Citizens in the United States own approximately 273 million firearms, according to GunSafe.org. The job of a gunsmith is to maintain and repair these firearms. Some gunsmiths work for firearm dealers and retail stores, while others are self employed. There are no standard requirements for individuals who wish to be gunsmiths. Most individuals enter the profession after attending specialized training or a hands-on apprenticeship.
The job of a gunsmith is to repair and maintain firearms, including rifles, shotguns and handguns. Gunsmiths often work with customers to increase the functionality or accuracy of a firearm. Common problems that are solved by gunsmiths include incorrect assembly, malfunctioning parts or obstructed barrels. Many gunsmiths attend a specialty gunsmith school, while others learn the trade through an apprenticeship or military training course.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not track salary information for gunsmiths. However, the BLS classifies gunsmiths as "mechanics and repairers" and reports income statistics for this group. As of 2008, maintenance and repair workers including gunsmiths earn a median hourly wage of $18.91, or $39,330 per year. The actual salary of a gunsmith can vary. The geographic location or educational level of different workers may influence the income that is earned in this profession.
The geographic location of a gunsmith can affect the salary that is earned. For instance, the BLS states that the typical salary for a repair professional in Charleston, South Carolina, is $38,090 per year. However, this average drops to $35,530 in Fresno, California. Often, states and cities that have high gun ownership also have higher demand for gunsmiths. This increased demand allows gunsmiths to earn increased levels of income.
The demand for qualified gunsmiths is projected to be steady in the coming years, according to DegreeDirectory.com. The Department of Labor states that maintenance and repair jobs, including gunsmith positions, are projected to gradually increase between 2008 and 2018. The best opportunities will be for individuals who have experience and training in the gunsmith profession.