Gunsmithing for the Small Retailer

Provide the services your customers want without adding space or hiring a gunsmith.

Gunsmithing for the Small Retailer

As a retailer, you know you need to provide products and services your customers want. Gunsmithing is one of those services, but it just isn’t always feasible.

Until now, that is. For zero overhead, you can offer your customers the services of one of the top gunsmiths in the country. And you can make money doing it.

Marty Enloe has been gunsmithing for nearly two decades and recently opened his own shop, Enloe Customs ( after his former employer, ROBAR Companies, closed its doors. ROBAR was one of the top gunsmith operations in the country, and it was largely due to the quality of work that ROBAR produced. And that was heavily influenced by the fact that Enloe was the head gunsmith. 

ROBAR closed because demand for gunsmith services has dropped. As a retailer, you face a similar problem every day. You can never be certain that demand for your store’s products and services will always be there. So, giving the customer what he or she wants is a good way to increase the odds that your store will continue to have enough demand to keep operating. 

But perhaps you don’t have enough demand for gunsmithing services to bear the expense of allocating shop space, buying and maintaining shop equipment, and paying the salaries of people to staff the gunsmith operation. But you don’t have to. Enloe has recognized that there are many retail gun stores that are in that situation but still have customers who need gunsmithing services. In response, he has created a program where retailers can offer high quality gunsmithing services to customers without having to make a significant investment.

Features and Benefits

As this is written, gun and ammunition sales are at all time highs. People who have never owned a gun are showing up at stores all over the nation and buying up stock at unprecedented rates. But we all know that will not continue indefinitely. So, retailers must still compete, and to do that, smart retailers work to provide the products and services that customers want.

Not all gun owners want the services of a gunsmith, and some never will. But many, especially after entering the gun owner world, discover that they can get features and benefits from gunsmiths that are not available with stock firearms. When they realize this, a retailer that offers gunsmith services has an advantage over the retailer that does not. 

So Enloe Customs helps create that opportunity, even for a small retailer with no room for a gunsmith shop, or no money for the equipment and salary of a gunsmith. And, there are places in this country where even if the store owner was ready to hire a gunsmith, there just are not any to hire. 

And Enloe offers a 15% discount on labor to retailers that use his program. So, there is a little room for the retailer to add a fee to the gunsmith bill and make a bit of money. And that’s what a retailer is in business to do — make money.


Loads of Experience

Enloe Customs is a first-class gunsmithing operation. Some gunsmiths offer only the typical gunsmith services like repairing guns and replacing parts, but Marty Enloe has experience that most gunsmiths lack so he offers much more.

After nearly two decades of gunsmithing, and being the head gunsmith at ROBAR, he has provided gunsmith services to members of the general public as well as law enforcement officers and agencies. Originally he was trained at Lassen Community College, which has a well respected gunsmith training program. When he left Lassen, he had a number of gunsmith skill certifications, but his training did not end there. 

During his 19 years as a gunsmith, Enloe trained with experts who enjoy worldwide reputations. Those included Bill Laughridge of Cylinder & Slide and Ted Yost of Estate Sporting Limited. Yost not only is well known for custom firearm builds, but was the first gunsmith at the prestigious Gunsite Academy when it was owned and operated by Jeff Cooper. 

And Enloe’s work has been highlighted in many top nationally circulated firearms publications like American Rifleman and Gun Digest. I am personally acquainted with Enloe’s work, having shot and written about guns he worked on or guns worked on by other gunsmiths he trained and while under his supervision.


Fine Examples

For example, under Enloe’s supervision, a surplus Israeli service Mark II High Power was rebuilt and modernized. When the gun went to ROBAR, it was pretty rough with a scratched barrel and worn finish. It still functioned correctly, but had been heavily used. Every feature was as it was when it came from the Fabrique Nationale factory in 1985. 

Modifications to the High Power included replacing the rudimentary iron sights with three-dot tritium night sights from Novak. This required that dovetails be cut into the slide. An extended beavertail was added to the gun and a custom Cylinder & Slide hammer was installed. A new barrel was also fitted to the gun. Additional trigger work was performed and a custom lanyard loop was fabricated. A new thumb safety was installed and the magazine disconnect was removed. The front strap was stippled and a complete refinish was applied. It turned out to be a superb firearm with a major reduction in group size and a stunning appearance. 

I am also very familiar with work performed by Enloe on an old Ruger Blackhawk that dates from the late 1960s. It was a well functioning gun, but the owner wanted the barrel length reduced from 6 inches to about 5. Enloe took on the job without hesitation, despite the Ruger reputation for having extremely tightly fitted barrels. It turned out that the barrel was so tight it couldn’t be removed, so it required shortening and re-crowning while still attached to the frame. 

Once the barrel was shortened, a new front sight had to be installed. In order to preserve as much of the original look and feel of the gun as possible, Enloe machined away the barrel below the old front sight. He then had to devise a way to securely attach the sight to the front of the shortened barrel. He did so by installing a pin in the barrel that mated with a hole in the front sight, and then screwed the front sight to the barrel. It is a stout installation and looks like it came from the factory. Finally, the gun was refinished. 

Enloe also does excellent trigger work on revolvers and can reduce and smooth trigger pulls. I am aware of at least one Smith & Wesson Model 629 revolver on which he greatly improved the trigger. 

Enloe has also smoothed the action and solved feeding problems with a Big Horn Armory Model 89 lever action carbine chambered in .500 S&W Magnum. While the gun would feed some cartridges, it would not feed others. It sounds like a simple problem to solve, but the Model 86 and 92 Winchesters on which the Big Horn Armory gun is modeled, were made to handle cartridges with different dimensions than the .500 S&W Magnum. So it took a great deal of fine work to make the gun function the way it should. 

Enloe can build or customize an AR and is also fully capable of specialty work on bolt-action guns. Fabrication and accurizing are specialties. Enloe has a great deal of experience blueprinting, trueing and making sure that bolt guns have the correct dimensions. And building a 1911 from parts is another specialty. He can bed actions, replace barrels, hand cut checkering, tune extractors, serrate slides and do just about anything else having to do with guns.


Offering the Best

If your customer wants an expert to build that custom dream gun he’s been thinking about for years, wants checkering cut on a rifle stock, or has something simpler in mind, Enloe wants to hear from you. 

Even if your small store may be competing with larger stores in your area that have on-premises gunsmithing operations, chances are those shops do not offer services from a gunsmith with Enloe’s experience. You could offer top-of-the-line gunsmith service from one of the best in the country. With shipping available overnight, and communications instantaneous, it’s almost like having a nationally recognized gunsmith in your own back room. 

That’s something that will differentiate your store from the others.

Contact Enloe Customs at 602-571-7010 or email Marty at


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.