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Gunsmithing Schools

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Get better at the hobby you love, or turn it into an actual career.

Gunsmithing schools make it possible to elevate your skills in the maintenance, repair, or customization of firearms. With just a small amount of specialized education, you can become a lot more self-sufficient at taking care of your own guns while also giving yourself the opportunity to become a paid professional in the trade.

That's often the real advantage of going through gunsmith school: It can greatly increase your practical understanding of different types of firearms, important safety procedures, and relevant laws. That way, you can feel confident in your abilities and have a formal credential that earns the respect of potential clients or employers. Plus, online gunsmithing schools give you the chance to learn it all from home. So take stock of your options today!

3 Helpful Facts About Gunsmithing Schools and Careers

Penn Foster

  • Online
  • Gunsmith
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3 Facts About Gunsmithing Schools and Careers

Rack of gunsThe following statistics are from an report:

  • Between 1990-2021, American civilians owned an estimated 473.2 million guns.
  • Domestic firearm production increased 28.6 percent in 2021 to over 12 million.
  • The firearm and ammunition manufacturing sector employed over 12,000 people in 2021.

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.

A gunsmith is a designer, a machinist, and an artisan. In order to repair damaged firearms, a gunsmith must be able to critically think about the mechanics of a piece and devise a solution to the complex problem that is preventing it from functioning well.

Gunsmiths also create their own embellishments on firearms, so they must know how to design and manufacture firearm parts, craft gun stocks, and engrave decorative patterns on both the wood and metal parts of a firearm. That's why a gunsmith must be detail-oriented. For many gunsmiths, the trade involves creating intricate pieces of precision machinery that other gun enthusiasts regard as works of art.

A lot of gunsmiths operate their own businesses, but some work for firearms companies, sporting goods shops, or the military.

So great 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

You may also learn about woodworking, gun safety, and the science and physics of firearms. Gunsmithing programs generally last anywhere from six months to two years, depending on how specialized you want to become. For example, although a lot of gunsmiths are generalists, many others are experts in specialized areas such as:

  • Custom building and design
  • Stockmaking and checkering (i.e., making embellishments and decorative patterns)
  • Metal engraving
  • Niche manufacturing (e.g., making particular types of guns like pistols or specific gun parts like barrels or sights)

By first training as a generalist in all the various responsibilities and duties of a gunsmith, you'll have a good foundation for pursuing a specialized role in the future.

2. The Requirements You May Need to Meet

gunsmithingIn the United States, 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. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), gunsmiths are included in the occupation group "installation, maintenance, and repair workers, all other." In May 2021, the median salary for workers in this occupation group was $42,570.*

Move Forward Today

This career path can be incredibly interesting and gratifying. So take the opportunity right now to find a gunsmith training program by entering your zip code in the search tool below!

* Unless otherwise noted, salary information is based on May 2021 data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program.