Tips from the Workbench with Ken Brooks

kenBrooksAGI Gunsmithing Instructor and Master Gunsmith
Ken Brooks operates
 PISCO Gunsmithing in Oregon.

In this video, Master Gunsmith Ken Brooks discusses the real dangers that can occur if and when a customer brings a loaded gun into your shop. This will eventually happen to every gunsmith, so be prepared to deal with it, and develop a system for checking guns as soon as they arrive at your place of business.


5 Responses to Tips from the Workbench with Ken Brooks

  1. Good stuff as always. Here is one more no, no. Just last week, I had someone come in with a rifle with an almost full magazine. The magazine was in the man’s pocket, and the rifle was empty. We went over what the problem was, and I wrote up the estimate. He had laid the magazine on my bench, and he had explained that since it was an uncommon caliber, he brought a magazine that was nearly full.

    All was well until I had finished solving his problem, and was ready to test the gun. I took the gun outside (I’m in the country and have a safe place to test fire). I first worked the action manually (it’s an auto) and let a couple rounds fall on the ground. I dropped the magazine in my hand & reloaded those rounds. I then replaced the mag and started pulling the trigger. It went bang three times, then click. Luckily, this gun would not hold the wrong caliber in-place solidly enough to fire. Buried in with the correct ammo were two rounds of a completely different caliber.

    From now on, when a customer brings in a loaded magazine for test ammo, I’ll push all of his rounds out onto the bench for inspection before using them.

  2. I had a guy come in with a semi auto pistol in its locked (double padlocked) plastic case for sight replacement. He unlocked the case took his 45 acp pistol out, racked the slide then dropped the mag pointed at the floor and BANG! Did it all so quickly I had no chance to stop him.
    “What the HEQRZ are you doing bringing a loaded gun into my shop?”
    I now charge $50 up front for bringing in a loaded gun. NO-ONE has complained.
    If they tell me they are pretty sure its an empty case jammed, I probe with a small wooden dowel. Almost always it is a spent case so I lighten up on them.
    Had a guy bring in an AR15. When I pulled the charging handle…a live round came out.
    I do not let anyone operate their firearm in my shop until and unless I have verified it is clear.

    It’s amazing how little damage a 45 acp bullet does to a smooth concrete floor! Left a nice round lead smear for future training purposes

  3. Always check and double check.When I first started in Gunsmithing I had checked all my guns in the rack to be repaired and they were all cleared.well I grabbed a AR and was going to fix it,SO ( knowing that I already cleared it) I pulled the trigger,And BANG! Unknown to me was that a guy that worked in the store used the gun the night before and returned it with a round in the chamber.Always check the gun before you work on it.Thank God the gun was pointing to the floor and not in the vise,somebody would have definitely been hit.Thanks for listening…Rick

  4. ALL Guns are ALWAYS loaded. Doesn’t matter if you checked it five minutes ago, if it left your hands, It’s LOADED. Check it again.
    I always do it with my weapons even though there is no ammo in the room.

  5. Just another little add-on: I never let live ammo get anywhere near my bench. If a customer brings ammo in for testing, it gets tagged and goes into the ammo locker until I am done working on the gun and ready to take it out for test fire.

    Action testing on the bench? Well… that’s why they make snap caps. I will, on occasion (where I need to verify firing pin function) use a primed empty case for the task, but that’s as close as anything live gets to a gun inside my shop.