Have you ever wondered how to become a gunsmith? If you love guns and firearms and possess a mechanical aptitude, this could be the right career for you. Gunsmithing is not exactly the easiest field to get into. But for those who enjoy guns, it certainly could be an ideal fit.
Since not everyone’s cut out for this career, make sure you review these steps before getting involved. In order to get started, you need to go through these five crucial steps. Now, let’s take a look at these steps on the road to becoming a gunsmith.
The 5 Steps for How to Become a Gunsmith
1. Conduct an Appropriate Background Check.
The first step in how to become a gunsmith is to pass a federal background check. This allows you to work with and possess firearms. Most employers and post-secondary schools will require background checks before bringing you in. Not everyone can pursue this career, and the following issues can disqualify you.
- Have a felony or domestic abuse conviction
- have a restraining order placed against you
- you have a mental health history or spent time in a mental institution
- or you have a history of drug addiction or alcoholism
- you fail a drug test
- you’ve violated the Gun Control Act
- if you received a dishonorable discharge from the military
- or you are under the age of 21
If something turns up on your background check that’s wrong, then you can file an appeal. The flowchart below shows how the NICS (the National Instant Criminal Background Check System) works.
2. Receive Training and Instruction from a Gunsmithing School
You can receive training as a gunsmith at a college or online. There are short diploma programs or there are also two-year associate degree programs available in Gunsmithing. You can also take a four-month long training course online.
If you already have an extensive knowledge of guns, you can possibly learn all you need to know in a short time frame. Training programs will also require you to master a body of technical knowledge. You must also possess a certain degree of mechanical aptitude in order to perform the functions of a gunsmith. Your training program will expect you to learn and perform the following types of tasks:
- properly assemble and disassemble all the different types of firearms
- replace firearms parts effectively
- work with firearm finishes
- use certain equipment such as milling machines or welders
- analyze the condition of firearms and diagnose repairs
You may also like: The Top 5 Gunsmithing Schools in the US
3. Obtain a Federal Firearms License (FFL)
This is the first step in your quest to become a gunsmith. All gunsmiths and others who work with firearms must get a federal firearms license. The FFL is a business license for those who deal with firearms including a gunsmith. It is not the same as a background check for those who own a firearm, and some of the qualifications may be more stringent.
Getting your firearms license approved can take 60 days or longer, so you’ll need to be patient. When you submit the application, an FFL officer will conduct an interview with you and inspect the premises. Also, the law requires you to renew your federal firearms license each year.
4. Training and Apprenticeship
You will need training or apprenticeship program as a gunsmith. It is a critical step for many potential gunsmiths, as you will need practical experience in the field to be able to eventually master it someday. While you are in school for Gunsmithing is the time to apply. Apply shortly before you graduate from your program, or if you can, become an apprentice while you are in school. Getting formal training and apprenticeship is a necessary component for becoming a gunsmith.
Here’s a video with an example of what you’ll learn in a gunsmith training program.
5. Seek Employment as a Gunsmith
The final step is to find a job as a gunsmith.
Whether or not you can land a job as a gunsmith at least partly depends on where you live. Some areas have more jobs in this field than others. Building a network is also crucial. If you know someone in the gunsmithing field, you should ask them to introduce you to people.
Once you find some jobs to apply to, make sure you’re prepared so you can put your best foot forward. Firstly, you should study up on how to conduct yourself on interviews and rehearse what you’ll say. Secondly, you should always do research on your employer before you go in. That way you’ll know the right questions to ask. Finally, be patient and make sure your knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm always shine through.
Finding the right job can take time, but it’s time well-spent.
You may also want to watch this video on how to become a gunsmith.
Featured image: CC0 Public Domain, Edgar Melville Ward, Wikimedia Commons (cropped).