Gunsmithing Frequently Asked Questions
What does a Gunsmith Do?
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.
Where do Gunsmiths Work?
Gunsmiths often have their own businesses, but they also work for firearms companies and sporting goods shops, or for the military.
What does Training Cover?
There are many components to an education in gunsmithing. Most programs run anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, depending on the specialization that you choose.
The specific skills you could learn include woodworking, precision metalworking, mechanical expertise, and a knowledge of the science and physics of firearms. A gunsmith will also be trained in gun safety and power tool operation.
What Specializations are Available in this Trade?
Some gunsmiths are generalists, working to do all types of related tasks. Others practice in a specialized area of expertise, becoming authorities on specific portions of the manufacture or repair of firearms. Some specialized gunsmithing careers include:
- Custom Building and Design
- Stockmaking and Checkering (making embellishments and decorative patterns)
- Engraving work on the metal of a firearm
- Niche Manufacturing, such as pistol smiths only work to manufacture and repair pistols, or manufacturers of barrels, sights, or other specific gun parts
By first training as a generalist in all the various responsibilities and duties of a gunsmith, you could then have the option to focus on a single specialized role in the future.
If this career path sounds interesting and rewarding to you, take the opportunity to select a school that seem to be the best fit for you, and ask for more information. It is easy to take the first steps toward a gunsmithing career that is both gratifying and appealing!