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.
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.