If you live in Texas but you’re passionate about firearms, the problem you may already be aware of is that there are no traditional gunsmithing schools in Texas. But don’t worry, there are still ways in which you can obtain the training you need in order to become a gunsmith. Finding good schools can be challenging, but we will guide you through the process of exploring the options you have in Texas, right below. First of all, let us walk you through what to expect from a school and what it can offer you, as well as where else to find those things in case traditional schooling isn’t available.
A keen interest in guns and how they work, as well as some self-taught skills based on online tutorials aren’t enough to make you a gunsmith. The question isn’t necessarily how to become a gunsmith in terms of information and skills to acquire, but a more accurate one would be how to become a certified gunsmith.
Also, the advantage of graduating from a licensed gunsmithing school isn’t just having the certification of being a gunsmith in your own right, but it’s a much safer way of learning than you could possibly hope to accomplish on your own. No matter if you’re trying to learn by yourself or by observing other self-taught gun aficionados handling guns, the risks for accidents are quite high, which is why only certified gunsmithing schools are the place you should learn such things.
What to Expect from a Gunsmithing School
A good gunsmith school should be able to provide its applicants with more than one type of course. First of all, before discussing the variety of courses offered, any proper gunsmith school you may look into should be certified by the NRA (National Rifle Association). Otherwise, if the certification you obtain for a short or long course isn’t actually recognized by the NRA, it’s not only dubious but worthless. Only NRA endorsed certificated allow you to legally practice the skills acquired in your coursework.
After you verify the certification of the gunsmith schools you may be interested in and everything checks out, it’s time to look at the actual courses offered. If you’re wondering how to become a smith with a right to practice the trade, this may require a longer course of 1 year of study or more (depending on the school).
And that’s not all
Besides the actual gunsmith training, many gunsmithing schools also offer short courses meant to allow people to handle guns safely, even if they don’t plan on becoming gunsmiths. There are also longer courses offered, to specialized already certified gunsmiths further, much like post-graduate studies in the academic world. A reputed gunsmithing school should offer multiple choices in advanced gunsmith training (like silver gunsmith training, engraving, specialized courses focusing on a particular type of firearm and so on).
Some gunsmith schools also offer part of their coursework online. You can’t really become a gunsmith by studying online the entirety of the required courses, but you may take part of them online. Some of the advanced gunsmith training courses are available online as well, as long as the course doesn’t involve a very practical, hands-on approach, which would require the teachers to oversee the students’ activity directly.
No Gunsmithing Schools in Texas? Find Alternative Training
There are two ways to train if you’re wondering how to become a gunsmith in Texas. The first path is to become an apprentice to a practicing gunsmith in your state (many certified gunsmiths are trained through such apprenticeship periods). The second path is to attend the courses one of the traditional gunsmithing schools in Texas, which we’ve overviewed for you here.
The last thing to add before we move on to a brief presentation of the schools themselves is this: the two gunsmith training paths aren’t mutually exclusive, and if you’re looking to make a career out of this, then you should definitely look into both forms of education. There is also the third path, of special gunsmith apprenticeships specially designed for those who’d like to join the military as a gunsmith.
The essential steps
Since the second path, representing traditional gunsmith schools, isn’t really an option in Texas, here are the alternatives you have. This is how to become a smith in Texas (in the absence of physical schools):
Find a gunsmith apprenticeship opportunity. You can do this by searching the Golden Pages (or Google, directly) for gunsmith businesses in your area. Then, contact them about enrolling for an apprenticeship. Write a more or less formal motivation letter (or letter of intent), detailing your reasons for applying, but keep it short. You’re bound to have at least one positive answer if you contact several such places.
Apply for online courses from certified out-of-state schools. Even if there are no actual schools in the state of Texas, no one is stopping you from attending online courses for at least part if your gunsmith degree. Combined with the apprenticeship you will complete in a gunsmith shop, the fact that you attend this distance courses will likely get you the gunsmithing degree you would normally look for in a traditional gunsmith school.
Step 3 (optional)
Even if there are no traditional schools for gunsmithing in Texas, you may find similar courses if you look for a machinist specialization. A gunsmith is after all simply a highly specialized machinist, and the state of Texas does manage to offer plenty of machining programs within its technical colleges and vocational schools. Look for one of those and you may be able to get a distance gunsmith school to consider the machinist courses already attended equivalent to theirs, offering you a gunsmithing degree easier.