Between 80 percent receivers and 3D printer plans it’s easier than ever to build a firearm yourself at home. But there will never be anything cooler than building a real, working and safe-shooting (emphasis on safe-shooting) firearm from scratch when it comes to DIY street cred.
That’s exactly what Clinton Westwood has done with his pocket .25 ACP pistol, the Krikit 25. And by scratch, that means everything but the screws. The pistol frame and magazine is largely made from sheet metal and bar stock, and the round bar stock barrel was rifled by hand using a handmade jig.
This gun may be little, and chambered for the mostly-overlooked, pipsqueak .25-caliber cartridge, but it’s real, it works and in the right light, it even looks kinda neat. If you want to try your hand at making your own — good news! — the plans are available online and Westwood documented the whole process start to finish in case you need help during assembly.
From a technological perspective, the Krikit is primitive, built on hundred-year-old principles and about as refined as the bulk of pistols rushed to the trenches of Verdun. The components are all over-sized and hand-fit with a bit of trial and error on the builder’s part. Still, critical details are paid attention to such as the accurate rifling and heat-treated magazine feed lips (by way of blowtorch).
The plans are dead-simple, just print them out, lay them across the metal and start cutting. If anything they’re crude, which is why Westwood put together this project. Some tool-making is required to create mandrels to shape the magazine and magazine springs around in addition to building the rifling jig (a steel rod with a groove ground into it then fit with a bit of hacksaw blade — later replaced with an improvised carbide blade) but the straightforward nature of the Krikit means that no particularly specialized machines are required to build it.
To be fair the rifling jig is far from clumsy and quite a bit of thought went into its design. Thankfully there Westwood also put together an overview of the machine for garage gunsmiths to follow. The genius is in its simplicity, using a piece of string to set the twist rate, run by a power drill.
Some welding skill is required throughout the process but it doesn’t have to be pretty. The design is very forgiving and anything that sticks out can be ground off, and if the job is completely wrecked in the process, well, it’s just sheet metal.
After completing the Krikit 25 Westwood decided to go back and give it one more once-over, bead-blasting the slide and frame for a matte steel finish that retains a protective layer of oil a little better and with a refined trigger for a more ergonomic grip — the original trigger left almost no room for a trigger finger inside the trigger guard.
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As far as shooting the pistol it appears to function reliably and safe — if anything the pistol is over-built for .25 ACP — and it has functioning slide serrations and real sights. Long-term reliability is dependent on the builder and materials, of course, but to make a working pistol from scratch is a hell of a feat in itself.
There’s plenty more where that came from, too, on the Clinton Westwood YouTube channel. Be sure to check in on it if you want to see how the next project shapes up: the Kolt 380, an .380 ACP pistol with an alloy frame milled using a wood router.
If you’re interested in building a pistol from scratch the Krikit 25 just might be your gateway gun.