Is it possible to engrave guns?

I know several people who would like to have the slide to a gun like a glock or the handle engraved. Would anyone know if this is possible on the GF?


The general answer is no, the laser does not have enough power to engrave metal and the stock may be hazardous to engrave. The specific answer is that it depends. Certain steel alloys can be permanently marked by the laser. This uses the engraving process and either water or some other additive to mark the surface. If you search this forum you can find users who have done what you are asking about in a variety of ways.
For the handles specifically you can probably engrave it, but without knowing exactly what you are engraving you may end up with permanent machine damage or personal injury.

Again, searching the forums is a great place to get started with this type of question.


There are tons of examples of laser engraved glock lowers on the internet. Glock lowers are made out of a polymer called Nylon 6. I have no idea if it is safe to engrave it with a laser, but it certainly appears to be technically possible. I’ve also seen examples of laser engraved glock slides. Usually they just blast away the finish, similar to what people do with anodized aluminum. However, glock uses a kind of fancy finish on their slides (previously tennifer, but I think it changed). You’ll need to do some research into the safety issues involved in burning away that finish.
A 40w CO2 laser like the glowforge uses will not be sufficient to engrave deeply into metal. You’ll need to either use it to remove finish, or use a marking agent like cermark.
Wood stocks are very laserable. I’ve seen some very cool 1911 grips done with lasers.

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Welcome. Others have engraved guns and posted their results in the forum. Search is your friend. Here is one post I found: Engraving AR mag

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Just don’t do chrome, it is reflective to the wavelength of the laser.

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following…interested to see answers

I have 2 SOG Flash II knives, one sharpened at a 15 degree angle using my Chef’s Choice sharpener (BEST sharpener out there) and thus I engraved that knife with a 15 degree symbol so I knew that knife was the 15 degree.

I don’t remember what settings I used, but it came out well. The handle is glass reinforced nylon, which I’m assuming the Glock is similar. I have a Glock 19, but I’m not willing to “test” on the handle to see. Assuming it would work.

As far as the slide or other metal parts, like others I’m assuming it’d just mark the finish. And again, I’m not willing to test on my Glock to find out. :smiley:

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Depending on the slide/barrel, the Glowforge can mark it, though it may require a marking agent. I’d be super paranoid about the handle part without either MSDS or extensive testing on the plastic.

The more serious element is that BATFE considers engraving a gun to be a form of gunsmithing requiring an FFL. I’d not risk doing it, even as a one off situation, without looking into that legality. As far as I know, nothing prevents marking magazines, provided the materials are laser safe, and there are companies that won’t touch a gun that engrave AR mags, among others.

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As stated it is possible to a degree, and I have done both a spare trash Glock frame, and an old trash AR lower. I still am unsure of Nylon 6 as far as it’s well being to myself and the laser because I just did the one to “test”. There are a ton of variables in polymer hand gun grips and mostly likely manufacturers especially Glock will not give you the MSDS. The same can go for the coatings on slides and receivers. Always proceed with caution.

Most importantly

This is a huge thing to consider when it comes to firearms. Granted there are grey areas as to the specific code section (which someone has kindly put on the forum already if you search, I don’t remember who or where) and can be interpreted by the ATF agent’s discretion.

It’s not like someone using the copyrighted Disney logo and selling the product on Etsy and getting a cease and desist; firearms carry a much heavier consequence. So please read as much as possible about the law and code sections, and check local codes as well. If you’re going to do it for profit it’s always best to follow a CYA policy.


Nylon 6 has an incomplete combustion product of hydrogen cyanide. I would keep it away from the laser.



Was this directly onto the receiver, or did you use an ablative material like cermark?

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It looks like the lower was painted or powdercoated and the laser is just burning away the coating.

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It is possible to engrave a Glock without using any spray like cermark. Addressing the issue with ATF the answer is yes you can engrave guns according to ATF ruling 2009-1. As you are not selling the firearm just simply performing a cosmetic function to the external metal of the firearm. There is more to the ruling that should be read and fully understood depending on what your intention is. That said Glock’s (only thing I have done) can easily be engraved with very good looking results. Attached are some photos on a Glock slide that I was able to engrave.


Would you care to share your settings?


The settings that I used were:

Speed 700
Full Power
Lines Per Inch 340

I recommend going over it twice at least.


Thx… as always, good to have a starting point.

The 2009-1 ruling states that embellishing firearms does not qualify as “Manufacturing,” so you do not have to get a Manufacturing FFL.

The issue is that the last part of the ruling specifically states that embellishing firearms is considered to fall under “gunsmithing”, which requires a type I dealer/gunsmith FFL.

“Held further, any person who is engaged in the act of camouflaging or engraving firearms as described in this ruling must be licensed as a dealer, which includes a gunsmith, under the Gun Control Act.”

Note that the act considered the serialized portion of the firearm to be the firearm itself, so they don’t seem care if you embellish a slide or a magazine. Engrave the receiver however? Not without a FFL apparently,


yup I had some interesting conversations with a local ATF agent as I was considering doing this. The basic rundown was if you don’t have an FFL you are not allowed to accept complete firearms or the serialized piece since that is the firearm portion just like you mentioned.

Keep in mind for people who don’t know a lot about guns. The serialized piece tends to just be the piece that contains the trigger/trigger assembly in most firearms. I would personally stick to doing parts that are obviously not restricted like magazines or dust covers. The safe thing to do with firearms is get your FFL and then the feds wont be coming to your door with warrants to take you/your things. Also just a blanket statement here, do your own research and talk to lawyers and things like that before making decisions.


The slide, barrel and receiver are serialized on my Glocks. Pretty sure on my XD as well.

It would be right under the “We” on your slide.