If you’re interested in becoming a gunsmith, you may be curious about what precisely the gunsmith salary is, and everything that the job entails.
With the right to bear arms remaining intact in the United States, the need for gunsmiths is a constant thing.
Not every person who purchases a firearm is knowledgeable on how to properly maintain and clean it; after time, neglected firearms may corrode and need replacement parts.
This is when a gunsmith is required. However, gunsmiths perform many other tasks other than merely fixing neglected guns.
Gunsmith Salary Overview
According to salary charts, the average gunsmith salary is about $36,267 annually. That is a stable gunsmith salary.
According to projections from Payscale, the average range of an annual gunsmith salary were between $25,470 and $48,605.
Apprentice gunsmiths often work for meager wages, but once an apprenticeship is completed, wages will increase accordingly.
Self-employed gunsmiths earned the highest incomes, followed by those who were employed for a lengthy time by other gunsmiths or companies.
Benefits for gunsmiths employed by companies were better than those employed by independent gunsmiths; self-employed gunsmiths were responsible for providing their own benefits, as well as absorbing the costs of running a business.
If you perform gunsmithing as a hobby and charge money, you must report your income to the IRS accordingly.
Gunsmith Salary: Job Description and Outlook
Gunsmiths are responsible for ensuring that a firearm is safe before putting it back in the hands of its owner. The first process a gunsmith completes is a thorough inspection of the gun. You must disassemble the gun, analyze the parts, and inspect it for problems.
Most guns, especially rifles, tend to have mechanical issues regarding jamming and misfeeds.
Sometimes the gunsmith may not need to repair the firearm or even adjust it; some problems can be solved that are experienced by gun owners by using a different type of ammunition or magazine clip.
Gunsmiths must be knowledgeable about putting together guns and how each component is related to another. With this knowledge, a gunsmith can identify timing problems and missing parts or pieces that are incorrectly assembled.
A gunsmith may choose to specialize in rifles, handguns, or both types of firearms.
Not all of the work gunsmiths perform is related to repairs and fixing mistakes made by the gun owners. Some gun fanatics may want to personalize their gun or modify it.
Gunsmiths should be aware of federal laws regarding the modification of firearms; each state has its own regulations in addition to national laws.
The gunsmith may be hired to change the caliber of a firearm, add scopes and mounts, change stocks, refinish wood stocks, engrave gunmetal, or even build a completely customized gun from parts.
As gunsmiths will learn in apprenticeship, each firearm must have a manufacturer’s stamp and serial number; without this, a gun would not be able to be registered and would be regarded as illegal to sell.
- Assemble and disassemble guns to repair
- Create guns to meet clients’ needs
- Solve issues gun owners are having with their firearm
- Clean guns
- Repair guns
- Sell guns
- Customize guns, such as engraving or wrapping
Gunsmiths are classified under the category of metal and plastic workers, which are currently at a five percent decline.
So, the traditional gunsmith career has a potential negative outlook in the next few years. However, the job outlook is significantly better when you consider different paths.
A gunsmith can be employed for a gun manufacturer.
Obviously, firearm manufacturers have a vast array of firearms that were returned for a warranty repair.
Also, a gunsmith could find a position with local law enforcement.
These government agencies need regular maintenance and repairs of firearms carried by officers.
Also, a gunsmith can open their own business.
Overall, with all of this put into consideration, the overall job outlook for gunsmiths has a 13.7 percent growth projection.
Gunsmith Salary: Training and Education Requirements
An apprenticeship term usually completes gunsmith training.
Working with a seasoned gunsmith, apprentices learn the valuable skills necessary to be a prosperous gunsmith.
To qualify for such a position, a person must demonstrate a genuine interest and aptitude for mechanical studies and firearms.
Gunsmith schools are very few in numbers. When attending these schools, it is essential to first ensure that the school has some form of credibility.
Consulting seasoned gunsmiths for advice is the best way to start.
Schools open and close frequently, with many not being reputable.
Accreditation for classes from colleges may be verified on the Department of Education‘s website. Many reputable colleges offer an Associate degree in this field.
The National Rifle Association, commonly referred to as the NRA, also offers courses.
Firearm training received in the military is also very helpful when seeking a gunsmith position.
To receive an education, most gunsmith apprentices and students must purchase some necessary tools. These tools are ideal for firearms. Several hand tools are also required, as well as gun checking tools, hammers, and drill bits. Courses will usually list what specific tools are needed.
Gunsmiths hiring apprentices will either provide the necessary tools to borrow or will produce a list.
Gunsmith Salary: Certifications
There is no major licensing division that regulates every gunsmith. Since this profession is not a conventional trade, and education is not regulated, licensing regulation is difficult.
Gunsmiths who complete courses in the military, through the NRA, or other specialty programs will often receive certificates upon completion.
Collecting various certifications from such places will help build a gunsmith’s reputation and trust of gun owners. Some offered courses are designed for a specific brand or type of firearm; these programs also come with certificates upon completion.
Gunsmiths who plan to pursue a career as a specialist in that area will benefit from such certification.
Obtaining a Federal Firearms License (FFL)
One important certification that you must have as a gunsmith is obtaining a Federal Firearms License, or FFL.
Because you are handling other people’s firearms, this is absolutely essential.
To hold an FFL, you must be at least 21 years old and be willing to provide information that is similar to that of a background check.
There are also some strict requirements to holding an FFL.
When you have an FFL as a gunsmith, you must have a building separate from your area of residence to perform your work.
This building is where you are supposed to complete all of your gunsmith work.
Before they will issue you an FFL, an agent will come to the gunsmith’s work area to inspect it.
When inspecting, the agent will ensure that the building meets the specified code.
The agent will also speak with you before granting the FFL. This is to ensure that you are knowledgeable on gun safety and firearm basics.
The requirements of the license also state that the firearms must be locked up when being serviced or repaired.
You also must record details of every transaction that comes in and out of the building.
Gunsmith Salary: Topics Covered
Regardless of the type of education you choose, the general knowledge you receive will cover the same topics.
These topics include:
- How to correctly customize firearms
- Firearm categorization (way they look, history behind firearm, manufacturer, appearance)
- How to safely handle firearms
- How to efficiently assemble and disassemble guns
- Repairing and applying finishes
- How to modify firearm additions and accessories
- How to effectively use power and hand tools
- How to diagnose firearms that aren’t properly functioning
Gunsmith Salary: Professional Associations
While there are no significant established national associations specifically for gunsmiths, every apprentice and seasoned gunsmith will benefit from receiving a subscription of American Gunsmith Magazine.
Also, subscriptions to Guns N Ammo and an NRA membership are useful tools. By keeping informed by these sources, gunsmiths will learn about new techniques, parts, and guns.
Another vital part of keeping informed is staying up-to-date with current national and state laws regarding firearms. State laws often change frequently, so it is crucial to stay informed.
Is a Gunsmith the Right Career for You?
When you are interested in firearms, especially repairing them, a gunsmith can be a very gratifying career.
What once was a hobby can become a life-long career for you, that can make you a stable living.
It’s important to take everything into consideration, including the education you may need, certificates you need to obtain, the lifestyle, and if the salary is livable for your lifestyle.
Are you thinking about becoming a gunsmith? Let us know your thoughts about it in a comment!