58 and want to be a gunsmith, learn it all, or most… during the covid lock down, in Cali. i did the online gunsmith from Stratford carreer institution. got a diploma… didn’t get to work on any firearms… want to learn more and do for retirement. since i got injured at my job/carreer of 45 years in construction. cant do that anymore, no more ladders. and back surgery. but love shooting and cleaning firearms and taking apart to a point, need learn more. wanted to go to AGI gunsmithing school. but expensive, and my age. people think I’m crazy…wish i would of done when i was in my 20s.but i loved my construction carreer, and never thought it would end…
You and me both! I am 59 and I have gone and just been buying books, manuals, and You tube. It is not as fast learning as a class but, I am still learning.
Your never too old to learn. I got my BS at 47 and my MBA at 50. If I had any money (time) left on the GI bill I would get a PhD just because I could. I started gunsmithing seriously when I was about 22 building 1911’s. I would only charge the retail price for the parts I installed/fitted and the difference from my price was used to buy tools and parts for my sticks. The big pay off was the experience. I will tell you it is a sphincter tightening experience to take a file or saw to someone else’s $1000+ gun knowing there is no way in he!! that you can buy them a new one if you screw it up.
If you want to learn to smith pick a platform and learn it. AR’s are the hot ticket right now. Some folks like AK’s. Garands and M-14’s(M1A’s) are a rapidly dying art. 1911’s are always popular. Glocks are good to learn. Bolt guns are expensive to do with the precision required by folks today but adding sling swivels, mounting scopes and general maintenance will make you some $$$'s. AGI is nice for a broad spectrum but it’s like high school level. Lots of stuff you will never use and not deep enough to really get into it.
The end all thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a “Licensed Gunsmith” in that there is no sanctioning body for Gunsmiths. You got a diploma saying you are one yet you never worked on a gun, so was the knowledge gained worth the time? Or did it just cause more questions? Then there is the legal and business aspect. You will WANT to have an LLC or an INC. You will need an FFL to take possession of other peoples guns and charge them $$$ to work on them. Then you need a business license. You will need a lawyer to draft you a limit of responsibility document. Bunch of other stuff also. Oh and you live in Cali which adds a whole 'nother layer of bureaucracy, mother may I’s and fees to pay.
Probably not the most positive post I have ever written but it is based on experience and the truth of the matter. There are a lot of gun owners that treat their guns like cars and take them to a dealership for even routine service. Those are the ones that will pay you to clean their guns or change grip panels or swap sights. For good info and a few laughs I recommend Brownel’s Gunsmith Kinks Vol’s 1 - 4. Covers A LOT of territory and has old school knowledge.
Wow, right on, I’ve been you tubing too, but lately they been blocking most of the take apart and put together videos, and some of the books are expensive, if I can found some.thanks for responding,hope you and family have a great Christmas and a happy new year…Carry be safe and GOD BLESS…
I just noticed your a USSCA INSTRUCTOR… I’ve been looking into that,I was injured couple years ago at work,and had back surgery.cant go back into the construction field I’ve been in for 45+ years. Been looking for training and some kind of job in firearms.workers comp willing pay some to go to scho learn new career,but they won’t help in the firearm field…
@Robert1202 - at age of 50 we started to be “old and wise”.
If you love shooting, cleaning firearms and taking them apart - just continue doing so.
Sometimes we have to do the work that brings big profit… but if you cannot do it anymore, start doing what you like to do.
I admire you that you didn’t give up and invested in the knowledge you are willing to possess.
Good for you !
Thanks for the info and response… yeah I did this Stratford career institute, during the covid and back surgery, and got a diploma in 3 or 4 months.alot of reading and then some tests.and never had hands on. I can work on my own XD’S.BUT afraid to take them all the way apart. Ha thanks again for the response…
Find Youtube videos with full disassembly of XD and watch them carefully, best - few times.
Then just follow the video which seems to be the easiest for you.
It may take you 3 or 4 times longer to work on your own XD that the video time… but after few tries you find it very easy.
Good luck !
Consider “Machinist” learn to run a mill and a lathe with DOR & CAD/CAM. You can make widgets for a living and tune your gunsmithing at the same time. I have spent DAYS hand filing when a mill would have been perfect in 20 minutes. A little spendy to do at home.
Thank you for responding and the vote of cofendence.yea I’m going to keep learning…
Brownells and Midway USA has many how to videos, Larry Potterfield at Midway has the best ones.
I remember learning to operate a lathe in H.S. metal shop. Good suggestion, it can help you sharpen your skills. Agree 100 percent.
That’s kool. I used a lathe in high school at wood shop,and welded in auto shop.i been looking at lathes lately ha.
Right on, thanks for the response.
Right on, thanks for the response.and I do watch Larry Potter field,here and there.thanks
I support this; it’s never too late to learn something new. I also have an interest in becoming a gunsmith. I am looked at SDI, as I’ve seen the mentioned often on various channels, but it’s spendy. I like videos, etc., that are free and offer some great advice from experienced people.
yea i checked out SDI also. thanks for the response
ill check that out thanks…
I talked to a gunsmith about becoming a gunsmith and he told me that he had a set of manuals and by learning and teaching his self he just progressed to be a gunsmith. He also talked about watching Youtube videos. The funny part is I forgot what manuals he was talking about but it is a set of three!
If you have an ability to go to school then can you get into a Machining class? Being able to machine parts for guns is one good part to learn.
Thanks for the response and info.merry Christmas…carry be safe and GOD BLESS…