Archive for the ‘Gunsmithing Schools’ Category

Careers in firearms manufacturing

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

If you’re thinking about signing up for a training program at gunsmithing schools, chances are you’ve found some information about launching a business and striking out on your own. However, what if you don’t want to start your career as your own boss, or can’t commit to opening your own shop right off the bat? Well, fortunately, the firearms manufacturing industry is another route you can explore when you’re done with your training at technical schools.

A history of industry

Firearm manufacturing is one of the oldest industries in the U.S. Areas like western Massachusetts are particularly vibrant in this area, as George Washington first designated Springfield to be the location of the nation’s first stockpiled arsenal. Today, firearms manufacturing is big business, and companies such as Browning, Colt, Smith & Wesson and O.F. Mossberg & Sons have manufacturing plants all over the country.

The right tool for the job

The process of manufacturing firearms is intricate and complicated, requiring workers with a great deal of skill. Depending on the complexity of the weapon being produced, firearms manufacturers employ a variety of tradesmen and manufacturing professionals to get the job done. From tool and die makers and general machinists to welders and fabricators, making the kind of weapons that U.S. companies like Colt are renowned for takes time, skill and a broad range of expertise.

Earning potential

Although government databases like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) don’t maintain data on specific information for firearms manufacturing jobs, these positions typically pay similarly to those of skilled workers in other industries.

PayScale states that machinists and tool and die makers typically make between $29,055 and $59,238 per year. If you end up working on an hourly basis, you could bring in between $11 and $24 per hour, with overtime rates as high as $35 per hour. As with most jobs, the more experience you have, the better your earning potential. Technical training schools are the perfect place to learn real-world skills in gunsmithing and firearms maintenance that could help you stand out from the crowd when it comes to finding work.

Employment prospects

While demand for skilled workers remains high in many industries, including firearms manufacturing, growth is expected to be hesitant in the coming years. Some experts speculate that this is because of uncertainties associated with gun control laws in an election year.

Data from the BLS suggests that the need for machinists in the manufacturing sector is expected to grow by around 8% through 2020. While this is a little lower than the national average of 14% for all occupations, skilled workers with gunsmithing experience aren’t likely to be out of work for long.

Your employment prospects will improve dramatically if you can use a variety of manufacturing equipment – especially if you’ve got the skills and knowledge to work on the kinds of parts used in firearms manufacturing. Technical schools can prepare you to enter the workforce with confidence and launch a satisfying career in this exciting industry.

What appeals to you about working in weapons manufacturing? Let us know in the comment space below.

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Is a career as a gunsmith right for you?

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Is a career as a gunsmith right for you?

Got a passion for firearms? Know the difference between an extractor and an ejector? Then signing up for gunsmithing courses at technical training schools could be for you. Here are some things you might need to know before you make any decisions.

The work

Gunsmiths repair weapons, including modern guns like semiautomatic pistols as well as older firearms like antique rifles. They frequently advise customers on the best ways to take care of their guns, and some retail outlets such as sporting goods stores employ gunsmiths to help people pick the right weapon for their needs.

These professionals also craft custom parts for certain weapons using the kind of machines you’d find in a machine shop, including mills, lathes and drills. Some older weapons require parts that aren’t manufactured by the major firearms companies, and in these situations, skilled gunsmiths have to make their own to get the job done.

The pay

Unlike most other professions, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t maintain active data on the earning potential of gunsmiths, so it’s hard to provide exact facts and figures on how much you can expect to make when you finish up at technical schools. However, the BLS does include gunsmiths in its lists of mechanics and repair professionals.

The average salary of a journeyman gunsmith was around $36,630 per year in May of 2010. The more experience you have, the more money you’re likely to make, and top earners in this field can command salaries of a little more than $56,000 per year.

The prospects

Although some retail stores hire gunsmiths, many are self-employed. As such, you may need to brush up on some basic business skills before you can put your expertise to use. If you choose to launch your own business, you’ll need to secure the proper permits and licenses from the state where you live, including the Federal Firearms License.

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Help customers pick the right tool for the job with a gunsmithing certificate

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Help customers pick the right tool for the job with a gunsmithing certificate

If you’ve been around guns your whole life, you may not realize just how much you actually know until you talk to someone who doesn’t know the first thing about firearms. If you choose to put this knowledge to use after finishing up gunsmithing courses working at a sporting goods retailer, you’ll also need to know how to help customers pick the right weapon for the job.

Balance and common sense

When they first walk into a gun or sporting goods store, some people get a little carried away. One of the biggest parts of responsible firearm ownership is knowing which weapon to use in a given situation, and part of your job will be to educate customers so they can purchase the right weapon for their needs.

Once you’re done with gunsmithing training at technical schools, you’ll be able to confidently recommend firearms to customers. For example, if you’re working in a sporting goods store, you need to know your rifles, especially during deer season. Choosing a pistol for deer hunting is a bad idea and will result in disappointed customers, so you’ll need to be able to suggest a suitable weapon based on the hunter’s level of experience and knowledge.

Similarly, anyone who wants to purchase a weapon for home defense isn’t likely to have much success with a hunting rifle. No, instead they’ll want something sturdy, reliable and with a medium-sized magazine, like a semiautomatic handgun or even a large capacity revolver. Knowing how to pick the right tool for the job is part of being a responsible firearms professional, and you’ll have to learn how to talk to customers to help them make good decisions, too.

Talking them down

Sure, you know that a lever-action carbine isn’t the best weapon for self-defense, but your customer might not. What’s worse is that they may be determined to buy an inappropriate weapon based on the recommendations of a friend or something they saw on TV.

It’s not just enough to know why a weapon isn’t suitable for a given purpose – you have to be able to explain why. When dealing with difficult customers, it’s important to present the facts to them in a way that they’ll be able to understand. Highlighting safety concerns, such as the reliability of large-capacity clips, is one way to appeal to a customer’s better judgement.

Above all, safety is your top priority as a gunsmith or firearms professional. It’s your job to help customers make informed decisions about owning a weapon and how to use it safely, legally and effectively.

What other tips do you have for discussing weapons with less experienced people? Share them with us in the comment space below.

Restore antique weapons to their former glory with a certificate from gunsmithing schools

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Restore antique weapons to their former glory with a certificate from gunsmithing schools

Fans of shows on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel know there’s some serious money in antique firearms. The appetite for authentic vintage weapons has exploded in recent years, and the number of collectors is increasing all the time. However, without the skills of restoration experts, many of these fine weapons would be lost to the ravages of time. If you’re looking for an interesting and rewarding way to apply the skills you’ll acquire in gunsmithing schools, why not consider a career as an antique firearms restoration specialist?

Tools of the trade

One of the most important tools in an antique weapon restoration expert’s toolbox is care and attention to detail. Although many vintage guns were built to last, especially those dating to the Civil War, great care must be taken when working on these fine weapons.

A common procedure in antique weapon restoration is bluing. This process involves the use of special chemicals that oxidize the steel surfaces of metals, improving their appearance and making them more resistant to rust. In some instances, the existing blue can be buffed and improved, while sometimes you may need to strip the steel first and then re-blue the metal components. There are several different bluing techniques, including charcoal, hot or salt bluing, nitre and rust.

Other techniques you’ll need to master to become an antique weapons restoration specialist is the use of chemical agents for cleaning purposes. These compounds include liquid soap concentrates such as potassium methyl cyclohexyl oleate, which are used to remove dirt, wax, hydrocarbons, and fatty and mineral oils from the surfaces of antique firearms.

As an antique weapon restorer, steel wool will be one of your best friends. To avoid accidental damage to the firearm, be sure to use a fine grade like 0000 when working on antique finishes.

Art and craftsmanship

Of course, some weapons need more extensive repairs and restoration before they can be displayed or sold. This is where the true skill of a gunsmith comes into play.

Many antique weapons are constructed from solid wood, especially rifles and shotguns. In some cases, the stocks of these types of firearms may be extensively damaged, requiring great care and skill to restore. Some weapons may need their stocks to be refinished, whereas others may have to be replaced entirely. Strong woodworking skills are a must for any serious gunsmith, and there are a variety of things to consider when working on antique stocks, such as the grade of the wood, checkering and finish.

The times, they are a-changin’

Sometimes, corrosion or damage to the firing mechanism of old weapons may be so extensive that the weapon will no longer fire. In these cases, it might be necessary to replace certain parts altogether, such as the lock. Some antique weapon restoration experts specialize in converting old rifles from percussion firing mechanisms to their original flintlock state. This technique is especially common for Civil War-era weapons.

What sparked your interest in antique guns? Let us know in the comment space below.

Before signing up at gunsmithing schools, know the basics of firearm safety

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Before signing up at gusmithing schools, know the basics of firearm safety

If you’re thinking about enrolling at technical schools to become a gunsmith, chances are you already know a little about gun safety. However, when it comes to firearms, you can never be too careful. Before you sign up at gunsmithing schools, it might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with these safety tips.

Always point weapons in a safe direction: This is the first and most important rule of firearm safety, and one you’ll come across again and again at technical training schools. It doesn’t matter if you know the gun isn’t loaded – always act as though it is and keep the weapon pointed away from you and others at all times.

Don’t handle the trigger unless you’re ready to fire: A common mistake rookies make when handling firearms is placing their fingers in the trigger guard, even when they’re not ready to discharge the weapon. This is a dangerous habit to get into. Never touch the trigger of a gun until you’re ready to fire – don’t take any chances.

Don’t load a weapon unless you plan on shooting: If you’re not planning to fire the weapon, it shouldn’t be loaded. Regardless of whether it’s a pistol, rifle or shotgun, never load live ammunition or blanks into a firearm until you’re ready to shoot.

Always use the correct ammo: Once you start becoming more comfortable with weapons, you’ll find that some guns take different kinds of ammunition. Shotguns are especially versatile when it comes to rounds. However, always ensure that you’re loading the correct type of ammunition for the weapon you’re working with.

Take good care of your weapons: This is another safety tip you’ll encounter frequently at gunsmithing schools, and one that’s fundamental to the trade. Unless a firearm is clean and in good working order, it could misfire. In some cases, this will result in a jam, but in others, this can be extraordinarily dangerous. Always take good care of your weapons.

Ensure weapons are unloaded before cleaning them: If you’ve had a firearm in storage for a while, or you’re working on a client’s weapon when you’re a professional gunsmith, you should always take extra care when handling them. Regular cleaning and maintenance is an essential part of safe and responsible firearm ownership. Don’t take any chances when you’re working on a weapon – always ensure a gun is unloaded before disassembling it.

Inspect gun parts as you clean them: While you’re cleaning a weapon, check for wear and tear or accidental damage. Once you’ve got all the parts in front of you, examine the weapon for things like surface cracks, worn parts and other damage. Never overlook even the smallest flaw – it might not look like much, but it could jeopardize the safety of you and the user if left unchecked.

What is it about maintaining weapons that appeals to you? Let us know in the comment space below.

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