Frequently Asked Questions

Is there really a need for gunsmiths?

Americans have more personal firearms than anyone else in the world, over 330 million of them! If you’re a firearms enthusiast, you know that guns need constant attention: repairs, cleaning, customizing etc. There is a tremendous need for competent, knowledgeable gunsmiths. There are opportunities in your own business or working in gunsmith shops or firearms dealers. The properly trained professional gunsmith earns $30/hr to $60/hr or more.

What are the opportunities in Gunsmithing?

It’s a tremendous market. There are more than 60 million firearms owners in the U.S. These firearms owners have over 330 million firearms of all types. This market includes hunters, sport shooters, law enforcement professionals, gun collectors, and the booming self-defense market. Since late 2012 tens of millions of citizens have become new gun owners and the firearms manufacturers have been working around the clock to try to catch up with this increased demand.


Even with new, restrictive gun laws making it harder to buy new guns, people need someone to keep their personal guns in good working order. All this adds up to a tremendous opportunity for trained, competent gunsmiths.


In fact, there are probably thousands of firearms within a few miles of where you live. If you maintained just a fraction of those, you’d be busier than you could ever imagine.


But don’t just take our word for it . . . In a recent Brownells Gunsmith Newsletter it says,“. . . the news is that repair work is at an all time high, many shops are not able to keep up. There seems to be a real shortage of competent gunsmiths, with many shops asking where they can find more . . .” – Brownells Gunsmiths Newsletter

What Types of work is there for Gunsmiths?

Work for Yourself or For Someone Else . . . Full Time or Part Time!


After you become a certified AGI gunsmith, you will have a number of career options. Although most of our students prefer the freedom and financial rewards of working for themselves, you also have the option of working for someone else. Either way, as an AGI certified gunsmith, you’ll be well prepared for whatever career choice you make.


Your Own Business


If you’ve ever dreamed of being in business for yourself, you’ll find gunsmithing is the perfect part or full time business. You’ll enjoy the freedom and prestige of working for yourself.


Whether your business is part or full time, as a professional gunsmith you will make money almost immediately. If you’re a federal firearms dealer (or would like to be), you can now offer your Professional Gunsmithing services to anyone who buys a firearm through you! With every gun you sell, you’re creating a new customer.


Gunsmith Shops


The demand for capable, competent gunsmiths remains extremely high. Once you become an AGI certified gunsmith, you’ll have the opportunity to work full time or part time for other gunsmiths or gun shops. You can earn a very good hourly wage or receive a percentage of the repair costs. Many people find this a great way to break into the field as they build their own clientele.


Firearms Dealers


There are currently over 40,000 FFL’s (federal firearms license holders) in the U.S. Many of these dealers employ gunsmiths or need gunsmiths for contract work. They can refer a great deal of business to you.

What is the Earning Potential for Gunsmiths?

Gunsmithing is a satisfying and rewarding field. Earnings of $30-$60 per hour is not unusual for a trained pro.


It can add up fast. Let’s say you’re asked to install a recoil pad and install a choke. That one job could bring in a hefty $200 or more! Imagine getting paid that kind of money in a field that is so enjoyable.


As a skilled craftsman you will earn an impressive hourly rate. Here is just a small sample of some of the most common gunsmithing services and the average fees charged by gunsmiths:


Routine troubleshooting $25-$50
Strip/Cleaning $25-$50
Smoothing and tuning a revolver $65-$90
Accuracy tuning $85-$300
Sight installation $50-$75
Swivel installation $15-$30
Choke installation $90-$190
Recoil pad installation $50-$90
Patterning a shotgun $50-$90
Bedding a barrel/action $50-$150
Repairs to receiver $50-$100
Repairing firing pin $25-$50
Trigger assembly/repair $50-$90
Repair safety $25-$50
Fitting a new trigger $45-$95


* These rates above do not include parts costs.

Does the American Gunsmithing Institute have a good reputation?

AGI is recognized and highly respected in the firearms industry. That’s why our course is used by Law Enforcement Agencies and professional gunsmiths worldwide. Our instructor, Master Gunsmith Robert Dunlap, has been a state certified gunsmith instructor for over 30 years. AGI’s gunsmithing course is also an approved course through the Veterans Administration Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation Program. We have helped many veterans become successful gunsmiths over the years. If you’re eligible for one of these programs we’ll even help you fill out your state’s paperwork to qualify!


AGI’s mission statement: AGI exists to provide firearm enthusiasts with the knowledge needed to help keep their guns in a safe and top notch condition, maximizing their shooting experience and potential in a way that preserves the gunsmithing art and ensures “that the rights of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Where do I get Gun Parts?

Is Your Gunsmithing Education Comprehensive?

By the time you complete the AGI Professional Gunsmithing course, you will be able to repair any firearm you come across, even if you don’t recognize the gun. Your training will not only include classic firearms, but newer designs like Glock or SIG. You’ll even receive training on exotic weapons like Mac-10’s, Tech -9’s and Uzi’s.a

How long will it take to complete the course?

The course is quite comprehensive. Some students are able to complete the course as little as 90 days, while others take 6 to 24 months or longer. It all depends on your schedule, motivation, and desire to finish. The foundation of the course is 108 hours of training covering the design and function of over 150 different guns.

Is there any additional charge if I take extra time to complete the course?

No, take as much time as you need to complete the course. We want you to learn at your own pace. You won’t be penalized in any way for not meeting some artificial deadline.

Do I need an FFL (Federal Firearms License)?

No, you don’t need a license to take AGI’s professional course or make occasional repairs for friends. However, if you charge for your labor or make gun repair your primary or secondary income source, you will need a license. With the cost of an FFL at only $200, we recommend that our students apply for one and even include a “How to” FFL application kit in our course to help simplify the process.

How do I get my FFL?

Do I need a lot of expensive tools to get started?

No, you can begin with just basic hand tools that you probably already own. As you gather experience, you will be able to purchase recommended tool kits directly from AGI or other suppliers. And if you enroll in the Enhanced Master Program, all the tools you need to outfit a gunsmithing shop.

Does my age make a difference?

Age is really no factor. We have students from 18 to 80. Your desire and willingness to learn is more important than your age, but you do need to be at least 18 to enroll in AGl’s course or have a parent’s consent.

I've taken home study courses from other schools and I was disappointed. How is your course different?

Many of our students have taken home study gunsmithing courses from other so-called “gunsmithing schools” and were disappointed. They are thrilled with AGI’s professional courses and you can read some of their comments on this site. Please take the time to read their stories.


We promise to provide you with the most complete, professional, but easy-to-learn DVD gunsmithing course available, taught by the premier master gunsmiths in the world. In fact, we invite you to compare our program with any other correspondence or campus-based gunsmithing school. Our courses are equal to or greater than a two year “hands on” campus-based course.


But don’t just take our word for it. Read what our students are saying. If reading these comments doesn’t convince you that our course is the most professional training you can receive … nothing will! But we want you to see the training for yourself. Request a complete information package and introductory DVD lesson for free!

Your tuition fees seem to be higher than other correspondence gunsmithing schools. Why?

Quite simply the value of what we deliver is far greater than any other school. No matter what your field of choice you will find a vast difference in the type of training you receive and the costs you’ll pay so you need to look at the whole picture. Other gunsmithing correspondence schools use skimpy booklets and diagrams to teach you just the basics. This might be O.K. if you’re just a hobbyist. However, if you want to be a competent, professional gunsmith, the AGI Professional Gunsmithing course is the only real choice you have.


That’s because AGI’s professional design function and repair course contains over 100 hours of DVD-based training by the foremost gunsmithing instructor in the world, Bob Dunlap. The training is so complete it’s used by law enforcement agencies and campus-based programs. And remember, you’ll keep on using the DVD training as a reference library for years to come.

I'm excited to enroll in the course, but I don't have the full tuition.

Although most of our students invest in the complete course at one time to take advantage of the substantial discounts, we do have other options. If you are serious about becoming a gunsmith, one of our programs will fit your financial situation. So, contact us for all the details.

What if I'm not satisfied with the program?

The Professional Gunsmithing course comes with a Better Than Risk Free, “Bulletproof” Guarantee! If for any reason you are not satisfied, you can return it for a full refund (less shipping) for up to one full year . . . and you keep the 3 bonus DVDs! No questions asked. You have nothing to lose!

Have more questions? Call us at 1-800-997-9404. We’ll be happy to talk with you!

Request Info

Send Me an Info Kit & Free Video Lesson “How to Get Started in Professional Gunsmithing”.


What level of gunsmithing education are you seeking?

I am a Hobbyist and only want to work with my own guns.

I want to be a Professional Certified Gunsmith Part-Time / Full Time.

I want a retirement income within 3-5 years.

I am an FFL dealer / Gunsmithing is a potential add-on business opportunity.
Are you a veteran?
Check here if you are a veteran.
Disabled Veteran / Vocational Rehabilitation
Please only check this box if you are a Veteran with a Disability Rating or you will you be working with Vocational Rehabilitation or Workers Compensation to enroll in our program.

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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.