Gunsmithing is a profession based on a passion for a particular hobby. You will find that your love of firearms will lead to a profession that will make you feel like you never work a day in your life. You will spend your life honing your skills, combining art and engineering to create unique pieces of function art and building the respect of a client base in your community that will often leave you in a position that you are rarely able to keep up with the requests that flow in. You will often have to turn away requests and that is a decent position to be in.
On average, gunsmiths earn $30,000 to $40,000 a year. This income is based largely on your experience, education, skill, location and employer. You may want to set out on an entrepreneurial path if you wish to earn a higher income. Owning a retail shop will give you a constant outlet for a stream of income that will support you as you practice your chosen trade. You will also find plenty of new clients as they visit your shop to purchase new firearms.
If security and stability is your goal, working for a gun manufacturer will put you in a position to earn a set salary, benefits, a normal schedule and the ability to work with the latest tools provided by your employer. You will work on repairs and customization for your employer as well as possibly helping enhance a current product line.
Becoming a Gunsmith
You can follow a few paths to become a gunsmith, but all will require a license from the ATF. You will find all the info you need here. This license gives you the ability to work with guns and hold your client’s guns for more than a day, which you will need as you do custom work like checkering, engraving, repairs and maintenance.
You can learn the trade on your own, experimenting with your own collection and using it as a resume. You could also work as an apprentice to a gunsmith and learn the trade over a number of years. The most effective course of action is to pursue a certification that you can proudly display for employers and clients. While no schools are advertising gunsmith courses in Tennessee, you may find some through additional research at smaller schools in your area. In addition, look at these online trade schools as they will offer you the ability to learn online, on your schedule, from where you sit right now.