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How much does a gunsmith make?

How Much Does a Gunsmith Make?

by on November 21, 2011

Everyone wants to make a decent living. Gunsmiths are no different. And having spent a significant amount of money and time to graduate from a gunsmithing school, you need to know if you will get a decent return on your investment. As with all careers the amount of money you make can vary a lot depending on the job and your experience. Typically, the more experience you have the higher your salary. Nothing new about that.

So How Much Does A Gunsmith Really Make?

There are a number of resources we can use to estimate the typical gunsmith salary. After graduating from a gunsmithing school, according to the average gunsmith salary is $36,267. The average salary for a gunsmith according to ranges from $24,548 to $55,380.

As you can see there is a fairly large difference in salary. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not keep data that for gunsmiths specifically as in data, gunsmiths are included under the heading of general maintenance and repair workers. That makes it difficult to estimate a credible gunsmith salary from the U.S. Bureau of Labor data and we are therfore limited to internet resources like we mentioned or relyign on more anecdotal dat gleaned from speaking to experienced gunsmiths and various gunsmithing forums.

Based on what we have gathered we believe that the average yearly salary for a gunsmith is around $30,600. If you are just beginning to work as a gunsmith, you could expect a starting pay of $25,200. As is true for most careers, you can expect your payrate to increase the longer you are employed. You could make an income of around $36,000 after some time.


Yearly Gunsmith Salary Statistics

Average Yearly Gunsmith Salary

$24,480 – $36,720

Starting Yearly Gunsmith Salary

$20,160 – $30,240

Top Yearly Gunsmith Salary

$28,800 – $55,380

Monthly Gunsmith Salary Statistics

Average Monthly Gunsmith Salary

$2,040 – $3,060

Starting Monthly Gunsmith Salary

$1,680 – $2,520

Top Monthly Gunsmith Salary

$2,400 – $4,615

Hourly Gunsmith Salary Statistics

Average Hourly Gunsmith Salary

$11 – $16

Starting Hourly Gunsmith Salary

$9 – $14

Top Hourly Gunsmith Salary

$13 – $25



One other thing that you need to take into account when trying to estimate how much you can make after graduating from one of the gunsmithing schools is the benefits.

Most employers will offer some types of benefits to their employees and these will need to be taken into account when comparing wages. If you end up in the military then the pay will depend on your years of service and your rank. A first year enlisted man can expect to make approximately $17,000 – $18,000 a year although you also need to take into account the benefits such as housing and meals. As your years in the military and your rank increase, your pay will increase as well.

Another thing to watch out for, certainly as a newl gunsmith, is that many gunsmith shops will charge you for any breakage of material or tools so your mistakes will literally cost you.

How Much Does a Self Employed Gunsmith Make?

If you are self-employed and run your own gun repair shop then it is difficult to make estimates about how much you will earn. There are a number of factors that go into estimating how much a person can make from owning a gun repair shop. You have to take into account location, competition and how much of a need is there for a gunsmith in your area.

Some gunsmiths treat their job as a hobby and do not rely on it as the sole means of support. Other people report that after graduating from a gunsmithing school they opened their own shop and are now making over $100,000. Many people report that it is best to go slow and only use your gun repair shop to supplement your income. As you become better known and gain more experience, you can move towards making gunsmithing your sole source of income.

How to increase your gunsmith salary

There are a few ways to increase you earnings as a gunsmith. You can decide to continue your education at one of the gunsmithing schools to gain more experience and more skills. The U.S. Department of Labor recognizes three levels of gunsmiths. Each level requires more experience and skill. As you progress and reach a higher level, you will typically begin to earn more money.

You may also decide to become a specialist in one aspect of gunsmithing. You can become a finisher, a builder or designer, a stock maker, an engraver or a checker. A finisher is a person who specializes in putting finishing on metal parts to increase corrosion resistance and for decoration. A builder or designer will design and build guns from scratch. Stock makers specialize in building and designing stocks. They are also involved with decorating the gun stock. A person who specializes as a stock maker will also usually be a checker. A checker is someone who engraves patterns on the stock where they are meant to be gripped. Engravers will engrave the metal parts of the gun making them more decorative. These are just some of the specializations that you can do to both build up your business and to earn more money. You can study these specializations at various gunsmithing schools.

As with any job, the amount that you can make depends on your skills and your experience. A recent graduate of a gunsmithing school needs to expect to make the lower end of the pay scales mentioned. Give it some time, gain experience and develop your skills and your salary will surely increase. For a person who is serious about making gunsmithing a career, then continuing education at one of the many gunsmithing schools is as important as is deciding on a specialization.

In the end, you can make a decent living from being a gunsmith especially if over time to progress to owning your own business and carve out a reputation for yourself (and run your gunsmithing business like a business and not as a hobby).

Gunsmithing is something you should only pursue if guns and gunsmithing are a real passion as it will take a lot of hard work and dedication to become successfull.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe DS JoeDS January 2, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Revised in December 2012 to include new gunsmith salary data and incorporate feedback from gunsmiths and students from gunsmithing schools.


HHB August 27, 2013 at 11:08 am

gunsmithing course, would like to do.


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