The best way to achieve your dream of becoming a full-time gunsmith is through a thorough educational experience. As most Gunsmiths start out as gun hobbyists, they know the basics, however, through a certificate program at your local community college, you can make a living out of doing what you love to do.
We can all agree that experience will be what sets you apart from all others who are out there trying to do the same thing. But what is the best way to get that on-the-job training that you need? In most cases, working an apprenticeship is the answer.
It may not be easy finding a gunsmithing apprenticeship opportunity in your area. Community colleges who offer certificate programs may be able to send you in the right direction, however, you will need to do some leg work yourself, if needed. Is there a gun range or repair shop in your area? Is there a sporting goods store that repairs firearms that could use your assistance?
Whether you have been a gun enthusiast for a long time or you are attending an online certificate program, be up front and honest about your experience. Mentors will appreciate your skills and knowledge, however, if you don’t have much, they will also appreciate your candor, for gun safety, as well as, machinery experience is a huge part of gun repair. They must know at what skill level you are at to maximize your learning potential and maintain a safe working environment for all.
As a gunsmith apprentice, you may spend between two to four years or more with your mentor learning the ropes. Traditionally, an apprentice will earn income for the work they do, however, your earning potential, at this level, may be minimum. You will have the opportunity to earn higher wages when you begin your own business or obtain a position as a Gunsmith with another establishment.
You will learn many useful skills while working with a gunsmithing mentor. You will learn about the proper use of firearms, the different makes and models, gun safety, how to design, customize and repair firearms, in addition to, specialized skills such as, engraving, woodworking, metal works, stock making and checkering. You may also learn about specific types of firearms such as, hand guns, rifles, shotguns, revolvers and military firearms.
Through an apprenticeship, you will also learn important abilities such as problem-solving and critical thinking skills, math competencies, as well as, gun history, leadership and customer service techniques.
At some point, you must obtain a Federal Firearms License (FFL). This license will authorize you to have possession of a customer’s firearm for more than a day, since you may need several days to complete repairs. This type of license is issued through the U. S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). You will also need to check license regulations for the state and county that you will be conducting business in.
If you would like to learn more about a career in this field, please check our choices for the best Online Schools for Gunsmithing Programs to help you along your journey.