A gunsmith is someone who designs and builds firearms to customer or factory specifications. A gunsmith also repairs and modifies firearms when needed using hand and machine tools. There are different levels and skill sets for gunsmiths. The level acquired depends on length of schooling and career outlook.
Becoming a gunsmith requires years of training beginning with high school courses. Some courses a future gunsmith should take are shop, algebra and drafting. Vocational training in colleges and the military are good choices for the next step. Apprenticing with a certified, active gunsmith will round out your education. Following up with new laws, regulations and manufacturing practices is called for in a gunsmith career. New techniques and advances come around often, and to stay at the top of your field, you must be aware of them.
Gunsmiths are employed in different environments. Firearms manufacturers hire gunsmiths to work in their factories. Military and law enforcement have need of gunsmiths in armories. In addition, their services are needed in retail establishments such as sporting goods stores and gunsmith shops. Another option is going into business for yourself.
Certain skills are required in gunsmith careers. A mechanically inclined mindset will do well with the woodworking, metalworking and shop aspects of the job. Precision is called for in the ballistics and chemistry parts of the gun-making process. People who go into business for themselves will also need to learn business management and customer service. On top of all this, there is an artistry involved in making firearms.
Gunsmiths have the opportunity to hold pieces of history in their hands. They take a firearm that no longer works and make it operational again. They bring history to life. Gunsmiths also have the knowledge that something they created saved a life, whether in the military or home self-defense.
The most important requirement for any gunsmith is to know and follow all gun laws. Failure to do so can result in fines, loss of licensure and imprisonment for serious infractions.
All gunsmiths should practice gun safety continuously in their work and customer environments. They should teach customers the correct way to hold and use firearms to avoid accidents, and work only with customers who follow the rules. Gunsmiths should check all firearms completely before starting work on them or letting customers handle the weapon. Broken parts, improper timing and cracks, missing pieces and obstructions or deformities are all safety concerns.