Let’s talk about professional maintenance. This will seem a little self-serving, as I am a professional gunsmith but it has to be said. When is the last time you had a firearm inspected by a professional? I’m not talking about field stripping and cleaning because you shot it (although, that is a service most gunsmiths do offer). I’m talking about a real inspection? Do you know what you’re looking at when you take the weapon apart? Do you know what wear items need replacing and at what intervals? I know, we all like to tinker. But, if you need a video to tell you how to field strip, you most likely don’t. We love our guns. And they aren’t exactly cheap (most of the time). How often have you sat in a waiting room waiting on the mechanic to change your oil or rotate your tires? You know there’s stuff that he/she is going to recommend because you’ve used to vehicle. And you know that some things are important.
“Oh, I need brakes? I wasn’t aware because, God knows, I’m not crawling under there to look at them. Tell you what, good looking out. Go ahead and throw them on there because I don’t want to die on the way home.”
Firearms are really no different with regards to inspection and maintenance. They’re actually MORE important to have inspected. Because you don’t always shoot them every day the way you drive your vehicle. If you’re brakes are bad, there is a point, where the vehicle will tell you. The problem with treating firearms that way is, when they tell you something is broken, someone could get hurt.
Example One: Let’s take the deer rifle you’ve hunted with for 10 years. It sits in the safe 9-10 months out of the year. Maybe, MAYBE you sight it in before hunting season, and that could very well be the only rounds you fire all year from it. It gets carried, rained on, temperature changes, humidity, snow, and all other manner of minor abuse that adds up. Then, you didn’t get to zero it this year (Aw, Hell, it’ll be fine. Never lost zero before). And, after years of neglect, the oil and grease and dirt and grime have amounted to the equivalent of glue inside the firing pin channel. So, when you and your buddy head out to hop in that deer stand, you have no idea that the firing pin is essentially fused to the breech face…and protruding. You slam that .30-30 round into the chamber like John Wayne and your bestie gets slammed in the chest at point blank with a 150 grain projectile moving like a Mack truck.
Example Two: You carry your (insert, literally, whatever firearm. I don’t care what make. They all can fail. Yes, even Glocks) every single day for the last decade. You think yourself pretty handy with the iron. You shoot all the time and even wipe the inside out afterwards. What you don’t know from field stripping and hosing down with Ballistol, is that the firing pin channel is obstructed with a sliver of brass. And today is THE day that Rico, the local crackhead down at the QwikStop, has decided he’s gonna tweak out and think that you and/or your loved ones in the car are Nazi ninja vampire spies sent to the parking lot to eat his eyes. And, he’s not going to let that happen. You draw, take aim, go through all your training just like you practiced…click… Quick! Clear the malfunction! click Rico is beating your children to death with a fire extinguisher he grabbed while you watch in horror because you read this post and still didn’t get your gun checked out by a professional.
These aren’t just fanciful illustrations made up by some crazy guy on the interwebs, by the way. The malfunctions are actual malfunctions that happen. Malfunctions that I’ve seen first hand.
I got pretty long winded, here. But, that’s because we talk about safety and storage and liberty and conservation all as responsibilities we take on as gun owners. But, when it comes to maintaining the mechanical nature of our firearms, it’s over-looked faster than the expiration date on Twinkies (No, seriously, they do have expiration dates).
Is it really that hard? When you take that half day every six months to go get your oil changed or your tires rotated, swing by the gunsmith before you rush home to dive into the next gun video on Full30 and get your guns inspected. It shouldn’t cost that much, at all. And your life (or worse, someone else’s) might very well depend on it.
And share this with your friends (preferably by sharing the link. Gets more people here that way) . Because, you don’t wanna be the friend in the tree stand example.