Do you have a personal interest in firearms or do you collect and tinker with them as your pastime or hobby? Would you like to learn more about them without you ever having to go through the trouble of registering and studying under a formal gunsmithing course? As it happens, you can become a gunsmith without the need for you to attend a gunsmithing school. You can still earn the knowledge and practical skills that you will need to become a gunsmith without the considerable cost and trouble that you usually experience when you enroll in a gunsmithing course, all in the comfort of your own garage, shop, or home.
Gunsmithing home courses are now being offered that can help you study gunsmithing and its various specifications, such as barrel reworking, customizations, metal work and refinishing, and handling various firearm types such as rifles, handguns, and shotguns. Most of them have become so comprehensive that they have been recognized by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and different gunsmithing and machinist associations; some are now even recognized as basic metal working or general engineering diploma courses that make their graduates eligible for full-time applied sciences and engineering courses.
If you want to learn about gunsmithing on your own, you must instruct yourself on the rudiments of gunsmithing. There are training videos, demos, tutorials, technical manuals, and other related instructional materials that are all dedicated to gunsmithing and its many applications. The American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) and the NRA both offer instructional videos both online and via CDs/DVDs that will teach you the basics of gunsmithing. There are also many excellent gun magazines that can provide you with useful gunsmithing lessons. You can take them on like a clean slate; however, it is better if you have previous knowledge of related fields or occupation which would prove handy if you wish to have a professional gunsmithing career. Recommended fields include machine work, engine maintenance, woodworking, general engineering, welding, and similar professions. They will not only help you deal with the various types of gunsmithing work, they can also help you earn a living on the side if there is not much gunsmithing work to go around with. Remember that some of the best gunsmiths started out on their own; they studied and worked their way into the profession and earned years of skilled expertise and know-how before they are considered to be expert at their chosen field.
One important thing that you will need to consider is that you must have a solid machining or metalworking background first before you tackle gunsmithing. This is because gunsmithing in general will involve working with the metal housing and parts of firearms. Being knowledgeable in machining will help you tackle specific gunsmithing problems and applications much better than having to learn them all from scratch. It is recommended that you learn and understand basic machine operation and handling; it is better if you have previously earned a Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) and Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding certificate to go along with your gunsmithing studies. Having these qualifications can help you on your gunsmithing studies, whether you do them on your own or through a gunsmithing course.
Another great way in which you can become a gunsmith without you having to go to a gunsmithing school is to work at a gunsmithing shop near you. Even better, you can apply as a gunsmith’s apprentice and learn firsthand the ways of the trade from a skilled and professional gunsmith himself. Not only will you be able to learn everything that is important in gunsmithing, you will be able to apply whatever you learned right away by helping the gunsmith toil in his shop or have one-on-one lessons with him. Furthermore, you can readily see the rigors and hardship that gunsmiths would have to endure and realize that gunsmithing isn’t the fancy and highly-profitable business that we usually think it is. It requires years of hard work, dedication, painstaking attention to detail, and more hard work for one to become successful in this trade. Indeed, gunsmithing is a labor of love; you are in the business because you like firearms and you are passionate about them. By studying under someone who has gone through the same route by himself before, you can surely learn from his hard-earned knowledge and experience and be able to practice on your skills under his careful tutelage.
If you become a gunsmith, remember that there is still much more to learn from your chosen profession. Firearms continue to evolve and gunsmiths will have to keep pace with the advancements and new technologies that are used in modern guns. This is where studying in a gunsmithing shop or being a gunsmith’s apprentice becomes an advantage, because you will be able to learn about new gun configurations, products, and types whenever they become available. A good gunsmith is willing to learn about new ways and methods especially if they improve on his work, and he appreciates newer and better guns. In turn, as his student, he will be able to share to you his newfound knowledge and help you apply them in your work. He would have manuals, demo videos, and instructional materials that he had studied before and kept for future reference. In time, he may give them all to you so that you can continue on his work.
You can study gunsmithing on your own without the need to go to any gunsmithing school to get a formal education. Many of the great gunsmiths have started out their careers working on seemingly unrelated professions, all the while honing and perfecting the skills and knowledge that they would need later on in inventing revolutionary firearms and in coming up with novel breakthroughs for them. Follow their example and you will eventually become an expert in your chosen field of expertise.