Apex Gunsmithing

Silly Things and the Gimmick Rifle

During my great content drought through the holidays and into the first quarter of 2018, I've spent a lot of time sick or caring for sick family and used that time to brainstorm a bunch of stuff.  On the one hand I have a laundry list of guides to finish, builds to complete, work to get done and maybe even some reviews and opinion rants to write up... but on the other hand I have some just outright goofy ideas to add a little humor to the mix.  Every now and then, expect something to really come out of left field and make as little sense as possible.

The Gimmick Rifle Project

Typically when I help someone put together a build sheet for an AR, AK or other platform build we go over everything in detail to balance out the practicality and price points of each component until we hit the sweet spot the potential owner is looking for.  What if we completely threw that paradigm out and tried to build the most ridiculous, gimmicky yet still perfectly usable AR-15 possible?  I've always had a fascination with the craziest and least practical accessories in the gun world, from stocks that contain spare magazines or a pistol holster to those grip pod things everyone loves to make fun of or the infamous Mossberg chainsaw shotgun grip.  Gimmicks live and die in rapid succession, often in obscurity because the niche someone thought they would fill didn't exist at all.  Solutions looking for problems, as some people put it.

Historically speaking, lots of gimmick accessories and whole gimmick firearms came and went over the past century or more.  From the arguably practical built in bipods of some FAL variants, Steyr Scout and Keltec SU-16 to weird air ignited caseless ammunition Daisy .22s and beyond, the thin line between innovation and gimmick has always been a hot topic for the gun world to debate over.  Are pistol stocks a gimmick or a way to enhance usability in niche situations?  Does the Glock frame plug really do anything useful?  All of these are topics for another day.

As a fun project for 2018, along with my planned expansion to our refinishing equipment and beyond, I'm going to start on a little journey into the darkest, dankest corners of the AR-15 parts world to find the goofiest components I possibly can.  Then I'm going to review them and assemble them into what could be considered the most gimmicky rifle of all time.  There will be a few rules, however:

  1. No redundant redundancies.  Parts can have inherent redundancy, but we won't be using multiple sets of backup sights, multiple optics, grips mounted on three cardinal directions, or any of that.
  2. Minimum acceptable practicality.  This is subjective, but it must be a rifle you could at least enjoy taking to the range.  Even if people laugh at you... a lot.
  3. Boutique be gone.  We're not talking about muzzle brakes made of designer inconel individually wire EDM cut in a painstaking 36 hour process that cost $400 each.  Silly shaped receivers and rails are about where the line gets drawn.

The end result will hopefully be something monstrous and tacky, but at least functional without being meme tier.  We've all seen the pictures of scopes on four sides of a quad rail, or flashlight-laser-magnifier-nightvision Cronenberg horrors bolted together atop a picatinny rail.  I'm after a conversation piece, not a cringey Facebook post.

Onward into 2018, hoping for the other three quarters to be filled with much more content than the first was!

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New For Sale Page

Hey, I have inventory again!  Check out the For Sale page, where each item is detailed with at least one good photo.  A couple of them still need updated with new photos since I just overhauled my work table lighting, but I'll have those done soon.

As always, local buyers are welcome to stop by and check them out in person or test fire used guns.  Since several of them are older blue labels with dim or dead night sights, I'll also be offering replacement sights at cost with discounted installs at only $15 for the Glocks and M&P40!

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Guides on the horizon

It's been a very, very long drought without any real content while our businesses have kept me busy the past few months.  The good news is we're back on the auction circuit picking up some cool guns and some of them have turned out to be oddballs worthy of posting about!  I'll be putting up some For Sale listings soon for several of our new purchases, but here's a quick rundown of the things I have lined up for Soon™:

  • Winchester Model 50, guide and history
  • Sig P228, general P2xx series guide and some commentary on them
  • Polish Semi-auto RPD build guide and thoughts on their conversion design
  • Savage 6A (aka 87, 187...) guide and history
  • Savage 59A guide and history

I'm also hoping to do a post talking about the generational differences between the S&W M&P series pistols.  Many people are well versed in the generations for Glock, but unlike the Austrian tupperware wonder the M&P hasn't undergone drastic visual differences in the frame to make them easy to distinguish.  At least, they didn't until the recent debut of the M&P M2.0 generation, which you can tell apart at a glance.  There's a lot of M&Ps out there spanning at least four major revisions to my knowledge, but my info is spotty so I'd like to get more details as best I can before I go dedicating an article to it!

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New Phone, who dis?

I'm in the process of switching phone service providers after a number of persistent issues over the past few months.  Between calls breaking up, voicemail greetings getting reset or the voicemail inbox being inaccessible at random times, billing issues and rising costs I've had about enough and pulled the proverbial trigger on the switch.

The office line will remain the same number as always, but you may encounter a blank voicemail greeting or a different one once I've set it up and recorded a new one.  If you can't reach me via phone, please drop me an email and I'll get back to you ASAP!

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Happy New Year!

We survived 2016, though it was full of twists and turns and a lot of best laid plans that never came about. Looking to 2017 some of those plans are still on the table, and with things a little less hectic they may actually get accomplished!

The first step is to resume creating detail strip guides and technical review articles for whatever firearms I have on hand. Even the boring stuff like Glocks or M&Ps will get guides going forward, since there is no such thing as too much good information. To supplement this I'll also be starting on video guides, which I put some work into a few months ago to set up for and develop a format but wasn't able to dedicate enough time to follow through on. Both of these styles of guide will also be posted to Patreon and accompanied by donation links, but as always the guides will be freely available to everyone!

In the spring I'll be taking another shot at finishing our cerakote setup, which was cut short last year due to family medical emergencies. The good news is before that happened we finished an airbrush paint booth and setting up a blast cabinet for bead or abrasive blasting, so it's all down to the cerakote mixing and application!

License renewal time is here again, and being my second FFL renewal that means February 1st marks the beginning of my seventh year in business. Thanks to everyone who kept 2016 busy despite the setbacks, and I hope that I'll see many of you again in 2017!


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New Merch!

It's been busy the past month or two!  We now have some new apparel available to anyone who wants to support their friendly neighborhood gunsmith!

  • Orange tees now available in Large, 2XL and 4XL for $17 each or two for $30 (any size combo)
  • Camo deluxe hats for $25
  • Mesh back orange on black trucker caps for $20

Thanks to all of our awesome customers, whether you stopped by for a transfer or a full custom rifle build!



Hey, we have merch now!  Apex Gunsmithing branded tees, pullovers, zip up hoodies and ball caps are here and they really came out great!  Thanks to the folks at Athletic Lettering in York for top notch work, great service and working with me to make adjustments where necessary.  We've had them make hats and tees for other businesses in the past and they've always been excellent!

We're official!

We're official!

We've only got a small batch of each for now, but I'm already getting requests for the hats and tees so we may have to order more!  The pricing isn't final but should be close to the following:

  • Tees: $15, 2XL only right now and only a handful available since we're busy wearing them!
  • Hats: $20 maximum, 6 or so available.
  • Pullovers: $50, none for sale since I claimed all of them myself.  They're insanely nice relaxed fit athletic pullovers with an earplugs pocket for the range!
  • Zip Ups: $35, none for sale since we only got 4 initially.

I'll put up an actual for sale page item for these at some point, but until then feel free to email if you're interested and I'll gauge interest on another batch.


PSA: Don’t drop ship me guns without prior arrangements

I hate that I even have to post about this, but please don't blindly ship me a firearm and expect me to do a transfer for you.  I'm almost always willing to do so, but if you drop ship me a gun through Sportsman's Guide or some other wholesale middleman without at least contacting me first I WILL RETURN THE SHIPMENT TO SENDER.  It's not my responsibility as the FFL to work backwards and pin you down to pick up a gun that arrived unexpectedly.

Email always works best, don't hesitate to drop me an email any time and you might be surprised to get a reply after hours.  I'm in and out of my little home office all day every day working on guns, attending auctions and keeping up with the property maintenance so I don't always get voicemails right away.  Either way I'll try my utmost to get back to you as soon as possible and set things up so everyone is on the same page.

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No News and Good News

It's been a long, long while since I posted any real content and I apologize for the break in the action.  I've still got a to-do list a mile long, and here's just a small chunk of it you can expect to see:

  • CZ Scorpion Evo technical review and detail strip guide
  • DSA/Wiselite Semi-auto RPD technical review and detail strip guide
  • Updates on the Tavor, TN Arms lowers, and 3D printed AK handguards
  • Stories from the gunsmith's bench
  • Ruger SR-762 range review
  • Carry gun setup and comparing sights and features for EDC
  • Lots of knife reviews!

In addition to all of that, I recently finished constructing a nice paint booth for Cerakote use, so after all sorts of delays the refinishing services on back on track.  Most importantly though, we're working right now on a plan to set up a full time, stocked storefront shop and expand the capabilities of my limited toolbox!  I can't give a solid ETA, but we're shooting for Spring 2016 or before, so wish me luck and keep an eye on the site!

A special thanks to "the regulars" who stop by to chat, order cool stuff and let me tinker with their guns to write reviews!

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Patreon and Supporting New Content

I've started a Patreon project, linked in the sidebar, in order to focus efforts on creating more detail strip guides and other quality content for people to enjoy.  For those familiar with Kickstarter or other crowd-funding sites, it's kind of like that but geared to support continual creation of content like writing, art, or videos.

What does this mean?

Basically, anyone can go to the Patreon project page and subscribe, pledge any amount of their choosing, or point friends to the project to help support my efforts.  All of the content is still posted here and linked from Patreon, and each time a new guide or video is posted everyone who is subscribed or pledged will get notified automatically.

Will guides still be free?

YES!  All of the guides will continue being 100% free to access.  No paywalls, no holding back exclusive content.  Aside from getting things a little earlier and some unrelated bonuses, everyone gets the same content that paying patrons do.

Can I support other ways?

YES!  You can still do one-time donations via PayPal, loan me things to make guides and videos of, or just do business as normal with your friendly neighborhood gunsmith!  You can also use the adfly links on the list pages for the moment, which are zero effort ways to help generate a few cents.

Huge thanks to those who have supported my efforts thus far.  I hope to keep making detailed guides, start doing videos and see what other content I can get tangled up in making soon!

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