Prospective gunsmiths have two primary options when it comes to choosing the gunsmithing school that is right for them. They can get their feet wet via an online correspondence course style of instruction or enroll in a traditional hands-on program at a junior college or similar institution. So, which one is right for you?
Obviously, you know yourself better than anybody else. Before you choose to pursue a career as a gunsmith you need to do a self-assessment and determine your true desire, interest and level of motivation. Not only will you need to do this to ascertain whether or not being a gunsmith is right for you, it will go a long way in helping to decide what education path you should pursue.
A true and honest self-assessment is of paramount importance. You must take this step seriously.
Some individuals are convinced that they want to pursue a specific career or believe that they were “called” to do certain things. For the rest of us who aren’t so lucky, it requires a great deal of work and a little bit of luck to find a certain niche in life that suits our personality and goals.
Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself if you are thinking of pursuing a gunsmithing career:
- Do I really want to work with guns or am I really just having fun when I am shooting them?
- Am I self-motivated and do I possess a strong work ethic?
- Am I mechanically inclined, inquisitive or a problem solver?
- Do I have the patience needed to repair and machine the parts and pieces?
- Do I enjoy working with my hands?
- Do I feel a sense of pride, achievement and accomplishment when I create and build something with my own two hands?
- Am I prepared to work and hone my skills over many years before attempting to open my own shop?
- Am I prepared to handle the bureaucratic obstacles and hurdles that come with running my own business (this includes government regulation, financial budgeting, marketing and people skills)?
- Am I honestly and truly going to be happy doing this for a living and as my primary source of income?
It is okay to not know the answers to all of these questions. However, it is unacceptable to lie and try to convince yourself that you are something that you are not.
If you are convinced that this career path will bring you happiness and a sense of accomplishment, then you are best served by enrolling in a traditional education program at one of the fine junior colleges across the county. However, if you don’t know the answers to all of these questions there are online options.
Online Gunsmithing Schools
Let’s be honest. Most of the sites on the internet that discuss the topic of gunsmithing and other vocational paths simply want to paint a pretty picture and get you to click on their advertising so that they can make some money off of you. We are here to give you the unvarnished truth so that you can make smart decisions.
If anyone or any website attempts to convince you that you can become a gunsmith by simply attending an online gunsmithing program, they are lying to you. Plain and simple. It cannot be done. That is the truth.
Does this mean that online gunsmithing programs are a scam?
No. Online gunsmithing schools can be tremendously beneficial to the right people. Some individuals may have some doubts or lingering questions after they sit down and really conduct a thorough self-assessment. Remember, it is okay to have doubts and questions – most of us do! These online gunsmithing schools are a fantastic gateway into the profession allowing individuals to get a taste of what they can expect without breaking the bank, requiring a physical relocation or forcing them to make significant life changes.
We need to rethink how we look at education and money in this country. Spending money on an online program so that you can determine whether or not a certain career path is right for you is not a waste of money. It is money well spent! We have but one life to live and it is rather short-sighted to deny ourselves the opportunity to truly evaluate a career because we are reluctant to “waste money” on some classes.
Do you know what is silly? Spending $25,000 or more a year to attend a traditional four-year college while attempting to “find yourself” seems far more wasteful and silly to me. Yet, in America we have all convinced ourselves that it is okay for Little Johnny to spend five years or more at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars to experiment and sample different classes and majors.
Want to know what is even sillier? I think spending $100,000 or more to earn a degree only to end up in a career that has nothing to do with your degree is pretty ridiculous. And it happens all the time. Guess what, I am one of those people. My career has absolutely nothing to do with my major.
Do not balk at the idea of spending money on an online program if you are on the fence about gunsmithing or any other profession. A few hundred dollars to learn that you aren’t cut out for a certain line of work is a huge return on that investment. Can you imagine all the “what ifs” and second guessing you would do if you didn’t give it a shot and instead did something else? You would be miserable.
Ditch College doesn’t want you to be miserable. We want you to be happy and to have no regrets.
If on the other hand, you think that you can simply get a certificate from an online gunsmithing school, go out and get hired and start making a lot of money then please do not waste your time, energy and money on an online program.
So, you wanna be a gunsmith and you are absolutely sure of it! That is fantastic. The good news is that there are some fantastic schools for you to choose from. The bad news is that there are very few and they are scattered throughout the nation. To be frank, there aren’t a lot of gunsmiths being produced in America on an annual basis. And that means that those individuals who work hard and really strive to produce great work product have the opportunity to really differentiate themselves in the marketplace and secure a long line of repeat customers.
A traditional education program provides students with hands-on training that is essential for developing the skill set you need to become a proficient gunsmith. Typically broken down into one week subject intensive immersion, students may begin with an introduction into basic milling and taught proper nomenclature, function of the parts, alignment and set-up procedures, tool identification and selection, calculation of speed and feed rates, and proper use of the vertical milling machine. Soon after, students would be introduced to the basic use of the engine lathe and orientate themselves with precision measuring tools, lathe parts, free-hand grinding of cutting tools, threading operations and polishing techniques.
Additional instruction would incorporate basic AutoCAD 2D techniques for drawing diagrams to be uploaded to machines. And of course, students will also familiarize themselves with various types of firearms and action blueprinting to fine tune accurization skills and provide consistent performance. Tasks like precision scope mounting, barrel fitting and crowning and other accuracy related subjects will be dissected in depth. This is just a small sample of the various skills and tasks students will learn and perform.
Traditional gunsmithing education at a junior college affords students tremendous advantages that go above and beyond the hands-on training that every gunsmith needs. In these environments, you have the ability to seek one-on-one guidance and instruction from professors and also network and learn from your peers. Networking with fellow students will prove invaluable as you advance in your gunsmithing career and is truly one of most important aspects of traditional education that cannot be duplicated or replicated in an online environment in my estimation.
If you do not live reasonably close to a traditional gunsmithing program, it will behoove you to study all your options and relocate to the program that suits your needs the best.