More people than ever before express interest in how to make a gun from scratch, many with the additional requirement of how to make it from home, without experience, or with the capability of firing live ammunition.
It is not difficult to learn how to make a gun, even without a lot of gunsmith experience, provided one knows where to look. Keep in mind that many homemade guns are illegal to fire without registering them with the government, and those that are legal are for personal use only.
They cannot be sold, loaned out, given away, willed to beneficiaries, or donated; they must be destroyed or buried with the builder.
Skills Necessary to Make a Gun from Home
Unless the gunsmith is a machinist by trade, it might be a great idea to start by taking a few machining classes at a community college or via apprenticeship. That may sound complicated and expensive, but considering that many injuries related to making guns are to the shooter instead of the target it is better to be safe than sorry.
Machining skills are very important to gunsmith enthusiasts, but importance should also be placed on knowing what to ask from whom, such as understanding that the steel must be stress relieved prior to use, and that the steel mill normally performs this job.
In addition, there needs to be some very precise cutting skills involved, so having a steady hand is important, especially for beginners to the craft. Besides cutting, drilling is also a necessity, so the skill and tools necessary for cutting and drilling have to be handy in order for the gun-making project to succeed.
Operating a deep hole drill is a crucial part of the gun barrel, so if this portion of the gun is needed, this tool should be on hand, along with a tungsten carbide core reamer and liquid coolant if the gun is made from steel.
How to Make a One-Off Gun
A one-off gun, also known as a single shot weapon, single-banger, or one-shot gun, has the capability of firing only once before it must be reloaded. It is great for situations where one shot is plenty, or for those when stealth is crucial, but they can be a bit more dangerous for amateur gunsmiths to create.
At one time, all weapons were of the single-shot nature though, so having something like this may feel nostalgic or reminiscent of yesteryear. Many one-off guns are completed to the 80% mark and then sent to a professional for finishing.
Now, arguably, the gunsmith must have permission from the ATF or similar agency to make a gun, or the owner could face a potential ten years in prison if caught. That is definitely a big IF in this country, but take note that there is a requirement to register a homemade weapon in most states, either before or up to ten days after it is finished.
If the police seize a weapon, they have the option to destroy it following court proceedings, but they may also choose to keep it for study.
There are two different options when it comes to making a one-off gun: create one using directions or instructions found online or make significant modifications to an existing weapon, such as a shotgun or rifle. These modifications may include changes to the barrel or handle, in most cases providing extra storage capacity for ammo.
Sawing off a shotgun is a popular method of creating a one-off gun, but they may also be created to resemble household items such as lighters, cell phones, flashlights, and so on. There are virtually hundreds of websites offering instructions for making a variety of guns, especially the one-shot wonders that can come in handy for so many reasons. Many of these even include an “ingredient” list of items that are probably already found in the average person’s home.
Laws Related to Gun-Making
Some gun control advocated recommend restricting many gun owners to those weapons that can only fire a single shot. That is unlikely to happen due to the rights provided by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but the premise of restricting guns to some capacity deserves merit nonetheless.
There are very strict laws related to gun making, and they should be carefully considered before a project is underway:
- A homemade gun cannot be sold to anyone unless the seller has a license to do so provided by the Federal government. However, there is a loophole related to intent, because the person selling the gun must have had the intent to sell it when it was created. If he/she did not have that intent, it can be sold so long as the weapon is a legal one.
- Guns made by the gunsmith cannot be bequeathed as a part of an estate.
- A handmade gun cannot be given away or thrown away while in working order.
- The person making the gun must not be disallowed to own a gun. This includes convicted felons and others legally prevented from owning a gun and those who are not U.S. citizens.
- The gun must comply with the restrictions placed by the ATF and other federal, state, and/or local laws. This includes limitations based on length, width, weight, ammunition, trigger info, and more. For those who are not sure about what is legal, consider visiting the ATF’s website or use a search engine to find out what is legal.
There is nothing wrong with learning how to make a gun, and one might be surprised at how simple it can be even for beginner gunsmiths.
Making a gun from scratch is different from building a gun using a blueprint though, so be sure to know the difference.
Above all, always take precautions related to safety to avoid a serious accident that could cause significant injury or even death to the designer or someone else.