I am 17 and just starting to look into what I want to do for a job. What good firearm related jobs are out there? I've heard the military thing like crazy and don't intend on enlisting. Have you heard of any interesting jobs that I could look into?
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Duke of Doubt
March 31, 2009, 12:14 AM
Machinist in a gun factory -- not too bad, but you'll be working in Brazil for $4 a day.
Sales clerk at a gun store -- I couldn't do that for a day.
Gunsmith -- lots of luck supporting yourself when a new gun costs less than the repairs to an old gun.
Mall security guard -- too dangerous.
Guns are our hobby, not our job -- even if some of us sometimes carry them on the job for extra pay, or moonlight as firearms instructors.
There is a young man on this forum that did an internship with ATK in Anoka, MN where Federal Cartridges are made. He goes by JFettig (IIRC). He is studying some sort of engineering I think. Try a PM to him.
I would encourage you to consider making yourself a valuable person to prospective employers by getting training in a technical field at a community type college or a 4 year degree (or more) to gain the skills to be competitive in today's job market. By the time you get out of school I'll bet that the outlook will have improved.
Don't be discouraged by some posters. There is always a place for a skilled and ambitious young man. You'll run into a few disappointments but with determination you will eventually succeed! A dream can carry you forward like nothing else can, so keep your goals ahead of you.
Get more training than high school. I think Duke of Doubt is an attorney and may be experiencing the bitter consequences of a very crowded profession. Let me tell you that a skilled machinist is a far rarer commodity and has little difficulty in finding good paying employment even today (at least in my area of Minnesota). Take the road that is more difficult while you are young and you will find it less crowded when you are older. I am an average machinist at best as a hobby, (I am a surgeon) and am amazed at what the truely skilled man can do. Make yourself valuable, hard work creates it's own lucky breaks.
Best wishes to you!
March 31, 2009, 01:08 AM
You might not be able to support yourself full time doing it, but being an instructor would be a good part time/weekend job. If you could get certified to teach NRA classes and/or Concealed Carry courses(if legal in your state), then it would give you a job in which you can share your love of firearms with your students.
March 31, 2009, 01:12 AM
Go to College and get a conceal carry license.
March 31, 2009, 10:57 AM
There's an awful lot of science involved with firearms and shooting, and there seems to be a shortage of mathematicians, physicists, etc. here (we import many of these now). If you're planning on college, think along the lines of metallurgy, engineering, manufacturing engineering, etc. for the guns themselves, and chemistry for the powder. Chemistry and metallurgy also go together in the specialty of metal surface treatments, like bluing and melonite (Tenifer). The more you know about any or all of these things, the better you'll understand and appreciate firearms. Take all the machining and metalworking classes you can get.
March 31, 2009, 11:34 AM
Get a PI license, and get with a company that does personal security, the pay is good, and you get to travel all over the world. You will have to take some classes.
March 31, 2009, 11:57 AM
skeet king, where are you located?
March 31, 2009, 12:04 PM
You could try and become a regional sales type person for a distributor suchs as Lipsey's.
March 31, 2009, 02:58 PM
If you are into skeet, how about a job at your local range? If you really are good competitively, you can get sponsorships.
My advice is to go to college and learn a profession that may be tuned towards the firearms industry if you still desire to work with firearms after you graduate. This country needs mechanical engineers and chemists. If you don't go to college, learning a trade like becoming a machinist or toolmaker would be useful.
Honestly, it would be more lucrative if you chose another profession where you'd make more money and just spent your dough on firearms as a hobby.
March 31, 2009, 03:23 PM
Learn machining and/or Mechanical Engineering. From there, you can either get training as a gun smith, or look for positions in factory assemblies and the like.
And if you can't find a job in that industry, there's jobs elsewhere for skilled machinists and engineers.
March 31, 2009, 03:28 PM
Law school. There are plenty of lawyers that specialize in gun law.
March 31, 2009, 03:33 PM
Most people who join the military planning on doing a lot of shooting are going to be VERY disappointed.
I would love to become a gunsmith, but it is a long process to become profitable or wealthy doing it. I'm going to go to law school.
March 31, 2009, 03:37 PM
+1 to the recommendations for mechanical engineering if possible, machinist if not. Bonus points if you can do both.
Then start looking for a job with either the Department of Defense (Aberdeen Proving Grounds or the Naval Surface Warfare Center facility in Crane, Indiana). Or possibly with one of the major small arms firms.
Remember that if you have a college degree, you can go into the armed forces as a comissioned officer. Much better deal than enlisting. And they will do just about anything for people with hard science or engineering backgrounds.
March 31, 2009, 04:57 PM
Get accepted into a college that's famous for its Science, Biology and Chemistry. Graduate with a Masters' degree in either field, and apply to become a Firearms Inspector at the local PD. Crime Scene Investigator is where the money is at.
March 31, 2009, 05:02 PM
March 31, 2009, 05:11 PM
Hollywood stunt man?
One of the big questions that folks don't ask is about the ambiance they would like to work in. Do you want to work in an office, or in workshop, or in a store, or in the great outdoors? Do you want to work with people, or with animals, with things, or with ideas? You can make good money any of these ways, but it helps to plan early.
March 31, 2009, 05:13 PM
Manufacturer's Sales Rep.
I think these guys have dream jobs. Maybe not right now with all the hysteria, but otherwise, from what I've seen, they have it made. They make a fat salary plus commission.
One of the S&W guys I knew of through a friend kept a working sample of every single item that S&W produced. He would of course take these guns to any and all local dealers to persuade them to carry a line of Smiths, but what was cool for me was the recurring shoots. S&W often sponsors firearms events, and I was invited to go to a range where this sales rep was going to be. The deal was that as long as we brought all the ammo, we could shoot any or all of the Smiths. He had a booth and had every gun that S&W manufactures available. Revolvers, pistols, M&P15s, you name it.
I think he has to clean all those guns, so that might be the downside, or it might not.
You're going to have to at least have a bachelor's degree, sales experience with a record of success, and a good knowledge of guns.
March 31, 2009, 05:20 PM
Find something that you spend a lot of money on in the business and then find a way to make and sell similar items for profit. I think that lazer grips are something that could be much cheaper and still be profitable.
March 31, 2009, 05:27 PM
If you want a job which involves shooting guns all day, then you are looking at being self employed as a firearms instructor. And starving most of the time.
If you're looking for a career in a gun carrying field, then you have several choices to make BEFORE you do anything. You need to decide whether you are going to be a professional or skilled labor. IF you're going to be professional then you need to decide what degree you need and what university to go to.
Skilled labor jobs are things like armed security guard, armored car employee, private investigator, gun smith, gun shop owner or employee, etc. These jobs require little or no education and entry level openings usually require no experience. Some jobs require training and certification but this can usually be obtained at the local community college.
Professional jobs are things like law enforcement (corrections, probation or LEO), Attorney (FBI agent's are usually atty's too), CSI, etc. These jobs usually require at least a bachelors degree or more. Entry level requires a degree but often no experience.
For my money, right now I'd be looking at a field other than exclusively crime scene investigations. Most city/state government budgets are going to require a reduction in payroll and layoffs due to the economic situation.
A better bet would be to look at the possible future employment requirements 5 - 10 years from now. Jobs in environmental health, energy, and other emerging fields are a better bet than "yesterday jobs" of nursing, CSI, & law.
As for the best prospect: become a doctor.
March 31, 2009, 05:33 PM
take classes in Sales, Psychology, Sociology, Firearms training (if the college offers it) if not, become an NRA certified instructor in the meantime, and you might as well get the Range Safety Officer certification too since after NRA instructor, you can do it from home. try working part time at gun stores in the mean time, possibly one with an indoor range so you can use that RSO cert.
All of this would lead up to what my dream job would be. which is a Sales/Demo rep for a large firearms manufacturer selling to LE/Gov't.
Big money, Big Business, and a license, because you are a class III salesman, to possess a Full Auto.
not to mention: free ammo and an actual need to do all kinds of shennanigans with a machine gun:evil::cool:
March 31, 2009, 05:41 PM
I always thought being a good gun writer would be a great job. If you are young I would sure look at the military and Combat Arms especially advanced as in Rangers or other Spec. OPs to get a good base for experience and credibility if you intend to instruct or do serious security. For that matter even as a writer I would think military training would be a plus.
The rest of us can hypothesize, and speculate about what is and isn't but unless you have really been BTDT its all really just a stab in the dark.
Some LE I would bet get a fair picture in their duty but the actual combat that some men have seen in the present GWOT will be of much value in the future just as the experience of those warriors of the past have been.
March 31, 2009, 06:49 PM
Just don't join the ATF... please.:D:D:p;):neener::neener:
March 31, 2009, 07:01 PM
I second the mechanical engineering degree although I'm not sure how many positions there are in gun design.
March 31, 2009, 07:34 PM
I think gunsmith... they are dying out and nobody goes into the field. There is plenty of work from local shops, or with a manufacturer, or even local le.
March 31, 2009, 10:21 PM
Do like I did join the military become a MP (military police), get a criminal justice degree with an emphasis in crime scene photography, go to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, figure out really fast that is not what you want to do. Become a Heavy Equipment operator make more money buy more guns!!!
The military does have civilian jobs such as small arms repairer, which is just an armor, but without any military experience you will be at the bottom of the hiring list. When you apply for a civilian job in the military they look at your resume and assign points based on what your experience is. Military veterans, disabled veterans and Vietnam veterans are given preference, just like if you applied for a job at the post office. Unless you can prove that you know more about a position or can make a really good resume you more than likely will not get a civilian military job. But what do I know I only applied for a security guard job at the local military base for 2 years and was never even called in for an interview. Is anyone still reading this or have you all fallen asleep at the keyboard or moved onto the next posting?
March 31, 2009, 11:45 PM
Duke of Doubt
March 31, 2009, 11:46 PM
Rob P.: "Professional jobs are things like ... Attorney (FBI agent's are usually atty's too."
I've met precisely one former FBI Agent who also is a former attorney. He is, in addition to his other qualifications, a convicted felon. His name is G. Gordon Liddy. He rocks, too.
March 31, 2009, 11:53 PM
I think prior to the 1980's a law degree was a prerequisite for an agent. Back 77/78 my grandfathers cousin had just retired as head of the Chicago office and since I was interested at the time said I would need to have the law degree.
I'm pretty sure it still requires a 4yr degree.
April 1, 2009, 12:07 AM
um, well i am currently a sophomore in college, working on a Mechanical Engineering degree at SMU. we recently renovated one of our old buildings, and the basement of the new building is sponsored by Lockheed-Martin, and is supposed to be a sort of lab for one of their development programs, Skunkworks, that will work with SMU students. this is the group that brought you the P-38 Lightning, U-2, the iconic F-117 Nighthawk, the F-22 Raptor, and much more.
While this isnt exactly firearms specifically, it is related and is a field that could im sure be pretty easily applied to some kind of job with firearms, be it smithing or weapons design after you move on.
The only problem you'll run into with RnD is Obama's huge cuts to govt spending into RnD :(
outside of that, mechanical engineering covers all sorts of fields and all types of jobs, its a pretty rainbow of a major. you could easily find work in automotives, aircraft, industrial equipment, heating/cooling systems, etc.
April 1, 2009, 03:59 PM
Learning a lot about firearms will make you a very valuable individual for a multitude of other positions..
and when I say a lot about firearms, I mean you need to know how to -
Calculate in atleast 3 different ways - distance
calculate velocity in as many different ways as you can, including reading the labels on ammo boxes
calculate the weights of various different objects
Use these skills to calculate where the bullet will hit, at what time, and what was the path it took during flight?
How high (or low) was it at 25 yards when you were shooting at 200 yards?
Take firearms apart, not just one, not just the ones you own, but all you encounter. This builds a problem solving aspect, and improves observational skills, in the event you were actually trying to improve and not blindly observing a series of events you don't actively try to understand.
Get good at this, and you can assemble anything. It's all the same stuff, from guns to drills to computers and cell phones. The same skills for detail stripping/modifying firearms are used for most everything else.
Learning about firearms teaches you how to learn about other subjects. Become awesome at learning facts about firearms, how they function, why they're made, etc etc and you'll notice that in other, similar subjects you are just as awesome there too.
Become good at the logistical aspect of firearms, too. Positioning and placement of your firearm for ready access during various different activities, such as crawling, rolling, resting in inopportune positions, etc. These skills you develop by making the way you carry your firearm comfortably while maximizing your desired results is obviously invaluable for everyday tasks such as driving, walking, etc etc, as well as branching into deeper aspects of your gear, such as your boots.. You'll have a more keen sense of what kind of boot you actually need, and the labels on boots and other products are moreso irrelevant than ever before. You'll no longer look for the most convincing "This is best" tag, but instead have a built in knowledge bank ready for valid and accurate assessment of a product's quality including strengths and weaknesses.
My goal is to -
use other jobs to fund a personal manufacturing facility for prototype firearms and other tools which I then prepare to manufacture on a large scale as a career.
It's my opinion that the firearms industry is terribly mismanaged, and is stagnant. My goal is to replace as many of the current manufacturing trends as possible. Which bearing witness will reveal, these trends produce a large amount of incomplete or failed products. My intent is to make the manufacturing process also the quality control aspect. This is a difficult procedure to create, but its implementation should be fairly straight forward. I, however, do not ever want to hear of my product being anything less than perfect. The need for an automated QC process that can produce identical copies is necessary because the alternative involves a person performing his own inspection and refining from there. Humans make mistakes. That's unacceptable to me.
From there, I will make a more convenient, and trustworthy firearm for the roughest conditions this world has to offer.
You can feel what I'm talking about.. Think about the rangers and their carbines. Do you think they whined about them as much as we do with our AR-15s and reproduction 1911s with bells and whistles and a list of malfunctions that, if streamed from a printer and each owner got a chance to add his own complaint, and assuming the printer was a mesh of newspaper presses and an integrated instant-action notepad feature to instantly record these complaints, then maybe we could expect 1500 words per page, at a rate of 10 miles per minute.
A lot of complaints, my friend.
Here's your firearms related job. Fix the poor image by fixing the entire way you do business. This will create jobs that you want to do.
April 1, 2009, 04:03 PM
I make The Business End of Guns at a Local Barrel manufacturer.
April 1, 2009, 04:08 PM
Under the current leadership, there are probably a lot of those jobs popping up in the socialist-urbanite nesting holes.
No degree required.
April 1, 2009, 04:29 PM
Actually dealers can be some of the smartest people on the planet. You need to know quite a bit of math and chemisty to know how to properly make and cut any various drug for the most/least potency or adictablity and highest profit. This comes from my math professor lol
April 1, 2009, 08:21 PM
Call some manufacturers that have a "Custom Shop" and tell them your situation, ask them what they would look for in a shop smith, ask them if they would recommend (off the record) any particular "smith school." Just talk to them and get as much info as you can about what they want in an employee. Don't cal one shop and be done, call several, some will probably try to blow you off, others will likely be helpful, not to mention you will get several different points of view. You might also call the NRA they may have some kind of help to offer, if your a member.
I don't know a lot about custom shops, I do know Springfield Armory has one, and Kimber, Cooper Firearms of Montana, Cylinder and Slide, Dakota Arms I think has a custom shop. You can find them if you try.
And most importantly, keep your butt out of trouble. You will never get a job handling a firearm if you have a criminal record with more than a speeding ticket on it. You can take that to the bank.
April 1, 2009, 09:10 PM
Basically very few people are happy at what the do, give them a few drinks and they will tell you, it's just human nature, doctors wish they were boxers, boxers wish they would have gone to school after turning 30, very few people are happy with what they do. I thought that because I enjoyed working out, 7days a week, that owning a gym would be fun. That was the worse idea I ever had, I haven't set foot in a gym since I sold it in 2000, after 5 years of boring work, chasing deadbeats for money and trying to make enough to pay the bills.Work is work, if you have to do something every day, it no longer becomes fun to do. Keep shooting as a leisure activity and you may enjoy it for many years to come. That's the best advise I can give.
April 1, 2009, 09:22 PM
Be a lawyer. Protect out 2nd amendment rights.
April 1, 2009, 11:17 PM
how about journalist? i always thought it would be cool to write for a gun rag. free test guns, free ammo, free hunting trips. sounds good to me.
or a news journalist. actualy lend some credibility to the profession.
politician. decent money, great benefits. defend feedoms, and enact legeslation to broaden them.
mechanical engineer was mentioned, but modern firearms wouldn't be what they are today whithout a chemical engineer.
interior or exterior ballistition, statatition, public relations (think cooper firearms), metalurgist.
thats all i got for now. just about any major field can put you in contact with a nice paycheck and firearms, art, science, sociology, engineering, mathmatics and public service.
April 2, 2009, 12:15 AM
Thanks you guys for all your ideas and support, and you don't have to worry I'm not going to work at the ATF
April 2, 2009, 12:27 AM
how are your rhyming skillz? you should become a rapper!
April 2, 2009, 10:41 AM
Jobs that require you to carry a firearm do so for a reason. They involve putting yourself in harm's way on behalf of others. It's not about the gun per se - it's just a tool - but there is always the possibility of being killed at work.
It might be better to get a good job that allows you to buy firearms and the leisure time to enjoy your hobby. Especially if you live in a juristiction that allows CCW.
April 2, 2009, 10:57 AM
If so, careers that put a gun on your hip or shoulder might be more satisfying. If you don't want combat experience, I would think you could make a part time living as a custom smith (lots of guys want race guns and are willing to pay). Or in sales or get n FFL and start a business of your own. Buy sell, trade fix, teach, you could teach people to reload. Or, if you are good enough, you might get sponsored like JM.
I assume you have taken all of your math, CAD, metal shop etc. classes. That should give you a foundation for an engineering degree, I would think, if design is more what you have in mind. A background in electronics, might be a good idea, given the trend toward electronic ignitions, owner recognition etc.
But I don't work in the biz, just a hobbyist, so I can only speculate.
April 2, 2009, 10:59 AM
I'd say that some might not be around forever. If AR's are banned, there goes your work at Armalite, while working for Ruger would be more stable. Some might also be bad for you, such as applying blueing
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