You may be wondering can guns be laser engraved. Laser engraving is a great way to personalize property and give it unique and attractive designs. With modern technology, laser engraving machines have come a long way, making them ideal for marking on different materials, but what about guns?
Guns can be laser engraved. Not only can they be engraved, but it is required for any firearm imported after January 30, 2022, to have serial numbers etched into them.
When adding markings to a gun, a laser engraver can give you quality designs with great lines and high accuracy and precision. Let’s examine how and why guns are laser engraved and the best machines to do the job.
Types of Gun Engraving
There are two main ways to engrave a gun. You can choose from traditional engraving and advanced laser engraving. Each option is accepted by law as long as the requirements are met.
The traditional firearm engraving method is die stamping. This engraving method requires a hard metal die with a particular image or text. This hardened die is pressed against the gun’s surface with immense force. This process results in the pattern transferring to the gun permanently.
Although this is a popular method used in the past, it is also a very time-consuming and costly process.
Once the stamp is imprinted onto the metal, it needs polishing to smooth the edges and provide an appealing look.
Laser engraving is the most effective and efficient way to engrave guns today. This process utilizes laser beams by projecting them onto the surface of a gun and vaporizing the material, creating permanent text and designs with ease.
Laser machines are easier and faster than stamping. To use a laser engraving machine, you enter the design you want into specific computer software, which then sends the information to the laser. The software also acts as a guide, telling the engraving head what patterns and movements to make.
Engraving the metal and industrial plastic parts of guns is done with a fiber laser. Our Fiber Laser buying guide can be found here.
Reasons to Laser Engrave a Gun
People will engrave their guns for a variety of reasons. This is a great way to give it identifying markers and to make it more aesthetically pleasing to the owner.
Serial Numbers and QR Codes
It is required by law that all firearms have tracking numbers engraved onto their surface. These numbers are traceable, making it safer and easier for everyone who owns a gun to be responsible and accountable.
Serial numbers and other markers required by law:
- The serial number must be at least 0.003 inches deep and the text size of at least 1/16th inch. (This needs to be on the frame or receiver of the firearm.)
- Markings must be conspicuously engraved onto the firearm. These include the name of the manufacturer, country of origin, model designation (if applicable), caliber or gauge, and the name, city, and state of the importer.
- All serial numbers must be unique and should never duplicate another firearm from the same manufacturer/model.
All markings other than the serial number can be engraved onto the firearm frame, barrel, slide, or receiver.
Aside from adding information to your gun, laser engraving also ensures that the mandatory identifying markers won’t rub off with excessive use or cleaning. Not having these markers legible can get you into some serious trouble.
Sometimes people will choose to engrave a gun to make it more personalized and unique to their tastes.
You can have your name etched into your gun or have a unique design carved on any part of the surface.
With laser engraving tools, you can get pretty creative when personalizing your favorite firearm.
In the below YouTube Video you will see a 50 Watt Fiber Laser in action engraving a Glock 17 magazine:
Increase the Gun’s Worth
There are many ways you can improve the appearance of a gun to make it more attractive to buyers, ultimately lining your pockets with profit.
If you are a collector, you already know how expensive well-crafted and detailed engravings can get.
In this line of work, it is essential to note that patience is a huge factor. Each design will only be coveted by a select group of people. To profit from laser engraving guns, you must create various designs and be willing to wait for the right buyer.
Keeping the Gun in Working Condition
Many people believe that firearm engraving was initially used to help keep firearms in working condition. It is surmised that the cuts and grooves held oil to help prevent the metal from rusting.
You could also speculate that gun engraving would increase the metal surface area.
With all of the recent gun laws put into place, this is no longer a popular reason for engraving a gun but is still done and used to be a fairly common practice.
People would use their artistic skills to engrave designs or words onto different style guns and gift them to a friend or family member for birthdays, weddings, etc.
Who Can Laser Engrave Guns?
Anyone with the proper equipment can use laser engraving tools to engrave their guns. You can do it at home with your own machine or pay a professional to craft your designs for you.
DIY Gun Laser Engraving
If you own a laser engraving machine and feel comfortable using it, you can use it on your firearm. You can use this tool to:
- Enter your own serial number and regulated markings. To mark your own firearm, you must apply for an NFA stamp application.
- Upload computer software to create unique and gorgeous designs.
- Engrave your personal information (name, address, phone #), so the gun can be returned quickly if ever misplaced or stolen.
Gunsmiths are professionals specializing in making, selling, and maintaining firearms. Some expert craftsmen will hand-engrave words, phrases, and embellishments onto the gun’s metal, while others use modern laser machines.
Both engraving options can provide jaw-dropping designs, but hand-engraved products will cost more due to the time and details required.
Laser Engraving Services
You don’t have to go to a gun specialist to have your gun engraved. Laser specialists are becoming pretty popular and can engrave personalized designs on just about any material.
Many of these engraving services will be more affordable and have a quicker turn-around time.
What Part of the Gun Can Get Laser Engraved?
Honestly, you can laser engrave almost any surface of your firearm. These highly durable and detailed machines can easily etch designs into just about any type of material.
If you are a hunter, you can request artwork of a deer, duck, bear, etc., etched into the wooden stock or forearm.
If you want to add your personal information to the gun while keeping it from being an eyesore, you can engrave it on the butt.
If you have an old-fashioned Western-style revolver or pistol you want to spruce up, you can get the metal barrel, clip, and cylinder engraved.
Can Laser Engraving a Gun Damage it?
A laser engraver itself will not damage your gun in any way. The beam’s precision and extreme heat provide the best etching reaction without going too far.
However, not using the machine properly can lead to damages that could be very costly to fix.
Laser Engraving the Wood Part of a Gun
Wood is one of the easiest materials to engrave with a laser. Wood is typically soft enough to cut through easily without burning or damaging.
However, before engraving, you must know what type of wood you are working with. Each type of wood will produce a different result because of its reaction to heat and power.
- Maple: This is one of the most popular wood forms in laser engraving, as it offers beautiful results with attractive contrast.
- Watch for Toxic Fumes: Bare wood is relatively safe to engrave. However, wood with stains or other chemical coatings can produce harmful gasses. A fume extractor or a good-quality exhaust fan will solve this issue.
- Engrave guns starting at the bottom: When engraving wood, debris and smoke can stick to the gun and embed into the grain. Working upwards will prevent this from happening.
Check out our buying guides here: Best Laser Engraver for Woodworking Best Fume Extractors for Laser Engravers Laser Engraver Exhaust Fan Options
Laser Engraving the Metal Parts of a Gun
When engraving the metal portions of a gun, the biggest issues are typically in the end result.
- Misspelled words or names
- Inconsistent sizes or depth
- Plated metals or rough surfaces will not be legible
- Not using the proper tools on specific metals
When laser engraving the metal portion of your gun, it is essential to plan and take your time.
Laser engraving a gun is a great way to give it a unique and attractive appearance. It is also ideal when adding legal markings and personal information. This type of engraving is permanent and precise.
However, if you choose to have a professional do the work for you, ensure you do your homework and only hire someone who knows their stuff.