Introduction to Gunsmithing Certificate

Program: Gunsmithing

This certificate introduces the student to hand tools, blueprint reading, schematic understanding, precision measuring, machine tool operations and the nomenclature used in gunsmithing. Emphasis is placed on safety in a shop environment and the completion of gunsmithing projects from blueprints using hand and or machine tools. Each semester contains lecture and lab projects that will prepare students for a career in the gunsmithing and the firearm industry. The gunsmithing program is 90% ‘hands-on’ lab projects with 10% lecture to prepare students for understanding and completing the projects.

First Semester: The Basics of Classical Gunsmithing.


Notes for all courses and both certificates are pre-printed for student convenience and available in the bookstore. Topics covered in this certificate include:

  • Firearm and Gunsmithing safety. NOTE: Students must pass this course to remain in the gunsmithing program.
  • Ballistics: internal and external.
  • Sights, sighting systems and tooling requirements.
  • Triggers, actions, modifications, and safety and legal responsibilities.
  • Military conversions to civilian arms, history and safety considerations.
  • Business for gunsmiths, a practical guide for establishing and maintaining a successful gunsmithing business.

Lab projects:

  • Making gunsmithing tools and fixtures using files, hacksaws and other hand tools without the aid of power equipment. These projects start with an eight thousandths of an inch tolerance, and by the final project, students are expected to be within two thousands of an inch tolerance. Students keep all the tools and fixtures they fabricate in any of the gunsmithing courses.
  • Basic stock refinishing.
  • Recoil Pad installation on finished stocks to a one-to-one fit.
  • Metal polishing to various grits of the tools/fixtures the student fabricated.
  • Various metal finishes to the tools/fixtures the student fabricated.
  • Cycle of Operations: This is a cause-and-effect observational and written exercise for students to learn and understand the normal operation, design and function of the eight (8) major firearm action types, i.e. revolver, pistol, semi auto shotgun and rifle, bolt, lever, break open and pump actions.

Second Semester:  The Machine Shop portion of the program. Students will practice various machine tool skill sets expected of a gunsmith in the firearm industry. After demonstrating proficiency via the practice projects, the students’ major project will be fully customizing a bolt action rifle that will be theirs to keep.


  • Blueprint reading
  • Schematic understanding
  • Precision measuring
  • Machine tool safety and operation
  • Welding safety and operation

Lab (lathe, mill and welding):

  • Making industry standard cutting bitts
  • Muzzle crowning
  • Barrel profiling
  • Threading
  • Chambering and correcting headspace
  • Muzzle brake
  • Stock pillars
  • Dovetailing
  • Fabricating various gunsmithing tools
  • Major Project; bolt action rifle
  • Welding: brazing, soldering, stick and tig projects

Gunsmithing Tool Kit

Other Required Tools

Required Courses

Course Credit Hours
GSM 101 Gunsmithing I 4.0
GSM 102 Gunsmithing II 4.0
GSM 104 Advanced Metal Finishing 4.0
GSM 105 Gunsmithing Welding 2.0
GSM 106 Gunsmith Safety 1.0
GSM 107 Gunsmith Machine Tool 4.0
GSM 121 Barrel Fitting/Alterations 3.0
GSM 230 Business for Gunsmiths 3.0
Subtotal   25.0
Total Credit Hours 25.0


Program Student Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement – This certificate will introduce the novice gunsmith to the hand tools, blueprint-reading skills, schematic understanding, machine tool operations and the nomenclature used in gunsmithing. Emphasis is placed on safety in the shop environment and the completion of gunsmithing-related projects from blueprints, using hand and machine tools. Upon completion, students should be able to read and work from blueprints and schematics, using hand and basic machine tool set-ups. During the hands-on shop classes, the student will also be working on their major project, a bolt action rifle, which will be started in the second semester of this certificate program.

Program Student Learning Outcomes:

  1. Apply theoretical knowledge gained in class to complete metal working projects to blueprint requirements.

  2. Setup and safely operate all machine tools required for project completion.

  3. Maintain the personal discipline to complete projects on time.

  4. Use technology in the machine shop to model on-the-job requirements.

  5. Use applicable tooling correctly during various machining operations.

  6. Exhibit mastery of National Rifle Association’s safety procedures throughout the curriculum.

  7. Demonstrate basic knowledge of resume writing and business and marketing planning.

Advisement Information

Program notes

Prospective students should apply to the college as early as possible.  Gunsmithing is a currently a very popular program.  

The Gunsmithing program offers two program options. Please speak with the Gunsmithing Program Director to determine which program best suits your goals:

--  Gunsmithing Certificates:
          •  Introduction to Gunsmithing
          •  Advanced Gunsmithing
--  A.A.S., Major in General Technology, Gunsmithing

Students must complete the Introduction to Gunsmithing certificate before being eligible to enroll in the Advanced Gunsmithing Certificate program. All courses for both certificates are co- and pre-requisites. This means no courses can be taken individually, and all courses must be passed before a student can advance/enroll into the next semester or certificate.

Students in specific Gunsmithing programs are required to have a criminal background check and must be legally eligible to acquire and possess a firearm. Students are required to have both a state and NCIC check to apply to the program.  These checks are conducted by an outside agency at the student’s expense. Pending criminal charges or convictions may make the student ineligible for enrollment, participation in courses or taking the examinations. These checks must be done within two (2) months of a student’s start date. The Gunsmithing program will coordinate this check with incoming students. A current concealed weapon permit (CWP) from any state can be used in lieu of the background check.  (Please contact Program Director Jerry Capone if student has a CWP from another state.)

Students are required to take the placement test to enter this program unless they hold a college degree. All students must have a high school diploma or GED.

Gunsmithing certificates are not approved for international students.

Students must attend the Gunsmithing Orientation. Students must read and sign the Gunsmithing Program's policy on Safety and Security during orientation.

Students must have all the tools, supplies, books and class notes prior to orientation. Students may use their own tools and equipment or purchase these items from the school.  NOTE: Students who do not have all the required items will be withdrawn from the Gunsmithing program, and may re-register for classes in a future semester.

Safety glasses are required in the shop areas at all times for all students. Students with prescription lenses must have shatter-proof lenses with side shields.

Students must purchase their project rifle from the Gunsmithing program. For current fee/cost, please contact the gunsmith program director.

Required books, notes and other tools and supplies:

--  Books: Students are required to have the following books for the Introduction to Gunsmithing Certificate. Both are available at the college bookstore and covered by financial aid.
          •  Gun Digest Book of Illustrated Gun Drawings
--  Notes: Introduction to Gunsmithing GSM7. These are for the entire Introduction to Gunsmithing Certificate, not by the course, and are covered by financial aid.
--  Other tools and supplies: The Program Director will provide details.
--  Firearm and related supplies for the Project Rifle are supplied by the Gunsmithing program and costs/fees are covered by financial aid. For more details regarding the Project Rifle, please contact the Program Director.



Graduation Plans

2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2020-2021 Semester-by-Semester Graduation Plan

Introduction to Gunsmithing Certificate (GSM7) - Contact Jerry Capone about start dates.


Note to New Student Advisors: Please have interested students meet with the Gunsmithing Program Director, Jerry Capone.  New Student Advisors may place students in general education classes and classes that will count toward their secondary specialty requirements.  Students will be placed in GSM classes at the Gunsmithing Orientation.

You can find the name of your assigned academic advisor by reviewing Degree Works or your Class Schedule.  To learn more about advising visit the Advising webpage.

The Program Director for Gunsmithing is Jerry Capone.

Please e-mail if this advising guide needs to be updated or corrected.

Advisement Information updated/reviewed 4/2020