What Is Gunsmithing?

Gunsmithing is the design, assembly, repair, and modification of firearms. This article discusses gunsmithing, gunsmiths, and training. Read on for more information. Schools offering Gunsmithing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Field Overview

Gunsmithing is the routine maintenance, repair, and modification of firearms. Gunsmiths identify worn or defective parts and replace them with new ones. They must be aware of issues specific to certain models and manufacturers in order to resolve them. Sometimes, gunsmiths modify firearms for competitive or other purposes specified by their clients.

There are a variety of specialties within the field of gunsmithing. Gunsmiths may specialize in a particular type of firearm, such as shotguns, pistols, and rifles. Those working with handguns may specialize in revolvers or semiautomatic pistols. Gunsmiths may also specialize their work by focusing on a particular manufacturer, such as Colt, Smith & Wesson, Winchester, Glock, Marlin, Springfield Armory, or Beretta. A small number of gunsmiths specialize in antique firearms.

Important Facts About Gunsmiths

Similar Occupations Assemblers and fabricators, metal workers, welders
Work Environment Typically a factory or workshop setting, alternating between fine detail work and manual labor
Key Skills Dexterity, math skills, good vision, mechanical skills, physical endurance, technical skills
On-The-Job Training Extensive on-the-job training; mentoring and apprenticeships

Education and Training

There are several gunsmithing training options available. Short-term classes offer specific training, which may focus on a particular type of firearm or customizing firearms. These courses last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks and offer a certificate of completion, though no college credit is given. The National Rifle Association (NRA, www.nra.org) sponsors short-term gunsmithing courses at colleges and universities. Various other training centers and organizations, such as the Front Sight Firearms Training Institute (www.frontsight.com), have similar short-term classes.

Some colleges and universities offer gunsmithing programs. These have different focuses, such as firearms repair, general gunsmithing, and custom gunsmithing. Programs generally award Associate of Applied Science degrees and emphasize hands-on learning with real firearms in professionally stocked shops. Degree programs teach students how to diagnose problems with firearms, manufacture tools and parts for firearms, convert firearms, refurbish metal and wood, and use shop equipment safely.

Job Outlook

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) does not report data specific to gunsmiths, it does categorize gunsmiths as one type of installation, maintenance, and repair workers. The BLS predicts that the employment of such workers will likely increase by about 9% during the 2012-2022 decade, a rate consistent with the national average expected within all occupations.

PayScale.com indicated that, as recently as September 2015, the majority of gunsmiths earn salaries ranging from $22,011 to $59,854. The median annual salary for this profession was $39,239.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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  • Yavapai College

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    • South Carolina: Greenwood
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