Your Guide to Gunsmith Careers

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gunsmith careers

I can remember the day that I started seriously looking at gunsmith careers as my choice of employment. I did a search on the internet and visited some bookstores, but it seemed like the more information I found the more questions I had. This is one of the reasons I decided to get together with some others with gunsmithing jobs and start this website.

On this page you will get the real inside scoop on gunsmith careers. We will break it down for you so that you can quickly get a read on what the job entails and what you should expect including how to become one. We are very proud to call ourselves gunsmiths and think that if you are a true firearms enthusiast you should at least consider learning a bit about this craft to keep your weapons in tip top shape.

Those of us who already have our own gunsmith careers will tell you that it is quite possibly the greatest job in the world. For me personally, I could not imagine doing anything else. We want to share with you our experiences and knowledge when it comes to gunsmithing jobs and tips on how you can become one too.

As usual, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions to help make this website better, please contact us. You can find our contact information on the About Us page. We do appreciate each and every one of you!

In the tabs below, we will discuss some of the important facts that you should know about gunsmith careers and how to become one. Please read through this information carefully. Also note, that we have links that can open up more information about specific topics. So read, learn and become informed on what it takes to get in to a gunsmith career.

What's a Gunsmith?TrainingTraitsJob DescriptionSpecializations

What is a Gunsmith?

We’ve all been asked this question before. A simple answer is that a gunsmith is a trained professional craftsman who provides the service of maintaining, repairing and modifying firearms. But we all know that answers like that are fluff. There is much more to gunsmithing than some people realize.

The truth is that a good gunsmith can do much more than simply repair a rifle or add a scope. A well trained gunsmith can take a rusty non-working rifle and fix it up to look and shoot as if it was almost new. Besides making it look and fire as a new rifle, they also take the right precautions to make it safe so it doesn’t blow up in your face.

Gunsmith careers are built on the idea that every legal citizen in this country has the right to defend and protect their family and property from evildoers. They help keep the American spirit alive by performing duties such as repair and maintenance to firearms of all types. They also help design and perfect the next generation of firearms for all of us to enjoy.

Do You Need Any Special Training for a Gunsmith Career?

Yes! Like most craftsman trades, training is essential. Remember, you are working with firearms which requires a certain amount of safety. The last thing you really want to do is make a faulty repair

Like most craftsman trades you will need to get some training to work properly in the field. You must learn the proper techniques and understand the reasoning behind it all. Training is of upmost importance, especially when dealing with firearms.

There are two types of training normally associated with gunsmithing. The first one is formal training from an accredited school. The second way is through an apprentice program. We suggest that if possible, you should do both so you can better grasp the concepts and techniques needed.

Gunsmith training programs are typically part hands-on and part classroom learning. This way you can get to understand how to do it while understanding why it has to be done. This is a great way to get acquainted with techniques and skills you need to be successful.

Gunsmith programs can be found at some community colleges and vo-tech schools around the country. There are also some private schools that also provide training that can help you along the way. It is also possible to get your classroom training through online classes, but we warn you that you should find a way to get your hands-on training either through the school or from an apprentice program.

Most gunsmith programs can be completed in 6 months up to 2 years depending on what level of degree you are seeking. Some of the topics covered in training programs can include:

  • Firearms Safety
  • Function and Design of Firearms
  • Pistols, Rifles and Shotguns
  • Stockmaking
  • Grinding, Polishing and Sanding
  • Ballistics
  • Metalworking and Woodworking
  • Bluing and Checkering
  • Machine and Hand Tool Operation
  • Metal Fabrication and Welding
  • Basic Maintenance
For more information on gunsmith schools and training including the type of requirements you will need to meet, take a look at our Guide to Gunsmith Programs.

What Kinds of Personality Traits Does Gunsmiths Have?

There are a few things you should know before you setting to start a gunsmith career. Even though you may have the passion or maybe even think that gunsmithing is easy, there are some traits that can become incredibly useful to actually succeed. So let’s take a quick look at some traits that can prove helpful if you really want to become a gunsmith.

  • Physical Dexterity: This basically means that you are able to use your hands and arms to manipulate, handle, grasp and assemble items in a coordinated manner
  • Forward Visualization: Being able to imagine how an object will look before and after it is assembled, arranged or moved
  • Near and Far Vision: Having the ability to see objects both close and far away including estimating ranges
  • Steady Control: Being able to keep a hand or arm steady while making other movements
  • Following Directions: The ability to listen or read a set of rules or directions and follow them in a certain order
  • Problem Understanding: Being able to tell that something isn’t right or could very much become wrong
  • Precise Control: You should be able to make quick and precise adjustments repeatedly if needed
  • Written and Oral Comprehension: You should be able to understand ideas, information or thoughts that are given to you either by the spoken word or written
  • Logical Reasoning: You should have the ability to see a set of problems and using deductive reasoning come up with logical solutions or answers
  • Creativity: Being creative and or having original ideas in situations or used to come up with ways to solve a problem or issue
  • Core Strength: While you don’t have to be crossfit type of shape, you should still be able to use your back and abdominal muscles for support including long periods of time without overly fatiguing
  • Mathematical Reasoning: Having the basic ability to use mathematics (adding, subtracting, dividing and multiplying) quickly and correctly… at least most of the time
  • Speed: To be able to quickly move if necessary including arms and legs
  • Idea Minded: Much like creativity but having the ability to come up with loads of ideas without regard to creativity, originality or quality
  • Perception: You should be able to compare patterns, numbers, objects, pictures, letters or other things quickly as well as be able to remember these when comparing to other similar objects
  • Multi-Tasking: Having the ability to easily go back and forth between items, projects or other activities efficiently
  • Expression: You should be able to write and speak coherently so others can understand
  • Strength: Much like core strength but this includes lifting, carrying and moving objects such as boxes
  • Decent Hearing: Having the ability to listen to a single noise while blocking out possible background noises
  • Peripheral Vision: You should be able to see slightly on either side of you while staring straight ahead this includes seeing objects or movement
  • Flexibility: Having the ability to bend, stretch, twist, reach out and move without much difficulty
  • Solution Oriented: You should be focused on finding a solution to the problems or issues, this does include past similar problems or experiences that can help find the solution
  • Organization: Should be detail oriented and have a system or routine that makes working easier and quicker
  • Work Ethic: The innate trait of wanting to do the job correctly and perfectly every time within reason
  • Understanding: The ability to understand the possible cause and effect of actions taken which can also help solve problems as well as avoid possible bad outcomes
  • Good Memory: The ability to remember quickly and accurately details, plans, orders or where everything is placed

What is a Good Job Description for Gunsmithing?

Gunsmith careers is one of the best to have if you don’t like dealing with a lot of pressure. Sure, there are times it can become stressful but typically nowhere near the levels that common office workers may experience day in and day out. For the most part, work is fairly steady and will pick up considerably before and after hunting season.

You will need to apply for and get your Federal Firearms License (FFL). The FFL is necessary when handling any firearm that you do not own. The last thing you want to do is to open your own place of business and have the ATF agents breaking down your door. Just get your FFL and keep up with the legal requirements. All will be good.

As you can probably already know gunsmiths typically work indoors within a workshop. These workshops are filled with a considerable amount of hardware such as grinders, lathes, drills and other metalworking and woodworking tools. The environment can be noisy but with the right safety precautions you can lessen any long lasting hearing problems.

A great thing about being a gunsmith is that you most likely won’t get in a rut of doing the same job day after day, hour after hour. Each day could bring something different to your list of things to do. Some of the duties normally associated with gunsmith careers are:

  • Basic firearms maintenance
  • Installation of pistol grips and recoil pads
  • Treats and finishes firearms through the bluing process
  • Manufactures or refinishes wooden stocks
  • Assemble and disassemble weapons
  • Create and design firearms for custom specs
  • Inspects, diagnoses and repair firearms
  • Test fires firearms
  • Creates and fabricates new parts
  • Cut rifling in barrel using a broaching machine
  • Grinds and polishes metal parts and pieces
  • Restore period firearms
  • Buys and sells firearms, parts and accessories
  • Follows federal and state laws concerning operation of business
  • Install and balance metal and optical sights
  • Operates boring machine to rebore barrels
  • Calculate flight arcs and sight positions
  • Calibrates and installs choke on shotguns
  • Creates and or installs pistol grips and other customiziations
  • Fit barrel and action in to stock
  • Aligns parts for proper movement
  • Modify and customize firearms to customer specs
  • Provide factory quality repairs
  • Get and keep your Federal Firearms License (FFL) up to date


If you really wanted to you could turn it up a notch by focusing on a specialization. This could be well worth your while if you want to pick a specialization that you can profit from. Here are some to think about:

  • Pistols
  • Long Rifles
  • Shotguns
  • Finisher
  • Checker
  • Engraver
  • Stockmaker
  • Custom Designer
  • Restoration

Final Word on Gunsmith Jobs

Gunsmith careers is a great way for you to stay on top of the industry and work with firearms. Plus you will get paid for it, which doesn’t hurt either. Am I right?

As you can tell, we are all happy with our gunsmith careers. We’re sure that if you have the right interests and are a true-blue firearms enthusiast then you may like this type of career too. Even if you don’t do it full time, gunsmithing can be a great way to bring some extra money to your bottom line.

Please check out other article on our website for more information about gunsmithing and gunsmith careers. You can read more about the typical salary, what programs are acceptable and how to find the right training for your goals. You should be at least informed of everything before decide gunsmith careers are the right way for you to go for your future.