What Can A Gunsmith Specialize In?

Gunsmiths are professional artisans who craft, repair, and design firearms. A gunsmith is responsible for identifying, inspecting, and repairing firearm defects, cracks, and obstructions. Gunsmiths may inspect a firearm for cracked barrels, safety-mechanism failures, and missing parts. A gunsmith’s attention to detail and technical skills allow him/her to prevent potentially dangerous firearm failures. Becoming a gunsmith will not only allow you to repair and replace parts on firearms, but also allow you to utilize your imagination and creative skills. Many gunsmiths create one-of-a-kind, custom, decorative, and modified firearms.

The gunsmithing process allows an individual to conceive an idea and manufacture the piece using their skills. A gunsmith must have the practical knowledge, expertise, and tools to safely modify, create, or repair firearms. Gunsmiths may find employment within armories, factories, sporting good stores, and private, gunsmithing businesses.

While many gunsmiths have the skill set for the gunsmith trade, many choose to specialize within areas that require specific expertise and knowledge. Gunsmiths work in a variety of settings and professional, specialized capacities of the trade. Due to the artisan nature of the gunsmith’s profession, many gunsmiths decide to specialize within a certain era, style, or a specific component of a firearm.

The various specialization areas are as follows:


Firearm finishers are specialists that use chemicals and a variety of tools are used to stain or harden the firearm’s finishes. They use chemistry to alter the metal surfaces of a firearm. Processes such as bluing, protect the firearm from corrosion and rust. Firearm finishers may utilize a cyanide case hardening process, in which high heat settings are applied to a chemical finisher to create a color change on the metal of the firearm.


Checkerers use saw-toothed checkering tools to create intricate, decorative designs on the grips or wooden parts of the firearm. Checkering allows an individual to create texture and dimension to the firearm’s wooden surfaces.

Firearm Engravers

Firearm engraver will use a hand graver or GRS Tools’ Gravermeister, which allows the gunsmith to accurately and safely engrave a firearm. A firearm engraver’s responsibility is to add or create aesthetic value to a firearm by engraving patterns and designs into the firearm. A firearm engraver may add decorative details such as inlays, into a firearm’s stock or grips.


Gunstocks create the stock of the firearm and require tools such as chisels, gouges, files, rasps, and saws. The stock of the firearm, specifically within rifles, is created to be held at the user’s shoulder. A gunstock crafts stocks out of beautiful wood, such as walnut, to attach to the firearm’s metalwork.


Pistolsmiths are part of the gunsmith realm, but they specialized in crafting pistols or other handguns. The main responsibility of a pistolsmith is to craft custom pieces while utilizing their checkering and finishing skills. Pistolsmiths may be highly skilled in the areas of woodworking, machining, and metalworking.

Niche Firearm Manufacturers

A niche firearm manufacturer crafts and sells specialized firearm components to other gunsmiths, who will utilize the components in their custom firearm creations. Niche manufacturers may produce a wide variety of firearm components, such as trigger assemblies, receivers, and firearm barrels.

Career Spotlight: Gunsmith



Gunsmiths are skilled in the art of woodworking and metal, as they develop, build, and repair firearms. It is the responsibility of the gunsmith to understand how the individual moving components of a[...]

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