3 Helpful Facts About Gunsmithing Schools and Careers
Guns are a major part of American culture. Whether used for protection or sport, firearms simply garner a lot of passion and enthusiasm. That's why the country is home to an amazing number of gun owners. It's a huge market. Just look at some of the stats:
- American civilians are estimated to own between 270 million and 310 million guns.*
- The U.S. military possesses about 2.7 million firearms, and the nation's police forces collectively own about 1.15 million.*
- From 2001 to 2010, the number of small arms manufactured in America increased by over 86 percent.*
Clearly, a lot of guns are in circulation throughout the U.S. All of those weapons need to be regularly maintained in order to function safely and effectively. And many of them require extra attention from qualified gunsmiths.
So opportunities exist to make your mark in the gunsmithing trade. As you look into the training options, consider these factors:
1. What You Can Learn
Gunsmith school usually covers all of the basics to get you started. For example, you'll likely be taught about a variety of firearm types (e.g., pistols, rifles, and shotguns) as you study procedures such as:
- Assembling and disassembling guns
- Correcting accuracy problems
- Installing scopes
- Customizing things like ammunition loading and gun stocks
- Bedding actions and barrels
- Adjusting safeties and triggers
- Performing metalwork and operating machine tools
2. The Requirements You May Need to Meet
If you plan on doing gunsmithing work for anyone other than yourself, then you will need to obtain a Federal Firearms License (FFL). You can apply for one through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Some states and municipalities have additional regulations you may need to follow if you do business as a gunsmith.
3. How Much Money You Can Make
Your income potential as a gunsmith really depends on factors like where you're employed, whether you operate your own business, the quality of your work, and how well known you are within the gun community. The median salary for a U.S. gunsmith is about $39,240, but some people in the trade make over $58,000 per year.**
* GunPolicy.org, website last visited on February 6, 2015.
** PayScale, website last visited on February 6, 2015.