Backups & spare parts

Despite man’s best intentions, we are still error prone. Both in actions and designs. No matter how cool or awesome your particular blaster is or is claimed to be, it’s a good idea to have a backup and or spare parts.

The easy option

On the range, the easiest fix when your pistol goes down is to go to your spare or backup. You safely deal with the issue at hand then replace it outright with the new pistol similarly setup to minimize down time on the range. I recommend this even if you do not experience a pistol going down. The idea of having two, falls in line with an old saying “one of one is none”. Sometimes it can suck like when you have to lug it around it all the time, but in most cases having a spare gives a welcome piece of mind. I generally travel with two pistols, one for work and one for carry, but on more than one occasion I’ve had to loan a student my backup.

Spare parts kit

If you can’t bring a spare, like with rifles then at the very minimum you should have spare parts on hand. Do some research and figure out the most common small parts breakage issues. Take some time to read up and watch some videos on the subject. As with anything some resources are questionable, but the herd is thinning out. Procure these small parts and get familiar with how to properly install them and perform a function check. During your routine maintenance you should inspect these small parts. Examine them to ensure they are still serviceable and do not need replacing. If you are in doubt, chunk it and replace with your spare. Some of the parts are pretty inexpensive, I mean we are talking a couple of bucks. Others are definitely an investment, but well worth it if you are traveling to a training class or worse in the performance of your duties.


We see so many things happen in our classes. The intensity of the classes provides a good opportunity to proof many concepts. I remember one class where we had a pistol experience some interesting metallurgy issue where part of the slide literally peeled away. The student had been keeping an accurate round count so it was at approximately 15k through the pistol. He would not have learned of the issue had he not performed an inspection during a routine cleaning after class on training day one. Luckily he had a spare pistol and simply replaced the slide with the one from the spare and avoided the problem all together. Many times folks overlook the maintenance required of their equipment. I encourage everyone to learn the failure points, learn how to recognize them in advance and learn how to prevent them for longevity.

Going Tango Uniform

While most modern service firearms are robust and reliable it is amusing to see how easily they can go down. We have had small parts break over the years and when I say small, I mean small. When they broke they put the firearm into a non-operative condition. Not only are they small, but most are pretty inexpensive. I often find myself replacing parts from my own spare parts kit so it was nice to see someone else who has a well stocked spar parts kit. Being familiar with the replacement of some of these parts is another skill to have and on most firearms easy to learn.

Of course, the above is of little value if your firearm goes down in a fight. That argument is still not an excuse not to invest in backups and small parts kits.

One thought on “Backups & spare parts

  1. RamZar says:

    I carry several parts for my Glock for both slide and frame. I even have complete trigger assemblies to drop in. Hand in hand with knowing, inspecting and replacing parts is replacing the recoil spring on a Glock once every 3,000 rounds or so. Like lubrication it’s a must and inexpensive. Replacing recoil springs not only minimizes malfunctions but puts let’s wear on your pistol.

    I’m not as good with spare parts for my M4 but will strive to rectify that.

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