"We have four boxes with which to defend our freedom: the soap box, the ballot box, the jury box and the cartridge box." - Congressman Larry McDonald M.D.
(1 April, 1935 - 1 Sept., 1983)


God Save The Republic

02 August 2010

Feces Occurs

We preppers prep for logical reasons, with the primary reason being that, when TSHTF, necessary products and services may suddenly become non-existent. A recent post over at "Sipsey Street" got me to thinking about firearms that suddenly stop going boom. As we say in the old country, feces occurs (stuff happens?) and should something occur that makes any of your battle weapons stop working, mechanically, are you prepared to deal with it? Especially if gunsmithing services become extinct.

One of the respondents to the Sipsey Street post said he has never had a broken parts related failure with his favored weapon in all the years he's owned and used it. And there is the very real possibility that his gun will work every single time he squeezes the trigger. But, to this person I say, "are you willing to bet your life on the idea that such a failure could never happen? It very well could happen within the next 1000 rounds fired through it. Or maybe the next 100 rounds. Or, maybe he might get one more ka-boom before his weapon becomes ka-put.

Repeat after me; "Feces Occurs." And it could have occurred during a critical heat treating process, during manufacturing, leaving a small yet critical metal part too brittle or too soft. An undersized retaining pin that may back out and drop off from the vibrations of firing the weapon. A machining burr that prevents full force transfer on a hammer or firing pin. Of course, there is always the very real causes from normal wear and tear. Metals do suffer from such things as wearing and, well, shearing. You just have to stock up on some parts and tools to prepare for that special, just in case moment.

An emergency use tool that I recommend having is a Broken Shell Extractor for every rifle / rifle caliber you have in your arsenal. For that fact, their cheap and their small; buy several for each rifle. Again... repeat after me, "Feces Occurs." And it can happen to parts and tools too.

Maintenance Tools: Most weapon platforms (AR, AK, FAL, 1911, Glock, etc.) require proprietary specialty tools for maintaining certain parts on their weapons. The remainder of the jobs can be performed using general use tools. You do need to determine what those specialty tools are and what they are used for. Imagine my total disappointment when I learned that a particular manufacturer's proprietary, specialty "armorer's tool" was nothing more than a high priced short piece of 3/32" diameter rod stock with a plastic handle (with company name, of course) that any sub quality 3/32" pin punch can replicate in physical function.

Maintenance / Repair Manuals: Depending on the weapon, some manuals are available free, downloaded from the internet. There are quite a few websites dedicated to specific firearms that contain tons of maintain / repair / upgrade information and the majority only require a free membership registration in order to access that information. Other manuals you would have to purchase from your firearm manufacturer, gunsmith supply houses or other specialty suppliers. Obtain and keep a library for your specific arsenal. Do I need to twist your arm to make you say it? Feces Occurs!!! You need to consider these things NOW. Whatcha gonna do when / if Big Zero shuts off the internet or an EMP shuts off all electricity service before ya get 'round to downloading this stuff?

Parts: There is no getting around it. Prepping is not for the weak of monetary assets. Not only do I most highly recommend you buy replacement parts for every weapon you own, I suggest you buy several of each part. Push comes to shove, you may be the only source of available parts when the stinky stuff smacks those high speed fan blades. Most manufacturers and parts suppliers, for the AR rifle platform, sell prepacked kits containing all of upper and lower receiver parts. These are all of the parts most likely to break, or be lost during maintenance duties. Again, buy two or three of each pack because you don't know how long it may take until normalcy returns (if at all). Considering the price or barter value they could potentially command in a TEOTWAWKI situation, consider buying several. God knows the AR rifle platform is the most popular weapon out there. Just look at a copy of Shotgun News and you'll confirm that statement. Learn how to fix'em and you just tripled your barter value.

My advice on parts is; don't be bashful. Buy replacement barrels for your drop in barreled weapons. (1911, Glock, etc.) If buying a complete upper receiver for an AR is out of your price range, putting a new barrel on an upper receiver is not an overly complicated job and the barrels alone are fairly inexpensive. Used stocks, grips and other parts can be had from several sources and are worth having on hand for your own needs and / or barter use. (I bought a bunch of H&K G-3 mags for .97 cents each... just for barter value)

Almost anyone can perform general, non technical type gunsmith work to their own firearms. Knowing what to do, what you need and having the tools / parts on hand to get it done is just as much a high priority as fully stocked pantries and having a source of potable water. Without them, your life won't be worth a pile of feces.



  1. got any good recommendations for online links to manuals etc? thanks

  2. Hey Conan,

    Google is your friend.


  3. Conan,

    It depends on what you're looking for.

    For example, if you are looking for a good manual for the AR platform, the site AR15.com has downloadables of the U.S. Army Armorer's manual, which covers every AR issue you can think of. They also have a manual for the AK family.

    The site militaryfirearms.com has threads on many of the battle rifles from around the world. AR, AK, FAL, CETME, etc.

    The site falfiles.com is dedicated to the FN FAL, in all of it's variations.

    Let me know the specific weapons you're interested in and I'll do what I can to help get you on track to the resource sources.


  4. ...hey Mike,good tips...to the general population:upgrade yer springs for starters,keep OEM parts(et al) as back ups...good call on arfcom,they're top notch(check out any/all of stickmans pics)...anyway,my rule of thumb by two of everything you may need(i "pace myself" cuz i'm always broke...lol)you can use it for barter if need be...if yer an optics fan,get a good BUIS(back up iron sights)...

    ...if the SHTF,always remeber:yer handgun is only meant to fight yer way back to a rifle...


  5. Spare parts are pretty important. Letting a $500 pistol or a $800 rifle be deadlined for lack of a 5 dollar part is stupid. Most of the parts that realistically wear out, get broken or lost during cleaning/ dis assembly are inexpensive. For more expensive stuff which is unlikely to break like barrels I would consider getting one per every 2-4 of those guns assuming you own multiples.

    Awhile back I sold off a gun with its mags and ammunition. Used that money to buy spare parts for my core weapons. It gave me a lot of peace of mind.

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