5 Common Firearm Customizations
Whether you’re looking to broaden your skillset or make a dusty firearm into a well-loved tool, there’s no shortage of customizations available. Granted, it’s much easier to customize an AR-15 than it is to change a vintage hunting rifle, but both can be made to feel like an entirely new firearm in the hands of the right gunsmith. There’s no shortage of options. So, if you’re trying to decide where to begin, consider this a rundown of a few available options that are likely to yield great results.
Ben Franklin famously said: “nothing is certain in life except death and taxes.” I think we can add to that the unsightly and inevitable wear and tear that appears on every tool you use regularly and hold dear. Unless you want your weapon to be the paragon of wabi-sabi, protective coatings are worth considering. Cerakote and DuraCoat are great for the polymer and metal on weapons, and bluing remains the gold standard for steel barrels.
Application can be tricky and takes no small of amount of patience. Some options like Cerakote will require a sprayer and a heat gun, while DuraCoat typically comes with most of what you’ll need. The lifespan and durability of each coating depends on your lifestyle, and it goes without saying that’s there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. If you’re a first-timer looking to add a protective coating to your firearm, yours truly just happens to have an article that will help you weigh your options. You can find it at this link.
If you’re looking to increase the accuracy of your firearm, or cut down on its weight, it may be time to change optics. Heavier optics may mean more range sometimes, but it can also mean more fatigue if your firearm is an all-day driver for your a hunting trip or a competition. While some people prefer to be over-prepared rather than under equipped, this is definitely a case in which that rationale may work against you.
It can be tough to get a sense of how a scope will perform by comparing them online or even at a brick and mortar store. At the risk of needlessly repeating a recommendation I made in a previous blog, you really should check out Backfire’s article on optics if you’re trying to find the Goldilocks zone of comfort and accuracy. While it’s by no means comprehensive, it compares a few different powered scopes with targets at various distances.
Another customization you can make to improve accuracy is to add a compensator. You can either add an attachment or port an existing barrel to improve the accuracy of your firearm. This will (hopefully) reduce the amount of recoil/muzzle rise you have to contend with. There are, of course, tradeoffs. You’ll likely have to deal with more flash and a louder weapon, so be ready to get reacquainted with your firearm’s idiosyncrasies.
There’s no shortage of triggers available for popular firearms like the AR15, Remington 700, or their clones. Many of the options are drop-in replacements, and since they’re so readily available, you might not think twice about whether or not they meet the legal safety standards where you live. So it’s always best to check before making a new purchase.
Triggers for competition can be highly adjustable and oftentimes require far less pull than stock. Trigger Warning (sorry, I couldn’t resist): trigger customizations are nothing to be taken lightly. A trigger that’s too light can result in unintentionally discharging your firearm. While we’re all adults and perfectly aware of gun safety, it may be best to treat your firearm as though it’s a nuclear warhead after changing the trigger. Yeah, I know, that sounds ridiculous. But it’s far less ridiculous than having to explain why your workshop has a bullet hole in the wall.
Whether you’re looking for a more stable stock to stand up to humidity and temperature extremeness, or you’re looking for something softer to offer more shock absorption and comfort, there’s a prefab stock for you. And if you don’t really care if your next gun stock is made of polymer, aluminum, wood or strata bond, consider this: You could have a custom thumb hole or other contour to give you the most comfortable grip or cheek weld you can get.
Remember that small changes can mean a big difference. An uncomfortable stock might suddenly seem like less of a burden with lighter optics, and a previously comfortable stock might feel suddenly intrusive with the recoil changes that a compensator can introduce. Every change will take some time to adjust to, and modifications can take longer to get right than you might expect. Try to enjoy the process, make changes one at a time, and don’t feel overwhelmed by all the options. Endeavor to create something better, and not something perfect. You might unexpectedly end up with something perfect in the process.
Written by: Lanna Perkins, Education Writer