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How to make LEGO guns – The BrickGun Book

Guns are a sensitive and relevant topic these days, which is beyond the scope of a LEGO blog, but the fact remains that for both kids and adults making a realistic gun using LEGO elements remains a popular pastime and interesting challenge. LEGO guns, like toy-guns in general, won’t hurt anyone and they definitely enhance your mechanical and LEGO building skills if you are inclined to tackle them. 🙂

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Just about a year ago I introduced you to a very detailed LEGO book on making realistic and even working LEGO guns written by Jack Streat focusing on heavy weapons (see: How to Build LEGO Guns That Work!). Today I would like to show you a LEGO book by another talented LEGO gunsmith, Jeff Boen, featuring handguns. The book is called The BrickGun Book – Build the World’s Most Realistic LEGO Handguns.

LEGO Gun Instruction Books

Jeff Boen snapped together his first LEGO pistol in under two hours. The Texas-based web-developer designed it solely from his memories of movies and video games, then decided to improve its design by borrowing a friend’s 9mm Beretta for reference. Soon he had a functional LEGO model complete with a working trigger, hammer, and slide. Confident he’d created the most realistic all LEGO handgun to date, he posted pictures of it to the LEGO Users Group Network (LUGNET). A few weeks later, he was shocked to see that his page – which typically got about 20 visitors a week – was receiving 8,000 hits a day. Boen’s LEGO Beretta had gone viral.

LEGO Book - LEGO BrickGun Model

Suddenly Jeff’s extraordinary LEGO gun was in high demand. Requests for the design poured in from all over the world, and a Finnish rock band put its image on their album cover. Beretta Inc. itself sent Boen an email describing his LEGO 92 Series as “beautiful,” and he learned that it was being featured on several of the iconic gun manufacturer’s fan sites. After years of innumerable requests for more replicas, Boen went pro, combining his lifelong passion for LEGO and his tremendous admiration for well-made firearms into BrickGun.com.

LEGO BrickGuns Website Testimonials

The web-based company now produces LEGO kits and instructions for building nearly a dozen classic handgun models, all made out of standard LEGO parts. His brand has become known for both the ultra-realism of its replicas as well as their simplicity. “Our LEGO models are true to life in that way,” Boen says, recalling the first time he saw a friend’s Beretta 84FS Cheetah. “He’d never dismantled it, but I was able to do so in seconds. It amazed me how simple the firearm was when broken down into components. I’d heard that Berettas were the most efficient handguns in the world, and at that moment I could see why.”

LEGO Book - LEGO BrickGun Sample Pages

In 2011, the IT-guy-turned-model-gun-designer decided to package his five most popular LEGO models into a comprehensive builder’s guide for hobbyists, thus The BrickGun Book was born to the delight of Jeff Boen’s many fans. The model that started the madness, his Beretta 92FS, is included, as are other popular models with working mechanisms, such as the BG22 with loadable magazine and the rubber-band-shooting MAC-11. Boen’s signature commitment to detail and accuracy is obvious in the instructional diagrams, and the finished models feature functional triggers, hammers, slides, and safeties.

LEGO Book - LEGO Guns Instructions

“Some people just put these LEGO guns on a shelf, but they’re actually a blast to play with,” Boen says, before noting: “I guess this is the point where I remind everyone that, harmless as they are, BrickGuns are not toys. But, man—they sure are fun.” Please note that adult supervision is required with all of the LEGO guns featured in the book. The models are not suitable for children under the age of 12. The MAC-11 shoots rubber bands. When firing the MAC-11, always wear eye-protection. For maximum safety, carry the MAC-11 unloaded. A LEGO replica may fire when dropped or hit. Be particularly careful when handling these models in public because they have been mistaken for real weapons. If you take your LEGO gun out in public add a bright orange tip to the muzzle to show that it’s not the real thing. 🙄

Below I will review The BrickGun Book’s quality, the instructions for building the LEGO guns, and the LEGO guns themselves – so read on…

THE BRICKGUN LEGO BOOK QALITY: This LEGO book is also published by No Starch Press, just like the previous LEGO gun book, so you know the quality is excellent with glossy pages that can take some beating, large text that is easy on the eyes, and vibrant colors. The book is 222 pages and covers the instructions for five LEGO gun replicas: the BG22 semi-automatic pistol with magazine, the 92FS Beretta, the Desert Eagle, the 1911 classic semi-automatic pistol, and the MAC-11 rubber-band shooting small sub-machine gun.

LEGO Book - LEGO BrickGun Desert Eagle

THE BRICKGUN LEGO BOOK INSTRUCTIONS: The instructions to build each of the five LEGO guns is similarly laid out as the steps in LEGO’s own instruction manuals. First there is a parts-list in a spread-sheet format describing exactly what you need. Then there is a visual parts-list in case you are not familiar with LEGO part-names and would prefer a more visual reference. Then there are step-by-step instructions to put the models together. Here I would like to mention that one of the nice things about building LEGO guns is that the parts needed are quite basic. If you have a decent LEGO collection you can most likely put at least one of the models together without much difficulty. And if you have parts missing you can always get them from Bricklink or directly from LEGO.

LEGO Book - LEGO BrickGun Instructions

THE BRICKGUN LEGO BOOK GUNS: Jeff has gone through painstaking work and many-many revisions to make these LEGO guns as accurate as possible. (You can read more about the history of each LEGO gun and Jeff’s thinking process in improving them at the beginning of the book.) Interesting to note that both Jack Streat in the previous book and Jeff Boen in this book made a Desert Eagle model, so you can build them both and decide which one you like best. All of the five models featured in this book have some unique details and mechanism that would make them a great building and learning experience; including working trigger, hammer, slide, slide-lock, magazine, etc.

LEGO Book - LEGO Guns Models

In summary I would say that this is a must book for LEGO gun enthusiasts, and I would highly recommend it along with the LEGO Heavy Weapons book. Either or both of these two books will greatly improve your weapon-building skills, and give you all the steps to build impressive replicas of some of the most iconic guns. (By the way the two books are the same size and shape with matching covers – if such things are important to you.) I would suggest the book for older kids because of the complexity of the building-steps and the amount of time needed to build each of the LEGO guns. (The book itself recommends it for children over 12 with adult supervision.) And I would definitely recommend this book for adults; it will challenge you, delight you, and give you the steps to build LEGO models that you can be truly proud of. 😀

LEGO Gun Instruction Books

You can pick up copies of both The BrickGun Book and the LEGO Heavy Weapons book directly from No Starch Press, or from Amazon at the following links for about $20 each: The BrickGun Book and LEGO Heavy Weapons. (Also see Amazon listings below.)

So what do you think? Did you get the previously released LEGO Heavy Weapons book and tried out the models? Are you planning to add The BrickGun Book to your collection? Feel free to share in the comment section below. Also, if you have any questions just let me know. I have built some of the guns myself. 😉

And you can check out the LEGO Books section, or read the review on the LEGO Heavy Weapons book here: How to Build LEGO Guns That Work!

{ 38 comments… add one }
  • Fikko3107 June 27, 2013, 11:13 AM

    It’s a bit off topic, but I’m going to enter a big, city-wide LEGO contest tomorrow at around 2 in the afternoon. It’s “offline”, and I really need some advice, since this article (http://thebrickblogger.com/2011/10/winning-a-lego-contest/) mainly discusses about online contests. My biggest worry, that my dad constantly mentions, is that judges in places like Indonesia tends to be narrow-minded. Their definition of a “good model” is something symmetrical, non-abstract and sensible. Seeing from my robots (http://thebrickblogger.com/2013/06/building-lego-robots/), some of them are fairly whimsical and non-sensible. So I seriously need advice, by tomorrow. Thanks in advance!

    • admin June 27, 2013, 11:28 AM

      Fikko, that sounds awesome! Although my previous post on winning a LEGO contest focused on online contest, many of the same principles apply in regards to presentation, creativity and uniqueness in a live contest. I don’t think it matters what you are entering as long as there is something that really stands out about it. For example if you would be presenting the robots, I would create a stage around them and maybe have them interacting with each other in some way – maybe in a fight-scene, or something totally unconventional like they are students in an imaginary robot class-room, or there is a scientist minifig who is busy building them. No matter how boring and narrow-minded judges are no-one can resist a presentation that is awesome and witty at the same time. So I would suggest to create from your heart instead of worrying about the judges, and focus on presentation and adding a fun twist. 😉

      • admin June 27, 2013, 11:31 AM

        I would also add that I have seen some of the most unconventional and abstact LEGO models come out of the brains of Asian LEGO fans. Just look at Nannan’s work! 🙄

        • Meneldur son of Garamar June 28, 2013, 6:53 PM

          Oooo! Unvoncentional…..good word! 😉

          • admin June 29, 2013, 9:33 AM

            He-he… we should start our own super-secret language! 🙄

  • ninja of stealth June 27, 2013, 11:32 AM

    sorry but I got no advice! but these guns are awesome! trigger and hammer in it! like I real one! sweet! even though I’ve never touched a real one in my life… unfortunately…

    • legodude19 June 27, 2013, 2:57 PM

      Too bad you haven’t had experience with real firearms. In the hands of a well trained and cautious user a firearm can become an extremely useful tool for self defence and/or hunting. I suggest that if once you get older and can buy a gun that you go through a training course and are instructed by a proffesional and tought how to use a gun properly and safely.

      • admin June 27, 2013, 3:37 PM

        Well said. Gun-use and gun-safety are very useful skills. The more you know how to handle them and use them the better and safer. Marksmanship alone is a great and very-very old sport.

  • coz June 27, 2013, 12:03 PM

    On this topic, the way they look, a police officer will mistaken them for the real thing. This is a topic I will not like.

    • legodude19 June 27, 2013, 2:55 PM

      Stick on an orange tip and you should be fine legally. Look at airsoft guns, people even take the orange tips off of those and they look way more realistic anyhow.

      • Fikko3107 June 27, 2013, 9:55 PM

        There was once and incident in America where a policeman shot a little kid dead because the kid was carrying a fairly realistic gun in public. I could only roll my eyes if the headline “12 year old kid shot because of bringing a gun made out of legos” appear…

        • admin June 28, 2013, 11:57 AM

          Guns are serious business. Nobody deserves to be shot for carrying a toy-gun, but at the same time people shouldn’t make such lame mistakes. If it looks like a gun, don’t carry it around and freak people out. Handling guns (even toy-guns) is serious business and they should be handled with responsibility and safety in mind.

          • legodude19 June 29, 2013, 6:09 PM

            oh yah, and btw I dont agree at ALL with taking the orange tips off of airsoft guns. 😀 If I did that and took my airsoft gun out in public ( for whatever reason ) it would look like a teenager was carrying around a fully automatic highly dangerous machine gun. I’m not that immature. 🙂

    • llg52 June 29, 2013, 4:48 PM

      That is very true, I hope that the buyers of these very cool sets will be responsible with them.

  • Noahnace10 June 27, 2013, 1:59 PM

    Wish I had the book.

  • Strider June 27, 2013, 2:55 PM

    I have a question Admin, are the parts the guns use more on the basic side, or does it use a lot of rare pieces? Also is the amount of technique parts used extensive, I have a fair amount of technique, but not a big collection. These guns look really cool, ever since the post on the other book I have always wanted to make one, but all my attempts have failed.

    • admin June 27, 2013, 3:33 PM

      Strider, pretty much all of the guns use very basic pieces. I have built several of them myself and I had absolutely no problem putting them together. I should add that I don’t own a single Technic set. There are a some axles, pins and bricks with holes, but that’s pretty much it. The guns in both books are mostly made of bricks, plates and slopes. Nothing fancy. My guns turned out a bit rainbow-ish as I didn’t have all the pieces in black, but if I would really want to, I could order the missing pieces for just a few dollars. I would add that the guns in both books are very solid and feels great in the hand. They look very professional and quite real, especially if you can build them in all black. If you have any specific questions about any of the guns just let me know. I have both books right here on my bookshelf. 😉

      • Strider June 27, 2013, 5:12 PM

        Okay thanks a lot. I have a lot of bricks and plates, so maybe I will buy the book :).

        • admin June 28, 2013, 11:45 AM

          Strider, I think you will enjoy it. And once you build some of the models you will be well on your way to become an expert gunsmith to make your own designs. 😉

  • JAY THE ULTIMATE NINJA June 27, 2013, 5:14 PM

    how do i get to community news

    • admin June 28, 2013, 11:46 AM

      Hit the community news tab on the right-hand side-bar. It’s towards the top. 😉

  • NRG kai June 27, 2013, 5:33 PM

    thats so cool!! ive tried to make one before its hard!

  • Meneldur son of Garamar June 28, 2013, 12:28 PM

    Awesome! 🙂 If only LEGO would make some of these in Minifig form! 😉 Unfortunately, they most likely will not.

    • Meneldur son of Garamar June 28, 2013, 2:51 PM

      BTW, I really like the replica of the ak-47 and is the completely black pistol an m9?

      • admin June 28, 2013, 5:34 PM

        Please read the description. I’m not at my main computer right now, but I’m pretty sure I included a list of which models are in the book. 🙂

        • Meneldur son of Garamar June 28, 2013, 6:50 PM

          I was in a hurry and only skimmed over this post when I put my comments on but now I’ve read it. Usually I read the whole post, however when you’re in a rush….

    • enigma badger June 29, 2013, 5:00 AM

      “If only LEGO would make some of these in Minifig form!”


      • admin June 29, 2013, 9:41 AM

        Yes, I was just about to say that. Nice to have you Badger! 😉

        • Meneldur son of Garamar June 29, 2013, 6:39 PM

          I know about Brickarms. I meant the LEGO group making guns like that. Just think of guns like those in official sets……let’s not go there because I’d start drooling and…….well, let’s just say I’d be swimming in saliva. 😆

      • Kristina July 6, 2013, 5:59 PM

        At the Build-A-Mini station last week, I saw guns in the accessories.

  • Legoman640 June 29, 2013, 12:28 PM

    I’m going to pretend I didn’t see this post. 😐

  • Chad Jones July 4, 2013, 10:39 AM

    So if I were to buy the book and put one together myself, roughly (if I buy all the pieces individually through Lego) how much do you think it would cost?

    • admin July 4, 2013, 11:46 AM

      Chad that depends on which model you choose, how many of the pieces you already have, and if you buy missing parts at the online LEGO shop, at a local LEGO store, or on Bricklink. In general, estimating 10 cents a piece for a LEGO project gives you a fairly accurate estimate. So for example the BG22 is just about 300 pieces, so parts should costs about $30 for that model.

  • Bob Berry May 17, 2014, 12:45 PM

    Hi peeps

  • muhouspy May 20, 2014, 7:39 AM

    could you teach me how to make guns at home by myself ?
    can you send me ae-mail ?
    thank you

    • admin May 20, 2014, 9:48 PM

      You can buy the book. It has step by step instructions for many LEGO guns 🙂

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