A Gunsmith is someone who works to repair, design and build firearms.
Gunsmiths can work for themselves or be employed in a variety of industries including sporting goods and firearms stores, firearms manufacturers, and armories.
Gunsmiths understand that they are building on gunsmithing knowledge that has evolved over several hundred years. They’re familiar with old and new gun models, manufacturers, and accessories.
Many gunsmiths specialize in areas that interest them, or they work in a variety of other industries that require their skills working with metal, wood and plastic.
Because this specialty can take many forms, salaries can vary.
In general, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies gunsmiths in the same category as metal and plastic machine workers. Their data indicates that the national median pay in 2018 for these groups was about $36,000 per year.
In order for a gunsmith to earn more, he/she must generally practice this trade for several years as an apprentice, with a firearms manufacturer or in a machine shop.
A gunsmith averages $52,000 a year in Hawaii and $85,000 a year in New York.
Pennsylvania, for example, sells more than 1 million hunting licenses per year, thus has a high number of firearms owners.
The most popular hunting states, including Alaska, Montana, Texas, Georgia and Pennsylvania, report gunsmith salaries between $61,000 and $79,000 a year.
Independent gunsmiths can charge upwards of $40/hour for their services.
What Types of Skills Do I Need?
Guns must be designed and built to exacting specifications in order to function safely and properly. Gunsmiths must be proficient in working with wood, metal, and other shop materials to create an intricate piece of equipment.
- Math skills are important for gunsmiths, since they must measure and cut wood and metal.
- Gunsmiths have excellent wood and metalworking skills. They know how to use shop equipment such as lathes, drill presses, precision measuring instruments, files and chisels, and other tools of the trade.
- Gunsmiths have mechanical expertise. They understand the way the individual moving parts in a gun work together, and are able to identify the problem when a gun isn’t working correctly
What Should I Specialize In?
Consider specializing in a certain type of gunsmithing, including:
- Custom gun designing and building.
- Stockmaking, which involves building the gun stock using wood.
- Gun engraving, which adds aesthetic value to guns with decorative or patterned engravings in the wood or metal.
- Pistolsmithing, which is practiced by people who custom design and build only pistols. Other gunsmiths focus primarily on rifles or shotguns.
How Do I Get Started?
Stratford Career Institute’s convenient and affordable gunsmith home study program can help you gain fundamental knowledge to help you work toward a career in gunsmithing.
Our top-quality, comprehensive course is designed to prepare the gunsmith beginner, but can also provide helpful information to individuals with more advanced gunsmith knowledge.
Interested in Becoming a Gunsmith?
Stratford Career Institute offers a convenient and affordable home study course to teach you the ins and outs of a gunsmith career.