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Gunsmithing FAQ – Become A Gunsmith http://www.becomegunsmith.org A career guide for gunsmithing Sat, 16 Aug 2014 19:12:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 The Best Online Gunsmith Training Schools http://www.becomegunsmith.org/best-online-gunsmith-training/ Mon, 09 Jul 2012 21:25:12 +0000 http://www.becomegunsmith.org/?p=23 online-gunsmith
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A gunsmith is a firearms expert who modifies, repairs or manufactures guns. Training options for this profession include online certificates and career diplomas in gunsmithing. All gunsmiths must have a Federal Firearms License in order to be in compliance with the Federal Firearms Act of 1938. A Federal Firearms License can be obtained by making application to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. There are a number of online gunsmith programs that have a great reputation.

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The American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI)

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AGI is one of the nation’s best online gunsmithing schools. This school offers an expansive selection of courses for both career gunsmiths and hobbyists. Those seeking a career in the gunsmithing industry can obtain a professional gunsmith certification. Unlike most trade schools, the AGI gunsmith certification can be completed in as little as three months. With over 108 hours of instruction, students learn about shotguns, rifles, revolvers and pistols. Students also learn about the design, function and repair of these firearms.

All of the gunsmithing courses offered by AGI are presented by accomplished gunsmiths with well-known reputations in specialty areas. The video presentation of the courses offers great specific detail, and the techniques of gunsmithing are easily learned. One of the unique features of the online gunsmith program at AIG is that students can pick and choose their own curriculum. Students can choose to pursue a complete gunsmith certification program or take individual courses. The professional gunsmith certification costs approximately $700, and individual courses are approximately $49.

Penn Foster Career School

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The online gunsmith program at Penn Foster offers a diploma upon completion of the program. Typically, the program can be completed in less than three months. Students learn how to use, repair and customize a wide array of firearms, including shotguns, rifles and pistols. Instruction is also given on how to fit and mount telescopic sights, design metallic rifle sights, restore antique firearms and custom load ammunition.

The tuition for the program is $695. Tuition includes all books, industry guides and complete instructions for getting a Federal Firearms License. Upon completion of the gunsmith program, students are qualified for work at a gun shop or can start their own business repairing and customizing firearms. Students are also prepared to custom-make ammunition and restore valuable antique firearms. This online gunsmith school also provides excellent student support with online advisers.

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Ashworth College

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Ashworth College is an accredited member of the Distance Education and Training Council and provides an excellent online gunsmith program. The college’s program is comprised of 19 comprehensive lessons. The online presentation is easy to follow, challenging and stimulating. Each lesson has defined objectives, an introductory note from the instructor and a vocabulary builder for industry nomenclature. There are reading assignments, practice exercises and open-book exams at the end of each lesson.

Each lesson is packed with detailed information of the topic area. In the hands and tools lesson, students learn all about the industry techniques for using drill presses, lathes, polishing wheels, checkering tools, vises and much more. The lever action rifles lesson covers the operation cycle of the loading gate, carrier spring, locking block, barrel, bolt assembly and cartridge carrier. The lesson on semiautomatic pistols gives in-depth information on adjusting trigger pulls, troubleshooting, maintenance and tuning for high-performance ammunition. Upon completion of the gunsmith program, students are qualified to work at firearm dealerships, hunting or sports shops, armory management companies or operate a gunsmith business.

The online gunsmith program at Ashworth is affordable. The total cost is $754. Students can pay upfront or opt for convenient monthly payments. Ashworth College offers great academic support for its online students. Support is available from student advisers, tutors, instructors and a peer forum. The college is committed to providing a comprehensive support team to help students achieve their goals. Many of the college’s support personnel can be contacted via email, Twitter or Facebook.

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Types of Gunsmith Careers & Specializations http://www.becomegunsmith.org/types-of-gunsmith-careers/ Sat, 11 Feb 2012 13:51:15 +0000 http://www.becomegunsmith.org/?p=20 Gunsmiths are professional craftsmen who design, build, repair and modify guns and, above all, ensure the safety of firearms. Gunsmiths are responsible for inspecting firearms and repairing any problems or defects that can result in potentially dangerous gun failures, including improper assembly, missing parts, cracks, obstructions caused by damaged barrels and safety-mechanism malfunctions.

To perform the assorted tasks required of their trade, gunsmiths must use a variety of tools. These tools may include hand tools like hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers. Machine tools are also necessary for gunsmithing tasks, especially the lathe, which cuts, sands and drills, and the milling machine, which is used in conjunction with metalworking tools like reamers and borers. Measuring and safety equipment are also important for successful gunsmithing work.

Gunsmiths may work in factories, commercial sporting goods stores, armories or private gunsmithing establishments. Some gunsmiths are general practitioners of the trade, but many specialize in certain skills. Different specializations may require different areas of expertise.

A gunsmith who specializes as a custom builder/designer creates customized guns according to specific customer requirements.

A specialist called a finisher uses chemistry to modify the metal surfaces of a gun. Using processes like bluing, the gunsmith coats these metal surfaces to protect them from rust, corrosion and other damage. Finishing can also provide aesthetic value, as is the case with the technique called cyanide case hardening, in which heat is applied to the chemical finisher to create color on the steel.

Stockmakers create the gunstock, the part of the firearm that, in rifles, is held against the user’s shoulder. A stockmaker will traditionally use tools like saws and chisels to carve the gunstock out of wood, preferably walnut, and finish the stock using any of a variety of techniques from sanding to lacquering. Stockmakers also have a part in building the gun, by attaching the wooden gunstock to the firearm’s metalwork pieces.

Checkerers use saw-toothed tools to imprint the texture of many small, evenly-spaced diamond shapes on wooden gun surfaces designed to be gripped. A checkerer may also provide aesthetic appeal to a firearm by adding decorative designs to the edges of checkered wood gun parts.

Gun engravers primarily add aesthetic value to firearms by cutting designs, patterns or other images into the gun and, in some cases, inlaying the designs with decorative metal. These gunsmiths use a variety of tools to do so, including chisels, hand-powered tools called hand gravers and more sophisticated engraving system power-tools, like GRS Tools’ Gravermeister.

Pistolsmiths are gunsmiths who specialize in pistols and sometimes other handguns. Customization is a large part of the pistolsmith’s job, and these specialists often have related skills and specialties such as checkering and finishing. They may also be skilled woodworkers, metalworkers and machinists and should be knowledgeable about the mechanics of specific types of firearms.

Niche manufacturers create and sell specific gun components to other gunsmiths, who use them in the assembly of custom firearms, and to other gun builders. These manufacturers can produce a variety of gun parts, including essential parts like barrels, receivers and trigger assemblies.

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Tools That Gunsmiths Work With http://www.becomegunsmith.org/tools-that-gunsmiths-work-with/ Sat, 11 Feb 2012 13:50:18 +0000 http://www.becomegunsmith.org/?p=18 Gunsmiths are trained professionals who create, repair and modify firearms. From the design of a custom firearm through the manufacturing and building process, a gunsmith may play one or several roles. Gunsmiths also make functional and decorative modifications and customizations. The first responsibility of gunsmiths is to ensure the safety of any firearm they build, repair or modify. Because they must possess an assortment of skills and undertake a variety of tasks in their trade, gunsmiths use an array of tools. Some of these tools are available in kits sold by distinguished firearms parts and tool suppliers like Brownells.

The trade requires basic hand tools, like hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers. Other important hand tools include punches, files, stones and other tools commonly used in metalworking.

Accurate measurements are necessary for the successful building and modification of firearms, so tools like inside and outside micrometers, which measure circular metalwork, and inside and outside calipers, which measure length, are essential. Vice grips and clamps are necessary to hold firearms in place during gunsmithing work.

Machine tools are especially important in gunsmithing. Gunsmiths use lathes to cut, sand and drill, among other purposes. Milling machines, which are used in general machinery to manufacture metal parts, are also necessary for certain aspects of gunsmithing and may be used with attachments in the form of other tools. The benefit of pairing reamers, which are used to make holes in a precise size, with the use of a milling machine is the reliable ability to apply consistent pressure and ensure that no human error causes the tool to go off course during use.

Certain specialties may require other tools, as well. Gun engravers usually use either manual tools called hand gravers or more sophisticated engraving systems, like GRS Tools’ Gravermeister. Gunstocks may be made with the use of saws, chisels, gouges, rasps, and files. Checkerers use saw-toothed checkering tools to perform their work. Finishers practice a range of chemical processes and may need a variety of tools and chemicals. Popular finishing processes in firearms include hot bluing and case hardening, which require heat sources and chemicals like sodium hydroxide, ammonium nitrate and cyanide salts.

Safety equipment is as important as any other gunsmithing tool. Gunsmiths should make sure they wear proper safety attire when working with hot or mechanical tools. Heavy-duty gloves and sleeves will protect a gunsmith’s skin. Gunsmithing safety means protecting the face and head, too. Facemasks for welding, safety glasses or goggles and noise protection equipment like earplugs and earmuffs are necessary gunsmithing equipment.

Aspiring gunsmiths learn how to safely and properly use gunsmithing tools during their training. Whether they learn the gunsmithing trade through traditional college courses, online or distance-learning career certificate programs or apprenticeships under experienced professional gunsmiths, their education should include instruction on operating hand tools, measuring tools and machine tools.

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Gunsmith Jobs http://www.becomegunsmith.org/gunsmith-jobs/ Sat, 11 Feb 2012 13:49:48 +0000 http://www.becomegunsmith.org/?p=16 Gunsmiths are professional creators, repairers and customizers of firearms. Like armorers and other firearms-related occupations, a gunsmith may also be called upon for such basic tasks as assembling and disassembling, cleaning and inspecting a firearm for damage or mechanical problems. However, professional gunsmithing is not limited to basic firearm maintenance. A gunsmith may design a gun, make parts for it and build it. Gunsmiths can also perform extensive repairs on broken or damaged firearms.

Firearm customization separates gunsmiths from other firearm repairers. Professional gunsmiths can make practical or aesthetic modifications to existing guns, changing not only appearance but also handling and even accuracy. An important part of a gunsmith’s professional responsibilities is to ensure that firearms are safe to use.

Professional gunsmiths may find employment in a variety of workplaces. Some own, manage or work for commercial gunsmithing establishments or sporting goods stores. Others work for factories that produce firearms. Still others find employment in armories serving military and law-enforcement personnel.

Salaries of gunsmiths vary by employment setting. HigherSalary.com lists the range of $25,470 to $48,605 a year, with the average salary of $36,267 annually. Successful self-employed gunsmiths earn the highest income, though like many entrepreneurs, they may lack the benefits provided by employment within a larger company. Gunsmiths who are longtime employees in gunsmithing shops also earn income on the higher end of that range.

Legally, United States gunsmiths, like other professionals involved in the sales and repair of firearms, are required to obtain a Federal Firearm License from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Local licensing laws, such as state, county or city laws, also apply to gunsmiths. Professional gunsmiths must record all work they complete on firearms. Their records should include specific information about the guns they have repaired and the owners of those guns. Gunsmithing establishments are also subject to unannounced inspections by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Gunsmiths may be general practitioners of the trade, but many also specialize in particular skills or firearm types. Specializations may be based on skills involving the creation of specific parts of a gun, assembly of the whole gun, improvement of accuracy and decorative customization.

Specialists like custom builder/designers, stockmakers, checkerers and niche manufacturers are involved in the design and building stages of gunsmithing. Stockmakers, checkerers and niche manufactures make specific gun components, like the gunstock, barrels and trigger assemblies. Custom builders/designers build the gun as a whole based on customer requests.

Other specialists work mainly with artistic and aesthetic modifications of guns. Gun engravers use hand-powered tools and engraving system tools to carve designs and images into a gun and may even add decorative metal inlays. Specialists called finishers use chemical processes, including heat treatment, to create coloring in the metal of a firearm as well as to help prevent rust and corrosion.

Some gunsmiths specialize in particular types of firearms, such as pistols, rifles and shotguns. These gunsmiths possess skills such as woodworking, metalworking and machinery, which enable them to offer many different services in relation to their specialty firearm.

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How to Learn Gunsmithing http://www.becomegunsmith.org/how-to-learn-gunsmithing/ Sat, 11 Feb 2012 13:49:08 +0000 http://www.becomegunsmith.org/?p=14 Prospective gunsmiths may have a background in metalworking, woodworking or machinery. They comprehend the mechanics of firearms use and are frequently firearms enthusiasts.

Aspiring gunsmiths can begin learning the trade in a few different ways. Gunsmithing apprenticeships allow student gunsmiths to work under the guidance of an experienced gunsmith and gain hands-on experience learning directly from experts. Pending government approval, The Association of Gunsmiths and Related Trades intends to match experienced sponsors with students pursuing gunsmith apprenticeships. The organization currently is accepting applications for both sponsors and apprentices.

[Click here for free information on degree programs in Gunsmithing]

Gunsmith apprentices learn how to safely use gunsmithing tools, including how to properly operate lathes and milling machines. Instruction also teaches apprentices how to make fixtures, make and fit gunstocks, and perform barrel work and action work, among other skills. An understanding of firearms theory rounds out the apprentice gunsmith’s training. Apprentices are paid for their work, though that pay may begin as low as minimum wage and increases with experience. Gunsmithing apprentices may also be required to purchase tools to use during the course of their training.

To help ensure proficiency, The Association of Gunsmiths and Related Trades has developed standards like competency exams. Completion of a gunsmithing apprenticeship requires specified numbers of hours spent gaining hands-on experience and will last a minimum of four years for standard gunsmithing training. Certificates may be earned based on the apprentice’s fulfillment of hourly experience requirements and their specialty. Possible certifications include Firearm Repair Specialist, Firearms Restorer, Stock Maker, Barrel Maker, Firearms Engraver, Journeyman Gunsmith, Journeyman Rifle Smith, Journeyman Pistol Smith, Journeyman Shotgun Smith, Journeyman Classic Firearms Smith and Master Gunsmith.

Some colleges and technical schools offer certificate and associate degree programs in gunsmithing. Trinidad State Junior College in Trinidad, Colo.; Yavapai College in Prescott, Ariz.; and the Pennsylvania Gunsmith School in Pittsburgh, Pa., are three of the more well-known schools to offer these training programs. Students frequently complete gunsmith education programs within two years.

Educational gunsmithing programs require students to spend time gaining hands-on experience in settings such as machine shops. Students may have the opportunity to work with different types of guns during their education. Trinidad State Junior College also recently opened the Brownells – Trinidad American Firearms Technology Institute, where students who have completed their gunsmithing education have the opportunity to gain an extra year of hands-on training working in and managing a gunsmithing establishment.

Students who are unable to attend on-site college gunsmithing programs can also learn the trade through online or distance-learning courses. Students can take as long to complete the curriculum as they like, or they can finish their educational requirements more quickly than traditional courses. Notable online gunsmithing programs hosted by Ashworth College and the Penn Foster Career School are advertised to be possible to complete in as little as five or six months. These programs usually consist of a number of learning modules that require students to complete assigned readings, online examinations and practical exercises.

Additional sources of training include the military, in which several branches train variants of gun repair personnel, and the National Rifle Association.

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Online Gunsmith Courses http://www.becomegunsmith.org/online-gunsmith-courses/ Sat, 11 Feb 2012 13:48:27 +0000 http://www.becomegunsmith.org/?p=12 In the course of their career, gunsmiths take on numerous tasks, such as designing, building, repairing, cleaning and inspecting firearms and making functional and decorative modifications and customizations. Gunsmiths need a variety of skills to successfully complete their work. To develop these skills and learn the trade of gunsmithing, aspiring gunsmiths need professional-grade training.

Taking courses from an accredited college is one way to begin a gunsmithing career and prepare for entry-level positions in workplaces like firearms factories, sporting goods stores and small gunsmithing businesses. However, travel concerns, time and even tuition costs can make it difficult for some students to take traditional classes on a college campus. Some aspiring gunsmiths choose to develop their skills through correspondence or online and distance-learning courses at reputable traditional or online-only colleges.

[Click here for free information on degree programs in Gunsmithing]

One benefit of online gunsmith courses is the flexibility to complete required courses in a personal timeframe. While many certificate and associates degree programs can be completed in a period of two years, students in distance-learning gunsmithing programs can take as long as they need, or they can complete their program curriculum more quickly than students in a traditional program. Distance-learning gunsmithing courses frequently include the cost of course supplies – textbooks, online examinations, and digital and print supplements – in the cost of tuition. Some online gunsmith training programs also offer students assistance in obtaining their Federal Firearms License and even guidance on how to start and manage a small gunsmithing business.

Like traditional gunsmith education, distance-learning gunsmith training may include basic courses in subjects like firearm history and gun safety. Students will also learn general skills like gun repair, stockmaking and metal finishing. Other lessons or courses may focus on different categories of firearms, like various types of rifles and shotguns, pistols and single-action and double-action revolvers.

When choosing an online gunsmithing program, be sure that the institution is accredited. Ashworth College and Penn Foster Career School are two popular institutions that offer online gunsmith training.

Gunsmith training at Ashworth College consists of 19 learning modules, which can be completed in as little as six months. Ashworth College’s program begins with lessons in basic firearm maintenance, the hand and machine tools needed for successful gunsmithing and the correct way to use those tools. Other lessons focus on work with particular gun parts, such as triggers, and making modifications like installing scopes and repairing stocks. Several modules specialize in particular types of firearms, including types of rifles, shotguns, pistols and revolvers.

Distance-learning gunsmith education at the Penn Foster Career School can be completed in only five months and requires the student to complete only one hour of coursework each day. This program includes a focus on techniques use to customize, alter and restore firearms, all of which are important gunsmithing skills. The Penn Foster Career School’s distance-learning gunsmith training program consists of six instruction sets. Each instruction set covers a cluster of related topics, and nearly every instruction set includes a practical exercise.

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Gunsmith Schools http://www.becomegunsmith.org/gunsmith-schools/ Sat, 11 Feb 2012 13:47:00 +0000 http://www.becomegunsmith.org/?p=10 Certain colleges and technical schools offer certificate and associate degree programs in gunsmithing. Trinidad State Junior College, Yavapai College and the Pennsylvania Gunsmith School are three of the more well-known schools in the United States to offer these training programs. Students frequently complete college-level gunsmith education programs within two years. Educational gunsmithing programs usually require students to spend time gaining hands-on experience in settings such as machine shops. Students may have the opportunity to work with different types of guns during their education.

Trinidad State Junior College in Trinidad, Colo., has offered gunsmithing courses since 1947. Aspiring gunsmiths can choose to take only gunsmithing courses to earn a certificate, or they can add general education classes to their gunsmithing course load to graduate with an associate degree. Trinidad State Junior College also collaborated with commercial firearms manufacturer Brownells to create the Brownells – Trinidad American Firearms Technology Institute, which opened in January 2010. The Trinidad, Colo.-based gun shop, which provides a full range of services to customers, provides graduates of gunsmithing programs with the chance to learn how a gunsmithing establishment operates and develop their business management and entrepreneurial skills.

[Click here for free information on degree programs in Gunsmithing]

Yavapai College in Prescott, Ariz., offers both a certificate and an associate degree in gunsmithing. Each of the college’s gunsmithing instructors owns a business associated with firearms. Gunsmithing students at this institution can expect to spend many hours in the school’s machine shop, learning to properly and safely use the tools of the gunsmithing trade. The program goes beyond simple firearm repair skills and prepares students to create custom firearms.

The Pennsylvania Gunsmith School of Pittsburgh, Pa., has been training student gunsmiths since 1949 and currently offers a master gunsmithing program that prepares students to find entry-level positions that require a variety of gunsmithing skills. The program can be completed in a period of 16 months and requires gunsmithing courses only. The Pennsylvania Gunsmith School boasts a unique classroom setting designed to resemble the real-life work setting of a gunsmith shop.

Students who are unable to attending on-site gunsmithing programs can also learn the trade through online or distance-learning courses. Gunsmithing students in online programs can take as long to complete the curriculum as they like, or they can finish their educational requirements more quickly than standard courses. Notable online gunsmithing programs hosted by Ashworth College and the Penn Foster Career School are designed to be possible to complete in as little as five or six months, whereas on-campus college programs generally take 16 to 24 months. Online programs may require students to complete assigned readings and online examinations.

Online gunsmith programs often include many of the same basic courses that traditional gunsmith education programs cover, like firearm history and theory and gun safety. Some lessons teach general gunsmithing skills, including gun repair, stockmaking and metal finishing. In other learning modules, students may learn about particular types of firearms, like various types of rifles, shotguns, revolvers and pistols.

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Gunsmith Training http://www.becomegunsmith.org/gunsmith-training/ Sat, 11 Feb 2012 13:46:01 +0000 http://www.becomegunsmith.org/?p=8 Some aspiring gunsmiths learn the trade through apprenticeships under the instruction of experienced professionals. Currently, an organization called The Association of Gunsmiths and Related Trades is accepting applications for both professional gunsmith sponsors and prospective apprentices and intends to fill apprenticeships, pending governmental approval.

Apprenticeship instruction includes the proper use of gunsmithing tools. Correct operation and safety practices are especially important in the cases of machine tools like milling machines, which are often used with metalworking attachments such as reamers and borers, and lathes, which are used for cutting, sanding and drilling. Gunsmith apprentices usually spend a minimum of four years learning from their sponsors. They develop skills in making gun parts like fixtures and gunstocks. Apprentice gunsmiths also learn to perform repairs and modifications on barrels and other parts of firearms. Apprentices earn income for their work, though their wages may begin as low as the federal or state minimum wage and increase with experience. The Association of Gunsmiths and Related Trades outlines requirements for apprenticeships, including an hourly requirement of work experience, and administers competency exams. Successfully completing an apprenticeship will earn the apprentice a professional certificate.

Colleges and technical schools also offer certificate and associate degree programs. Curricula usually call for students to gain hands-on experience with different types of firearms over a period of four semesters, or two years. Classes may focus on skills like design, repair and customization. Courses may also teach skills in gunsmith specializations, like work with a particular type of gun. These programs frequently require students to complete a number of hours of work in a machine shop setting. Noted gunsmithing schools include Trinidad State Junior College in Trinidad, Colo.; Yavapai College in Prescott, Ariz.; and the Pennsylvania Gunsmith School in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Trinidad State Junior College and firearms manufacturer Brownells have collaborated to launch the Brownells – Trinidad American Firearms Technology Institute. The full-service gun shop provides students who have already completed college-level gunsmith training at any school to spend an additional year developing experience working in and learning to manage a gun sales and gunsmithing establishment.

Some traditional colleges and online-only institutions also offer distance-learning gunsmithing programs that allow students to complete the curriculum from any location at their own learning pace. Some programs, like those offered by Ashworth College and the Penn Foster Career School, are advertised as able to be completed as soon as five or six months after beginning. Like apprenticeships and traditional college courses, online gunsmithing programs also include basic instruction in firearm and gunsmithing tool safety. Skills like gun repair, stockmaking and metal finishing can also be taught through online programs. Additional lessons or courses can focus on particular types of firearms, including types of rifles and shotguns, semiautomatic pistols and single-action and double-action revolvers.

Additional sources of training include the military, in which several branches train variants of gun repair personnel, and the National Rifle Association.

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What Does a Gunsmith Do? http://www.becomegunsmith.org/what-does-a-gunsmith-do/ Sat, 11 Feb 2012 13:44:55 +0000 http://www.becomegunsmith.org/?p=6 A gunsmith is a professional who builds, repairs or modifies firearms. Gunsmiths may be involved in the creation of a gun from the early stages of design and building or may repair existing guns. A gunsmith may also be called upon for such basic tasks as assembling and disassembling, cleaning and inspecting a firearm for damage or mechanical problems. Professional gunsmiths practice not only basic firearm maintenance, but also are capable of making functional and decorative modifications, completing extensive repairs and conducting renovations such as re-finishing older firearms.

To complete this work, gunsmiths must acquire an array of skills that require them to use a variety of tools. Hand tools necessary for gunsmithing include several types of hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers. A gunsmith must also have precise measuring tools, like inside and outside calipers and micrometers, and vice grips and clamps for holding a firearm in place on a workbench during repair or modification work. Machine tools greatly expand the gunsmith’s abilities. Lathes, which can be used to cut, sand and drill materials, are important for a gunsmith’s work. A milling machine is used with metalworking attachments like reamers and borers. Safety equipment is especially important for gunsmiths when using machine tools and working with potentially hazardous processes such as welding.

Gunsmiths may be employed in a variety of workplaces, from firearm factories and military armories to commercial enterprises such as sporting goods stores. Regardless of what part of the firearms building, repair or modification process a gunsmith deals in, the primary responsibility of any gunsmith is to ensure that a gun is safe to use. Though some gunsmiths are general practitioners of the trade, many specialize in particular skills or particular types of firearms.

Specialists involved in the design and building stages of gunsmithing include custom builders/designers, stockmakers, checkerers and niche manufacturers. While these gunsmiths may make parts of guns such as the gunstock, barrels and trigger assemblies, they may also build the whole gun and sometimes create customized firearms according to customer requests.

Other specialists may work more extensively with artistic and aesthetic modifications of guns. Finishers employ a variety of chemical processes, including heat treatment, to add coloring to the metal of a firearm as well as to help prevent damage like rust and corrosion. Gun engravers use special hand-powered and engraving system tools to carve designs and images into a gun.

Some gunsmiths specialize in particular types of firearms, such as pistols, rifles and shotguns. These gunsmiths have an excellent understanding of the mechanics of how a particular type of firearm works. They should have experience in a variety of skills, such as woodworking, metalworking and machinery, which will allow them to offer many different services in relation to their chosen firearm of expertise. Specialists who work extensively with a particular type of firearm frequently employ other gunsmithing-specific skills, like stockmaking and checkering, as well. They frequently customize firearms, and their skills enable them to alter the appearance, handling and accuracy of a gun.

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How to Be a Gunsmith http://www.becomegunsmith.org/how-to-be-a-gunsmith/ Sat, 11 Feb 2012 13:44:01 +0000 http://www.becomegunsmith.org/?p=4 A gunsmith is a trained professional who creates, repairs and modifies firearms and may be involved in the creation process from the design of a particular gun to making functional and decorative modifications and customizations. The first responsibility of a gunsmith is to ensure the safety of any firearm they build, repair or modify.

Though some gunsmiths are general practitioners of the trade, many specialize in particular skills or particular types of firearms. Some specialists, like custom builders/designers, stockmakers, checkerers and niche manufacturers work primarily with the design and construction of the firearm, as a whole or in specific parts, such as the gunstock, barrels and triggers.

Other specialists, including gun engravers and finishers, provide aesthetic services to customize guns. These specialists use special tools to engrave designs and patterns or chemical processes to color the metal of the gun. Applying a finish to the metal of a gun also helps prevent rust and corrosion.

Still other gunsmiths specialize in a particular type of firearm. Pistolsmiths are common specialists, but a gunsmith may also specialize in rifles or shotguns. These specialists usually possess a collection of skills, including woodworking, metalworking and other functional and aesthetic gunsmithing skills, that allow them to offer a range of services related to the specialty firearm. These specialists may spend a large amount of their time customizing guns and improving weapons with poor accuracy, handling and appearance.

Sporting goods stores, private gunsmithing businesses, armories and firearms factories all employ professional gunsmiths. The salary for a gunsmith varies with experience and employment setting, but HigherSalary.com lists a range of $25,470 to $48,605 a year, with the average salary of $36,267 annually. Master gunsmiths who successfully own their own shops may bring in the highest income, though the benefits packages offered by larger corporations may not exist. Gunsmiths working under an employer may also reach a higher level of income after years of employment.

As with other professionals who sell and work with firearms, United States gunsmiths must obtain proper licensing from the federal government, as well as comply with local licensing laws. Appropriate recordkeeping is another legal responsibility of the gunsmith, as is the obligation to submit to unannounced inspections by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Gunsmith training can occur through apprenticeships or through college programs that offer professional certifications or associates degrees. Aspiring gunsmiths who are unable or unwilling to attend courses on a college campus can learn the trade via correspondence or online and distance-learning programs.

Apprenticeships offer aspiring gunsmiths the opportunity to learn the trade by working under the supervision of experienced professionals, usually for a minimum of four years. The Association of Gunsmiths and Related Trades facilitates effective apprenticeships by specifying what topics must be addressed in the course of an apprentice’s education, supplying competency exams and outlining the requirements for particular certifications. The organization is also accepting applications for both sponsors and apprentices, as it plans to match apprentices to qualified sponsors upon government review and approval. Apprentice gunsmiths are paid for their work. Though their wages may start as low as minimum wage, their pay usually increases with experience.

Certificate and associate degree programs at traditional colleges and technical schools frequently take two years to complete. Students in these programs may spend significant amounts of their time in machine shops, gaining hands-on experience working with gunsmithing tools and a variety of different types of firearms. Trinidad State Junior College in Trinidad, Colo.; Yavapai College in Prescott, Ariz.; and the Pennsylvania Gunsmith School in Pittsburgh, Pa., are three of the most well-known schools offering gunsmithing education. Trinidad State Junior College recently partnered with firearms manufacturer Brownells to open the Brownells – Trinidad American Firearms Technology Institute, which allows students who have successfully completed their gunsmithing education at any school to acquire an extra year of experience working and learning to manage a full-service gun shop.

Online and distance-learning gunsmithing programs allow aspiring gunsmiths who are unable to attend on-campus courses to learn the trade of gunsmithing and earn certifications at their own pace from any location. Ashworth College and the Penn Foster Career School are two prominent providers of online gunsmithing education programs. The programs, which usually require students to complete lessons that include assigned readings and online examinations, have been advertised as possible to complete in as little as five or six months.

Gunsmith training from any source will usually cover basic concepts of gun safety and repair, firearms theory and safe operation of hand and machine tools used in gunsmithing. Instruction teaches students and apprentices important skills, including making specific parts of a gun, assembling a gun, performing work on particular gun parts and working with different types of firearms.

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