If you have a passion for guns, or the science and art behind their creation, then a gunsmith school may be just what you’re looking for. As a gunsmith apprentice, you’ll learn how to design, build, repair, and perform maintenance on all types firearms. There are a lot of different careers that you can choose within the field of gunsmithing, so you will want to do some research in order to find the field that you’re most interested in.
Here are a few gunsmith specialties that you might consider:
- Custom Builder/Designer
- Gun Engraver
Depending on your state, there are usually several options when it comes to gunsmith training, which I will outline below. Before choosing a gunsmithing school make sure they have been accredited by the proper authorities. You should ensure they have the right equipment, facilities and skilled instructors that can help you get the best education, and ask for their course work details before filling out the applications. You will also want to find out the tuition fees for the courses that you are interested in.
Gunsmith Trade Schools
A traditional gunsmith trade school, which can be found at many community or vocational colleges is usually the best option. Traditional gunsmithing schools are the most beneficial because you have access to lecturers and trainers who will provide you with hands-on instructions on how to build, repair, customize and restore guns. In traditional schools you also have the opportunity to interact with other students and exchange ideas to better improve your knowledge. When deciding on a gunsmith school, be sure to find out the specifics of each gunsmithing course that they offer so that you can take only those relevant to your chosen field.
Online Gunsmith Schools
If you are unable to find a college or vocational school that offers gunsmithing in your area, then an online course may be more suitable to your needs. Though not as “hands on” as a traditional gunsmith trade school, an online gunsmith school has some benefits of its own. Some of these benefits would include:
- Learn in the comfort of your own home
- Take the classes at your leisure
- No need to waste time and gas driving to a traditional school
- Online courses are generally cheaper than a trade school
- Courses can be completed in less time
As stated before, be sure to speak with someone and verify that the online gunsmith training is going to cover the materials that you need for your particular field.
Another great way to get gunsmith training is as an apprentice for an established, certified gunsmith. This can be a great way to learn the trade, without spending years in class or paying tuition fees, plus you get paid to do it. However, before signing on as an apprentice, be sure to do your homework on the gunsmith that you want to work for. Just because someone is a certified gunsmith, does not necessarily mean that they are the best teacher. Some gunsmiths may give you incorrect info, or teach you methods that are no longer in practice, which could potentially harm your career in the future.
Short-Term Gunsmithing Schools
The NRA offers some great gunsmithing classes referred to as “short-term gunsmithing schools.” These classes are held during the spring and summer months at various colleges across the country and range from several days to a week or two. Prices for these vary based on the course and often fill up quickly, so be sure to get registered today.
Before you can be allowed admission into a gunsmith school, either online or off, there are certain requirements that you must meet.
- You must have a high school diploma or equivalent.
- you must have experience in or be willing to learn technical skills like woodworking, metal works, mill and grinder operations, polishing tools, hand tools etc.
- You must be 21 years or older.
- And most importantly, you must pass a firearm background check without any felony convictions. People with restraining orders and domestic violence convictions are not eligible to participate in any gunsmith school programs.
Coursework and specialization
Both online and offline gunsmith schools provide you with much of the information you need to be a competent professional in the field. The course work may include the history of guns, types of guns, how they operate and details about how guns have evolved from the early, crude guns into the modern guns we know today. You’ll also learn how to use tools, machines and other equipment needed create and build the perfect firearm. Subjects that deal with design of different types of firearms, repair of damaged firearms, ballistics, stockmaking, blueprint reading, firearms protections, maintenance, and safety will also be discussed. You’ll also learn mathematics as related to firearms and use of precision measurement instruments.
Generally speaking, it is a good idea to choose a specialty within the gunsmithing field that is the most interesting to you. There are numerous programs available that focus on subjects like gun designs, repair and restoration, firearms safety, antique firearms, pistols, rifles or customized guns.
Finding a job
Once you’re done with your education you must apply for the federal firearms license (FFL) with the federal bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives before you can start a gunsmith job or a business. Most schools have details of how you can start your own small gunsmith business, which they sometimes make part of the coursework. You can look for gunsmith jobs online (see the “gunsmith jobs” tab above), in newspapers, at your local gunsmith, firearms manufacturers, and also in the police and military sectors.
So what are you waiting for? Get started with your gunsmithing career today!