What Else Will You Need with a Gun Parts Kit?
Apr 27th 2023
In this era of soaring gun sales and ammo shortages, sometimes you just can’t find what you’re looking for on the shelf at the local shop.
Even if it’s just a case of 12 gauge target loads.
For others, building their own platforms at home is an enjoyable way to get more familiar with firearm mechanics, to work with their hands, and to build a truly custom platform.
But it’s not really that easy of a process. If you’ve never built a gun from a parts kit, here are a few things you should know.
A Receiver Blank or Frame Blank
Most if not all gun parts kits do not come with a receiver or frame blank.
This is the central part of the firearm; the part that, when finished and offered for sale, is serialized and regulated by the ATF as a firearm.
At the same time, unfinished firearm receivers and frame blanks (pejoratively called ghost guns by those that have no idea what they’re talking about) are not serialized and are not regulated by the ATF as firearms.
Unfinished receiver or frame blanks do not have key elements milled out, such as the slot for a trigger group or the holes for a fire selector switch (it varies according to model, manufacturer, and platform). Therefore, they are not considered firearms and cannot be used to complete one until they are finished.
With a little bit of knowledge and the right equipment, however, you can complete a receiver blank or frame and use it to assemble a firearm.
Some states have outlawed the sale or possession of frame or receiver blanks, but in others, it remains legal to machine complete one and assemble a firearm for personal use only.
(Note: This is not legal advice and state and federal laws are in a constant state of flux. If you have any legal questions at all, consult a firearm lawyer. Nothing in this post constitutes legal advice.)
If you are considering a project like a home build, make sure you consult the appropriate legal counsel and that you get a gun parts kit and a frame/receiver that are compatible with each other.
A Jig Kit
Besides the gun parts kit and a corresponding receiver/frame blank, you will also need a jig kit.
Jig kits are model-specific and serve as a template that holds the frame/receiver in place so that the appropriate holes can be drilled or portions machined away. It serves as a guide to ensure that the holes are milled accurately and to the appropriate depth.
Frame jigs are usually made from lightweight polymers or metals like aluminum. Often, they can be used many times, so the same jig can be used to complete several frames or receivers.
A Router or Drill and Bits
In addition to a jig kit, you will also need either a router, a drill press, or a handheld drill and appropriate bits.
You may need specific bits to cut the material depending on the nature of your press, the speed, or the material. Some are more efficient than others at operating at high speeds, for example, so keep that in mind.
Parts That Often Don’t Come with Gun Parts Kits
Also, be aware that some gun parts kits actually don’t come with all the parts you need to assemble the firearm.
Often, they do, but not always. For instance, most build kits don’t come with a magazine, so if you’re building a mag-fed firearm, you’ll need one. Others don’t come with pistol grips or muzzle devices, and some may not come with handguards.
It’s also fairly common for AR build kits not to come with bolt carrier groups, so you may need to get one separately. For most builders, this isn’t a problem though, as it enables an easier customization. That may be why some kits don’t have them in the first place.
With that said, for the most part, gun parts kits will come with a barrel, trigger group, slide/bolt/pump/, grip, stock, and all of the pins, springs, detents, and other hardware you need to complete the build.
Get with a Friend That Has Done This Before
One more thing to note: if you’ve never done this before, it might serve you to work with a friend or a gunsmith that has experience doing it. You need to be the one to actually perform the work and assemble the finished product, but someone with experience can help answer your questions along the way.
They can’t do it for you though.
…Or Call Us for Help
If you don’t know anyone with experience taking on projects like this, feel free to get in touch with us at 610-250-3960 and we’d be more than happy to answer any questions you have about handgun or rifle parts, finishing a receiver or blank, or assembly.