Training to become a gunsmith might never have been more important than it is right now. Even if you’re not planning on switching careers or starting your own home-based business, knowing how to troubleshoot and repair your weapons not only saves money, but could someday day soon save your life!
How To Become A Gunsmith
We are living in very uncertain times folks. The possibility of World War 3 or a massive battle on a similar scale might be looming around the next corner. A firearm which is not in perfect repair will not be able to score a deer for the dinner table, ward off desperate criminals, or combat hostile attackers or foreign militants.
Many states do not require a specific licensure for gunsmiths and even the places that do allow online training course to complete education requirements. As with any business, getting insurance to protect everything you own in case you rightfully or wrongfully get sued is essential if training to be a gunsmith is intended to be a money-making venture.
Learn The Basics
Gunsmiths not only repair all legal versions of firearms but build and customize them as well. Gunsmiths who own or work at a gun range often make extra money doing even the simplest of tasks for novice gun owners such as disassembling, cleaning, and then reassembling the weapon.
Have An Eye For Detail
Gun owners who want not just an accurate and deadly weapon often employ gunsmiths to customize or personalize their rifles, shotguns, and handguns. Intricate work such as engraving a design on either wood or metal, as well as refinishing metal in a colored finish, are often skilled labor jobs gunsmiths are requested to take on by their customers. A gunsmith who also possesses a creative eye and the ability to create a piece of art to adorn a cherished firearm may soon find himself or herself in high demand.
Gunsmithing requires both intellectual and hands-on skill in a whole host of areas. Being knowledgeable about a plethora of not just gun parts, but also types and brands of gun, is essential for a professional gunsmith. Establishing yourself as an overall authority on all things firearms will quickly help build a quality professional reputation for an emerging gunsmithing business.
Larry Potterfield of Midway USA shows gunsmithing skills on how to rebore a rifle barrel:
Invest In Technology
Investing in industry-specific computer design software for the customization of firearms will enhance the services that can be offered at your shop and in turn, generate more revenue for the new business.
Learn The Works
Without a working knowledge of both different types and models of handguns, shotguns, and rifles, a gunsmith will not be able to fulfill a customer’s wish for customized parts. Gunsmiths who are also trained in wood carving, welding, and are able to work with a lathe and mill have an edge over other smiths who can merely repair and replace parts for damaged weapons.
Upgrade Your Skill Set
Gunsmith training can be accomplished several ways. A student can learn the craft during an apprenticeship, in the military, by attending workshops offered by Second Amendment groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA), taking an on-campus course at a community college, or via an online course of study. A certificate of completion or career diploma is routinely offered to show the student has mastered the necessary skills to work in the field. There are even some associate’s degree programs in gunsmithing. Such degrees typically also require several business and industry-specific ethics and laws courses as a part of the curriculum.
Gunsmithing students learn the trade in an old-fashioned, hands-on manner from either experienced instructors or professional smiths – or both. Other common coursework during gunsmith training includes firearms handling safety, firearms repair, firearms conversion and laws related to such modifications, machine shop safety, gun bluing, learning how to work with complex machine tools, metal finishing, welding, and sometimes reloading of ammunition.
While part of the coursework is from a textbook or workbook and test-taking is involved, the vast majority of the training involves hands-on, skill training.
Professional gunsmiths must submit to a background check before officially opening up a business in most, if not all, states. Garnering a Federal Firearms License, or FFL, from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is also required. Typically, the local or regional ATF office will conduct an in-person interview with the gunsmith before issuing the FFL to the business. There is, of course, a fee involved with getting the FFL license and the entire process has been known to take anywhere from weeks to several months. This is the government we’re talking about here, so that shouldn’t be a shocker.
Gunsmiths often need to keep a customer’s gun overnight or longer. When such an instance occurs, a record must be generated to detail the information about the gun and the name of the owner in the “bound book” kept by the business for just this purpose.
The ATF can and likely will, inspect the bound book and other record-keeping the gunsmith is required to handle for each transaction. The documentation tasks are not daunting, but the procedure must be followed exactly in order to avoid an order to shutter the business or possibly even a levy of charges for FFL violations.
Schedule Your Gunsmith Training
The duration of gunsmith training varies greatly depending upon the level of professional training the student is seeking. An associate’s degree usually takes up to two years to complete for full-time students. Online training courses are designed to be completed in a year or 18 months, depending up the time the student has to devote to the course. Some gunsmith student whiz through the coursework due to their existing knowledge about firearms and the free time they have to spend finishing each class assignment.
If the student has firearms knowledge, machinist training, or has served in the military, a typical online gunsmith course could be completed in about three months.
Think About Job Prospects and Pay
How much a gunsmith earns has as much to do with supply and demand as it does with how many hours per week the smith is willing to work and invest in marketing the business – whether it is home-based or in a traditional brick-and-mortar location. Setting up a booth at a gun show, prepper expo, or outdoor sports event is a good way to introduce yourself to likely customers and to earn a little extra money selling gun-related items while offering brief free consultation about the firearms being carried by the event, expo, or show attendees.
Do you have anything more to add about how to become a gunsmith? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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