A gunsmith is a firearms expert who manufactures, repairs or modifies guns. Education options for this career include an Associate of Science degree program, which could be more narrowly focused on gunsmithing or repair and give individuals the skills to use, repair and design firearms. Hands-on coursework will mainly take place in a workshop. Students will typically be required to enroll in general education courses in addition to gunsmithing courses.
Gunsmithing certificate programs are also available and are designed mostly for those who are already in the field of gunsmithing or firearms technology and looking to improve their skills. While some career positions require a 4-year degree, a certificate may act as a supplement to a degree.
Associate's Degree in Gunsmithing
These programs train graduates to safely and effectively use, repair and handle guns. The student will learn about the tools involved in gunsmithing alterations and stock work. It is customary for the academic institution to provide students with entry-level tools at the start of the program. These tools may include stock blanks, gauges, installation jigs, gunsmithing catalogs and a gun cleaning kit as well as other necessary tools. Core classes include:
- Gun repair
- Handgun technology
- Riflesmithing theory
- Machining fundamentals
Certificate in Gunsmithing
In these programs, students complete coursework involving the design and repair of firearms, as well as firearms regulations and laws. They may include riflesmithing, pistolsmithing, long gun and gunsmith machining. Coursework may vary since certificates can be tailored to specific types of guns. Coursework may include:
- Gunsmith machining
- Metal finishing
- Barrel fitting
- Arc wielding
- Stock fitting and finishing
- Gunsmithing technology
The individual with a degree or certificate in gunsmithing has several options when it comes to choosing a career. He or she may choose to become:
- Firearms repair technician
- Firearms salesman
- Owner of a firearms or sporting goods store
- Custom built firearms specialist
- Law enforcement armorer
Employment Outlook and Career Info
Graduates of a gunsmithing degree program will be trained professionals who may be able to work in the fields of sports management, gunsmithing, manufacturing or repair. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies gunsmiths under the broader category of installation, maintenance and repair workers (all other); in 2018, these workers earned an average annual salary of $43,050.
Students interested in gunsmithing can pursue an associate's degree or certificate to gain the hands-on experience required to work with firearms. Graduates can work in such positions as firearms repair technicians, firearms specialists and salespersons.