Gun Laser Engraving vs. Hand Engraving: What's the Difference?

From handguns to rifles to revolvers, many types of firearms include intricate or subtle engravings. Whether your gun features abstract designs or a simple script, expect nothing but excellence from your professional engravings. 

laser engraved gun

When it comes to gun laser engraving, there are two different methods: hand engraving and laser engraving. Hand engraving involves using a chisel and hammer to carve incredible details into the gun, while a gun engraving-laser utilizes a fine beam guided by software to engrave virtually any design. 

However, what’s the difference between hand engraving and laser engraving guns? Is laser engraving better than hand engraving guns? In this article, we’ll explore the differences between the two methods and determine which one will be best for you! 

Understanding Hand Engraving 

Hand engraving guns is a precise art typically reserved for the best and finest guns. Because engraving guns by hand is a lengthy process, professionals spend years training to gain the accuracy and stability necessary for hand engraving. 

artisan hand engraving metal

A hand-engraved gun represents the unique expression of the artist, meaning each piece is custom and one-of-a-kind. The personalization involved in hand engraving contributes to longer lead times and higher prices, which many believe to be well worth the effort. If you’re looking for a decorative and intricate work of art featured on your firearm, hand engraving might be your preferred method of gun engraving.

Embracing Gun Laser Engraving

Gun laser engraving involves sophisticated technology that can create consistent etchings onto many different types of materials. OMTech fiber laser markers, for example, are not only capable of engraving the sturdy polymers and durable steel typically utilized to make firearms, but can also mark granite, marble, tile, and other metals besides steel. 

fiber laser marking machine

When you opt for laser-engraved guns, you’re choosing incredible consistency and speed over the artistry of hand engraving. While some might argue that machines cut out human creativity, we are living in an age where technology aids man. With advantages like quicker turnover rates and ultimate precision, it is up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide which technique is worth your time.  

Hand Engraving vs. Laser Engraving 

While hand engraving offers unparalleled customization courtesy of a human hand, laser gun-engraving offers virtually error-free marking and endless engraving possibilities. Let’s delve into the advantages and disadvantages of each type of gun engraving! 

Pros of Hand Engraving Guns 

  • Supports local artists and craftsmen. 
  • Intricate, custom designs that increase the value of your firearms. 
  • Features distinct personal touches from the engraver, making each case unique. 
  • Can include metal inlay (adding gold, silver, etc. into the design).

Cons of Hand Engraving Guns

  • More expensive due to extensive training and labor.
  • Longer lead times.
  • More chance of human error (inconsistent line depth or width, disconnected patterns, etc.) 
  • Can only engrave on metal and wood, not plastic. 

Pros of Laser Engraving Guns

  • Faster turnaround rate and more economical pricing. 
  • Consistent, precise, and sharp engravings that can also be replicated on other products.
  • Can engrave on plastic, wood, and metal (depending on the laser machine). 
  • Easier/quicker to learn how to use a laser machine than to learn how to hand engrave.  

Cons of Laser Engraving Guns 

  • Produces uniform etchings, lacking the handcrafted touch. 
  • Less environmentally friendly (uses energy).
  • Requires working knowledge of laser software and laser machines. 

The Artistry of Laser Engraving

Despite the lack of “workmanship” involved in laser engraving guns, there is a certain mastery necessary for creating a design, operating the laser engraver, and handling the finished product. While the machinations that etch the lasered patterns are certainly not comparable to an artist, they are still dexterous components that create beautiful engravings. 

laser engraved gun

We’re living in an age where machines are evolving to take the place of man. While handcrafted, engraved guns might be seen as a testament to human artistry, the efficiency and versatility of laser engravers can’t be ignored.

If you’re looking for simple, economical, and consistent gun engravings for your firearms, a laser engraver for guns is the way to go. If you want to support your local artists and receive a unique and custom work of art, then hand engraving will be the method for you. There are even methods that combine both techniques, seamlessly integrating traditional and modern practices! 

Set Your Sights on OMTech

While we honor the classic tradition of hand-engraving guns, we’ve set our sights on the future with our innovative laser technology. A laser engraving machine for guns opens up a world of engraving possibilities. Not only can you engrave on guns comprised of metal, wood, and polymer, but you can also engrave other objects as well. Get inspiration on engraving projects besides guns at OMTech. 

Depending on whether you’ll be working on the wood, polymer, or metal components of a gun, you’ll need either a CO₂ laser machine or a fiber marker. OMTech provides robust CO₂ laser engravers and fiber-marker gun laser-engraving machines that can turn any engraving business into a thriving production. 

laser engraving machineMF1624-60 - 60W CO2 Laser Engraving Machine

Harness accuracy, efficiency, and reliability with an OMTech laser machine! We’re more than just a laser company—we’re an enterprise focused on providing people everywhere with top-quality laser machines, customer service, and community support. Join the OMTech family today!