Gunsmiths repair, modify, and build firearms such as handguns, rifles, and shotguns. While they are skilled in simple tasks such as disassembling, cleaning, inspecting, and reassembling guns, gunsmiths can also perform more complex work, including refinishing metal and engraving designs in wood or metal.
Gunsmiths need to have a broad range of skills and knowledge in order to do the work they do. Gunsmiths need to be familiar with the different models and types of firearms in order to design custom parts and modify weapons to increase their performance. Knowledge of chemistry is required for working with metals and metal finishing. Gunsmiths need to be able to read blueprints and use computer-aided design software. Gunsmiths should also be able to use tools such as lathes, mills, and carving.
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What Training Is Needed To Become A Gunsmith?
Gunsmiths can learn the craft through apprenticeships, military training, or a degree program. A few schools offer associate or certificate programs in gunsmithing. This is why it is highly recommended that you attend one of these programs.
Gunsmith students learn from experienced instructors and take courses on topics such as firearms safety, machine shop safety, and stock making. The emphasis is on skills like welding, metal finishing, and gun blueing. Gunsmith programs are hands-on and students have numerous opportunities to learn and practice skills with firearms and tools from their schools. Gunsmith programs offer instruction in management skills for students who may want to start their own business.
Associate degrees in gunsmithing require approximately two years to complete. They include general education coursework such as English, mathematics, science, and general education courses. Some schools offer certificate programs, which are shorter and don’t require general education coursework. Schools may also partner with the National Rifle Association for short-term or seasonal schools that teach basic skills.
Do You Need To Be Certified Or Licensed?
Gunsmiths operating as a business need a federal firearms license (FFL). The US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) issues FFLs. Gunsmiths need to submit a copy of their fingerprints along with a fee in order to apply for an FFL. The submitted fingerprints will be used by the ATF to conduct a criminal history background check. A local ATF office will then interview the applicant in person.
The ATF requires FFL holders to comply with bookkeeping requirements. For example, if a customer leaves their firearm at a gunsmith for an extended period of time, the gunsmith must keep a record in a “bound” book.
How Long Is It To Become A Gunsmith?
A gunsmith certificate or associate degree can be completed in two years. However, it takes many years of practice to achieve the level of proficiency required to start their own business.
Gunsmiths may have gained experience as a machinist or in the military. This experience can make it more difficult to get into this profession.
Where Can I Find Out More About How To Become A Gunsmith?
Many online forums are available for gun ownership, gun maintenance, and gunsmithing discussion. These forums allow you to connect with professionals and hobbyist gunsmiths, as well as learn about their careers and education.