TFB's Build Of The Week Series: Awesome 2020 Reboot Edition

Tom R
by Tom R
Build Of The Week Series

A little over two years ago, we started a little series called Build Of The Week. Many of you readers enthusiastically participated and we had a ton of submissions. Enough that we turned it into a contest with a chance to win real prizes – culminating in the giveaway of a rifle to Jim R at SHOT 2019.

Sadly, that was the same time I departed TFB (in a full-time status), and the series paused with my status change. However, the spark was not entirely extinguished: Pete has continued receiving emails from fellow weapon crafters asking if the series would return. I am here to entice all of you with the 2020 BOTW reboot.

TFB’s Build Of The Week Series: Awesome 2020 Reboot Edition

We have all been cooped up at home. Our bank accounts are flush (some of us anyway) with that sweet stimulus money. And we are apparently cleaning out gun shops across the nation in preparation for whatever 2020 wants to throw at us this fall – I fully expect there to be a plethora of apocalypse builds that make their debut. Show us what you built before you “lost” it in that boating accident you had while being properly masked and socially distanced.

This series only works with reader submissions—you will not be competing with James’ PEN-15 build. Nor anyone else on staff.

So that we can have a consistent format for presenting the builds, we will be using a tool developed at The Prepared – Kit Builder. It is free to use and helps organize a build of, well, anything. It is easy to share the link with your fans. You can copy a public build to your own account—which gives you a great starting point if you like a build someone else has done but want to customize it.

Here is an example build:

    How TFB’s Build of the Week: 2020 Reboot will work.

    We will start collecting submissions with the publishing of this article. It will be first-in, first-out, based on a complete submission. The goal is to launch the first reader build the first week of October.

    We will feature a build each week (assuming we get enough submissions). After four builds, we will hold a public vote. The winning build of that vote will earn a prize. A random voter will also receive a prize. We will repeat that same cycle six times, after which we will hold a run-off, and the winning build will get a much more awesome prize (remember the rifle from last time?). Second place will also win a prize. We will also pick a couple of random voters that will get prize packs.

    The best submissions will include:

    • A unique build you have done and the concept for it.
    • A great overall photo of the build—James did an excellent primer on photographing guns.
    • Component prices and weights.
    • Individual item photos.
    • Detail of why a component was chosen.
    • Link to where that component was sourced (if commercially available).
    • Staying involved with the post by answering questions the other readers have.

    As you can see in the glorious example build I posted, everything is explained with pictures of each component and details. And I am happy to chat with you in the comments. Even if you roast it. [edit: It is meant to be an over the top build. We expect there to be more normal and reasonable builds…😉]

    A few caveats:

    • Do NOT just copy someone else’s build, change a couple of things and call it good.
    • Do NOT submit a build with a single line item, which is the completed gun—we want to see the custom parts that make it up.
    • Concept builds were pretty universally hated by the readers—we may still allow a couple depending upon circumstances but don’t be offended if you get torn apart in the comments.
    • We will only accept one build per person per six cycles. Make it your best.
    • It does not just have to be a gun, though a gun MUST be the central focus. For example, in the example build above, there are night vision components and a pack integral to the concept, but the gun is the feature.

    How to submit a Build Of The Week:

    Go to You will see some other example kits that are more related to preparedness. Scroll down a little, and you will see a banner with a link to “Create Your Own Kit”. If you don’t have an account (or are not logged in), clicking on that link will popup a box allowing you to login or signup. Once you are logged in, the “Create Kit” wizard process will start. Give the kit a catchy name and set the visibility to “Public”. Follow the steps and make your build. Everything is saved in realtime–you can always get back to it on the main “kits” page.

    Email the link to your kit (either copy from the URL or hit the “share” button on the editor) to tom.r @ with a subject of “Build of the Week Submission”. I’ll check out the build, and if it is good to go, it will be added to the queue. If it needs some work, I’ll help you polish it up.

    I am looking forward to seeing what you all submit. May the odds ever be in your favor.

    Tom R
    Tom R

    Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Prior to that he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he teaches wilderness medicine and runs an on-demand medical staffing business. He hopes that his posts will help you find solid gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it--he is known (in certain circles) for his curse...ahem, find the breaking point of anything.You can reach him at tom.r AT or at

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    2 of 11 comments
    • Bkksw Bkksw on Sep 20, 2020

      I like this sort of thing and in fact submitted a couple builds last time, one of which was selected (for the life of me can't figure out why the others weren't :)). The easiest part was remembering the information and snapping a few quick pics (studio quality, I'm sure you remember..:)) and at the time I thought about a list of gear and remember thinking "geez that's a lot of work, and I have a life.." and now you want weights? Gotta be the editor in you.. Anyway, looking forward to it. I have a cool build I'm working on, just waiting on the barrel..

    • DM DM on Sep 22, 2020