I'm a young guy with aspirations to become a gunsmith. I have a full time job and do not have the time or the financial ability to apprentice a gunsmith. I was thinking about the Penn Foster online program? Is that a good idea or is a terrible one? I understand I wont get as much hands on experience as if I were to apprentice a gunsmith. But for the price I don't see why it wouldn't at least be a good starting point? Any advice?
An alternative worth looking into is a tech school for machine tool technology (machining). It worked well for me!
The worst option is an online school. All they're good at is taking your money.
Second worse is a mail order school.
Would you take your expensive car to a mechanic who learned from an online or mail order school?
You can learn some basics on gunsmithing, but they will NOT prepare or qualify you to work on other peoples guns.
Apply for a job with a "diploma" from these places and your resume goes straight into the trash can.
The best way to become a professional gunsmith these days is to attend a top gunsmithing school like Colorado School of Trades in Denver or Trinidad Junior College in Trinidad Colorado.
There are other good schools, Here's a list.
Colorado School of Trades
1575 Hoyt Street
Lakewood, CO 80215
Lassen Community College
P.O. Box 3000
Susanville, CA 96130
Modern Gun School
80 North Main Street, P.O. Box 846
St. Albans, VT 05478
Montgomery Community College
1011 Page Street
P.O. Box 787
Troy, NC 27371
Murray State College
One Murray Campus
Tishomingo, OK 73460
Pennsylvania Gunsmith School
812 Ohio River Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15202
Piedmont Community College
1715 College Drive
P.O. Box 1197
Roxboro, NC 27573
Pine Technical Institute
900 4th Street
Pine City, MN 55063
Trinidad State Jr. College
Trinidad, CO 81082
1100 East Sheldon Street
Prescott, AZ 86301
If all you want to do is play around with your OWN guns, an internet or mail order school will help get you started, but no more than that.
If you dont have the time or financial ability to learn the trade then how are you going to learn the trade?
Im no gunsmith, but I know enough about machine work to know that a mentor is what you need above all else.
Quick fixes, get-me-by's, where to fudge, what REALLY matters, how's, why's, and you-will-never-do-that-again-if-you-value-your-lifes are best (only?) taught by an old hand.
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Yes. I completely agree. The machining aspect of it i have pretty much covered. My uncle is a machinist that is willing to apprentice me on my days off. I was just wanting to do some stuff to my own weapons, not so much go work for a company as to open my own little gun shop and make small repairs. Thanks for the advice though.
I just enrolled in a distance learning school for gunsmithing, But I have been in the industry for 15 years. The differance between Hands on and eyeball learning is huge. Be sure you know what your getting into. Out here where I live there is no gunsmithing school available except online or distance. One recomendation is that if you do enroll in a distance or online school find a local gunsmith to work for for experiance. Some out here will help you out and such in trade for you cleaning the shop daily. there is NO replacement for hands on learning. Also find a dealer who has a bunch of junk guns you could buy. get a few so you arn't screwing up something expensive..and you aare going to screw up, everybody does when they are starting out. I just picked up 5 1911's with varying degreees of retardedness to attempt to fix. I also managed to get a colt mustang in 9mm to referb for 50bucks because the barrel was all chewed up and there was some scratches.
I would also say to find a smith that has a mill so you can learn how to do some simple mill work.
I think I have spent around 4K in tools alone before ever getting started. Some tool you can get at like harbor frieght for cheap, but others you will want to spend the money on.
Have fun in your adventure and hopefully you will be doing hwat you love soon.
This topic has been brought up many times and you should be able to easily look back and find even more input.
I started my gunsmithing back in 02 as an apprentice to a gunsmith with about 50 years of experience but it was only part time. I decided I wanted to learn more so I looked to AGI. At that time I felt I didn't want to move out of state for my formal training. AGI was very expensive and in my opinion not worth half of what was paid. Due to my dissatisfaction with the AGI program I enrolled in a Machine Tool program and I think that was great. I then started taking summer NRA courses at Trinidad State Junior College and I was very impressed with the knowledge I gained there. I felt Trinidad had a great full time staff and some of the specialty instructors that they bring in are some of the best in the business.
If you can apprentice with someone who is good then that would be a great step in the right direction. If not, then maybe look into taking a NRA summer class at one of the schools who offer them. I would suggest taking at the very least intro to gunsmithing and a bluing class. The reason I suggest bluing is because you have to completely disassemble a firearm and then reassemble it which will quickly help you to understand the functioning of many types of firearms. It is also probably one best ways to get into gunsmithing without a huge investment in tooling and pays fairly well if you get good at it.
Well whichever way you go I wish you luck. Feel free to message me if you have any other questions and I will help if I can.
I'm currently in my first semester at the pa gunsmith school and love it. If you have the money I would say go for it. All the instructors here really know what there talking about. If you have any questions message me and I'll see if I can be of assistance.