By Rick Largesse
I recently attended a Remington AR-15/M4 Armorer Certification course. For two of us this was a re-certification, but for the other fifteen students, this was their first exposure to armoring this weapon platform. The course started as most do, with and introduction of the instructor to the students and vice versa. During these intros, it is common for the instructor to give a brief background on themselves to qualify their position as the course instructor. This course was no different. The instructor detailed his professional background in the armoring/manufacturing world, throwing out several recognizable company names. From here things went downhill. I jotted down a few key bits of wisdom to remember later on when armoring weapons that people defend their lives with. These included:
Use the firing pin to push out other pins(ie extractor pin) – (no use the proper punches)
Industry standard barrel twist is 1in9 – (1/7 and 1/8 are far more of a standard which are able to stabilize a greater range of projectiles)
1in7 twist barrels will only stabilize projectiles between 69-90gr -(tell that to everyone using 55 gr without issue through their 1/7 barrels)
Industry standard barrel steel is 4140. Bushmaster goes a step above and utilizes 4150. – (4150 is a commonly used steel for barrels, 4140 is the cheap solution which isn’t a standard)
Okay, so I was being facetious when I referred to these points as “bits of wisdom”. I made note of these things as I rolled my eyes and continued on with the course. Over the lunch breaks, the other re-cert student and I joked about the ridiculousness of these statements. At the end of the course, I placed a couple phone calls to educated individuals and again laughed and joked about the misinformation. Later on I began to think more critically of this erroneous material and the impact it can have on our community. For the fifteen inexperienced armorers, this information might have been mistaken as factual. The problem doesn’t end there. These guys will likely go back to their respective departments and regurgitate the information presented to them in courses like this one. The people who are spoon-fed this secondhand, drivel will then pass it to their fellow Officers and shooting buddies. It might also end up being passed off as factual information on social media and internet forums, often prefaced by “The instructor in my armorer school said….”. The seed has been planted.
Some may criticize me for not challenging this information as presented, but that’s not my job. I was not there in an instructor capacity. Rather, I would suggest that the onus is on the student to verify the information. This is how we can grow and safeguard ourselves. Be critical. Question what you hear/see/read. Seek information from MULTIPLE/REPUTABLE sources and compare information. This is a recurring theme in the gun/training community. Many times people become emotionally attached to one company/instructor/etc and see the world through rose colored glasses. My advice is this; cut the umbilical cord. Diversify your portfolio. See and do as much as you can. Only then will you be able separate the wheat from the chaff.