Aspiring gunsmiths are all eager to learn and to receive their gunsmith certificate as soon as possible, so they can start practicing their trade and craft. But what gunsmith school should one follow, when the offers flooding this niche are so varied and rich? This question can be pretty confusing for a beginner gunsmith, since there isn’t a very clear, unique career path to follow, and there are actually several kinds of gunsmithing schools to choose from. To shed a little light on this matter, we’ve put together this guide on finding the right gunsmithing course and the steps to take towards becoming a gunsmith in your own right.
Types of Gunsmithing Schools and Courses
First of all, in order to become a gunsmith, you need to have a high school diploma and to pass a firearms background check (so that the authorities clear you for joining this line of work). Then, you need to complete a basic gunsmith school (or accredited gunsmithing course). Such a school or course can take between 6 months (for a certificate) and 2 years (for an associate’s degree in gunsmithing). In order for this training to ‘count’ (which means that it would actually result in a valid gunsmith certificate), the school must be state or federal government approved.
The NRA (National Rifle Association) has its own collection of endorsed gunsmithing schools, meaning schools that they approve of and support. All NRA schools are also licensed by the government, but not all valid government-licensed schools are also bearing the NRA seal of approval. What we’re trying to say is that while attending a NRA gunsmith school is commendable and pretty prestigious, it’s not absolutely mandatory for becoming a gunsmith.
After obtaining a basic gunsmith license by completing a course or an associate’s degree to any of the certified gunsmithing schools available, it’s up to you to follow even more courses and study programs in order to gain more expertise. There are a multitude of extra subjects to become certified in, from handling, repairing and crafting various types of guns to mastering a particular practice (silver craftsmanship or whatever). If you’re really and seriously on your way to becoming a reputed gun expert (ballistics expert) or gunsmith, or to having your own gun shop, then you should definitely be learning as much as you can.
How to Find the Right Gunsmith School
Finding the right gunsmith school for you depends by and large by your personal circumstances. If you’re already tied down by a job(in the field or not) and can’t really afford moving to follow your dream, then the first thing you should look for when browsing gunsmithing schools is whether you can follow it online. Distance learning is definitely a viable option even when it comes to gunsmithing, so rest assured that you can still complete most of the courses you want in a solely online regime.
Then, of course, there are also the factors of the cost, and that of the school’s prestige. There are plenty of options if you’re looking for a gunsmith school which can take a moderate toll on your finances and still be prestigious enough to follow, as well as accessible online. A couple of suggestions to start looking into would be the Penn Foster gunsmith school, the Montgomery school, as well as anything else NRA-endorsed, of course. (For the NRA schools, you can go directly on their website and check out what they recommend; and for more on online gunsmithing schools you can simply check our website archives).
Our recommendation would be to try to attend a 3 day intensive workshop or a short summer school after completing your online coursework, or at least to enrol in an apprenticeship with a local gunsmith in your area, if you can. While there isn’t anything wrong with online learning, you really will appreciate the practical learning experience, and the immense charm of seeing an experienced gunsmith in action live.
If after completing your basic training, you’d like to complete some advanced courses and even set yourself on the path of becoming a gunsmithing instructor in your own right, then be assured that that is also an option. Take a look at NRA’s guide on becoming an instructor to see exactly what coursework and exams you would have to complete and pass, and we wish you the best of luck with this! The world of gunsmithing surely need more passionate people to show everyone that guns can be a work of art.
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