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.