Employment Prospects


Many gunsmiths own a gun or hunting supply store in addition to their gunsmithing business. They may operate firing ranges and give courses in the handling and care of firearms. Some gunsmiths work on a contract basis with companies that use firearms, such as police departments, security firms, and banks. They do all of their repairs and modifications, clean firearms, and may serve as consultants for purchasing new equipment. Gunsmiths work for repair shops, firearm shops, sporting goods stores, or manufacturers and distributors of firearms and hunting products.

Starting Out

Gun shops and other employers prefer to hire skilled gunsmiths. You may gain experience by graduating from a gunsmithing school or serving an apprenticeship with a gun manufacturer. With this experience, you can try approaching a gun shop owner directly to inquire about a job. Openings are scarce, however, because most shops employ only a handful of people. Opportunities for apprenticeships have also declined in recent years and are expected to continue to do so in the near future.

Advancement Prospects

After many years of study and experience in the firearms industry, individuals may call themselves master gunsmiths. With this reputation, gunsmiths may be in demand to perform advanced or highly technical work. However, because the staffs of most gun shops are small, there are very few chances for promotion. Advancement for most gunsmiths means establishing their own businesses, although this is often a risky undertaking. In those cases, independent gunsmiths must also understand how to run a business.

Tips for Entry

Read The American Rifleman ( to learn more about the National Rifle Association and the firearms industry.

Be willing to relocate. It may open more job opportunities. 

Land an entry-level job as an assistant to a gunsmith to learn about the field and make industry contacts.