How Reliable are Homemade Firearms from 80% Lowers?

For anyone who comes across DIY guns, their reliability is a loaded topic. While some people may still doubt the reliability of an 80% lower receiver, the millions of deeply satisfied owners of finished frames know the real answer to that question. Although it is legal to purchase and own a stock model gun from a manufacturer, the process entails a paper trail, serial tracking and a background check.

The draw of purchasing legal 80% lowers lies in privacy. Despite lawmakers continually trying to infringe upon gun owners’ rights to keep and bear firearms, Americans have been able to purchase 80% lower receivers to remain off the books and stay legal. However, a topic of debate has always been about the effectiveness and reliability of these homemade firearms in comparison to stock models.

User Error
Since 20% unfinished frames are delivered to the doorsteps of many individuals around the country, it is the individual’s responsibility to finish the receiver into a working firearm. It should go without saying that building your own gun comes with some perils. People come with varying degrees of knowledge and some have less experience working with tools or machinery. These people may be the ones who gave the reliability of homemade firearms a bad reputation in the past.

Manufacturing Errors
Defective parts are an unavoidable fault and there have been accounts of recalls on defective DIY gun parts in the past. Most suppliers and manufacturers have recall lists and guarantees that can protect customers in the event there is a faulty piece. This stresses the importance of buying all DIY guns, parts, and accessories from reputable suppliers and manufacturers.
Another very important factor that contributes to the reliability of any piece of merchandise is the quality of the material it is made from. Higher standards and requirements for production mean American made is often of better quality.

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Machining Issues
Diving into a gun project takes some basic firearms knowledge and competence of tools. This coupled with patience, precision, and some time dedication will produce a reliable DIY gun. You can finish a lower receiver with just a few tools: a jig, manual drill press, and the appropriate drill bits. With some machining, milling, and drilling actions and a frame kit, anyone can easily assemble a completely legal firearm.
The exception to this are the few who:
● do not follow the guidelines for assembly
● use the incorrect template
● use poorly constructed materials from questionable suppliers
● are simply poor machinists
Not paying attention to detail while building your masterpiece will directly affect the performance and reliability of your homemade gun making it inferior to a stock model.

Reliability Outside of Variables
The answer of reliability in homemade firearms is simple: DIY guns are as reliable as the individual who builds them. Shoddy workmanship, purchasing from unreliable dealers, and a lack of gun knowledge breed unreliable outcomes.

Article by Jordan McDowell of JSD Supply