There are a few spare gun parts that you should always have on hand in case your gun malfunctions. Guns are machines, and as a result they can and will have mechanical failures. You, as the operator of the machine, should be able to fix it. Having the parts on hand will save you time and money.
Therefore, let’s consider what the most common failure points are and what parts are a good idea to always have around.
We’re going to touch on the most general of parts, which are most common causes of malfunctions of most firearms, and not so much specific parts of specific guns. It won’t do most people much good to know what parts fail most often on, say, a Colt All American.
In case you’re curious, the parts most likely to fail in a Colt All American is all of them, which was one of the things that pistol was known for. As for your pistols, a good thing to start with is . . .
The recoil spring is the heart of any semi-automatic firearm. The bolt of an AR-15 or semi-automatic shotgun, and the slide of a semi-automatic pistol is returned to battery by means of the recoil spring compressing and releasing.
If the spring is weakened, function will become compromised. Therefore, this is one part that you should always have one or two of in reserve. They’re inexpensive and indispensable.
Speaking of springs, most semi-automatic firearms also have a spring involved in their feeding system. The tube magazine of a shotgun feeds shells by means of a compressed spring in the magazine tube. Ditto for lever-action rifles. Bolt-action rifles are fed via a leaf spring in the internal box magazine, and semi-automatic rifles are fed by a box magazine as are semi-automatic pistols.
When these springs begin to fail or lose integrity, that will compromise feeding and reliability. Therefore it’s a good idea to have a few of these on hand.
In the case of detachable magazines, for most shooters, this often takes the form of other magazines. Rather than keeping spare magazine parts, they just buy extra magazines.
Purchasing some higher-quality magazines to run your gun with. After you’ve purchased a decent number – say four or more – then start buying additional magazine springs. They’re cheaper than new magazines, unless you feel like more is a good idea.
Which, of course, it always is.
Another good part to always have on hand is the ejector/extractor. That’s a common failure point of many firearms as this part can bend or otherwise deform after sufficient use. Obviously, you need reliable feeding and extraction, so it’s just a good part to have around in case it fails.
Oh, and one more thing . . .
A Good Lubricant
It isn’t a part per se, but not enough of it is definitely a cause of many, many malfunctions.
Some people take great pride in how little they maintain their guns. That’s an attitude I have never really understood. Perhaps I’m on a different wavelength than people who don’t clean their guns. To my mind, you want to keep your equipment maintained and in good working order in case you really need it, but that’s just me.
Therefore, keep a bottle of cleaner/lubricant in your range bag, and at home where you clean your guns (assuming you do). RemOil, Break-Free CLP, Otis Lubricant and plenty of other brands are cheap and widely available.
No firearm platform is perfect. Make sure you study the mechanism of your weapon(s). Understand how it works and what its particular common failings are. If you know how the machine runs, you’ll be able to take care of it, and it will take care of you.
Anything else you think should be included? Sound off in the comments.