Gunsmithing is one of the oldest professions on record. In case you aren’t completely sure about all of the duties that a gunsmith knows how to perform, it’s the person who designs firearms, builds them, and can make repairs that are needed. They can also modify certain types of guns to make them more personal to the user.
The vast knowledge a gunsmith has comes from years of training and on the job experience. Many times, these people are high level engineers and machinists. If you are interested in becoming a gunsmith as a potential career, here are the steps on how to go about training for this all important profession, and other details that will be helpful to know.
The Type of Schooling You Need
Most gunsmithing is offered at technical colleges or trade schools. This can take anywhere between six months to two years. Some people can start going to vocational school in high school to learn about the trade. Then they can go on to more specialized training at a technical college that offers a gunsmithing program. It’s helpful to know about woodworking and metalworking as basic knowledge before you get started. The more comfortable you are with all kinds of tools the better.
There is also some math involved because you will be making calculations, including measurements, in your gunsmithing work.
After you earn your diploma or associate degree in gunsmithing, the next step is to have an apprenticeship with a local gunsmith, where you can receive on the job experience. This is a very valuable part of your training.
You will also be required to have a Federal Firearm License (FFL), which all gunsmiths need to have by law. This requires a background check, being at least 21-years-old, and some laws that may apply on a state or local level. The US Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is the law enforcement agency that requires this license of all gunsmiths.
How Much a Gunsmith Makes
Depending on where you end up working, the salary of a gunsmith can vary greatly. On average, a gunsmith in the United States makes about $31,000-$50,000 per year. An inexperienced gunsmith who just got out of school may have to work at an hourly rate, which is on average about $14 per hour.
Where You Can Work
When looking for a job as a gunsmith, there are many places a person can work. You can ideally get a job with a large manufacturer, like Sig Sauer, Ruger, or Smith & Wesson. Or you can go the route of working for an independent gun maker or local shop in your area. Finally, if you have the right resources (start-up money!) you can open up your own store or company online.
Passion is Important
Above all, as a gunsmith you must have a passion for the firearms industry. It’s a job that comes with the full support of the Second Amendment. If you decide that this is a career that sounds right for you, talk to some local gunsmiths in your area to find out the details at a personal level on what the job is really like. That will help you make a more informed decision on whether this admired profession is going to be right for you.