How to Become a


The complete career guide to be a Gunsmith: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $41,120
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 4.3%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Creativity Focused
    Career Attribute

A gunsmith is an individual that builds, repairs and modifies firearms and artillery.  Their job is to troubleshoot repair, disassemble and reassemble all types of firearms.  The also adjust, diagnose and correct any sight or accuracy issues the firearm may have.

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What is a Gunsmith?

The following responsibilities are common for Gunsmiths:

  • Repairs and modifies firearms according to blueprint and customer specifications using hand tools and machines
  • Installs various parts on the firearms like scopes, pistol grips, recoil pads, and decorative pieces
  • Rebores barrels on firearms using an enlarged caliber boring machine
  • Fires firearms to determine strength characteristics, correct alignment and assemble a piece
  • Makes blueprints designing new and modified pieces

A Day In The Life

Gunsmiths have knowledge of how to build firearms from scratch and can also repair and customize existing weapons.  In this occupation an individual will typically design, clean, repair, and analyze any malfunctions in the firearms.  When the are designing a gun, they may begin making the firearm from scratch or customize a customers existing weapon.  Specifically, they may be responsible for improving a guns accuracy, restoring old and antique firearms to working conditions, providing rust inspection and mounting scopes and sights.

Typical Work Schedule

This can be both a full and part-time position, Monday through Sunday.  Hours may vary and will be worked during operating business hours, which can vary greatly depending on location of employment.

Projected Job Growth

Growth usually depends on the individuals work experience and can vary widely from a new employee to a skilled professional.

Typical Employers

Most individuals work in gun and sporting good stores, repairing firearms and advising gun purchases for customers.  While others are employed in gun warranty departments of gun manufacturers repairing broken weapons, and others will work in custom gun shops customizing customers guns to their specifications.

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How To Become a Gunsmith

Training options for gunsmiths vary and include online certifications along with career diplomas in gunsmithing.  These individuals are required to have a safe and comprehensive understanding of a variety of firearms.  They should have familiarity with loading mechanisms, gun loading, gun safety, attaching accessories and proper safety inspections.  They would also greatly benefit from being knowledgeable in the history of firearms and the statutes relevant to guns.  All gunsmiths are required by law to possess a Federal Firearms License and must be in compliance of the Federal Firearms Act of 1938.  A license can be obtained thr the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms bureau.  Certain and specific prerequisites and requirements are needed in order for an individual to obtain this license.

Students are recommended to obtain a certification or associates degree to become a gunsmith.  Coursework should include woodworking, welding, lasers, drafting, physics and ballistics and mathematics.  To achieve the coveted hands-on training also needed a student can also apply for an internship in a firearm shop and learn under the supervision of a seasoned gunsmith.  Gunsmithing appreticeships allow students to work under the guidance and mentorship of an experienced gunsmith.  They have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience while learning from experts of the trade.

Gunsmith Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

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National Hourly Wage

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How do Gunsmith salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Gunsmith's can make an average annual salary of $41,120, or $20 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $28,360 or $14 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #508 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Gunsmiths

  • 0.2%   Doctorate
  • 1.3%   Masters
  • 8.8%   Bachelors
  • 9.8%   Associates
  • 25.2%   College
  • 40.6%   High School
  • 14.1%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Gunsmith job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 7,100 jobs for a total of 170,600 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 4.3% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #467 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Gunsmiths

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Self-employed workers 22,000 600 1%
Federal government, excluding postal service 12,200 -1,200 -1%
Temporary help services 8,100 1,400 1%

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