Stripped screw removal (RMR from pistol)

Stripped screw removal (RMR from pistol)

Stripped, broken and sheared screws are the bane of any gun owners existence.  Often problems are encountered from a myriad of reasons ranging from poor quality fasteners to damage from the firearm itself. In my shop, I’ve noticed an increase in Trijicon RMR equipped pistols that have had stripped screws.  This is how I take them out.

Before we get to work, let’s take a look at the site disclaimer:

The contents of are produced for informational purposes only and should be performed by competent gunsmiths only. and its authors, do not assume any responsibility, directly or indirectly for the safety of the readers attempting to follow any instructions or perform any of the tasks shown, or the use or misuse of any information contained herein, on this website.

Any modifications made to a firearm should be made by a licensed gunsmith. Failure to do so may void warranties and result in an unsafe firearm and may cause injury or death.

Modifications to a firearm may result in personal injury or death, cause the firearm to not function properly, or malfunction, and cause the firearm to become unsafe.

I ordered the following items from Brownells for this project:

Before working on the slide it needs to be secured.  I like using a Brownell’s Multi-Vise with a set of rubber jaws.  I find this protects the finish as it firmly holds the slide.

Encountering a stripped screw on an RMR is a frustrating experience.  Typically the sight and pistol it is mounted on is quite expensive.  Beyond looking sloppy, a stripped screw means the battery cannot be changed nor can the sight be maintained.  Stripped RMR mounting screws seem to be fairly common.

I like to drill off the heads of screws like this.  The stripped portion of the screw is centered and acts as a guide.  I’ll select a drill .010-.030 over the major diameter of the screw.  In the case of the RMR, it has #6-32 screws with a major diameter of .138″, a #25, 24, 23 or 5/32″ drill bit should work well.  I actually prefer to use a hand drill over a mill for this operation.  I feel it prevents me from cutting too deep into the screw.  I go slow, with minimal pressure, at a low speed.  When the screw head pops off, I want to be able to stop immediately.

When the head pops off the screw (above), you’ve drilled far enough.

The sight is simply pulled straight up off the mount exposing the shank of the screw.

I like to grab the screw hank with a small pair of pliers and simply back the screw out.

With the screw out, the job is done.

This slide is ready for new screws and an RMR!

I use a similar technique for removing stripped screws from rings and bases.  If you get jammed up, this may help save the day.