If you're wanting to learn skills to become a gunsmith, is it preferable to possible future employers and/or customers to have graduated a technical school program, or to have learned the skills from friends, Internet, job, etc? Just weighing my options in consideration of a possible future side-business or job.
Great information. Thanks guys!
I've been thinking a lot about starting up a gun shop, with possible offerings in gunsmithing, firearms courses, etc.
If you're smart:
You'll attend a top gunsmithing school like Trinidad Junior College or Colorado School of Trades.
They teach you how to be an actual professional and do it without wasting any time.
These schools are for professionals, not people who want to do hobby work, and they take years and a LOT of money to attend.
Also, you may not get in where and when you want. Positions are limited and they pick and choose students.
Forget the mail order and video "courses", they're about worthless for learning how to be a pro.
They're only good to teach you to do hobby work on your own guns....NOT other peoples guns.
If you want to open a business, if you have half a brain you'll take some business courses.
I've seen a good number of master quality watchmakers and gunsmiths who went broke FAST because they had no idea how to run a business.
Remember: You will not be a gunsmith.......you'll be a businessman who happens to run a gun business.
Most of your time will be spent doing businessman tasks like talking to new customers, handling dissatisfied customers, ordering parts, and mostly...filing out paperwork for the government.
Unless you have the businessman tasks down tight you'll disappear without a ripple and into bankruptcy.
If the school offers business courses TAKE THEM. If they don't, find a community school and attend night courses.
You can spend all kinds of money, attend the best school, work for a master after you graduate. You finally get set up in your own shop. First guy in brings and old something or other you've never seen before. It's the nature of the beast. Many go into smithing thinking they want to do AR's, 1911's nice stuff. Very little of that shows up. It's mostly 22lr's because every gun person has one, many passed down through the family.
You can make a living as a general smith. Which means you don't do any metal refinishing other than touch up's and you don't have a mill or a lathe. You pass on the major investments that will take a lifetime to pay off unless you do a huge volume of work.
A full service shop has all the big stuff including refinishing tanks, usually employing many smith's all working on commission.
Back to the little guy, one man shop. You will stay very busy if you know disassembly/reassembly of the most common types of weapons. Depending on your area it could be hunting weapons. You would still know how to slick up the action one the AR's and 1911's and so on.
You'll find today that everybody is a smith because of YouTube and Walmart selling Dremel's cheap. Many get in over their head and do more damage than good.
Thanks fellas for all the info!