For the few online gunsmithing programs that exist, students should take into account the kind of firearms that are discussed, a program's affiliations with any professional organizations, and the time commitment involved to complete the program.
How to Select an Online Gunsmith School
Students considering online gunsmith schools must make their decision based on several key factors. Gunsmithing combines metalworking knowledge with expertise in the mechanics of firearms. Few online programs exist in gunsmithing, because most professional gunsmith positions require individuals with hands-on knowledge of metal shop tools. Online gunsmith programs are offered predominantly at for-profit schools and may be better suited for hobbyists. Students must also weigh various firearm types as well as affiliation of the schools.
While many jobs are available in the field of firearm design, manufacture and repair, many students are interested in pursuing gunsmithing as a hobby rather than a profession. Hobbyists often only need the most basic information about gun construction and repair, which can be provided through online programs. Professional gunsmiths, however, will require knowledge in using various metalworking tools, such as lathes. Becoming a professional gunsmith generally requires education beyond what online programs offer.
Types of Firearms
While there are many universal facets to gunsmithing, there are also many nuances to working with different types of guns. Few, if any, online programs match the variety of specializations offered through on-campus programs. These specializations include specific types of weapons, such as competitive rifles, pistols, revolvers, and shotguns.
No accreditation body exists for gunsmithing programs; however, the National Rifle Association (NRA) affiliates with short-term courses at select programs throughout the nation (www.nragunsmithing.com). Though no NRA-affiliated programs are offered online, students choosing an on-campus program may want to consider these curricula over others.
List of Online Gunsmith Programs
Gunsmith Diploma Program
Online programs in gunsmith studies are generally diploma programs that cover the basics of gunsmithing. For-profit institutions most commonly offer these self-paced programs, which allow students to complete coursework on their own schedule. Students typically study lessons through materials mailed to their home and test their knowledge through a series of online exams and quizzes. These self-paced courses can often be completed in as little as five months.
The curricula for online gunsmithing programs vary slightly, but generally cover the basic skills needed to customize and repair any civilian firearm. Other topics may include:
- Homemade ammunitions
- Securing a Federal Firearms License
- Shotguns, handguns and pistols
- Customizing gun stocks
Schools with Online Programs in Gunsmithing
Penn Foster Career School and Ashworth College are both home to online diploma programs in gunsmithing. Both programs are highly flexible, allowing students to study at the pace that's right for them. In as little as three to four months, respectively, students can learn a variety of basic skills on gunsmithing and maintenance for different kinds of firearms. In particular, Ashworth's curriculum involves three separate textbooks featuring information on pistols, shotguns, and rifles. This school also offers a free one year Silver Membership in the Gun Club of America upon graduation.
While most gunsmiths will need education beyond what is provided in an online format, these programs can be a good way to build foundational knowledge and skills. Remember to consider the types of firearms included in a program, its affiliation with different organizations, and your personal career goals when previewing schools.