Online Gunsmith Training Programs

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Online Gunsmith Training Programs

Responsible for building, designing, repairing, and modifying guns, gunsmiths are full of skill and talent.

Their duties may depend on their employer and specialization, but one thing all gunsmiths have in common is their creativity and problem-solving skills.

Perhaps not surprisingly, many gunsmiths partake in creative work like wood carving and engraving.

The main employers of gunsmiths are military and law-enforcement agencies, firearms manufacturers, sporting goods stores, and, of course, gun shops.

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However, many gunsmiths run their own businesses, enjoying huge perks, like financial freedom.

If you have ever considered becoming a gunsmith, we are here to help you get started.

The good news is that you can get started right now from the comfort of your own home, thanks to online gunsmith training programs.

Here is some information about these online programs.

Hopefully, you will put our tips to use as you navigate your way through the process of becoming a professional gunsmith.

Article Table of Contents

What Courses Are in an Online Gunsmith Program?

The courses you take will depend on your online gunsmith program, but here are some of the basic gunsmith courses you can expect to take:

Basic Ballistics

In this course, you will learn some techniques required for the development of ammunition.

This will include lessons on swaging and casting bullets.

You can expect this course to be followed by a course in advanced ballistics, which builds on Basic Ballistics.

In this advanced course, you will learn how gunpowder and different projectiles affect ammunition accuracy.


Here, you will learn how to replace and repair gunstocks, and you will also be introduced to techniques for properly selecting wood and shaping a stock.

In addition, you will learn how to install a recoil pad, as well as how to custom-fit a gunstock according to a customer’s specifications.

Devising a Business Plan

Whether you plan to run your own business or work for an employer, this course will provide you with a wealth of useful information.

With this course, you will be able to establish a formal business plan for your own firearms-related business.

You will also receive lessons on how to research and outline a plan, promote your business, and take care of your business’s finances.

Machining and Manufacturing Firearms

You will get a comprehensive overview of concepts such as machining.

Lessons will cover the science behind metallurgy and ways to shape metal to achieve the desired result.

You will also learn about milling machines, metal-turning lathes, polishing tools, and other firearms-related tools and equipment.

This course will include lessons on soldering, welding, brazing, normalizing, heat treatment, and tempering gunmetal.

Finally, you will learn how to configure a barrel to a customer’s specifications.

Firearms Finishes and Engraving

This course will go over metal preparation and finishing.

Techniques for bluing, polishing, and browning will also be explained.

You will learn different types of firearm finishes, such as hydrographic, spray-on finishes, PVD coating, ferritic nitrocarburizing, and other methods.

Lastly, this course will familiarize you with different methodologies for engraving metal so that you can customize firearms.

Sights, Optics, and Accuracy

Through this course, you will gain a thorough understanding of accuracy for gunsmiths.

There will be lessons on inspecting a rifle for accuracy, installing sights, mounting optics, and using the tools required to achieve accuracy.

Other topics will include modern bolt-action trigger kits and ways to check the fit of bolt-action rifles.

By the end of this course, you will need to know how to correctly describe the procedure of rifle bedding.

Firearms Inspection and Troubleshooting

Here, you will learn how to diagnose firearm malfunctions in a variety of firearms, from rimfire and centerfire rifles to shotguns and handguns, and come up with the right troubleshooting methods.

You will also learn how to diagnose malfunctions through cartridge case analysis.

gunsmith fixing a rifle

Can You Earn a Gunsmith Certification Completely Online?

Yes, you can.

If you want to pursue a career in gunsmithing, the only formal education requirement you will need will be a high school diploma or equivalent.

Then you can enroll in an online gunsmith training program.

Because you will be studying remotely, you will complete your hands-on training at home.

After completing your program, you have to earn a Federal Firearms License (FFL) from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

With this license, you will be formally recognized as a certified firearms builder and dealer.

The application process will include filling out the application form, which you can download from the ATF website, and paying a fee.

Once you have fulfilled your application requirements and completed your background check, an ATF agent will conduct an inspection to ensure you have complied with federal regulations (and possibly local and state laws, depending on your jurisdiction).

The agent will also interview you before approving your license.

How Long Does it Take to Earn a Gunsmith Certification Online?

It depends on your training program.

While some programs take as little as three months to complete, others take up to a year.

Degree programs generally take longer than certificate programs, so if you want a faster track to becoming a certified gunsmith, you should opt for a certificate program.

After you have successfully completed your training, it is time to complete your firearms license application.

The average turnaround time for processing this application, which includes an application form and interview, is about 50 to 55 days.

testing and cleaning of a gun

How Much Does an Online Gunsmith Certification Cost?

It looks like the average cost of online gunsmith training programs is around $700.

This is a solid deal compared to traditional programs, which can cost thousands of dollars, not to mention the transportation costs associated with commuting to class.

To apply for your FFL, which will be valid for three years, you will need to pay a fee of $200.

The FFL renewal cost is $90.

Types of Gunsmith Certifications

All gunsmiths possess the same license, the Federal Firearms License (FFL), which is obtained from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

However, there are different specializations in the field of gunsmithing.

You can choose one or more specializations.

Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Stock maker
  • Checkerer
  • Gun engraver
  • Manufacturer
  • Custom builder and designer

Again, the license (the FFL) is the same across all these specializations.

Benefits of Online Gunsmith Training Programs

You can study at your own pace

This is especially true if you are taking asynchronous classes, which operate on a more relaxed schedule.

If you have personal responsibilities, like family obligations or another job, you might be a strong candidate for online training programs.

That said, successfully completing an online program requires an enormous amount of hard work and discipline.

But if being a gunsmith is what you want – then it’s totally worth it!

They cost less than traditional programs

Due to the lower overhead costs needed to run an online program, you can expect to spend much less than students who opt for in-person programs.

And since you do not have to commute to class, you also get to save on transportation, particularly on fuel and car maintenance.

If you are on a budget (and even if you are not), the lower cost of studying online might alone make the program well worth it.

You can customize your learning environment

That means you can choose to learn at home or in whatever environment suits your studying preferences and needs, e.g., local coffee shops and libraries.

If you are studying at home, you can eliminate distractions, create a comfortable study area, and have all the tools you need at hand without having to carry a load of things to the classroom.

gunsmith store

Drawbacks of Online Gunsmith Training Programs

They are not the most ideal for learning trade skills

Since trade jobs usually involve hands-on work, you typically need to work closely with an instructor in order to learn the skills of your trade.

This can be a bit difficult to achieve online, where interaction with your instructor and classmates is very limited.

Thus, you have to rely heavily on visual media, such as videos and images, to really gain an understanding of the tricks of the trade of gunsmithing.

You may feel a sense of isolation

For many people, attending class is an opportunity to network and make new friends and professional connections.

However, if you are studying online, that opportunity may be severely limited.

Still, you can connect with your classmates with the help of your program’s tools and activities, such as forums and live group discussions.

Online learning requires more screen time

Over the past several years, people have been spending an increasing amount of time in front of screens, and of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has only expedited this development.

Another contributing factor has been the rise of online learning, which, if you are not careful, can lead to a host of physical problems, such as poor posture and headaches.

This can be especially detrimental to aspiring gunsmiths, since the job is largely physical and, thus, requires you to be in decent physical condition.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Online Gunsmith Training Programs – Summary Table

Benefits of Online Gunsmith Training Programs Drawbacks of Online Gunsmith Training Programs
You can study at your own paceThey are not the most ideal for learning trade skills
They cost less than traditional programsYou may feel a sense of isolation
You can customize your learning environmentOnline learning requires more screen time

4 Self-Study Tips for Online Gunsmith Students

Studying online is not easy for most people, and this is certainly true for online gunsmith students.

That is because gunsmithing is a trade job that involves a great deal of hands-on skilled work.

Usually, to learn the skills of a trade job, you need to work closely with an instructor.

This can be very difficult to do in an online program.

Fortunately, there are tips you can use to take your online learning to the next level and maximize your potential as a gunsmith while studying online.

Take Advantage of Visual Media

Studying online is quite challenging, especially if you are learning gunsmithing.

Besides conducting your hands-on training at home, you should take advantage of visual media, like videos and images.

Since you will be working with your hands as a gunsmith, you will need some visual tools to help you learn the tricks of the trade.

Although it cannot entirely replace in-person instructor-student interactions, it will be a strong alternative.

Use Your Program’s Online Tools and Resources

Online training programs are not easy, and that is why most programs offer a plethora of tools and resources designed to aid you in your studies.

These include forums, downloadable PowerPoint presentations, note-taking tools, and pre-recorded videos.

Use these tools and resources to your advantage, and you will be much better prepared for the challenges of online learning.

Study in an Environment That Is Conducive to Your Learning Style

Maybe you study more productively at home — maybe you study better in libraries or coffee shops.

Whatever your learning style and preferences are, stick to them and make sure you adopt a learning strategy that works best for you.

Schedule in Regular Study Breaks

With all the screen time and demands of online learning, studying through an online program can get quite draining.

Because of that, you need to make sure you set aside time to just disconnect and decompress.

A 15-minute break every hour or so should do for most people.

Although sitting back and relaxing to increase your productivity may sound counterintuitive, it certainly does work wonders on your energy levels in the long run.

gunsmith assembling a gun

Schools Offering Online Gunsmith Courses

School Name Address
Penn Foster Career School 14300 N Northsight Blvd., Suite 125 Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Ashworth College 5051 Peachtree Corners Circle, Suite 200 Norcross, Georgia 30092
Modern Gun School 1000 N. West Street #1200, Wilmington, DE 19801
Sonoran Desert Institute 1555 W. University Dr., Ste. 103, Tempe, AZ 85281
American Gunsmithing Institute 351 Second St. Napa, CA 94559
Piedmont Community College 1715 College Drive Roxboro, NC 27573
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Earn your accredited, affordable Gunsmith career diploma online with Penn Foster in as little as 3 months!

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5 Best Gunsmith Schools

If you like guns and want to turn your hobby into a money-making venture or just be able to work on your guns yourself, you can consider gunsmithing classes and schools.

Quite a few gunsmithing school courses and classes are available online, so you can study from the comfort of your home.

With some of the good ones, you can take your hobby-level skills and turn them into something that will help you make money.

Below, there’s a list of gunsmithing schools you can consider to enhance your knowledge without the need to attend a classroom.

gunsmith programs

Penn Foster Career School

Penn Foster

Penn Foster Career School is located in Scranton, PA, but they offer online programs all over the world.

They have a number of degrees in addition to their High School/GED programs.

They have operated for a few decades and become one of the leading schools in online gunsmithing learning.

They also have a mobile site, which allows you to study on the go.

There is a dedicated staff for all courses on firearms, and you can get either a statistic or an associate degree.

The educational requirements are very low for applicants.

They only need to pass an 8th-grade equivalency exam.

The topics in programs cover gun safety, firearm assembly, and disassembly, restoration of an antique firearm, customizing gun stock for specific purposes or uses, including, mounting scope, precision rifle competition, basic metalworking, handloading ammunition, metal finishing, machine tool operation, and history of handguns and rifles.

Besides, payment options are also flexible, including interest-free monthly payments.

There is also eligibility for veteran education benefits and credits.

Sonoran Desert Institute

Sonoran Desert Institute was founded in 2000 and provides online learning to those who want to learn a variety of armor and gunsmithing topics.

Currently, this is an accredited online firearms school offering various courses for different types of online students.

They provide two main programs, and you can also take individual classes if you need specific aspects of gunsmithing, such as how to accurize a rifle or advanced armorer topics.

SDI is a great school for gunsmiths who do it as a hobby and want to do more in their home workshop as well as for professionals.

Their instructors are highly recommended in the industry, and it looks like graduates of the school can find jobs easier than graduates of most gunsmithing programs.

The cost of the program depends on what exactly you’re looking for.

You can only take classes you want if you don’t need a degree or certification.

Most tools required for the program are included in the price of it and will be shipped to you when you start the course.

All tools are high-quality and a great way to start building your home workshop or to complete your tool bench at work.

American Gunsmithing Institute

American Gunsmithing Institute

American Gunsmithing Institute is one of the most well-regarded online gunsmithing schools.

It offers courses for both career gunsmith who need professional training and those who just do it as a hobby and want to work on their guns effectively and safely.

You can earn a professional certificate within only 90 days.

However, you will get 108 hours of course instruction exploring the basic tasks and techniques in addition to extensive information on the design of firearms.

So students can use this knowledge to land a job with a manufacturer.

The online coursework is divided into individual lessons.

Each lesson is taught by a recognized expert in the industry.

You can choose areas to specialize in, so the entire course will be both fun and cost-effective as you will skip bits you don’t need for your specialty and focus only on what you need.

Students can go for a full gunsmith certification program or choose individual classes.

The professional certification will cost from 5k to 15k.

There are also specific Armorer’s level courses available for $40, and specialty and certified courses that range from $50 to $1,300.

gunsmith schools

Modern Gun School

Modern Gun School is committed to flexibility in learning for those interested in gunsmithing whether they do it as a hobby or a career.

They have constant open enrollment, so students can start at any time and take courses in either Basic or Advanced gunsmithing.

The school has operated since 1946 and provides lessons that cover various aspects of buying and selling firearms, gunsmithing, and basic information on firearms.

The courses are online you take them at your own pace.

They are even personalized by Master Gunsmith and the staff to meet the personal interests and needs of the students.

MSG stands out among similar programs as they focus on hands-on training.

Class projects include building a rifle lower or refinishing a stock instead of just reading about a technique or process.

The courses have three different price tiers, including $1,442 of full payment upfront, $1,542 with higher monthly payments, or $1,642 in lower monthly payments.

So the tuition is fairly affordable for how much instruction you receive.

Therefore, this is an excellent option for those who are only getting started or do it as a hobby.

Ashworth College

Ashworth College

Ashworth College is located in Georgia and offers an online program that focuses on real-world, practical projects created to emulate the actual everyday work of a gunsmith.

They focus on hands-on experience, and a large portion of the coursework is built about demonstrating the mastery of skills through completing a finished piece.

The projects include techniques for disassembling, reassembling, troubleshooting, and repairing various firearms.

They don’t focus much on metalworking or machining but offer great value for what you get.

The program costs between $599 and $699 depending on the way you pay, and some payment plans are as little as $49 a month.

As you finish the program, you will get a good grasp of basic gunsmithing techniques and will be able to take any state or federal test that doesn’t require their own coursework.

gunsmith online programs


There are many online gunsmith training programs available, which you can use to jumpstart your career in gunsmithing.

Although learning the trade online can be quite challenging due to the hands-on nature of the job, you get to study at your own pace and customize your learning environment.

Besides successfully completing training in gunsmithing, you will need to obtain a Federal Firearms License (FFL), which will allow you to build and sell firearms.

The license is the same across all specializations, which include stock making, checkering, gun engraving, manufacturing, and custom building and designing.

Studying online, especially when you are learning gunsmithing, is far from easy.

But if you put some of our common-sense tips to use, such as taking advantage of your program’s online tools and resources, you will be able to thrive in your online studies.

Then you will be well on your way to becoming a thriving, successful gunsmith.

cleaning a handgun

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the biggest challenges of gunsmithing?

Gunsmithing, in general, is not an easy career.

There is a lot of technical information to learn that is not known to the general public, even among avid gun users and collectors.

That is why online gunsmith training programs are comprehensive, teaching you everything you need to know about gunsmithing and related skills.

Do firearms businesses look down on online programs?

There is no indication that firearms businesses view online programs in a negative light.

If anything, successfully completing an online program shows that you are diligent and self-driven, qualities that any potential employer would look for in a job candidate.

Where can I find out about state laws regarding firearms possession and licensing?

You can check the State Laws and Published Ordinances – Firearms section of the ATF website for this kind of information.

Do I need a special license to open my own firearms business?

The only license you will need is your FFL.

If you want to open your own firearms business, you will need to register it, decide on a business structure, and develop a business plan.

Are gunsmiths in demand?

There should be a continuous need for gunsmiths, considering the popularity of guns in American culture.

Government employment officials say the need for gunsmiths should grow steadily, though not spectacularly, through 2030.

Gun manufacturers need gunsmiths, and the public needs them for repairs.

There are roughly 4,500 gunsmiths in America.

What is the difference between an armorer and a gunsmith?

Gunsmiths and armorers are very similar and differ in only a few aspects of what they do.

Armorers can replace worn parts and do minor repairs and can be instructors at firing ranges.

Gunsmiths go further, modifying and even making parts for a gun as part of their repair process.

Gunsmiths can also make guns.

Do gunsmiths make good money?

Gunsmiths start out making around $30,000, and that can go up to $80,000 over the years.

Many gunsmiths are self-employed and must buy expensive equipment, so there is a cost to get started, but you can make a good living as a gunsmith.

There are also some gun makers that hire gunsmiths, and they pay well.

How much is tuition at the American Gunsmithing Institute?

Tuition for the American Gunsmithing Institute is $597 and is a three-month-long program.

You will learn the basics of gun repair in this class and be able to do many repairs upon completion.

There are two higher levels you may take after the first level.

The highest is Master Gunsmith.

To get all three levels would cost around $5,000.

What jobs can you get with a gunsmithing degree?

With a gunsmith certificate, you can get a job at a gun-making factory.

Many sporting goods stores also have gunsmiths.

Gun ranges also hire gunsmiths at times.

Many gunsmiths start their own businesses and work for themselves after getting some experience.

Is Penn Foster a good gunsmith school?

Penn Foster is highly regarded as one of the best gunsmithing schools.

Its curriculum has good reviews, and much of the course can be completed online which is another bonus.

There are classes for beginners and people who are already gunsmiths.

You may take one individual class or the entire program.

The school has many majors and has been in business for more than 30 years.

  1. Avatar for Eddie Arnold Eddie Arnold

    Online gunsmith training programs offer a great opportunity for military veterans like myself to transition into civilian careers. The flexibility and accessibility of these programs make it easier for us to leverage our skills and experience in a new field.

  2. Avatar for Arnold Carey Arnold Carey

    These programs cater to individuals with busy schedules or those living in remote areas, offering an opportunity to gain valuable skills and knowledge without the need for relocation.

  3. Avatar for Keith Olsen Keith Olsen

    This will empower students to turn their hobby into a fulfilling career, fostering a sense of pride and accomplishment as they develop expertise in firearm maintenance and customization.

  4. Avatar for Clint Santana Clint Santana

    Nice! Now I can apply for a training program that can allow me to learn and pursue from the comfort of my home. I will definitely research more about this.

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Earn your accredited, affordable Gunsmith career diploma online with Penn Foster in as little as 3 months!

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