Gunsmiths repair and customize firearms, restore antique guns, and, sometimes, build parts for handguns and rifles. Some gunsmiths also customize firearm ammunition. Many gunsmiths are self employed, while others work for firearms manufacturers and sporting goods retail facilities.
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How to Begin a Career in Gunsmithing
Some gunsmiths are self taught, but most aspiring gunsmiths take classes through vocational and technical schools and colleges.
Gunsmith classes may cover these areas:
- Firearm repair
- Accurizing handguns and rifles
- Custom fitting rifle and shotgun stocks
- Types of ammunition
Advanced classes may include the following:
- Restoring antique firearms
- Using machine shop tools to fabricate firearm parts
The length of training depends on how many classes you take and how proficient you want to become. Some programs last a few months, while others last a year or longer.
After completing classes, you can pursue gunsmithing certification through the major firearms manufacturers. The National Rifle Association and the National Gunsmiths Association also provide additional gunsmith training.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports maintenance and repair workers, which include gunsmithing, make about $34,620 a year. The highest ten percent make about $55,590 a year. Gunsmiths with extensive training and certifications from major manufacturers could earn higher salaries.
The job outlook for this career classification is excellent over the next ten years. According to the BLS, the industry will grow about 11 percent. This expansion is partially due to the large number of baby boomers who may have more time for leisure activities during this time period.