Tag Archives: Federal Firearms License

Gunsmith Jobs

gunsmithing jobsLooking for gunsmith jobs? This classic job is growing in demand as more people and more people are purchasing firearms in these uncertain economical and political times. These new gun owners are more likely to seek professional service for their firearms which makes the employment outlook for gunsmith jobs very positive.

Job Description for Gunsmith Jobs

A typical job description for a gunsmith job at a sporting goods store usually looks like this:

  • Clean, diagnosis, and fix customer firearms and systems
  • Replace and repair broken or defective firearms.
  • Be able to disassemble and reassemble a wide range of small and large firearms including popular handguns, shotguns, and rifles.
  • Maintain correct store inventory levels. Keep records of sales and reorder parts as necessary.
  • Maintain clear records of all firearm repairs
  • Display a positive and customer focus attitude

Qualifications of Gunsmith Jobs

Basic skills needed for all gunsmithing jobs include machining, ballistics, drafting, woodworking, and algebra.

Gunsmith specific skills include ammunitions, ability to identify firearm issues, checkering, engraving, and installing/aligning gun sights.

Gunsmith training: A gunsmith must complete a training program that includes either a certification (short as 90 days) or a full 2 year associate degree in gunsmithing. You can find online gunsmithing schools for certification or traditional gunsmithing schools for an associate degree.

A Gunsmith apprenticeship may be required if you lack some of the basic skills or only received an online certification. Your online school should be able to help connect you with licensed master gunsmiths in your area to find the right apprenticeship.

A gunsmith must have a Federal Firearms License (FFL) as they are considered a firearms dealer under the laws of the United States. The gunsmith must also maintain a “bound book” if they keep possession of firearms over night.

Salary Guide for Gunsmith Jobs

Enter level gunsmithing jobs pay about $26,500 per year and the average salary for gunsmithing jobs is $43,250. Here’s a more detailed gunsmith salary analysis.

Types of Gunsmithing Jobs

A gunsmith typically works at a gun manufacture, sporting goods store, the government (police or military), and in their own personal business.

Where to find Gunsmith Jobs

The 3 best places to find available gunsmithing jobs are at online job websites, your local newspapers, and through your gunsmithing school. The best online job websites for gunsmithing jobs are Indeed.com and Glassdoor.com.

Read more about gunsmithing schools.

Best Online Gunsmithing Schools

The best online gunsmithing schools provide students an economical and flexible way to learn the gunsmithing basics. A certificate or accreditation from even the best online gunsmithing school will still need to be supported by a hands on apprenticeship if you are looking to become a paid professional gunsmith.

The job of gunsmithing combines the knowledge of metalworking and the expertise in knowing the mechanics of firearms. Online gunsmithing schools are great at teaching the knowledge of firearms but lacks the ability to teach metalworking or other technical skills. If you plan on enrolling in an online gunsmithing school, you may want to consider supplementing your education with a local technical school where you can learn welding, metal finishing, and machining.

We have collected and reviewed information from the American based online gunsmith schools to find the three top online gunsmithing schools.

Advantages of online gunsmithing schools

  • Less expensive
  • Rolling enrollment allows you to start any time vs. the beginning of a traditional academic schedule
  • No need to relocate to attend a gunsmith school
  • Learn at your own pace
  • A great way to become an educated home gunsmith (hobbyist)

Disadvantages of online gunsmithing schools

  • No hands on experience
  • May need to still complete a gunsmithing apprenticeship before becoming a professional paid gunsmith

American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI)

best online gunsmithing school_AGIThe American Gunsmithing Institute has developed hundreds of hours of training DVDs. The instructional courses have been designed by Master Gunsmith Bob Dunlap who has personally repaired over 250,000 firearms in the past 30+ years. You can purchase individual topics as a hobby or purchase an entire certification series which ends in a certification test.

What makes AGI American Gunsmithing Institute a Top Online Gunsmithing School:

The American Gunsmithing Institute professional certification can be completed in just 90 days. The education program is DVD based and offers 3 different levels of expertise: Beginner, Intermediate, and Master. The professional series is led by Master Gunsmith Bob Dunlap. Bob has over 30 years of teaching experience and developed this exclusive system for the American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI).

The AGI is so sure that you will succeed, they offer a 100% refund if you are dissatisfied for any reason.

Note about the Master level training: The AGI provides 12 CD audio course about starting your own gunsmithing business. If you are interested in starting your own business this is a great bonus resource.

Read more about AGI American Gunsmithing Institute.

Penn Foster

best online gunsmithing school_Penn FosterPenn Foster has been training gunsmiths for over 20 years. Their gunsmithing school is accredited, self-paced, and faculty supported. Penn Foster is accredited by 3 separate agencies: Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), and International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).

The cost of Penn Foster’s online gunsmithing school is $667 for payment in full, $777 for monthly auto pay, and $945 for monthly mailed payments.

What makes Penn Foster a Top Online Gunsmithing School:

Based on their years of gunsmithing instruction, they have recently updated their online curriculum with 10 additional streamable videos. Videos also ensure you have step by step directions on how to apply for your Federal Firearms License and complete a full Brownell’s practical exercise.

Read more about Penn Foster’s online gunsmith school.

Ashworth College

best online gunsmithing school_AshworthAshworth College gunsmithing program is a textbook driven education with online testing. The program is designed to be completed at your own speed. Most students complete the training in 1 year but can complete it in as little as 6 months. The program will given the students knowledge of basic maintenance, triggers, safeties, how to diagnosis and correct firearm issues, install a scope, bed a barrel, and learn the correct self-checking gun procedure.

Ashworth College offers 3 different tuition options: Pay in Full $709, Monthly auto pay $759 over 12 months, Monthly billing $849 over 12 months.

What makes Ashworth College a Top Online Gunsmithing School:

Ashworth’s distance learning philosophy is for you to start on your schedule, study on your terms, and move ahead rapidly. They have partnered with the #1 online job site Careerbuilder to provide students career services which will support you moving into your career as a gunsmith. Finally, Ashworth has created a robust online student community across all of their programs. This helps connect with others and offset the danger of feeling isolated in an online program.

Extra Bonus: Ashworth receive a one year silver membership to the Gun Club of America which is a $360 value.

Read more about Ashworth College’s online gunsmithing school.

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What is the average Gunsmith Salary?

gunsmith salaryIf you are looking to become a gunsmith then some of your first questions will naturally be “What is the average gunsmith salary?”, “What is the starting gunsmith salary?”, and “What’s the maximum gunsmith salary I can expect to make in this career?”

Overall the most recent gunsmith salary survey showed continued increases in annual salaries. The average starting salary for an entry level gunsmith is $26,500. The most experienced gunsmith’s are paid over $60,000 a year. The overall average for a gunsmith is $43,250 annually. (Source: allstarjobs.com)

While these are the averages, there are a lot of variables such as location, type of gunsmithing, and type of employer which influences the average gunsmith pay.

What affects your Gunsmith Salary

Type of Gunsmithing: Gunsmiths can be generalist or specialize. Specialties include custom design, finisher, engraver, pistol smith, or stockmaker. As with most jobs, a specialist is paid higher but will have fewer job opportunities.

Type of employer: You can work for a large gun manufacture, law enforcement, military, or the sporting good industry. A large gun manufacture generally pays the most because they are for profit companies which look to attract and maintain the best talent while law enforcement and military annual salary is lower due to budget constraints and government oversight.

Location: Gunsmith salaries in California, New York and Illinois are generally higher due to lower supply of qualified gunsmiths and an overall higher cost of living. Gunsmith salaries in Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee are among the lowest due to a lower cost of living and more gun owners repairing and modifying their guns at home.

Ways to increase your Gunsmith Salary

You can increase your gunsmith income in 4 ways:

  1. Gain additional years of experience. This is the slow and steady way to increase your salary. While gunsmiths are not unionized most gunsmith employers have a standardized salary chart that rewards years of experience and years of service at their company. An entry level gunsmith should expect to receive 5 to 8% annual salary increases each year simply based on years of experience.
  2. Obtain your own Federal Firearms License. It is highly recommended to obtain your FFL before even seeking employment but if you haven’t; do so immediately. All gunsmiths must have their own license or work for someone who has a license. Employers who hire gunsmiths without a license know they can pay them less because you have fewer employment opportunities. Many employers will immediately reward you once you get a license to keep you from leaving for a better job.
  3. Specialize. Find a specific aspect of gunsmithing that you love and focus on it. Take additional training classes at a gunsmith school, talk to others that specialize, and ask your boss to work more in that area to gain experience. The best areas of to specialize in include custom designer, engraver, pistol smith, stockmaker, metal finisher, and restoration.
  4. Start your own gunsmithing business. A great way to start your own business as a gunsmith is to start taking on extra work at home. Use your network of friends and people you have completed gunsmith work for to get an extra side business started. You can grow the business as fast as you would like and even quit your current job once you get enough business. It’s recommended to setup a dedicated space for your business and follow the requirements of keeping a permanent “bound book” along with the other best practices of setting up a LLC, bookkeeping, etc.

Gunsmith Salary by State

California Gunsmith Salary

California Yearly Gunsmith Pay Statistics

Average Yearly Gunsmith Salary $27,599 – $41,398
Starting Yearly Gunsmith Salary $22,728 – $34,093
Top Yearly Gunsmith Salary $32,469 – $48,704

Illinois gunsmith salary

Illinois Yearly Gunsmith Pay Statistics

Average Yearly Gunsmith Salary $26,950 – $40,424
Starting Yearly Gunsmith Salary $22,194 – $33,291
Top Yearly Gunsmith Salary $31,705 – $47,558

pennsylvania gunsmith salary

Pennsylvania Yearly Gunsmith Pay Statistics

Average Yearly Gunsmith Salary $24,820 – $37,230
Starting Yearly Gunsmith Salary $20,440 – $30,660
Top Yearly Gunsmith Salary $29,200 – $43,799

new york gunsmith salaries

New York Yearly Gunsmith Pay Statistics

Average Yearly Gunsmith Salary $28,335 – $42,502
Starting Yearly Gunsmith Salary $23,334 – $35,002
Top Yearly Gunsmith Salary $33,335 – $50,002

(Source: http://gunsmithsalary.com)

Learn more about gunsmithing schools.

Gunsmith Training Requirements

Before learning of the gunsmith training requirements, it’s wise to learn the basic requirements to obtain a Federal Firearms License (FFL). A FFL is a requirement to become an independent gunsmith. If you are unable to obtain a FFL your will have to work for someone else who has a license. This unfortunately will limit your future job opportunities and likely also result in a lower salary.

All gunsmiths are required to hold a Federal Firearms License (FFL). It is wise to review the frequently asked questions on the ATF website but a person must

  • Be 21 years old
  • Never violated the 1968 Gun Control Act or is currently prohibited from handling firearms
  • Has not provide false information on their FFL application
  • Have an established location to conduct firearms business

Gunsmith Training Requirements

First, you must have a solid understanding and mastery of several basic skills that a gunsmith relies on everyday at their job.

  • General machining
  • Ballistics
  • Drafting
  • Basic algebra
  • Woodworking

If you are extremely deficient in any of these skills it is advisable to take an introductory class on it before enrolling in gunsmithing training as gunsmithing schools will assume you are already competent in these areas.

gunsmith trainingOnce you have the underlying skills a gunsmith will use, you will need to receive gunsmith training. Gunsmith training can be completed through an accredited gunsmith training school, a gunsmith apprenticeship, or both. If you choose to receive your gunsmith training through an online gunsmith school, you should expect to need to complete at least a short gunsmith apprenticeship so you can obtain hands on experience under the supervision of a master gunsmith.

Gunsmith Training Overview

Each gunsmith training program will be slightly different but all accredited programs should have a curriculum that covers the following:

  • Introduction to the firearm industry
  • Identifying and evaluating firearms
  • Overview of rifles including sport rifles and gun sights
  • Shotguns, muzzle loaders and shells
  • Handguns
  • Ammunition and ballistics
  • Metalwork and machining
  • Metal finishing and customization
  • How to start your own business/ Getting a Gunsmithing Job

Once you have mastered the technique skills and knowledge required to be a gunsmith, it’s time to obtain your Federal Firearms License. A FFL license is required under [27 CFR 478.11] as it specifically states that a gunsmith meets the definition of a firearms dealer.

Read more about gunsmithing.