Business Records

No job is over until the paperwork is done. Here’s how to keep your shop records clean.

by Bill Smith
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The New Wave

As a small-shop gunsmith, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by retailing giants. Here’s some ways to keep ahead.

by Bill Smith
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The Business of Gunsmithing

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/


Kindle eBook

Read more in the November 2019 issue.

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To Be or Not To Be!

Determining when your part-time gunsmithing is ready for full time.

by Bill Smith

No, I am not going to quote Shakespeare. Hell, I don’t even understand him let alone quote him much – guess that makes me a peasant or something.

To open a full-time shop or not to, that is the question. More than likely you started gunsmithing part-time. After spending so many nights and weekends your business has grown and your wife is threatening divorce. If the later is true, let her do it before you do open a shop and get into a six or seven figure annual income bracket (ha!)

Many gunsmiths suffer from too much desire to be full time, be their own boss, or listen to the wrong people. To open a full-time shop one should realistically look at several things so that you don’t have to add a second line such as sharpening lawn mowers just to keep beans (let alone steak) on the table.

Read more in the September 2019 issue.

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Bob Marvel 1911 Pistol Build Class

Learn the method Bob Marvel uses to build world-class 1911 pistols from the one who developed it.

by Robert “Dale” Annis
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