well. My favorite class thus far was the M1 Garand Master class held by CMP. Next year I am already signed up for a 1911 class where you basically start with a bare frame and parts. I love working on my guns.

    The fact that you are holding a controlled explosion in your hands and all the mechanics and physics involved still to this day fascinates me to no end.

  10. I somehow never get tired of being amused by the (thankfully rare) customer who calls or walks in asking if I can show them how to strip their SD9ve or Glock or Sig or whatever… are owners manuals really that hard to comprehend?
    I once remarked to a customer that if he was anything like me, he would consider the manual a single evenings toilet reading and spend the rest of that day disassembling and reassembling his new toy… we gun nuts are called that for a reason.

  11. Building AR15s ‘kinda gave me the courage to start doing tinkering on my own car. I can field strip just about any firearm and reassemble if given enough time. Finer details of my handguns I’m still learning. Recent troubles with airsoft guns though, you need 6 hands and a blessing from God to reassemble them if working on the internals.

    • Re Airsoft guns: oh my God yes. Something that helps a LOT though: put a quick change spring system in your gearbox. Itll save you hours of frustration and keep your blood pressure down. SO much easier to put the two halves back together when you’re not forced to fight the main spring.

  12. I am not intimately familiar with how my firearms function. I have taken them apart for detail strip/clean and to install custom triggers and sears. However, I did all of those things with the help of others who were kind enough to post a “how to” video on YouTube.

  13. Well enough. I’m a bit OCD cleaning my meager collection. As mentioned YouTube has an astonishing array of howto video’s. Although a few years ago I needed help unjamming my Savage 350(since sold).

  14. Glock – Yes fully
    S&W Revolver – Take off that side plate? Never again. Ruger SP modulars-yep.
    VP9? Yes except for the trigger return spring-even with the slim, hooked pliers.
    226? Haven’t tried. (Hammer fired is all smoke, mirrors, and magic dust to me.).
    Shotguns, yep, all kinds.
    AR? About 1/2 way to full confidence.

    • The 226 shouldn’t be too bad, but I’d recommend doing it horizontal. Gravity is not your friend when you start to pull those pins.

  15. ‘They only know their GLOCK goes bang when they pull the trigger.’

    Hopefully they know to remove the cartridge from the chamber before pulling the trigger so they can strip it down to clean it. Probably a good idea to know to point it in a safe direction when you pull that trigger too.

  16. Actually just detail stripped my Sig for the first time two days ago. It helps to have some mechanical aptitude when you pull a pin and four random parts fall out through magwell.

  17. I know quite a bit about my guns, but am always learning something new. Besides that I want to try my hand at designing and building something.

  18. Yes but I am always learning. Best advice I got was buy a set of springs for evry gun and print out an exploded view.

  19. Glock Perfection?–nope–People are mostly mechanically challenged–I recently was handed a 12 gauge pump shotgun that the owner took apart 15 years ago & gave up on after partially incorrectly reassembling it & jamming it–it was in a few pieces & I determined pieces were missing–he hunted & found most of the missing parts, except for one–we were firing the gun an hour later & was completely fixed the next day after I fabricated a part–had never seen or worked on his model gun & did not consult internet or anything else–guess I comes done to understanding how things are made

    • My 870 was the first firearm I got to know intimately, completely by accident. It was destined to be a duck gun. The first thing I did when I got it home was remove the magazine cap to insert the plug. I lifted the shotgun by the fore end to turn it in my lap and was left holding the fore end with the sear and bolt assembly laying on the floor….Big Green hadn’t bothered to push it in far enough to lock it in the receiver.

    • Actually, it took me weeks of researching and study to understand the action of the FiveSeveN. I don’t know how long it will take me to figure out the revolver I have coming in March. I am an avid watcher of Othias and Ian.

  20. I like to think that I know firearms pretty well. I built a few out of the parts bin including a 9mm Luger, a couple of 1911s, some Astra 400 and 600s and some Finnish Lahtis, but when it comes to barrel timing and other precision work I leave it to the pros. I can field strip, clean and reassemble every damn thing except a Ruger MK II pistol without getting the manual out. lol

    Charlie

  21. It’s a CZ, of course I can replace trigger return springs. I know how to disassemble it and make it from good to great.

  22. The spring and recoil spring plug of a 1911 flew across the room, once. Found the spring. Only the cat knows what happened to the plug. Never did find it But, he may have buried it in the plant, which died, and went to the curb.

  23. I love the inner working of machine guns. I love seeing the M2 or Maxim operating, but my favorite is the M134. Nothing like watching a roller coaster of gears and parts working together completing every actions of operation in tandem like a damn rotary engine. I mean, one bullet is getting loaded at the same time another one’s firing pin is getting set while one bullet is getting fired and another getting extracted and the last one getting dumped at the bottom. Amazing feats of engineering.

  24. May be because I played with toy trains and Lego blocks I’m pretty good at taking things apart and putting them back together.
    Using snap caps for dry fire and malfunction checks helps a lot.

    I worry about new gun owners who want a gun but have not thought about the need to train with it. That’s why I think a revolver is best for most of the less motivated new gun owners.

  25. Love the video
    And yes I try to maintain some form of mechanical know how of the machines and tools I use
    The article is condescending kinda like you expect the readers to be your average drone type
    Are we not supposed to be informed men and women that above all live to support our constitution. ?

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