Small arms gages are precision tools used to quickly and economically inspect dimensions and interface points on small arms weaponry. They are made of tool steel and machined to extremely tight tolerances. With few exceptions, each small arms weapon system has gages used at Direct Support and Depot maintenance levels.
Gages are susceptible to corrosion. To decrease the frequency and severity of corrosion, small arms gages should be periodically degreased with MIL-PRF-680 Type II, allowed to dry, and then given a light coating of CLP or similar preservative oil. Wipe the preservative off each gage with a soft cloth before use.
When using small arms gages, carefully follow the instructions given in the appropriate technical manual. Never force a gage! This will cause excessive wear and decrease the serviceable life of the gage.
Small arms gages are susceptible to material displacement as a result of impact. For example, a gage dropped onto a concrete floor may appear perfectly fine to the naked eye, but because it is machined to extremely tight tolerances, material displacement may have occurred. This results in the gage being out of tolerance. To prevent this, perform gaging on tables or workbenches that are padded or covered with vinyl or rubber, whenever possible.
Perhaps the most crucial thing you can do to insure your gages are serviceable is to make sure to have them calibrated every 360 days as required by TB 43-180, Calibration and Repair Requirements for the Maintenance of Army Materiel. Direct Support is authorized 2 of each small arms gage; submit gages for calibration on a staggered schedule so one will always be available. Only the Test, Maintenance, and Diagnostic Equipment Laboratories listed in TB 43-180 are authorized and equipped to perform this calibration.
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