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Updated May 9, 2013 - 8:29 pm

Gunsmiths help keep guns and rifles in ready to fire condition

Gunsmiths perform a vital, niche specific function that is always valued and sought out by private citizens and organizations that own or seek to buy firearms. Considering citizens have made approximately 46,000 daily gun purchases since Obama’s first term, the need for knowledgeable gunsmiths is on the rise. This makes for a dynamic, still-evolving career opportunity open to any interested individual.

Historical sources attest to the fact gunsmiths have been in need since roughly the early 17th century. At that time, guns were difficult for private citizens to acquire, entailing active membership in a militia or acquaintanceship with someone else who was a member. In the late 18th century, Eli Whitney erected a firearms factory near New Haven where he manufactured muskets with standardized, interchangeable parts.

Later, primarily German gunsmiths began churning out “Pennsylvania rifles”, using an arduous and time consuming process. Gunsmiths produced most firearms by hand: forging pieces, engraving metal, and carving stocks. By the Civil War, Eliphalet Remington had begun mass producing rifles and shotguns. The government subsequently placed an order and the modern gun was born, as it were; so was the modern sense of the gunsmith.

With so many newfangled firearms in circulation, someone had to specialize in their creation, repair, and upkeep. Enter the “everyday gunsmith.” Luckily, this type of gunsmith still exists, replete with all necessary schooling. But what exactly does a gunsmith do and how does one become a gunsmith?

In the most general terms, a gunsmith is an effective means to prevent accidental injuries related to improper use of firearms in states of disrepair. Gunsmiths are masters of gun safety and usually happy to impart this information to gun owners.

Beyond this, gunsmiths are custom builders and designers of guns, but occasionally engravers and maintainers as well. They also disassemble, clean, and inspect all firearms. They can add post-market customizations like scopes and sling-swivels. They replace worn barrels and they design and build rifles. The above list is less than a tenth of what gunsmiths do in their careers. Indeed, their plethora of diverse firearms-related skills makes them indispensable; now more than ever before.

The fastest, least expensive and most effective way to learn gunsmithing is via a school. In less than two years, one can earn a Gunsmithing Certification or an A.S. in Firearms Technology. Both endow individuals the unique wherewithal that always has (and always will) keep gunsmiths in high demand. High-demand careers make for lucrative, secure, long term opportunities and income.

Even better, some gunsmithing programs are available via long distance. One can study at home at an easy pace. With a gunsmithing degree or certificate, one can establish an entrepreneurial brand (one’s own gun replacement/repair business), work at a gun store, provide custom stocking (checkering and finishing), or custom ammunition-making.

One can also enter the area of shooting sports management, replete with basic gun care courses offered to the public at affordable prices (either in group settings or one on one). The possibilities are truly endless, contingent upon the gunsmith’s imagination, ambitions, and overall vision. The key is first earning the proper degree/certification, after which the innumerable doors to the gunsmithing industry are wide open.

This degree is still somewhat under the radar, so the long term advantages include less competition within the field. Owing to the aforementioned statistic about gun purchases, it’s safe to assume the future holds a tremendous need for well trained gunsmiths. Having a skill everyone requires allows a gunsmith to take their wisdom wherever they please. This makes a gunsmithing degree/certificate more than mere paper, but access to a thrilling, rewarding career.


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