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Is Now the Right Time to Become a Gunsmith?

What if you could spend a career doing work that you absolutely love?

If you love shooting guns and working with guns, there is no career quite like being a gunsmith. Unfortunately, many firearms lovers don’t understand what gunsmiths do, much less why they should aspire to have this particular job.

Are you interested in a career change and joining the ranks of gunsmiths? Keep reading to discover more about this profession and how and why this is the perfect time for you to get started!

What Is A Gunsmith?

Our guide is going to tell you everything you need to know about starting a career as a gunsmith. First, though, we need to answer a pretty basic question: what are gunsmiths?

Think of it this way: gunsmiths are responsible for almost everything having to do with the creation and upkeep of your favorite firearms. Gunsmiths design and build guns, but they also specialize in repairing them. Along the way, they also complete more creative work, including renovating vintage firearms and making special firearm modifications per user request.

Long story short? If you’ve ever hired someone to work on your gun, then you’ve worked with a gunsmith. But is now the right time for you to join this engaging career field?

Is This A Good Time To Become a Gunsmith?

If you’re reading this, chances are you really love guns. And that might be reason enough to change careers. But before you go “all-in” on a new career, we need to answer another good question: is this the right time for you to become a gunsmith?

The short answer to this question is “yes.” Some people have worried about this field because of the increasing popularity of 3D printing items at home. But 3D printing simple resin items is nothing at all like designing, building, repairing, and modifying a quality firearm.

Additionally, recent years have underscored the need for the personal protection of firearms. In the wake of constant protests, riots, and civil unrest, the blunt truth is that nobody knows when they will be in a position where they need to protect themselves.

In other words, the need for people to own firearms is more important now than ever before, and that need is only going to grow in the coming years. And more guns means the need for more gunsmiths, making this a solid career move for anyone looking to make a change.

Getting the Right Education

By now, you’re probably interested in making this new career move. And that leads us to another major question: how to become a gunsmith quickly and affordably!

Most who ask about this are really asking a related question: “what kind of education does this career need?” The answer to this question, though, is more complex than you might think.

For example, most gunsmith schools don’t require anything more than a high school diploma for you to get started. That’s actually one of the better parts of the job: you don’t need a fancy four-year degree.

However, you almost certainly need to take professional gunsmithing courses to build up your skills in using special machinery, reading complex diagrams, firearm safety and repair, and so on. The good news is that you can take informative and affordable classes from places like the American Gunsmithing Institute.

Different levels of courses are available based on your career goals. That means you can take the initial pro-level courses and determine if the program is a good fit before you eventually move on to Master Gunsmith level courses.

Helpful Skills To Have

We already covered the fact that you normally need nothing more than a high school diploma to enter one of these courses. However, certain prior experience may make the gunsmithing classes a lot easier for you.

For example, much of your gunsmithing career is going to involve working with both metal and wood. If you have experience with things like high school shop classes or carpentry classes, these will really come in handy.

And it may go without saying, but a knowledge of and enthusiasm for guns will make some of your gunsmithing training a lot easier. If nothing else, extensive prior experience with gun safety is likely to keep you safe during your gunsmithing career.

The AGI teaching method has eliminated both the need to go to a campus-based school AND the need to work as an Apprentice. An individual who has the understanding of Design, Function, and Repair as taught by the American Gunsmithing Institute can safely and successfully start working on firearms almost immediately.

Why You’ll Need A Federal Firearms License

If they are being honest, most gunsmiths go into this line of work because they think it will be cool to work with guns each day. And don’t get us wrong: this is, in fact, one of the best aspects of the job!

But your cool new career also means that you need to handle plenty of paperwork. And the most important paperwork for gunsmiths is the Federal Firearms License. Without it, you will literally have no way to do your job.

Why is that? A major part of a gunsmith’s business is repairing other people’s weapons. And more often than not, that means you will have to have someone else’s gun in your possession for more than 24 hours. Having your FFL allows you to do that.

It’s simple enough to apply for your FFL through the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. But keep in mind you won’t get the license until an ATF field agent inspects your facilities and conducts a one-on-one interview with you.

To Specialize Or Not To Specialize

From the outside looking in, you might think that gunsmithing is already a fairly specialized career. But as you complete your training and obtain your licensure, you’ll need to figure out whether you want to specialize even further.

Why would this be necessary? Even in small towns, there are usually multiple gunsmiths in the area. And as with any other business, you need to find some creative ways to help your business stand out.

For example, most of the gunsmiths in your area likely focus on repairing firearms, so you can stand out if you specialize in designing firearms. You can also stand out if you specialize in things like stock-making or gun engraving. And some gunsmiths go so far as to specialize in only one kind of firearm (such as a business that only works with pistols).

If you decide to specialize, how can you choose? One simple way to do this is to research the area you’d like to open a business and determine which needs the local smiths aren’t taking care of. This allows you to fill a unique niche in the area.

Other than that, you can channel your own passion for firearms into your specialty. Just imagine the kind of gunsmiths you wished you had access to when you first started using firearms and turn that into your business model!

Still on the fence about whether this career is right for you? To help you make a decision, we’re going to dive into the bigger benefits of this particular job field.

Serious Earnings Potential

The first benefit of gunsmithing is the one that trainees and apprentices love to hear. And that’s the fact that the job has some serious earnings potential.

It all goes back to what we said about the arc of this particular career. You typically start out as an apprentice to someone else. And as you build up both your field experience and your education, you can eventually branch out to open your own business.

That means that your earning potential will only grow over time. And once you start your own business, you can set your own rates and begin to receive the competition you’ve been dreaming of.

A Career Where You Hit the Ground Running

We briefly touched on one of the other major benefits before. And that’s the fact that you can effectively hit the ground running with this particular career!

There are many professional jobs out there, but plenty of them require you to have a four-year university education. This can be a problem because many excellent gunsmiths are “hands-on” learners and don’t do well in a “sit back and listen to the lecture” college format.

And it’s an open secret that simply getting a four-year degree doesn’t guarantee you will find a good job. And even if you do, you are likely to be saddled with extreme student loan debt.

That’s why we love gunsmithing. You can take the courses you need at your own pace, and some programs can be completed in as little as six weeks. And the ability to apprentice with a master gunsmith means you can continue your career education while still bringing in a respectable salary.

Why get in terrible debt for an unreliable four-year degree when you can begin affordable training today in a field that helps you earn money much, much sooner?

A Job Doing What You Love

Every now and then, there is truth in those old cliches you grew up hearing. And one such cliche is the old saying that if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.

Gunsmiths generally go into this field because they love working with guns. One of the few downsides of being a gun enthusiast is that you don’t always have the time or money to work with every kind of firearm you’d like to handle.

Think of it this way: when you’re a gunsmith, the guns come right to you! You’ll get to work with some of the coolest weapons ever made on a weekly basis. Not only do you not have to pay to play with these guns, but other people will pay you to do so.

And if you specialize in designing weapons as well, then you can take your love of firearms to the next level. You won’t just be working with all the coolest guns ever made: you’ll also be making your own contributions to the list of cool guns.

Serving Your Community

So far, we have focused primarily on the personal fulfillment of you working with firearms as a gunsmith. But it’s also worth noting that this is the kind of job where you can make a really positive impact on your community.

For the most part, those who own guns rely on those guns to protect themselves and their families. When a gun breaks down and needs to be repaired, the family that owns that gun is that much more vulnerable.

By repairing that firearm, you are doing your part to keep your community safe. And outside of basic repairs, you can also do things like make guns more ergonomic. This makes the firearms safer and more comfortable, and it gives you a chance to indulge your creativity.

Speaking of indulging in creativity, gunsmithing also gives you a great excuse to express yourself by creating new designs, new stocks, new engravings, and so on. It’s like all the fun of being an artist mixed with all the fun of working with firearms!

Your Next Steps

Now you know that this is the perfect time to become a gunsmith. In fact, this is one of the best things you can do to become financially secure in the face of an uncertain economy.

But do you know where to get the training that you need? Here at American Gunsmithing Institute, we specialize in training the next generation of gunsmiths. To get started, come request more information today!

It is not a requirement in the state of California to obtain a Gunsmithing Certificate to practice gunsmithing. However, possessing a Gunsmithing Certificate will demonstrate a proven level of competence. A Federal Firearms License and State licenses are required to operate a gunsmithing business.
The American Gunsmithing Institute’s approval to operate as a private postsecondary institution in the state of California is based on provisions of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act (CPPEA) of 2009 (California Education Code, Title 3, Division 10, Part 59, Chapter 8), which was effective January 1, 2010. The Bureau can be reached at 2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400, Sacramento, CA 95833,, toll-free telephone number (888) 370-7589 or by fax (916) 263-1897.
Professional Gunsmithing Courses not available to Oklahoma residents at this time.