Careers involving firearms


January 13, 2003, 12:12 PM
With the economy like it is, a layoff is probably in my future this year. :banghead: That being said, I am trying to figure out what I want to do "when I grow up." I have been working for a consulting firm for the last several years and am making a good living but am not really happy at work. I have been a hunter/shooter all of my life and my interest in shooting/hunting/defense keeps growing. I would love to find a career that involves my hobby, my passion - firearms.

I would like any suggestions from those of you who work your hobby. What careers are there that merge a love of firearms with something that you can actually earn a living doing.


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January 13, 2003, 12:30 PM
I have many, many friend who have made their life's work law enforcment. The reason they chose that line of work was their passion for guns and shooting. These guys (they were all men as it were) had to be good with a gun what with periodic shooting qualification, new firearms being issued by their respective departments and the need to learn them, etc. Several sought out and received additional firearms training and one ended up as a firearms instructor for the FBI. As one who was close to a lot of law enforcement folks I will be the first to tell you that it is a profession that is full of ups and downs. But FWIW it is a profession where one can find a way to combine one's profession and one's passion. Good shooting:)

January 13, 2003, 12:55 PM
Law Enforcement has very little to do with firearms. A yearly qualification is the most likely use you'll have for the sidearm in your career. If you do have to use one to kill another human being, it will change your perceptions:what: If you do take a job involving your hobby, you will likely cease to find it entertaining and more "work" like.

January 13, 2003, 02:19 PM
MARINES!:D Or go to Iraq. Saddam H. is looking for a few good bodyguards.;)

January 13, 2003, 02:27 PM
You could:
1) Become an FFL dealer and open a gun store
2) Become a professional shooter like Rob Leatham
3) Become a gunsmith
4) Become a firearms instructor

January 13, 2003, 02:36 PM
I've been toying with this idea on and off for awhile. (Since I graduated from college, a year ago, with a degree in Computer Graphics Technology, which isn't all that useful in the post-tech-market crash.)

From a tech perspective it'd probably be best to have a degree in engineering, or knowledge of CADD programs.

Other than that, you might want to look into defense contractors. I've taken a look at companies that do simulation and training, like Evans and Sutherland and FATS, inc. Those aren't directly firearms related, but they're in the realm.

*shrugs shoulders* The gun biz seems to be a fairly low-tech affair.

Will Fennell
January 13, 2003, 02:37 PM
One area that seems to be growing is for Firearms instruction. While it seemed in the past the american shooters all assumed they knew how to shoot from birth[or watching John Wayne], more and more are realizing that if they want to be proficent, or even better, if they want to be GOOD with thier firearms, they can get there much faster if they get instruction.

From what I can see out there, there are plenty of good shooters, but few of them are also good TEACHERS. If you can commmunicate well, and you know something about shooting, you might pursue it!

I'm a sportingclay competitor, and have within the last couple of years started giving instruction on the weekends that I'm not at tournaments. The extra cash goes along way towards shooting expenses. I'm about at the point that I have at least considered going full time, but I'm not quite ready to leave the security of the full time job/paycheck.

As an example, in the Shotgun world, instructors get anywhere from approx $50-200 per hour of instruction. The shooter of course has to pay for the shells and targets, so the ranges love it when I come to give lessons:cool:

I get $100 per hour, and with a little effort on my part, I can book about all the spare time I have avialible. But, I have work HARD for the last 7 years to get where I'm at;)

January 13, 2003, 04:00 PM
Junior College, which is one of the best gunsmithing schools in the country. My boss's kid was looking into going there several months ago and the cost is 33,000.00 for the two year course. Gotta fix alot of guns to pay that back. I was there in the early 60's. Cool town, Bat Masterson was the town marshall for 10 years....chris3

January 13, 2003, 04:23 PM
Lobbyist for the NRA or other organization?

Any field employed by same organizations?

Producer of gun programming for television?

January 13, 2003, 10:58 PM
According to the folks I see at every SHOT show there is a need for Forensic Technicians who know guns.

The major gun companies are always looking for customer service people, but they do prefer to hire personnel with actual gunsmithing training.

Sales careers in the gun industry are difficult to get into especially without a degree, and marketing personnel rarely know guns, they know how to build a brand and attract customers.

January 13, 2003, 11:25 PM
Check your local agencies and see if they need ID techs. Get to learn alot of neat stuff and see odd things.

January 14, 2003, 12:50 AM

Here are some:

1.) Career Criminal
2.) Police Officer (Hey! Cops and Robbers!)
3.) Professional Hunter in Africa (a dying business....Peter Capstick I envy you!)
4.) Armorer for Police Department
5.) Military
6.) Range Warden
7.) Gunsmith (tough to make money and earn a living)
8.) Gundealer (rapidly being legislated and regulated out of business)
9.) Firearms Innovator (Dead thanks to a variety of Gun Control Legislation)
10.) Hunting Guide..( don't get to shoot but you get to watch..)

Now..perhaps the REAL firearms Innovation can occur in Dharra, Pakistan. Labor is Cheap and VERY knowledgeble on making firearms, Laws are not fact the Pakistani Government doesn't DARE to attempt to enforce laws is truly the WILD WILD WEST.

All that is needed is Capital, Equipment, being able to import high quality metal and materials, and hiring a LOT of armed guards (or marrying into one of the larger Clans).

Next problem is exporting and selling the firearms...perhaps you would be forced to ummm...find "unique" customers who engage in odd professions.

January 14, 2003, 01:17 AM
Capstick's dead. Makes it kinda hard to envy him.:D

Chris Rhines
January 14, 2003, 01:30 AM
According to the folks I see at every SHOT show there is a need for Forensic Technicians who know guns. Really? Tell me more...

- Chris

January 14, 2003, 02:36 AM
Now..perhaps the REAL firearms Innovation can occur in Dharra, Pakistan. Labor is Cheap and VERY knowledgeble on making firearms, Laws are not fact the Pakistani Government doesn't DARE to attempt to enforce laws is truly the WILD WILD WEST. I can't be the only person who's fantasized about how cool it would be to visit Dharra. I saw a story about Dharra on National Geographic Explorer one night, and was amazed at how these people can do so much with so little technology. Somebody ought to look into importing some industrial-grade CNC machines as well as gear for doing proper heat-treating.:what: :evil:

Matt G
January 14, 2003, 03:56 AM
My dream job. ( These guys get to play around all day with Sierra's best equipment and labs. They write rather scholarly papers, and will provide you (free of charge, no less!) with loading info, data, and techniques.

Where do I sign up? :D


January 14, 2003, 05:58 AM
Let's not forget .....

Mall Ninja!!!!

:evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

January 14, 2003, 06:32 AM
Maybe you should look into a job with your state's Wildife and Fisheries dept. I'm going to an interview with mine on Wed.

January 14, 2003, 07:23 AM
Anything that is this much fun is either:

1. Hard to do exceptionally well.

2. Flooded with eager volunteers.

In this case, both apply. Hope you can find something. I always wanted to own/run an indoor range. Never had the bucks to get one going. It would be nice to have fun going broke, instead of just going broke.:eek:

Joe Demko
January 14, 2003, 08:20 AM
Consider all the multitudinous threads here and at TFL about rude gunsmiths, rude gun store owners, rude gun manufacturers and so on. That is what happens when people who like guns try to make a living from that enthusiasm. If you can't make a go of it in, say, the shoe business; you won't make a go of it in the gun business. IOW, you have to be a businessman first, and a gun crank second.
Re: Law enforcement. Guns are the tiniest part of that job, and the absolute worst reason I can think of for wanting to be a cop. Same goes for game warden and similar.
My advice? Look for a more "mainstream" field of employment with greater opportunity. Earn a lot of money. Spend it on guns.

4v50 Gary
January 14, 2003, 10:52 AM
Wow, you guys have really covered most everything. Here's a couple more:

1) Arms experts - you work at Butterfield & Butterfield and do appraisals for the auctioneers. You may even show up on the Antiques Road Show. Don't forget to say, "Hi Mom & Dad!"
2) Museum Curator - you luck out and become the curator at Springfield Armory National Historic Site, or the Smithsonian, the National Firearms Museums (NRA) or any of the other gun museums in the country
3) Museum Objects Conservator - you luck and and play with the guns and get paid to do it.
4) Apprentice - Along with 500 other applicants, you apply for that $15 an hour job to be a firearms apprentice at Colonial Williamsburg. After about 5 years, you'll know how to make a barrel from a bar of steel and how to rifle it, you'll know how to forge a lock, cast the buttplate, triggerguard, sideplate, or cold form the buttplate, make thimbles (pipes), stock, wiper (ramrod), engrave, relief carve and do wire inlay. I'd like to be an apprentice after I retire. :D
5) Park Ranger - As an "interpreter" you run around and give talks on guns and shoot them during your demonstration. Met a lady who does that as a Park Ranger at the George Rogers Clark Memorial in Vincennes, IN. She knew her history. Also knew a Lt. in the Park Police who use to do the Civil War demo with a mortar (18 years old at the time). He & his buddies used 1 1b of powder instead of the ounce & a half. It launched the mortar ball out of sight. :uhoh: They formed a skirmish line and marched out about a mile before they found it - happily without a car or person beneath it. Got a royal chewing for that stunt. :D
6) Become a politico. :what: You wave guns in the public's face and tell them how you can kill 30 people in less than a minute. Fineswine and Wille Brown both did that before they got some of our black guns banned. :fire:

Jim Watson
January 14, 2003, 12:55 PM
If you find a job invoving firearms, in a very few years you will have to find a new hobby. I have seen it happen. People who sell, work on, teach, etc. with guns want something for a change on weekends. Now that might be hunting, but it will not often be high volume shooting, competition, or tinkering with their own stuff.

January 14, 2003, 12:56 PM
I'm going to be a Firearms inventer.

No really... Stop laughing at me!


January 14, 2003, 01:35 PM
Of all the things suggested here, it sounds like being a career criminal might offer the most possibilities.


Not a lot of security in the job, unless you screw up - in which case you might find yourself being very secure for quite a long time.

January 14, 2003, 11:20 PM
As a matter of fact i am working on my masters in forensic science right now.

From what I hear there really is a low number of Firearms/Toolmarks examiners (heard: Ballistics) The main reason for this is training. After I get my degree I will still have to go through an apprentice program (2-4 years) before I am qualified to work independently.

I have always been fascinated by Forensics. I don't know if I will pursue the Firearms/Toolmarks specialization or not but I would definetly be interested in it.

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