Spot The Shoddy Work

by James Nicholas the XDMAN

Gunsmithing Gone Wrong

Always Double Check Your Smith's Work

By James Nicholas

A set of Trijicon night sights that a gunsmith tried to install on a Springfield Armory XD slide. The slide was damaged from the punch that was used to install the sights. 

 A customer of mine from Virginia forwarded me a link to a talk group for me to take a look at. Basically an XD owner took his pistol to a local gunsmith to have a set of  sights installed. The smith installed the sights and returned the pistol to the owner and took the payment for the job. Later on in the day the XD owner took the gun out to look at his brand new sights and to his horror finally noticed the damage to the slide. The XD owner realized that he was in such a hurry when he picked his gun up at the shop that he had not bothered to inspect the work. The owner was left to try to clean up the slide himself  so it did not look so bad. In the long run the owner planned to find and pay another gunsmith to fully fix the damage and refinish the slide bringing it back to its original condition. I would estimate the repair job will cost the owner in the neighborhood of 100.00 in addition to what he already paid for the sights and “install job” Take a look at the damage in the pictures below.

Some of the takeaways I would like people to learn from are:

  • Any time you have work performed by your gunsmith,  always take the time to check the work before you leave. Verify the work has been performed to your satisfaction. You even may want to take pictures of your weapon before you drop it off.  That way, if your weapon is damaged, you can show that it was fine before the shop took the job.
  • Shop around for your gunsmith. You would not take your car in for a transmission problem to a brake specialist, would you? The same goes for your gunsmith. Ask your friends for recommendations if they have had similar work done. Use the internet and find a talk group that corresponds to your make and model of gun--guaranteed they know who specializes in your firearm.
  • Always interview your smith: Do they answer when you call and answer all your questions to your satisfaction? Does the smith have experience on your weapon? I tell people all the time that I would rather not experiment on their gun if I have never worked on anything similar before. I have never had a customer laugh at me because I did not know something. In fact most are thankful at the honesty. What's the cost and turnaround time? What's the actual lead time right now when you need the work done? What's the cost including shipping if any? Do they offer a warranty on their work? What's the policy if they break or damage your firearm? 


The damaged slide from a bad sight install on a Springfield Armory XD. 

Things to ask your potential Smith

  1. Have you worked on my make and model firearm? 

  2. Have you ever preformed this particular job before? 

  3. What's the turnaround time? 

  4. What;s your current lead time? 

  5. What's the cost? (including shipping and/or parts)

  6. Do your warranty you work? 

  7. What if you break or damage my stuff? 

  8. Do you have examples of your work? 

  9. How long have you been in business?