Taking Aim On Enhancing Firearm Production

In the production of military and law enforcement firearms, and particularly in the manufacture of service handguns, adequately finishing the slide of the pistol is a common and frustrating challenge. The component’s configuration presents numerous nooks, crannies and hard-to-reach angles that obstruct a sufficient post-machining polishing process on the shop floor. More often than not, sharp burrs are left behind that expose employees to risky cuts and scratches when handling these delicate components. Dry blasting is the most common process utilized, but this only results in high amounts of unwanted dust. Dry blasting also leaves embedded media in the material that compromises its integrity, and afterwards the slide is rarely left fully clean, smooth and polished.

On Target and Under Budget for Firearm Manufacturing

Unlike dry blasting or sand blasting, a fully automated, wet slurry blasting system developed by Wet Technologies can easily reach the usually inaccessible surfaces of the slide to leave the part fully deburred. Moreover, using the same system, but set under lighter pressures, the slide can then undergo a secondary lapping process that leaves an ultra-smooth and cosmetically superior finish. In fact, no other technology available today can produce a more uniform, precision finish than a wet slurry system from Wet Technologies. And because of the system’s inherent flexibility and customizability, similar processes can easily be achieved on additional intricate firearm components as well — all with the same Wet Tech equipment.

Additional Benefits for the Firearm Manufacturing Industry Include:

  • Near or complete elimination of embedded abrasive media and related voids in the slide reduces injuries in the manufacturing process.
  • Ability to etch, rinse and dry surfaces in a non-chemical, water-based, closed-loop system in one integrated, multiple-step work cell — right on the production floor.
  • Dust-free, wet-slurry process allows for location of work cell in close proximity to sensitive production areas and increases workflow in manufacturing environments.
  • Less production floor space needed due to the elimination of dust collectors.
  • High percentage of water in the slurry dissipates heat.
  • Improved controls over wet blasting and the immediate lapping of the surface with the same media leads to greater reduction in component Ra values.
  • Precise and repeatable delivery of wet blasting slurry gets into previously inaccessible places, for a more uniform finish.
  • Stringent manufacturing standards and low maintenance.
  • Easy operational requirements of systems speed ROI and reduce TCO.

Who In the Firearm Manufacturing Industry Relies on Solutions from Wet Technologies?

Smith & Wesson Military and Police Firearms — 
Design and development of several fully automated rotary indexing systems for deburring, lapping and fine-finishing sliders for service handguns; the process enhances aesthetics and improves field performance through a high-volume operation that runs three shifts per day

FN Herstal Processing —
Design and development of fully automated rotary indexing systems for deburring, lapping and fine-finishing various components of A5 caliber slides; the process enhances cosmetics and ensures optimal performance in the field

Sturm Ruger—
Various Wet Technologies wet blasting systems are now positioned in multiple locations at these plants to deburr edges, remove or blend machining marks, and smooth or lap the surface of newly machined components — leaving these parts with higher quality cosmetic precision matte finishes, ready for assembly.
Rotary Detail on finishing system for firearms parts
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