I would like to write about cheap guns in this article. What do I mean when I say, “Cheap Guns”? I could mean that they are cheaply priced, meaning a good value, or I might be saying that it is a cheap piece of crap… or both! Some folks are lucky enough to be able to say that they would have nothing to do with a cheap gun. Well, I would bet that most of the people that own cheap guns would love to be able to have the same attitude.
The fact is is that many people can’t afford to buy a quality gun, so they at least have the option of owning something better than a kitchen knife and a baseball bat to defend themselves with. I will admit that when using certain models of firearms, it would be a good idea to hang onto the knife as a backup anyway! I, on the other hand, am a freak of nature and love cheap guns because they are so cheap! They are interesting, designed to be simple and cheap to manufacture… no frills!
I decided to write this article because of my friend Ken Brooks. Ken really enjoys giving me a rough time about my love of cheap guns. This is my attempt to explain why I like cheap guns and why that I believe that they have their place. For what it’s worth, I would like to make something very clear… I like quality guns a lot better than cheap guns! Okay, my manhood is intact and I’m ready to continue.
I understand why Ken, and many others (especially Gunsmiths), hate cheap guns; because they are a liability, they cost far more to fix than to simply buy a new one and they are usually made of such a cheap alloy that welding, bending and stretching become a great concern. I remember working on specific models that the parts are made out of such horrible metal that the adjustments or alterations that I just made were out of whack after test firing several rounds! That type of gun I can understand not ever wanting anywhere near your shop! On the other hand, I have met gunsmiths that love these little moneymakers because they always break and need fixing. Many of these repairs come down to simply replacing broken or missing parts. The point being quality guns do not end up in the repair shop very often.
Another reason that I like cheap guns is because I can use them as an inexpensive learning tool. I have bought cheaply priced and broken guns just so I can try and fix them. The first firearms that I ever fixed were my family heirlooms. I invested in a few DVDs from the American Gunsmithing Institute and fixed them cheaply because I could not afford to take them to a competent gunsmith. After almost having a nervous breakdown repairing those guns, I decided to switch over to buying and then experimenting on cheap guns. The mechanisms are simple, interesting, and easy to study and understand. When it came to working on and altering gun parts, I figured that if I am going to wreck something while I learn to get better a certain task, I might as well do it with cheap guns… makes sense, right?
Americans have always had an appreciation for small concealable handguns and our government has been trying to take that right away since there has been a government. At this point in time, we even have laws like the “Right to Carry Laws” that combat other laws that make it illegal to carry a small handgun! The slang term for a compact inexpensive/cheap, small caliber handgun is Saturday Night Special. The history of this term is vile and should be researched in your own time. Federal legislation has restricted the usage of many cheap small caliber firearms thinking that they are saving us from ourselves, however a study by the Justice Department itself revealed that 68% of felons would switch to using more expensive and higher caliber handguns if they couldn’t find a “Saturday Night Special” and 18% would switch to a sawed off weapon! Another study showed that Law Enforcement Agents are becoming more fearful of higher caliber weapons that are being used in crimes more often now. Some say this is the result of the Drug Trade booming and others say that it is because the cheap small caliber guns are not easily acquired anymore. One thing for sure is that by not having the option of buying cheap guns, there is a vast percentage of poor folks that can?t properly protect themselves and more often than not, these are the people that really need a firearm to survive!
So, while I’m on the topic of cheap guns, I would like to share a story with you. My little tale involves a bunch of cheap guns and people that I love.
In a previous article, Dragon Shotgun, I wrote about a Hawk shotgun that I customized for one of my friends. The Hawk shotgun is a cheaply priced Chinese copy of a Remington 870. If you know that you will not be able to afford a Remington, the Hawk is a good cheap choice. The reason that I ended up working on that shotgun was because my friend saw a rifle that I customized for another friend. When I was working on the Hawk shotgun, I bought a couple different sets of reptilian taxidermy eyes. One pair was inlet into the forend of the shotgun and the other pair was used on the grips of an RG-26 pistol for yet another one of my friends.
On other projects, I have chosen to inlet things with a hammer and chisel. Having proven to myself that I could do such a thing, I decided that I wanted to try to get it done in a more efficient manner. I have been moving my shop to a place that has a lot more natural light, so I used what was handy to strap the grips of the RG-26 down to be inletted. I used a 1″ drill bit to make room for the reptile eyes. I then epoxied the eyes into the grips.
Funny how things go, when my friend came to pick up the RG-26 and a little Jennings J-22 that I had installed a new firing pin in, I was busy spraying the shotgun Barney Purple. I was trying an aerosol DuraCoat protective finish. She didn’t really like the look of the solid black Jennings gun and though chances were good that I was going to run out of paint, we figured that it would look better than the way it currently looked! Well, even though I ran out of paint when painting her gun, she thinks it looks better than it did. She calls it her new “Apron Gun”, don’t mess with her in the kitchen! The J-22 definitely looks like a gun a lady would enjoy shooting and looking at. I was disturbed at the fact that I ran out of paint, but it was pointed out to me that she could now see the safety more clearly and it was much better for her now. I guess I must embrace my mistakes as innovations… I’ll take it! I have found that many of the women I know do not like black guns very much?! So for all you dudes out there that are wondering why I destroyed a good looking black gun, the answer is “Women” and that’s a good thing!