After having a gun store for over a decade I have encountered numerous people who mis-use the term “Gunsmith”. Most often people refer to their gunsmith friend or gunsmith uncle. Then when I start asking questions it turns out their gunsmith friend or gunsmith uncle built a couple AR’s and now calls themselves gunsmiths. Unfortunately, building AR’s does not classify a person as being a gunsmith. Having grown up in a gun store I realized early on that a gunsmith is a student of nuance and master craftsman.
A gunsmith can manufacture a stock from a block of wood and a barrel from bar stock. A gunsmith is a person that has formal training from a reputable school while also have experience of working as a gunsmith. A gunsmith is a machinist and a woodworker, they have tools to work on metal and wood and most importantly they know how to use their tools.
I have attended armorer’s courses, I have built thousands of AR upper and lower receivers, I have test fired over ten thousand upper receivers yet I am not a gunsmith. At best, I am an armorer who’s specialty lie with AR’s and Glocks.
The two most reputable gunsmithing programs in the country are at Lassen Community College in northern California and the Colorado School of trades in Lakewood Colorado. Both schools have a long standing history of producing quality gunsmiths.
The main problem with gunsmiths is that there really are not many around these days. The firearms industry has gone the way of the automotive industry and that guns are more or less disposable now. In that, most guns aren’t worth fixing. For example, if you have a .22 rifle that is busted and will cost $250 to repair, will you repair it? Or will you buy a brand new .22 rifle for $199.99?
This has caused people to steer away from the career of gunsmithing and as time progresses many of the skills that have been passed down for decades will be lost because there are not folks willing to carry the torch. Since this is the cases it has been very difficult to find someone willing to come work for us that is deserving of the title “Firearms Unknown Gunsmith”. While difficult, it has not been impossible and we are proud to announce that we have recently hired John T. who is a graduate of the Colorado School of Trades and has over ten years of gunsmithing experience under his belt.
Our gunsmith program is based out of our Yuma location but we can take in guns at all of our locations for gunsmithing work, because of the travel time involved the turn-around can be a few weeks or longer but we have had success with this program so far.
So if you are in the San Diego, Orange County or Yuma areas please feel free to stop by and ask about our gunsmithing program.
Perhaps we can help with your project!