Get to know firearms inside and out to perform repairs and adjustments.
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Quick Stats

Salary Range
$21,000 – $62,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Gunsmiths do?

For this job, you need the mechanical know-how of an Engineer, the design skills of an Artist, the patience of a saint, and a focus on safety that borders on the obsessive. Why? Because your daily routine has to do with the meticulous design, construction, and repair of guns and their complex parts.

With so many different types of guns, many Gunsmiths choose to focus on a specific type. Your options include rifles, pistols, and antique guns, to name just a few. And if you’re the creative type, you can even make entirely new guns. If you want to specialize on, say, recreating worn handles, then woodworking, engraving, and metal skills will come in handy.

A day at work may look something like this: a customer comes to you with a gun that’s not working. As a Gunsmith, you do more than just minor repairs and maintenance, so the damage on your customer’s gun—whether it’s a bent or dented barrel, cracked or missing parts, deformed firing pins, or an incorrect timing mechanism—is par for the course. As you often do, you completely disassemble the gun to find and fix the problem.

The work you do takes a while, and this is where the patience, along with mechanical and design skills, comes in. And if you find that you have to alter a factory-made part, or completely custom-make a new one, it can even take you days to finish. This calls for exacting work as you sometimes have to alter things by only thousandths of an inch.

You adjust the barrel, grip, and trigger to your customer’s specifications, and by the time you’re done, it’s not unusual if you’ve created a one-of-a-kind gun. Then you test it to make sure it’s safe: Safety is a good Gunsmith’s highest priority.

Should I be a Gunsmith?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.

  • Also known as: Anglesmith, Anvilsmith, Coopersmith, Gunsmith Apprentice, Shipsmith, Tinsmith Apprentice

    How to become a Gunsmith

    Gunsmiths generally graduate from high school and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate’s degree to increase your chances of finding a good job. Check out these schools offering Gunsmith-related education!
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