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American Gunsmithing Institute: An Online Gunsmithing School

by on January 20, 2013

The American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is a private education institute and online gunsmithing school that is unique among the many gunsmithing schools that are found in the country. This is because it provides home-based educational tools on gunsmithing through its extensive catalog of Video Courses. These courses are available either as “e-lessons” (online video tutorials) or through DVDs that are sent to students who enrol in their gunsmithing courses. AGI is headed by Gene Kelly and it is situated at 351 Second Street, Napa, California 94559. It is authorized to operate by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) of the State of California.

The main advantage that AGI provides for its gunsmithing students is its comprehensive and wide-ranging array of gunsmithing subjects. They cover virtually every type of firearm as well as the various popular guns that exemplify each category. AGI also offer specialized courses that seasoned gunsmiths can take up to augment and improve their skills, or hobbyists who are eager to learn more about their favorite firearms. Another great advantage that AGI has over rival online gunsmithing schools is that its typical gunsmith certification course can be finished in only three months’ time, or more than 108 hours of video instruction. At this short time, students can study everything that need to learn about pistols, shotguns, rifles, and everything associated with them, as well as their maintenance, general design, and function.

Students who take part in AGI’s video courses are taught by three professional and certified gunsmiths who are recognized and respected in their chosen gunsmithing fields: Robert “Bob” Dunlap, Gene Shuey, and Darrell Holland. They hold years of extensive knowledge and practical know-how in building, repairing, and customizing firearms. They deliver their video courses in an easy-to-understand manner and they are presented in exceptional detail. Students in AGI’s online gunsmithing program can also select which classes would they like to include in their own custom curriculum, and they have the option to either take up a full gunsmithing certificate program or select any course that they like.

AGI’s considerable course catalog is divided into distinctive categories ranging from new gunsmithing courses, fundamental firearm types, building and modifying specific kinds of firearms, general and advanced metal work, reloading, working on triggers, improving shooting technique, and working on specialized firearms such as cowboy-action guns, assault rifles, and machine guns. Each of the courses in turn are divided further into specific categories such as famed examples and brand names for each firearm type, kind of gun component, relative techniques for properly handling and cleaning them, and others. The list of available courses offered by AGI is so extensive that students can freely pick from each of the course categories to come up with their unique online gunsmithing program. However, for beginners, AGI gives them introductory lessons that can help them get through their gunsmithing course. For example, a one-hour starting Professional Gunsmithing Course lesson will involve studies on stopping jams and ensuring proper feed on an auto pistol, measuring the needed “range” in a Smith and Wesson revolver pistol, how the Colt AR-15 gas mechanism works, how to do trigger repair work on an AR-7, and many more.

Apart from the Professional Gunsmithing course, AGI also offers courses on Disassembly/Reassembly (D/R) as well as Armorer’s Courses. The former helps students master the whole D/R process in a progressive manner, while the latter adds D/R with repair and maintenance work. These two courses are provided for each of the 51 guns that are included in AGI’s programs. They are available for $19.97, along with shipping and handling charges.

The tuition for the complete AGI Professional Gunsmith Certification Program is about $700, depending on the specific kinds of courses that you included with it. An individual course starts at $39.95; their price depends on their length and general difficulty. Some courses are bundled together into “packs” while some cover a complete gunsmithing program. You can test out AGI’s video courses by first signing up for 21 free gunsmithing video mini-lessons. If you are satisfied with what you saw, you can continue on by signing up for a full-time professional gunsmith certification course, or by choosing first from the AGI catalog and video lesson sampler that the institute will send to you. If by any reason you are not satisfied with any of the courses, AGI has its “100% Bulletproof Guarantee” where students can get back their money (minus shipping fees) when they send back their DVDs to the institute within 90 days of buying them.

The AGI Gunsmithing Certification Program provides an extensive gunsmith curriculum that can be taken at home and be completed in as short as three months’ time. However, it does not give its students practical knowledge on its many courses, as well as expert supervision and evaluation from an expert gunsmithing instructor. And just like any online gunsmithing school, AGI does not give its students a facility where they can attend laboratory classes, or basic gunsmithing tools, practice firearms, and machinery that the students will use (in short, the students would have to get them themselves). It also lacks a job placement service, but this is offset by the extensive number of courses and specializations that it offers, which helps its students master their gunsmithing field in the shortest time possible.

AGI Video CoursesA great way to see if what AGI offers is right for you is simply to order one of their instructional videos at If you like what you see then it could be worth to explore their course offerings in more detail. This is a great low-cost try before you buy approach and I would strongly recommend this to anyone considering the AGI program.

AGI can be found in the Internet at You can contact the institute by calling its toll-free number at (800)797-0867, or via its local number at (707)253-0462. You can also get in touch in them through fax at (707)253-7149.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

James Gillenwater February 11, 2013 at 2:29 am

For the American Gunsmithing Institute, do you have access to a teacher if you have questions? I live in Indiana, does it matter what state the school is located in for the online degree? Is the certificate earned recognized in all states?


Joe DS Joe DS February 11, 2013 at 3:18 am

Hi James, You do get access to the teachers with the AGI professional gunsmithing course, but exactly how good that support is I can’t tell as I haven’t taken the course myself. For an online course it doesn’t matter where you live and being in Indiana an online course is probably the only option you have and AGI is deemed by many the best online gunsmithing school. Their videos have a very good reputation, but you have to remember that to really become a gunsmithg you do need plenty of hands-on experience. A good start could be to get a machining course at a local college and then add the video course to that. AGI also have a machining course… The certificate is recognized in all states, but remember that to work as a gunsmith you need a federal firearms license. Good luck!


Colin Ob February 1, 2014 at 4:53 am

are their courses reconized by the industry? and also will their cert be reconized by the ATF if filling for a home based gunsmithing FFL?


Joe DS Joe DS February 11, 2014 at 11:21 am

AGI courses are well regarded but you do need to get real experience – they can be great to expand your knowledge. Should be no problem with getting your home based FFL, have a look at:


Jared F March 20, 2014 at 4:32 pm

I would like to take the AGI courses but I don’t have the funding. The school I’m currently going to will pay for me to take COLLEGE classes. Could AGI be considered a college? The other school I was thinking of taking was Penn Foster’s, but I heard they are not as In depth as AGI is. is this true?
-Jared F.


Joe DS Joe DS March 25, 2014 at 2:13 am

Hi Jared, AGI is a private education institute and would not normally be seen as a college, but it is worth asking the question to whomever would be footing the bill for a college. If college classes would be paid, an option would be to take metal working, machining, welding and wood working classes as a local college to get the basic skills and then try to build up your gunsmithing skills from there. Penn Foster does not have the same reputation as AGI and is also a private institute. Good luck, Joe.


Zachary Cowherd April 8, 2014 at 10:20 pm

I noticed that the prices you are quoting need to be updated. Give me a call and I will fill you in. (707)-978-2533


Joe DS Joe DS April 9, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Thanks, will do.


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