Frequently Asked Questions

1 What is the definition of a Gunsmith?

A Gunsmith is a multi-talented person that repairs, refurbishes, modifies, customizes and accurizes firearms that are “Traditional, Modern or Innovative™”. Their skill sets include but are not limited to the following:

  • Firearm knowledge in function and design
  • Cycle of operation
  • Disassembly/assembly
  • Metallurgy
  • Heat treatment
  • Metal polishing
  • Metal refinishing including coloration of metal
  • Application of alternative coatings
  • Custom stock design and stock making
  • Checkering
  • Stock finishing
  • Machining
  • Welding in TIG and oxyacetylene, and soldering
  • Knowledgeable in modern firearms like custom 1911’s, AR’s, chassis frames, composite stocks, etc.
  • Are innovative to adapt to changing trends and set industry standards
2 What is an armorer?

An armorer is a maker, supplier, or parts changer of weapons or armor or an official in charge of the arms of a military unit. Based on the above definition of a Gunsmith, an armorer is not a Gunsmith, but a Gunsmith can do armorer duties.

3 Why should I choose a career in Gunsmithing and is there a need for Gunsmiths today ?

If you enjoy technical work and firearms, the Gunsmithing profession is very rewarding. An estimated 7 million firearms are manufactured or imported into the U.S. every year, and the average firearm owner in the U.S. owns 8 guns. As the demand for firearms is quite high, so is the demand for experienced Gunsmiths to maintain and repair all of these guns each year.

There are many job options to consider after graduating from the Pennsylvania Gunsmith School®. Employment in a large firearms manufacturing plant or working as a Gunsmith in a sporting goods store are common paths of our graduates, but since our students are trained in many different technical aspects, jobs are also available in the military as an armorer, in related fields such as metal refinishing, model building, toolmaking, prototype making, and many others. Also, some of our graduates choose to become entrepreneurs and open their own gun shops.

Click on this link for “The Need for Gunsmiths”, compiled by PGS staff.

4 What are common tasks that a Gunsmith performs ?

Gunsmiths typically perform:

  • Custom building rifles, shotguns, handguns, and muzzleloaders
  • Custom design and stock making
  • General repairs and troubleshooting
  • Firearm refurbishing
  • Firearm restoration
  • Rebluing steel/ferrous parts or coating nonferrous metals
  • Heat treating springs and small parts
  • Fit recoil pads, steel butt plates, and grip caps
  • Cut new checkering or restore damaged checkering
  • Installing adjustable combs and butts
  • Stock bedding and accurizing
  • Machining and hand fitting new parts
  • Basic welding, soldering, and brazing
  • Sight mounting
  • Fitting new barrels to actions and receivers
  • Setting barrels back to correct headspace problems
  • Handloading
  • Fitting semi-inlet or composite stocks
  • Anything that might include a “one of a kind” operation
5 What tasks are not typically included in a Gunsmith’s work ?

Gunsmiths do not typically:

  • Research and design of new guns
  • Design new calibers and gauges
  • Heat treat actions and barrels
  • Manufacture actions
  • Manufacture barrels
  • Mass produce parts
  • Mass firearm production or assembly
6 What is the focus of the Pennsylvania Gunsmith School®?

The Pennsylvania Gunsmith School® cultivates experienced gunsmiths who are prepared to handle the challenges that they will face in the industry. In addition to our focus on a quality Gunsmithing education, the Pennsylvania Gunsmith School® seeks to motivate students to:

  • Train to achieve excellence
  • Work to gain discipline
  • Study to seek knowledge
  • Observe to understand
  • Analyze to undertake
  • Act to complete
  • Inspect to assure
  • Seek wisdom to retain the experience
7 What types of firearms are covered in the Master Gunsmithing Program®?

The Master Gunsmithing Program™ covers rifles, shotguns, handguns, and muzzleloading firearms (typically called sporting firearms). Sporting Tactical and vintage and modern military firearms are also covered. The Pennsylvania Gunsmith School® does not allow any Federal Class III firearms (fully automatic firearms), nor are they covered in our Master Gunsmithing Program®.

8 How long will I spend at the Pennsylvania Gunsmith School®?

The Master Gunsmithing Program® runs for 2496 clock hours, which takes approximately sixteen months to complete.

9 What will my educational experience be like?

At the Pennsylvania Gunsmith School®, you will be challenged to achieve a high quality of workmanship and work ethic, while fulfilling your educational goals with like-minded people. You will be spending the entirety of your time on your gunsmithing courses, not general education requirements such as general English, math or history.

Within your 2496 clock hours at PGS you will learn all skills necessary in becoming a Master Gunsmithing Program® graduate.

At the end of your instruction, you will have created a portfolio of guns and special tools and fixtures to show future employers.

10 What are the credentials of Pennsylvania Gunsmith School®?

The Pennsylvania Gunsmith School® is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, ACCSC. We are also a member of the Mid-Atlantic Association of Career Schools (MAACS), which advocates for career schools in state and federal governing bodies, and the Better Business Bureau. Many of our staff members are either Benefactor, Patron, Endowment, or Life Members of the NRA.

11 What types of financial aid are available?

For those who qualify, many types of financial aid are available, including Pell grants, direct student loans, PLUS loans, and others. The Pennsylvania Gunsmith School® has also been approved for both State Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) training benefits and various Veterans benefits. A dedicated staff is available to assist with financial aid needs.

12 Where is the Pennsylvania Gunsmith School® located and what activities are available in the area?

The Pennsylvania Gunsmith School® is situated in the borough of Avalon, a small and close-knit suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The school is conveniently located near interstate routes for access from the north, south, east, and west, with easy access from the Pittsburgh International Airport. Apartment and housing options are nearby, many within walking distance. Public transportation is available for those who chose to live farther from school, and there are part-time employment opportunities available in the area. Local ranges and hunting and fishing areas are a short drive away. The city of Pittsburgh has major league baseball, football, and hockey teams, as well as many entertainment, dining, and cultural experiences.