Firearms Serialization And Bureaucratic Momentum

Editors Note: Some say firearms serial numbers are just another invasive tool of the government to keep track of your guns. What do you think?

Firearms Serial Numbers
Firearms Serial Numbers

Ft Collins, CO –-( Serialization refers to the act of assigning a unique identification code to each item in a series. Although each identifier is typically called a “serial number,” it can include letters, numbers or symbols.

Firearms Serial Numbers

Serialization of various parts of military rifles and pistols was necessitated in a bygone era of manufacturing, where much hand-fitting was necessary at the end of the production process, and parts were thus not interchangeable between individual guns.

Accordingly, consumers understandably wanted a way to keep together all parts assembled at the factory into one gun.

In those days, guns were “roughed-out” by machine, then “finished” by hand. Individual parts were carefully adjusted and modified, as appropriate, so that they worked perfectly together.

Thus, “matching serial numbers” were valued, indeed highly prized.

Today, “hand-fitting” is confined to expensive sporting and “collector” guns.

With current production military guns, and other guns designed for serious purposes, matching serial numbers, at least with regard to functionality, are irrelevant.

With modern serious guns, matching serial numbers attain relevance only within the arbitrary discipline of “collector value”

Until 1968, it was not legally required that rifles manufactured in the USA be serialized at all, although by then most were.

Even so, serialization was required only of receivers.

With modern manufacturing methods and parts that are completely interchangeable between individual product copies, serialization of any part is no longer necessary for the sake of quality control, as noted above, although it is still a legal requirement for receivers.

Most manufacturers continue to serialize other parts as well, mostly due to tradition and bureaucratic momentum.

Many Glocks we see in our Courses are “parts guns.” So long as all parts are “OEM” (Original Equipment Manufacturer), those guns are every bit as functional as new, out-of-the-box pistols.

With ARs, it is pretty much the same.

Firearms serial numbers for good or bad? What do you think?


Defense Training International, Inc

About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc

As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or in-actions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr. Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit: