The Business of Building, Repairing and Designing Guns: Gunsmithing Degree

Does your interest in the creation of guns extend beyond simply knowing the history of this fascinating craft? Would you love to be able to become a gunsmith yourself, either as a hobby or in a professional capacity? With a gunsmithing degree it is possible to become a part of this historic industry and practice the same craft that has made people like Samuel Colt, Eliphalet Remington, and John Moses Browning such legends. It is an area of specialization that requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but can also be fascinating as well as rewarding.

Gunsmithing Degree Information

Associate of Applied Science in Gunsmithing

The AAS degree in gunsmithing is a two year program that is aimed at educating students about all the different aspects that goes into building as well as repairing guns. In addition to the usual general education core classes that are required, the gunsmithing degree may also include classes in gun blueing, gunsmithing theory, blueprint reading, stockmaking, riflesmithing, general metals and metal finishing. This type of program may also contain program electives, such as advanced AutoCAD, accurizing factory rifles and advanced metal finishing.

Gunsmithing Certificate

Certificate courses in gunsmithing are also available to help prepare students for employment in this industry. Certificate courses tend to cover apprentice, journeyman, professional and master gunsmithing. Completion of earlier certificate courses are generally a requirement to move on to the more advanced courses. Course topics may include accuracy and functionality, firearms technology, basic ballistics and swaging, cleaning firearms lab and more.

Gunsmithing Degree FAQs

Is It Possible To Learning Gunsmithing Using Online Methods?

While gunsmithing is a skill that is typically taught on campus, it is not impossible to study the subject via the internet. It will however require some commitment in the form of investing in the proper tools as well as workbench. Doing so will enable you to complete an online course from home, which can be very useful if you cannot commute to a class or have work obligations during the day. Typically, the cost of doing this type of course online can be less than attending a community college or trade school and let you study at your own pace. Some online courses include the materials required for your practice while others supply you with a list of what is needed and require you to purchase these yourself.

Who Is An Ideal Candidate To Take This Type of Course?

One of the most important things for anyone interested in a career as a gunsmith is the ability to uphold all the required safety standards and to be comfortable working with firearms. In addition, it is also a craft that requires you to become proficient in a range of skills, such as chemistry, mathematics, woodworking, metalworking and parts fabrication. This means that you have to be able to work with a variety of tools and willing to learn how to use machinist tools as well as power tools. Good hand-eye coordination is obviously an asset and this occupation is suited for people who enjoy technical work. Attention to detail is another good skill to have and you should be able to work as part of a team as well as independently.

What Type of Responsibilities Might I Have As A Gunsmith?

When working as a gunsmith you’ll be a skilled tradesperson with responsibilities that typically differ depending on where you are employed and what your specialization is. Primarily, the duties of a gunsmith deal with designing, building, modifying, repairing or renovating different guns. Your primary responsibility is obviously that any firearm you are working on is not only safe to operate, but functions according to the proper specifications. It will be your responsibility to ensure that you adhere to all proper procedures for the safe handling of guns and to make sure that those around you do the same.

Depending on your employer, you might have to repair damaged guns, assemble or dissemble firearms, replace barrels and firing mechanisms, retouch markings or engravings, modify guns with custom or aftermarket parts, clean corrosion from gun parts as well as many other tasks. Some gunsmiths also choose to only specialize in certain aspects of the craft, such as becoming a custom manufacturer, working as a stockmaker or only doing the engravings.

What Are My Potential Employment Options After Studying In This Field?

Gunsmiths typically have a variety of employers to pick from if they are qualified and skilled. Many go on to work for gun manufacturers or even sporting goods stores while others choose to become self-employed. Typical employees range from gun range operators and gun shops to the department of energy, military and government.

How Much Can I Potentially Earn When Employed As A Gunsmith?

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have specific income figures for gunsmiths, but classify this occupation as part of mechanics and repairers. They also list that the 2016 median pay for metal and plastic machine workers was about $34,840 per year. While it is difficult to pinpoint salary statistics for this career path, your income will be influenced by the usual factors, such as your place of employment, skill level and geographical location. If you choose to be self-employed your income will depend on the amount you charge along with the amount of work you produce.

What Are The Other Advantages To Studying Gunsmithing?

When learning to become a gunsmith you’ll also learn a variety of other skills that can be equally useful should you ever decide to change career paths. These include math, drawing and the ability to use a variety of tools. You can also learn valuable customer service skills, depending on where you end up working after your studies. Working as a gunsmith also means that you are directly helping your customers to be safer. In addition, if you are passionate about the industry, becoming a gunsmith enables you to share that passion with others. Finally, since gunsmithing is something that you do with your hands and produces tangible results, it also comes with a great sense of reward and pride in a job well done.

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