Apex Gunsmithing
4Aug/17

Disassembly Guide: Polish P-64

Prior to the influx of inexpensive P-64 pistols onto the market, seeing one in the wild would usually end up with it being mistaken for a Makarov.  Even today, local auction listings misidentify the diminutive Polish handgun with its more famous contemporaries to the ire of P-64 fans everywhere.  Originally designed to replace the Tokarev as a service handgun and tested in two variants - the Military and Police versions, which differed in size and capacity - the P-64 would usurp the TT-33 in Poland and serve for decades as a standard sidearm.  In recent years, the little P-64 has gained more of a reputation thanks to its dirt cheap price point, ungodly double action trigger pull and harsh recoil for a 9x18 Makarov chambered pistol.  Despite its shortcomings the P-64 enjoys a bit of a cult following, clearly by people who have never had to disassemble one.

Thankfully swapping out a hammer spring to lighten the trigger isn't a huge job, but if you want to dig deeper or do a full strip for refinishing you better settle in for a long, frustrating evening.

The P-64 is an all-steel handful of pistol.

The P-64 is an all-steel handful of pistol.

30Jun/17

Disassembly Guide: Glocks

I was going to make this a joke guide for April Fools originally, since let's be honest... who doesn't know how to take apart a Glock?  Whether you think they're "Perfection™", a durable utilitarian tool that gets the job done, or an ugly brick of a plastic wonder-nine that will never live up to the hype, the Glock pistol is everywhere.  What the Glock lacks in aesthetic appeal it makes up in simplicity, low part count, and ease of tuning.  After all, there aren't many pistols out there that you can do a $10 trigger job on quite like the Glock.  Instead of just making the shortest disassembly guide in history, let's discuss the history of the Glock and some tuning tips to spice things up!

This early 90s blue label police sale Glock 21 is a throwback to the AWB years.

This early 2000s blue label police sale Glock 21 is a throwback to the AWB years.

27Jun/17

Disassembly Guide: Springfield Armory XD-S

When the Springfield XDS hit the market a few years ago, it made a big splash for being a tiny gun with a lot of punch.  Who was crazy enough to make a five-shot single stack micro-compact in .45ACP?  The runaway success of the XDS, despite its teething pains with a prominent recall, led Springfield to branch out into the highly anticipated 9x19 and .40S&W cartridges, new SKUs, and new barrel lengths.  Shrinking down the XD/M designs into a palm sized package no doubt took plenty of engineering effort, but the heart of the design remains reminiscent of its bigger brothers.

XDS .45 Two Tone

XDS .45 Two Tone

27Feb/16

Detail Strip Guide: Lionheart LH9/Daewoo DP-51 & Variants

A while back I wrote a very basic text only guide for detail stripping the Lionheart LH9, a variant of the Daewoo DP-51 and its family of unique "triple action" pistols, but I never had the opportunity to make a proper guide with photos to match.  Today the LH9 gets a real guide as part of my ongoing series of detail strip posts to get caught back up!

The LH9 series of pistols is a premium version of the cult classic DP-51, which is itself a commercial variant of the South Korean service pistol, the K5.  Originally designed in the early to mid 80's as part of Korea's push for a domestically produced service pistol, the K5 was trialed to death over several years before final adoption in 1989/1990.  The history of Korean small arms and Daewoo/S&T Motiv is fascinating to read up on, I highly recommend the relevant chapters of Black Rifle which highlight US involvement in Korean small arms production during and after the Vietnam War.

On the homefront, the DP-51 was the victim of nebulous commercialization in the US, with numerous importers picking up batches of pistols including compact models and the relatively new .40S&W chambering christened the DH-40.  Between the model confusion, attempts to re-brand the pistols, and the sheer number of importers trying to pitch the gun as a new wonder-nine during the rise of the Clinton ban era, it's amazing that the DP-51 remains a cult hit and saw reintroduction in the US at all.  In 2011, the upstart Lionheart Industries turned the DP-51 into a premium hammer fired, alloy frame pistol with numerous features the US market demands in modern pistols.  The LH9 series maintains almost complete parts compatibility with the DP-51, and Lionheart provides a retail channel for parts to maintain both their LH9 and the original guns.

A plain black LH9N - "N" for Novaks sights.

A plain black LH9N - "N" for Novaks sights.

20Feb/16

Detail Strip Guide: S&W M&P22 Full Size

The popularity of .22 as a training tool exploded a few years back just before the great ammo drought, ushering in a golden age of rimfire lookalikes mimicking popular defense handguns.  It seemed like the next logical step up from expensive conversion kits that nearly cost as much as a standalone rimfire pistol by themselves and were often difficult to find in stock.  For a while every .22 lookalike pistol that hit the market seemed plagued with issues, the Walther P22 and Sig Mosquito were at one time famously problematic as they fought through their growing pains.  It took Smith & Wesson a few years to catch up, but they appear to have spent their time wisely and learned from the failings of other guns to make the M&P22 a reliable little package.

I recently had the opportunity to compare the newer Compact model alongside the full size example that I'll be ripping apart in this guide, so I've included a few notes along the way to highlight design changes on the newer pistol.

This guide also covers removing the magazine disconnector "safety" which can be omitted with no negative effects on the gun's function and no parts or spacers are needed.

It looks and feels like the M&P, but it doesn't work like one on the inside!

It looks and feels like the M&P, but it doesn't work like one on the inside!

2Feb/16

Detail Strip Guide: HK300 (PREVIEW!)

This is a preview draft of a guide I wrote a couple of months ago but decided needed more detail.  With the new camera in hand and a video format in the works for video guides as well, I'll be working on a LOT more guides in the coming months!

 

Once upon a time, Heckler & Koch tried their hand at making more traditional wood and steel "sporting" arms.  For a brief period in the 70's and 80's, they brought out a series of premium priced firearms that sold decently, but ultimately not well enough to continue the trend.  It's strange to think of the company responsible for the USP, MP5 and so many "tactical" firearms once had a catalog that had more in common with the Sears sporting goods section than a SWAT team armory, but the sporting phase was one of a few attempts the company made to find their niche when military contracts began to drop off.  If it weren't for that pesky money problem, the 70's and 80's may very well have been a golden age of H&K; two decades of crazy risk taking, innovation in design and new materials finally wound down into a brief dance with disaster before the USP helped save the company.

Born from this tarnished golden age was the HK300, one of the few semi-automatic, detachable magazine fed .22 magnum rifles you can get your hands on.  It's difficult to find information on just how many of these rifles were made, but the numbers I've found point to less than 30,000 with an unknown number of those imported into the US.

To my knowledge, this is the ONLY detail strip guide for the HK300 rifle on the internet.  I hope it helps someone!

It's not a pristine example, but good luck finding one under $1500!

It's not a pristine example, but good luck finding one under $1000!

29Oct/15

Detail Strip Guide: Walther CCP

This is an off the cuff guide while I have a customer's gun apart to try and solve the Achilles heel of this pistol: the absolutely unbearable gritty trigger pull.  Being the first CCP I've handled, I don't know if this is a common problem or not but judging by the shoddy quality of stamped parts, rough finished internals and roll pins all over the gun I can take a good guess that this pistol isn't unique in having a gravel road for a trigger.  While the mechanism itself is rather clever, it suffers from a myriad of problems under the hood.  None the less, let's take a crack at it!

Walther's single stack 9, with the plastic tool provided to field strip it.

Walther's single stack 9, with the plastic tool provided to field strip it.

10Oct/15

Detail Strip Guide: CZ Scorpion Evo

When CZ brought out the Scorpion Evo as a pistol it immediately gained popularity as a less expensive, reliable pistol caliber carbine alternative with affordable magazines.  Using an adapter and the right AR-15 style buffer tube and a Sig arm brace makes the gun a handy 9mm package with lots of modern features, ambidextrous controls and frankly it just plain looks cool.  Even better, it's extremely easy to work on and the fire control is designed conventionally, making it simple to tune up for anyone so inclined.

Angled foregrips are A-OK on handguns.

Angled foregrips are A-OK on handguns!

26Jul/15

Tool Review – AIM AR-15 Armorer’s Wrench

A couple months back I volunteered to test drive an AR-15 armorer's wrench in exchange for an honest review.  Full disclosure: the wrench reviewed here was provided to me by Products at Your Fingertips (via Amazon) free of charge for review purposes.  Due to a bunch of delays, family medical emergencies and having most of the parts for the rifle builds I was planning to use this wrench on I wasn't able to really give it a workout until recently.

As a 'smith I've used a bunch of different AR-15 combo wrenches.  They're all over the place, everyone makes one and a lot of them are barely adequate or outright suck.  Most of them have the same core functionality, give or take a couple of doodads, so as long as the wrench holds up to abuse you're good to go.  The first combo wrench I ever bought years ago was a DPMS in that hideous speckled grey finish, and despite being cheap it's still holding up as a backup to get borrowed out to friends now and then.

The core functions that most wrenches have are:

  • Barrel nut teeth and pegs
  • 5/8" and 3/4" square slots for flash hiders and rifle buffer tubes
  • Castle nut wrench teeth
  • A screwdriver tip
  • 1/2" drive for torque wrench use
Checks all the boxes, looks decent too.

Checks all the boxes, looks decent too.

13Apr/15

Range Review: Canik Stingray-C

It's been a while since I wrote about the Canik Stingray-C a friend and customer loaned me for review, mostly because it came to me over the winter during some horrible weather and the eventual melt turned my range into a swamp Shrek would've been proud to lay claim to.  Now that the weather has warmed up and dried up, I've been able to hit the range and start working through my backlog of reviews little by little!

First thing's first, here's a link to my original hands on article: Canik-55 Stingray-C.  If you're not familiar with these Turkish built CZ copies, take a look there to get the rundown on the feature set and overall build quality.