Every professional gunsmith had to answer the, “How do I get started?” question. Here is a summary of my practical strategic compendium for gunsmiths that want to go professional.
by Mark R. Hollensen
As a gunsmith, we are often tested on our knowledge of a certain repair, our knowledge of firearms, reloading, target shooting, etc. Included in those knowledge tests, I am certain you have been confronted with the question of, “How do you become a gunsmith?” More importantly, how does the person asking you become one? As you all well know, this is not an easily answered question if you plan on giving the answer that best covers the process.
Why you ask? Well, as we know on this side of the gunsmithing fence, this job is very diverse and complex and explaining it to that person in any level of detail can lead you to wander somewhat with your reply or explanation. More often than not, we use our own road taken or journey as the platform for our response. What I often find the most challenging in that conversation is trying to cover what I think the person asking would need to know. And that is most difficult when you really know nothing about the person you are talking with. What are their skill sets, what have they done already (if anything) to start their path towards becoming a gunsmith, and what stage are they in their life that will help them with their career choice? In reality, you really need more information from that requestor so that you can formulate a logical response.
I’m certain that you don’t get this question asked of you often, or maybe at all. But when you do, you pretty much have to pull your thoughts together quickly to cover at least some of the process. I recently had this question asked of me by the father of a young lad that seems to want to become a ‘smith one day. He is currently fourteen and is trying to get smart on all things guns. So where do you begin with answering the dad that knows nothing about guns, has no idea where to begin, where to go, what to do, what he should be doing right now; essentially, what can he do to help his son get on the right path.
Read more in The Business of Gunsmithing: A Practical Strategic Compendium/
Read more in the November 2019 issue.