You're a shooter. You're fascinated with guns and want to learn all there is to know. You want to be able to repair, modify, design and build firearms... and have them work when you pull the trigger. It sounds like you want to become a gunsmith. If you're concerned you don't have the time to learn the necessary skills, worry no longer. The NRA Short-Term Gunsmithing School can teach you the trade at affiliated colleges in the United States over the course of several days to a couple weeks.
The program is constructed to provide individuals with the opportunity to take courses at a convenient pace without attending school full-time. Generalized around basic gunsmithing fundamentals, the classes are designed to build an educational foundation to better understand the trade. Though predominately adhering to the needs of beginners, the school also encourages professional gunsmithers to enroll in classes to improve existing skills while learning new techniques.
In 1977, The NRA Short-Term Gunsmithing School commenced its program at Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado, offering a series of summer classes. In a concerted effort to build a network of schools offering the program, it soon expanded to Troy, N.C. in 1978 establishing a second program at Montgomery Community College (MCC).
MCC hired Gene Anderson, a graduate of Pennsylvania Gunsmithing School as the program’s first instructor. Taking his vast knowledge of the trade into consideration, MCC tasked Anderson to develop the program and mold it as he saw fit. Before he knew it, classrooms began to fill up and by 1981 the program had 50 students enrolled, along with two new instructors.
Today, MCC’s Gunsmithing School has made significant progress, expanding its program and offering over a dozen courses, with a wait list of over 140 applicants. “We can only take 30 students every two years,” shared Wayne Bernauer, Director of the MCC Gunsmithing & NRA Programs. “I would love to see us expand the facilities so we can accommodate more students in the future.”
The gunsmithing program at MCC has gained a reputable name in the industry and is nationally renowned. Ranging from several days to several weeks in length, students are able to participate in courses and receive valuable one-on-one instruction from top experts in the field. Offering an assortment of courses such as metal finishing, stock making and finishing, firearm repairs and servicing, MCC also educates its students with an in-depth understanding of the current laws and regulations. Though the school is not a degree program, students are given a certificate indicating completion of each course.
The 5,400 square foot classroom accommodates a maximum of 65 students and the school also features a top-notch lab facility that includes a fiveposition, 100-yard, outdoor range for test firing and reloads.
You can finish reading this story and learn about becoming a gunsmith with the NRA's help right here in Traditions Magazine.