Inspired Gunworks offers full firearm service near you

Inspired Gunworks owners Kevin and Amy Johnson, shown above in their shop south of Midvale, have begun manufacturing custom bag risers that give shooters three inches of adjustment. The riser is shown supporting the butt of the rifle above. Photo by Philip A. Janquart

Inspired Gunworks is a gunsmithing shop that also applies Cerakote protective coatings to firearms, among other things. Above, Kevin Johnson shows some of his recent work. Photo by Philip A. Janquart
Philip A. Janquart
They kind of live out in the boonies.
 That might be one side of the coin, but the other is the fact that, if you live in or near Washington County, they are much closer than most outfits that do what they do.
 Kevin and Amy Johnson run a premier custom firearm shop, Inspired Gunworks, where they practice gunsmithing, but are quickly becoming experts at applying Cerakote custom coatings to a variety of firearms.
 “This is kind of a new thing; all the big manufacturers now have a line of Cerakote,” explained Kevin who is also a gunsmith. 
 Amy added, “They are starting to do archery and mountain bikes, but they are also using it in the medical field, as well as in oil and gas because the salt in the ocean is so corrosive. It’s a big thing.”
 Nestled in the hills southeast of Midvale, Kevin and Amy have a full shop where they disassemble firearms, sandblast the old finish, and apply Cerakote, often using custom stencils they have designed in-house.
 Cerakote can be applied to metal, plastic, polymer, and wood, and can come in just about any design. 
 One of the Johnson’s rifles, in fact, mimics the paint scheme of the “General Lee,” the iconic orange 1969 Dodge Charger that Bo and Luke Duke routinely destroyed in high-speed pursuits in the 1980s television series “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
 “I figured out the font for that, but I’ve designed some of my own stuff; I use Illustrator or Photoshop,” Amy said. “We’ve done some experimenting with a lot of different camos. Then we have a fancy cutter that cuts it.”
 Like many of the products we use on a daily basis, Cerakote, which is a .001-millimeter lightweight protective finish, was originally developed for the military and aerospace industry, though at least one company, NIC Industries, claims to have introduced it in the mid-1980s specifically for firearms.
Whatever the case, many people these days are choosing to “Cerakote” their firearms.
 “It’s a super-thin coating that allows the action to still work,” said Kevin who noted that the ceramic-based coating is 300-times more durable than “bluing” a firearm.
 Bluing involves a chemical reaction that produces a thin, protective oxide layer on the surface of steel, but is said to be minimally protective against corrosion and wear. It also wears off over time with use and handling. It cannot be applied to aluminum or polymer parts and is not available in such a wide range of colors like Cerakote.
 The Johnsons moved to Idaho about two years ago from Camp Verde, Ariz. where Kevin worked full-time as a service lead for Caterpillar. Amy worked for her children’s school district and did some professional photography.
 They have been working with firearms for about 20 years. Once their kids were out of school, they started bouncing around the idea of moving to Idaho and transitioning from what was once a side business to a full-time gig.
 “I was in the high school office for six or seven years,” Amy said of her former employment. “Then I was at the district office for a couple years during COVID; that put me over the edge and I was, like, let’s do something else.”
 Kevin was on the same page.
 “I think that happened for a lot of people,” he said. “I mean, we’ve been around firearms, hunting and fishing, and that kind of stuff all our lives, but when COVID happened, we decided to take this serious and work for ourselves. It’s been an adventure for sure and we are now getting to the point where we are beginning to really get things going.”
 They ended up buying property just down the road from Amy’s parents, Mike and Patty Brown, who have been in the area for about 15 years.
 “We built the shop and moved all the machines,” Amy said. 
 Kevin noted that they have a new CNC plasma table on order, which will make the manufacturing process move much quicker.
 “We are pretty diversified as far as the Cerakote side of things and there are a lot of outfits that just do that, but they don’t disassemble and assemble,” he said. “We do everything here: machining, optics, slide cuts, and muzzle brakes. We’ve done a lot of work on firearms, tearing them down, looking at them, cleaning them, whatever needs to be done.”
 But it doesn’t end there: Kevin and Amy manufacture bag risers for rifles.
 “It’s an adjustable rear bag riser that allows you to shoot off a more stable platform,” said Kevin who came up with his own custom design and end product. “When our plasma cutter shows up, we’ll be able to really start manufacturing those. The one I have here, I built every part of it, all the pieces, on a manual machine, which takes a long time.”
 He noted that there are very few bag riser manufacturers out there.
 “Most of your average long-range guys, distance shooters, shoot off a bipod on the front, which is solid, and then they use what is called a squeeze bag in the back,” Kevin explained. “That squeeze bag will give you about a half inch of adjustment; ours will give you about three inches.”
 There are a lot of rules and regulations when it comes to shipping firearms, but the Johnsons say they have it all figured out and are fortunate to have the “greatest UPS guy in the world.”
 If shipping isn’t your thing and you want a more personalized visit, you can call Kevin and Amy at (928) 295-8408 and get directions to their shop on Four Mile Road in Midvale. Their hours are generally from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, but additional times can be scheduled if needed.
 It’s definitely worth taking a look at their comprehensive website at where you can get an online quote.



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