Got Buyback? Here’s the Simplest Homemade Pistol

Mark Serbu of Serbu Firearms is gauging interest on an extremely simple homemade single-shot rimfire pistol kit. The design has only four main components and all can be made easily at home with just a few common tools.

Serbu’s gun, the GB-22 — for Gun Buyback .22 — is primarily built around a frame or receiver, a barrel, a slide and a spring. All four components can be manufactured from basic stock materials including the spring, which is music wire turned around a drill bit. Other components and features can be added to the design but as it is it’s a complete, functioning firearm.

The GB-22 is chambered for .22 Long Rifle, which means that the design doesn’t require headspacing or anything else requiring specialized tools. It doesn’t have a magazine so it can fire from an open bolt.


The frame and firing mechanism are one and the same. (Photo: Serbu)

“First, there’s the very mundane but very unnecessary step of cutting up the materials with a bandsaw,” said Serbu. His design uses steel bar stock for the bolt and barrel. “The frame was cut by a waterjet … it could also have been laser-cut or cut with a jigsaw. Or if you’re desperate, a hacksaw.”

The design still requires simple tools and the knowledge to use them, but with enough trial and error and steel building a GB-22 could be a matter of routine. Serbu uses a CNC machine and other equipment from his shop to assembly his GB-22.  But as mentioned, users can assemble a GB-22 with simple hand tools.  Of course, it’s going to be more labor intensive.

Even without the dimensions the design behind the GB-22 is pretty plain to see. It would be possible to make a similar pistol with plywood, tubing and other hardware store components — for one or two shots, anyway. With the GB-22 Serbu is offering to share this guns’ critical dimensions to interested parties to make it easier.

Serbu is considering selling GB-22 plans or kits and is using this to gauge public interest. The GB-22 is an excellent project for any beginning gunsmith. You can assemble the GB-22 in a variety of different ways and it can be used to teach and learn different manufacturing methods including drilling, welding, pinning, riveting and more.

The GB-22 could be a fun project on its own or as the jumping-off point for a more complex build. It’s a basic design and doesn’t have an ejector system. The GB-22 doesn’t even have sights. If you want those features you’ll have to design and add them yourself. That’s what makes it fun. If you’re interested in trying your hand at making a GB-22 contact Serbu for more information.

See Also: Meet the Krikit 25, the Homemade Sheet Metal Pocket Pistol

If anything the GB-22 even looks more fun to make than to shoot. That’s one of the main strengths of this homemade pistol. It’s super-cheap to make and when you’re done with one, it can be dumped at a gun buyback. Gun buybacks are widely panned by the gun community for being ineffective and even counter-productive. Even the law enforcement community has criticized buyback programs.


The optic is worth many times what the gun is worth, but hey, if it’s what you have on hand… (Photo: Serbu)

Typical gun buyback programs offer around $50 to $200 dollars for guns, working or otherwise, no questions asked. Because of this gun owners horn in on these programs by trading their worthless or broken guns for gift cards and cold hard cash.

If you happen to have one or more GB-22s built when a gun buyback rolls around they could be worth more in trade than in materials and time spent making them. The GB-22 is crude but that doesn’t make it less of a firearm.

Manufacturing firearms for the express purpose of selling them requires a Federal Firearms License. But gunsmithing as a hobby is perfectly fine under federal law. It is legal to sell homemade guns, they just can’t be made with the intent of selling them.

If you’re thinking about getting into basic gunsmithing talk to Serbu about the GB-22. It may even pay for itself. If anyone should take advantage of gun buyback programs, it’s the home gunsmith.

About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Joseph January 8, 2017, 10:11 pm

    I am VERY interested in trying out one of these kits! How do we get involved? Price? Accessibility?

  • wchancey November 21, 2016, 3:01 pm

    I would like to buy one of the kits just to play with and see if I could make a nice looking pistol out of it. So please count me in if the kits go on sale.

  • Robert October 30, 2016, 12:36 pm

    Like the idea would love plans or a kit or even a set of the plans and the frame the rest of the parts looks easy to build but the frame would be better laser or water jet cut thanks

  • E Z money October 16, 2016, 10:06 pm

    I saw some videos showing how to make a single shot 12 gauge for about $15 with no special tools. A 12 gauge is slightly more effective than a .22. I’m not encouraging anyone… just saying.

  • Jeffrey Segal October 15, 2016, 3:38 pm

    This looks like a fun gun to not only build but to shoot as well. I’d like to get a kit to build one. I have two questions. 1) can it be made to shoot .22mag or just .22lr? And 2) would the kit come with everything needed to build the gun except for the tools? I’d also like to know what the price of the kit would be as well? Thank you for any info you can give me.

  • John October 14, 2016, 8:31 pm

    Cool project but you’ve made a firearm that the rest of us can’t legally make. Remember that the ATF banned new mfg of “open bolt” firearms back in 1982. You as a Class III mfg should know this. You can get away with it since you are a licensed mfg and SOT, we can’t unfortunately.

    • Paul November 1, 2016, 4:51 pm

      Yes, you can. This is a single shot. The open bolt rule does not apply.

  • Miguel Raton October 14, 2016, 2:51 pm

    Once again, the wonderful “make this cheap candidate for the mythical gun buy-back near you!” story. Let me state this again, as I have so many times over the past couple of decades: IF A GUN BUY-BACK ISN’T ADVERTISED WELL IN ADVANCE SO THAT I AND THOUSANDS LIKE ME CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT & CRUSH IT BENEATH AN OVERWHELMING TIDE OF THESE PROJECTS, IT NEVER HAPPENED!
    Over the past 20 years, I’ve never heard about a gun buy-back until it had supposedly already happened, or it was going to happen 3000 miles away in NJ/NY/MA where the gun laws are already worse than here in CA [& ergo, presumably, they don’t have any gun problems, do they! ;-D]

    What is needed FAR more than another one of these kits is a website dedicated to getting the word out well in advance of any gun buy-backs so they can be flooded by: 1] persons looking to offer more for the quality firearms that unsuspecting widows are getting gypped out of when they unknowingly & misguidedly participate in such schemes (& thereby keep such firearms in circulation for responsible gun owners) & 2] persons looking to profit from such misguided public programs by selling off useless bits of trash like an old Lorcin or other such non- [never?] functioning firearms.

    Got it? Good. Put your web-maven on that right away, thanks!

    • Just Jeff October 15, 2016, 11:40 pm

      What kind of silliness is this comment? You are asking for someone to hold your hand and guide you to a buy-back program that supposedly some “unsuspecting widows” are “unknowingly & misguidedly participating in”? Gun buy-backs are not by any means something done in secret, a simple search of your states .gov website will give specific information on the availability of a buy-back program…
      I do whole-heartedly agree these buy-backs are a joke worse than the Hilary comment that she is only looking to keep “military style guns” (black guns..) out of the hands of criminals (and now citizens as well). The buy-backs do nothing to change any of the gun violence woes that plague us, and are a waste of taxpayer dollars. Plans like those above are a perfect way to protest these buy-back programs!!

  • rt66paul October 14, 2016, 10:55 am

    These type of plans and the web make the world a safer place. A good guy that feels he/she needs a weapon for self defense can go through the process of making one(all that is needed is the ammo), they will feel safer. a bad guy who has enough gumption to make one of these, would have enough gumption to better his/her lot in life and could make items and sell them to those that don’t(hopefully not these type of weapons).

    How about the info needed to make a decent gunpowder(or even black powder) safely along with the info for a gun or even musket that would shoot easily obtained items – maybe a homemade shotgun? This could help those in countries where the people are too poor to buy or a country that has total control of firearms.

    As I stated earlier, it would take someone with a huge self defense problem to handmake one of these. A bad guy wants something more on par with what the police/army has.

  • rev_dave October 14, 2016, 8:35 am

    I had never thought about what might constitute a ‘gun’ for buyback purposes. But now I’m going to dig out the plans for making an old school ‘zip gun’. As I recall, you can make one for merely a few bucks. Just don’t admit to making it – that would be unlicensed ‘manufacturing’ and you could end up with ATF goons in your bedroom.

  • Robert Smith October 13, 2016, 2:34 pm

    I’d like to know more about how Serbu makes the barrel. That’s the most difficult part for the home builder. Frames and fire control parts are relatively easy. They can even be done with plastic 3-D printers, like Cody Wilson’s plastic “Liberator”. But the barrel has to be steel and has to be rifled. What would really be useful would be a home-barrel maker’s toolkit. It would have the necessary bore reamers, rifling broaches, and chamber reamers to turn a piece of standard-size heavy steel tubing into a functional barrel. If you really wanted to get ambitious, maybe even include a small purpose-built lathe to run them on. This kind of tooling is difficult to get and expensive if you buy it piece by piece, but if it were mass-produced and sold as kit, it might be a worthwhile business project.

    • JGinNJ October 14, 2016, 3:12 am

      Is a rifled barrel required by law? Does the rifling actually have to spin the bullet or can it be an easy to accomplish straight no twist?
      Years ago gang types made .22 handguns using car radio antennas for barrels.

      • shrugger October 14, 2016, 8:08 am

        For pistols yes, the barrel must be rifled to be legal.

  • DRAINO October 13, 2016, 10:02 am

    Buyback??????? I’ don’t get it. Interesting novelty. I think all guns area cool…but…not really getting the application. Sorry. Better projects to spend time on.

    • Usa Patriot October 14, 2016, 2:47 am

      “Buy Back” As in producing a few dozen of these as a “hobby” and then sell them at the next “Gun Buy Back Initiative” and turning a healthy profit off your “hobby” which you can then reinvest in purchasing a quality firearm or two.

      • DRAINO October 14, 2016, 11:11 am

        LOL! Ok….I guess I can see that. I have to admit, I pass those buy back programs off as moronic and pointless. And I would never go to one so I never thought about it that way. Thanks for clarifying. If you have the materials and the machinery…..have at it!! Screw them back….they sure are screwing us.

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