What Should a Good Gunsmithing School Teach?
Gunsmiths are people who design, build, and repair firearms. Many of them work in workshops or own their own businesses. This career can be rewarding and profitable, but only the most skilled individuals are able to build quality reputations as gunsmiths. It takes a diverse set of skills and a well-rounded gunsmithing school to make a successful gunsmith.
What kind of training is involved in gunsmithing?
There are several ways to get trained to become a gunsmith:
The U.S. military trains and hires people as “armorers” or “repairmen.” Although these professions are categorized along with gunsmithing, they are not as involved and do not take as much training. Being a military armorer requires signing up for the military and mostly consists of repairing small firearms on a basic level.
An apprentice gunsmith receives one-on-one training from a master gunsmith in exchange for helping around the shop. Although this is a good way to get personalized training, it can be hard to find gunsmiths who are willing to take apprentices. A candidate would need to seek out gunsmiths in the area and ask them whether an arrangement could be made.
The standard way to be trained as a gunsmith is through a school. Some community colleges and vocational programs offer courses that can lead to degrees or certifications in gunsmithing. Some well-known schools include the Pennsylvania Gunsmithing School, the Colorado School of Trades, and the Yavapai College Gunsmithing School in Arizona.
What do good gunsmithing schools teach?
The most important factors in becoming a successful gunsmith are gaining lots of experience and a diverse skill set. Some gunsmithing programs may only teach students how to repair firearms. Although this skill may be enough to land a job, it will not be enough to take your career to the next level, whether that means having a higher salary or starting your own gunsmithing business. When shopping around for gunsmithing degrees and certificates, make sure that the program is well-rounded.
Good programs will offer courses in many of these areas and more:
- Operating hand and machine tools needed for gunsmithing
- Using measuring tools
- Completely disassembling and reassembling firearms
- Identifying different firearm operating systems
- Installing parts with methods that enhance accuracy
- Using computers to plan firearm modifications and develop data
- Making and installing specialty accessories or custom parts
- Developing business plans and applying for small business loans
- Developing marketing tools
These courses not only teach the basics in building and repairing firearms, but also pave the way for building a reputation as someone who can fill custom orders and run a successful business.
What other skills are helpful in becoming a successful gunsmith?
Gunsmiths need to set themselves apart from the competition. It is good to consider developing specialized skills such as engraving (using chisels to cut designs onto metal surfaces), stockmaking (carving custom gun stocks), and finishing (applying certain chemicals to metal parts).
The most highly skilled gunsmiths are custom designers who can build guns from raw materials. These gunsmiths need a variety of other skills, including an expert understanding of machining (cutting materials into shapes using different tools) in general in order to be able to build all of the individual firearm components. Specialized skills can come with extra training and experience, and attending a good school is an excellent place to start for students who wish to become well-rounded gunsmiths.