Friday, April 1, 2016

Firearms Friday: Helping Others At The Bench

No matter where I am or what setting in which I find myself having a conversation, I am usually able to find at least one or two other firearms enthusiasts with which to talk. I have had this happen at various community events, family gatherings, lodge, work, and different conferences and trade shows in different parts of the country. Sometimes I have no idea how we got on the subject while other times it is quite clear as either the conversation turns to politics or someone gives a bewildered or disappointing look to one of the ‘no firearms allowed’ signs that seem to be popping up with shocking regularity. Regardless of how we get on the subject, it is a topic that we tend to stay on for some time regardless of whether the people around us agree with our views.

We go through the usual list of questions which vary depending on whether we have spoken on the subject before which commonly includes how often we get out to the range; rifle, handgun, or shotgun preference; caliber preference; about our local shop; and so on. And one topic that seems to play more of a prominent role as of late is building and gunsmith work. As many of you know, building an AR is far from difficult but it is perceived as rather impressive to those who have never taken on the task. This particular line of conversation usually ends with them asking me to either build a rifle for them or to help them build a rifle. And bear in mind that this is coming from a variety of people including family, friends, coworkers, clients, brothers, and others.

Of course, now we have to discuss parts. What they want, what I recommend (depending on what they want), budget, tools, basic functions, and the overall process. This can take some time as sometimes people know what they want while other times it is a more involved process to drill down to get those details. I usually end up telling each of them the same thing… once I can find the time to complete some of my own builds, I will be happy to help them with theirs. And if they are interested in learning this very basic skill I am happy to show them the process as I put my own projects together.

I believe that knowing how to build an AR is a basic skill that everyone should possess just like knowing how to field strip a 1911 or AK and other handgun and rifle models, the basic fundamentals of making your own rounds, and zeroing in an optic. These are the simple things that I really wouldn’t classify under gunsmith work but rather the necessary tools needed to be a well-rounded firearms owner. However, the biggest takeaway from these conversations is that if you are open about your views and especially your support for an individual’s right to own firearms, you might be surprised by those around you who share your views (other views beyond firearms also apply).