Career Prospective: Gunsmithing Specializations

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gunsmithing specializations

It might sound odd that anyone has ever considered focusing on gunsmithing specializations when we basically love all aspects of firearms. But it is far more common than you think. There are a few reasons for so many to consider become more of a niche gunsmith.

In this article we will discuss the different types of gunsmithing specializations. We will cover topics of why it can be beneficial to your gunsmith career as well as how you can get the training necessary to be called an expert. We won’t say that this article will change your life but it can change your outlook on the importance of gunsmithing specializations.

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What are Gunsmithing Specializations?

The best ways to describe gunsmithing specializations is a niche or area that you enjoy, are good at and or can help you make money with plenty of lifetime customers. Even though you can still be a general knowledge gunsmith with your business, you may want to focus on a certain area or areas that can help make you the expert. And who doesn’t want to be called an expert?

For the most part, gunsmithing specializations can be a lot different than what you would see in other industries. Take the area of healthcare where you have doctors who can specialize in very specific conditions such as types of cancer or foot fungus. You can also have doctors who are specialist but their range is a little bit bigger like feet or skin. Gunsmithing specializations are not so micro-focused niche areas as they are looking at a part of the process such as an engraver or a finisher.

The tabs below will give you a better understanding of what kind of gunsmithing specializations that are out there for you to consider. You can also learn how to get the right training as well as learning some of the best reasons on why you should consider it.

What Types of Specializations?How Do I Get Training?Why Should I Do It?

What Are the Types of Specializations?

We’ve touched on the ideas of what gunsmithing specializations are but you might still be wondering what the niches are. So here is a quick and dirty list of the top gunsmithing specializations you could enjoy. These are the specializations that we know of, if you know of other ones please let us know.

Gunsmithing Specializations
Specialization Description Tools Ideal Ability
Checkerer Creates small raised diamonds on
grips for better gripping
Checkering tools Attention to detail
Custom Designer/Builder Designs and creates firearms using
both raw materials and pre-fab
parts according to customer specs
A range of metal
and wood working
Extremely skilled
in gunsmithing and
a certain expertise
in operating machinery
Engraver Creates designs and or pictures on
metal surfaces (receiver) of firearms
and inlays other metals (gold and
silver) to enhance the design and
Die-sinker chisels
Pneumatic engraving tools
Metalworking skills
Finisher/Refinisher Applies corrosion resistant
chemical and heat on surface layers
also called bluing, browning, chrome
plating and Parkerization
Array of chemicals
Heating devices
Interest in Chemicals
Manufacturer (niche) Hand making gun parts such as barrels,
receivers, trigger assemblies and
locks for flint-locks
Wide array of metal working
tools and machinery
Skilled in metalworking
Skilled in mechanics
Good business sense
Pistolsmith Specializes in working only with pistols
this includes customization and
Woodworking tools
Metal working tools
Checkering tools
Metal finishing tools
Highly skilled in most
areas of gunsmithing
including metal and wood
working, checkering and
Stockmaker Carves, cuts and fits wood stocks to the
gun (barrel and receiver)
Woodworking tools (saws,
chisels, files, gouges and rasps)
Finishing tools (sanding, oiling,
scraping and staining)
Wood (walnut, maple, birch etc)
Woodworking specialist
Good with hands

How do You Get Specializations Training?

There are a number of ways to get training for gunsmithing specializations, depending on what you are looking to do and how you want to go about it. Here are some of the most common training methods for those looking to get involved.

Short-term Classes from the NRA – held a few times a year, you can expect to spend anywhere from a few days to a few weeks learning about the specific gunsmithing specializations that is offered in these classes. Instructors are considered some of the industry’s best as you would expect from the National Rifle Association. The cost of training can be from less than $100 to upwards of $1000 depending on the specializations covered.

Apprenticeships – another avenue for training is working and learning under the supervision of a master gunsmith. Make sure that you find one that is master of the gunsmithing specializations you are interested in. The arrangement you set up with the master can be either you volunteer your time or you get a marginal salary while learning from their experience.

Other Classes – a number of the gunsmith schools have expert instructors that can also help you get started in one of the gunsmithing specializations by taking some extra classes. There are some specializations that can be learned through other types of classes like woodworking (stockmaker) and metalworking (engraver).

We highly suggest that you talk with some experienced gunsmiths working in the niches you are interested in for their opinions about local resources. They may be able to point you to a school, program or an apprenticeship opportunity that you may not have considered. Plus, this gives you a good networking opportunity with others in your niche field that you may be able to create a working relationship with.

Why Should I Consider it?

Let’s face it, those of us who got in to the gunsmith career did so because we are firearms enthusiasts and wanted a career working on weapons. Gunsmithing specialties can set you apart from other local gunsmiths by being able to provide expertise service in that niche. This can be incredible as far as profits go especially if you become known as reliable, fast and a perfectionist.

The top reasons why we think you should look in to enhancing your skills through gunsmithing specializations are:

  • To create new business opportunities
  • To fill a local need with gun enthusiasts
  • Expertise typically means more money
  • Chance to stand out from other local gunsmiths
  • Creating new local markets for your specializations
  • Ability to directly help fellow firearms enthusiasts enjoy their hobby more
  • Open up different avenues of pay during slower times
  • Able to express your creativity in certain gunsmithing specializations
  • Possibly open new employment opportunities (if you so desired)
  • You can become a local legend (pushing it here)
  • Can make gunsmithing more enjoyable for yourself
  • Will seem less like work and more like your chosen path
As you can see, we firmly believe that gunsmithing specializations can bring a wealth of independence and freedom to you and your business. The opening of new doors and possibly better opportunities is never a bad thing. For most of us, this is not only our life but our main source of income so being able to push the standard boundaries down a bit can mean a load of difference… and it has for most of us.

Things To Think About

At the start of this article you were probably a little skeptical that gunsmithing specializations were anything that you would be interested in. Now you know that there are some very positive opportunities that can come your way if you decide to get the right training. In our experiences, becoming a specialist become not only important for your business but also important for your own self-reliance.

While we can’t tell you which of the gunsmithing specializations is right for you, we can say that you should go with your gut. You know what you like to do and you know what your strengths and weaknesses are. So it is really up to you look deep within yourself and decide if gunsmithing specializations are the right path for you and your business.