What Does a Gunsmith Do? - Video

A Gunsmith maintains, repairs and rebuilds firearms and firearm parts. Gunsmiths can have additional titles, such as a custom gun builder, finisher, pistol gunsmith or stock maker, and may specialize in certain firearm types, such as pistols or antique guns.

Job Description

A Gunsmith is someone who works to repair, design and build firearms. It is their job to make sure that the weapons they build or repair function safely. It is a career that can be obtained through technical or trade school training. Many schools offer two-year degrees or diploma programs with hands-on skills development. A Gunsmith may work to restore antique firearms, update older guns or make adaptations to ready-made firearms to the specification of a customer. The field of firearms and gunsmithing is broad and as such, Gunsmiths will typically specialize in a handful of gunsmithing skills.

Daily Duties

A Gunsmith needs to know the safe way to handle and operate firearms. They use a variety of tools when making firearm repairs or modifications. They work with their hands and use similar skills of a machinist. Common tools include lathes, grinders, planners and milling machines. It is the responsibility of a Gunsmith to inspect the firearms they are working with to ensure safe mechanical operation. They will work with the moving parts (or action) of the firearm in addition to pistol grips, recoil pads and choking devices. Specific skills may also include soldering, welding, barrel fitting or making custom stock. When evaluating the safety of each firearm, a Gunsmith will check for missing parts, worn sear edges, cracks or obstructions and malfunctions of safety mechanisms. They may also repair or replace defective parts.

Work Setting

A Gunsmith may choose to work as a self-employed individual, running his or her own gunsmith shop. They can also be found working in a sporting goods store, a military or law-enforcement armory or for a firearms manufacturing company. They also work with their hands for much of the day and will often stand or sit to use tools and machines.

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