How to Become a Gunsmith

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Using blueprints and customer specifications, gunsmiths manipulate metal and other material to make firearms. A person must earn a high school diploma or GED to become a gunsmith. No college education is required for this career path. However, federal and state regulations prevent anyone with a felony from becoming a gunsmith.[1] Gunsmiths are often employed by gun companies, government agencies, and the military.


Wikimedia Commons
Education High school diploma or GED[1]
Starting pay $18,000[1]
Median pay $26,500[1]
10 yr growth Decline: -6%[2]
Related professions Metal workers, machine setters, blacksmiths, forge machine setters
Author Selena Robinson

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Gunsmith Job Overview

Gunsmiths are metal workers, much like blacksmiths and machine setters. They use metal and other strong materials to make weapons. Gun companies, government agencies, and the military hire gunsmiths to manufacture firearms. Some gunsmiths work exclusively with gun repair or own their own businesses. Working as a gunsmith requires an individual to have the ability to read and draw blueprints, understand gun technology, and possess a mastery of metal works.[1]

Gunsmith Education

Gunsmiths are not required to earn a college degree in order to get a job in this career field. However, they are typically required to earn a high school diploma or a GED. In addition, some vocational colleges offer gunsmith programs. For example, the Colorado School of Trades offers an associate’s degree and trade certificate.[3]

Gunsmith Training

To prepare for a career as a gunsmith, high school students can take woodworking, metalwork, and technical drawing classes.[1] The American Gunsmith Institute also has videos to help aspiring gunsmiths prepare for their careers and learn about technology and safety procedures.[4] In addition, the National Rifle Association offers conventions, online classes, and certification in gunsmith safety. These programs are available to members only.[5]

ATF Licensing and Requirements

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms requires all gunsmiths to become licensed gun dealers. To receive an ATF license, gunsmiths must apply for and pay for the license, take a standard test, be free from felony convictions and involuntary mental health judgments, demonstrate a knowledge of gun laws, and renew their licenses periodically. The ATF also requires gunsmiths to maintain a bound record of all transactions requiring them to keep possession of the weapon for more than 24 hours. They must also post signs announcing gun laws that apply to felons, juveniles, and persons with mental and physical disabilities, as well as other federal requirements.[6]

Prospective Gunsmith Careers

A typical workday for a gunsmith

Also See: How to Become a Sport Pilot, How to Become a Mailman, How to Become a Tax Collector, How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator, How to Become an Army Ranger


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