Firearm Accessories 2: Keep It Running

Ok, you have a firearm and a way to transport it. Now, you’re ready to start shooting but you’ll need a few things if you want to keep shooting for very long.

I’m going to cover ammunition, magazines, cleaning kits, and tools in this post, so click here to see more –>

Spare Ammunition
I don’t generally “hoard” huge quantities of ammunition but when I do break the budget for ammo, I go big. If you find a good deal on ammo, it helps to buy as much as you can afford. The price of ammo just keeps going up over time. The only exception is that the price skyrockets during political panics and then decreases after the panic ends (but it never goes back to pre-panic prices).

Spare Magazines
If you own a gun that uses magazines then it would be extremely wise to buy plenty of spares. First, magazines are one of the parts that wears out the most rapidly and will cause the gun to jam if it is deformed. Second, it is possible that future legislation will make full-capacity magazines impossible to buy & sell legally so it would be wise to stockpile them now.

If you shoot a pistol, it would generally be wise to restrict yourself to only buying magazines from the same company that made your pistol. For example, buy official Glock magazines for a Glock and buy official Beretta magazines for a Beretta. Magazines made by third-party companies often have very poor reputations (especially ProMag)! The one exception seems to be Mec-Gar which supposedly provides the official magazines for several gun companies.

Some magazines, however, are so universally common that there is no “original” company anymore. If you have a 1911 there are a few companies that make really good magazines. I like Wilson Combat magazines but also look at Chip McCormick and Tripp Research. For rifles, the best AR-15 magazines are the Magpul M3 and the Lancer AWM.

Cleaning Kit
You need to keep your gun clean to prevent jams and reduce wear. It’s the firearm equal to changing your oil every 3,000 miles. There are pre-packaged cleaning kits, but I recommend putting together a kit yourself. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • cotton swabs (like Q-tips)
  • an old toothbrush
  • rags, like an old t-shirt
  • a dental-style pick to scrape out the tight spots
  • cleaning solvent
  • Hoppe’s Bore Snake to clean inside the barrel
  • paper towels for certain messy jobs
  • pick/scraper or wire brush for hard, baked-on dirt

You’ll also need a bottle or two of oil, but this is a hotly debated subject. Generally, you want an oil for rotating parts and a grease for sliding parts. You may different kinds of oils for different jobs. For example, DuPont Teflon oil (including Remington’s RemOil) don’t really lubricate or prevent rust very well. RemOil and DuPont Teflon oil do easily seep & creep in to small areas, such as inside the trigger mechanism. I think of RemOil as my “penetrating” oil for hard to reach places such as inside the hinges of a squeaky door. You’ll also want a medium-weight oil, and an oil for rust protection. Consider common mineral oil for rust protection (you can get it at the local pharmacy store).

Screwdrivers, Punches, and Specialty Tools
Finally, you should really have a screwdriver set, some punches, and maybe a few special tools. Your exact needs will vary depending on what kind of gun you buy.

Screwdrivers seem like the simplest part, but you should really consider a multi-part screwdriver. The end of the handle has a six-sided hole, and the six-sided screwdriver bits just slip in to the handle. They’re either held in with magnetism or a ball detent. The main advantage is that a single handle and bit-set will work on a huge variety of screws and bolts, not just Philips and Flat-head. Secondly, traditional Flat-head screwdrivers have a wedge-shaped tip. They work OK for a wide variety of screw sizes but they often slip and damage the screw or scratch the metal. Modern screwdrivers have tips that appear curved but the very small tip is actually parallel, which significantly reduces the risk of the screwdriver slipping.

Two of my favorite screwdrivers with a set of bits.

Two of my favorite screwdrivers with a set of bits.

The handle holds the hex bits magnetically.

The handle holds the hex bits magnetically.

The traditional screwdriver (left) is wedge-shaped so it often slips and damages the screw or gun. The very tip of the modern screwdriver is parallel, not tapered, so it slips less.

The traditional screwdriver (left) is wedge-shaped so it often slips and damages the screw or gun. The very tip of the modern screwdriver is parallel, not tapered, so it slips less.

You may also need a punch or set of punches. A “punch” is a special rod used to hammer pins in or out of their holes without damaging anything. The number and type of punches you need depends on your gun. For example, an AR-15 needs several different punches for complete disassembly, a Glock only needs one punch, and an AK-47 doesn’t need any punches for normal use.

This is a generic set of punches, specifically "roll pin" punches.

This is a generic set of punches, specifically “roll pin” punches.

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And finally, your gun may need some specialized tools to do certain things. Again, it all depends on what kind of gun you have. For example, an AR-15 needs a “stock wrench” if you want to loosen the castle nut and remove the receiver extension tube (aka buffer tube). You’ll need a vise, upper receiver vise block, barrel wrench, and torque wrench if you want to install a new barrel in an AR-15 upper receiver. The Mosin-Nagant rifle has a special tool to adjust the length of the firing pin. A 1911 pistol might require a “bushing wrench” for disassembly.

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About jurmond

'Jurmond' was the name of my first character in a homebrew D&D campaign. He was a gunslinger and tinker, creating and carrying strange weapons that belched fire and smoke. That was well over a decade ago but I still think of him whenever fiction and firearms collide, so it seems the perfect pen name for this project.
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