Entering The Gun Industry As An Engineer


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OneWound
July 25, 2014, 06:43 PM
As a person wanting to get into the gun industry as a mechanical engineer, when would be the best time to start asking gun companies if they had open positions? How long before graduation completion? Or do I even try to do internships with these companies?

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Uncle Richard
July 26, 2014, 08:43 AM
Everyone from my chemical engineering class that did internships or co-ops had professional jobs waiting on them before graduation. The co-op will extend your graduation 1 year due to working through a fall and or spring semester; however, you will start with a higher salary than someone with no experience. I worked at a chemical plant as a temporary employee for 11 months before getting a permanent job with another company due to no pre-graduation experience.

Regardless if you are or are not in college, call the companies your interested in and ask if they have internship/co-op programs. If they don’t, ask if they hire seasonal work. Be persistent. That’s how I got hired as a temporary, which kick started my career. If your not in college yet, work for a local gunsmith. As my Dad has always said... “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

IMHO, the number one thing companies are looking for are experienced individuals. Hiring someone straight out of college is a huge investment for companies because those individuals really don’t produce results for a couple years. The first couple years post-graduation is primarily professional growth and maturity. Honestly, your real education begins with your first job, which includes experience, how to work with people and office politics. If you want to be successful, make your boss look good, produce results, learn who not to upset and get people to like you. All that aside, the number one way to get ahead is put Christ first in your life.

Good Luck

MErl
July 26, 2014, 10:38 AM
Sometimes I wonder how many actual engineers gun companies have. Unless you are talking Lockheed and the like with exotic mil stuff how many are needed. There may be management opportunities but I don't see many in design.

Does anyone see things differently?

MAKster
July 26, 2014, 10:47 AM
While it might seem fun to combine your personal hobby with your job, I really don't think there are many engineering jobs in the firearms industry. It's mostly assembly line jobs and marketing. The gun manufacturers are very slow to develop new products compared to other industries. Compare the number of new smartphone models that come out every year with new guns models. And when was the last true mechanical development in firearms. 50 years ago?

KansasSasquatch
July 26, 2014, 10:58 AM
I would start by looking at the companies that are building new facilities and/or adding on to their current plants. You may not get to work on firearms right away, but someone has to design new assembly lines and such.

Louca
July 26, 2014, 11:01 AM
... I really don't think there are many engineering jobs in the firearms industry. It's mostly assembly line jobs and marketing.
Really? I'm not arguing against what you say, but it seems to me any firearm would have required some kind of mechanical engineering design. I would agree that the manufacturing side of firearms would probably be much larger than the design side. But I admit I don't know the makeup of personnel at major firearms companies.

Lou

OneWound
July 26, 2014, 11:28 AM
Uncle, I understand where your coming from with internships (currently at one before I enter college). But soon do you apply? Can I do it after it after my freshmen year (I will be classified as a sophomore-with a couple credits off junior) or do I wait another year?

Mayvik
July 26, 2014, 11:36 AM
Bring your resume to SHOT or something. If you don't have a mfg local to your school you are probably hosed.

However, I would prepare for disappointment regardless of where you work. There is not much engineering left in engineering jobs, even at the "big" places - it is too expensive to work new designs from a clean sheet so life is mostly "reuse what we did last time" with a few minor mods and cosmetic changes. For examples, look at say Glock and S&Ws product lines over the past decade or so. See anything revolutiinary there? Most of the changes are from the "other" MEs - manufacturing and materials.

Get ready to be CAD or Matlab bitch to more senior people (who are out of touch with the software they need you to use) for a few years. The most engineering of your own you are likely to do is of the social variety playing office politics. Source: 15 yrs in Aerospace.

MachIVshooter
July 26, 2014, 11:58 AM
However, I would prepare for disappointment regardless of where you work. There is not much engineering left in engineering jobs, even at the "big" places - it is too expensive to work new designs from a clean sheet so life is mostly "reuse what we did last time" with a few minor mods and cosmetic changes. For examples, look at say Glock and S&Ws product lines over the past decade or so. See anything revolutiinary there? Most of the changes are from the "other" MEs - manufacturing and materials.

Get ready to be CAD or Matlab bitch to more senior people (who are out of touch with the software they need you to use) for a few years. The most engineering of your own you are likely to do is of the social variety playing office politics. Source: 15 yrs in Aerospace

This.

Small arms are a very mature technology from a mechanical standpoint. Pretty much every development in the last half century has been manufacturing processes and materials; making guns cheaper, lighter and more durable. There's just not much more that can be done with mechanical design, just incorporating existing designs into aesthetically and ergonomically different products.

Supplement your ME degree with a minor in metallurgy or chemistry focusing on synthetics, you'll be more appealing to prospective employers. Otherwise, get ready to apply your knowledge not in the actual design, but in maximizing efficiency of molding/casting and machining processes. IOW, I hope you love playing with CAM software.

nugun55
July 26, 2014, 12:10 PM
If you can out design Samual Colt, John Moses Browning or Gaston Glock you might have a shot. Otherwise, you're probably pissing up a rope.

Peter M. Eick
July 26, 2014, 12:37 PM
I help with recruiting in a fortune 100 company but it has nothing to do with the gun companies. But from my experience I can offer a few generic suggestions.

I would advise you that when I am culling resumes, I look for internships, I look for student projects and folks that take a passion in their interests and hobbies. I look for folks that can fit in and bring new ideas and enthusiasm. Show me that you love your topic beyond a job, it is your life.

So my advice:
1) Intern somewhere in the industry (multiple times if possible)
2) Make your own gun design or improve something about a current design
3) participate in shooting sports and teams to develop knowledge and connections.
4) Become really good at things like Matlab (Which I have used on and off since 1987) and several cad programs.
5) And don't forget to socialize and learn how to get along in a group dynamic.

Good luck.

MAKster
July 26, 2014, 12:49 PM
The most talked about new release in the past year has been the HK VP9. I don't think there is a single new mechanical feature on this gun. All the hype is that HK is making a striker fired pistol but strikers are nothing new. Maybe they used a mechanical engineer to design the slide wings. LOL. It's all just marketing and customer service at this point.

Uncle Richard
July 26, 2014, 01:43 PM
Uncle, I understand where your coming from with internships (currently at one before I enter college). But soon do you apply? Can I do it after it after my freshmen year (I will be classified as a sophomore-with a couple credits off junior) or do I wait another year?

Honestly, I don't know because it was 12+ years ago. I was offered a co-op towards the end of my sophomore year but turned it down. I applied myself without the help of the engineering department. Contact the Engineering school you plan on attending they should have information. They most likely have connections with various companies across the country or contact the company your interested in. Its never to early to pursue your dreams. See Peter's comments, good advice.

True engineering (design work) is found in the consulting world; however consulting is feast or famine. My engineering experience includes marking up drawings, spec out equipment requirements, overseeing construction, etc. Some call that engineering, but its really project management in my opinion.

IMHO, there are going to be very few jobs in designing firearms but the jobs for project engineer's overseeing construction, production, process improvements and quality will continue to prosper in the firearm/ammunition industry.

oneounceload
July 26, 2014, 02:04 PM
ME's can also find a lot of jobs in the construction industry, ship building, water treatment, etc. you might want to focus there to start while doing gun things on the side until you get established. Otherwise, I see an MEs job focus in the gun industry on designing the equipment to make the gun, not the gun itself. If you want to eventually be a manager/VP, get your MBA as well

OneWound
July 26, 2014, 03:09 PM
First, thank you for the responses. Now, my question is the suppressor market the same as the gun market (From the perspective of designing new things, hiring ability, etc)? As we all have seen, suppressors have taken off in popularity recently. Or would trying to get an intern with a company like Magpul be worth it? Mach, I actually love machining. I'll be a certified machinist in about 3 weeks. For interviews, is it worth it to bring in things I've made even if they were reverse engineered slightly to fit my own needs? To all who say I should learn CAD/CAM: I actually do have an interest in it and have pursued its knowledge for...3-4? years now. Matlabs is something I will be starting this fall.

Mike OTDP
July 26, 2014, 04:51 PM
Uncle Richard is right. Get into a co-op or intern program, get the experience. That's how I got started - as a GS-2 working for the Naval Air Test Center.

Remember that the engineering involved is not limited to the design of the gun, but of how it's made. Bill Ruger built a small empire with investment casting...but Eli Whitney started a whole revolution.

Don't limit yourself to industry or small arms. There are jobs in heavy ordnance...and positions with the Department of Defense.

As for suppressors, I'd honestly recommend aerospace engineering - or taking every course on computational fluid dynamics and boundary layer theory you can find. Most designs today are done by trial-and-error. Cracking the CFD for non-steady-state, highly turbulent flow is a doctoral thesis, but profitable.

OneWound
July 26, 2014, 06:31 PM
Mike, when you say how its made, you mean how the gun is machined/rifled/whatever, correct? And do you have to be ex-mil/mil to get jobs with the DoD or in heavy ordnance? As far as the fluid dynamics go, I have to take 3 or 4 courses to earn my ME degree.

twofifty
July 26, 2014, 09:36 PM
If your passion is firearms as in small arms, remember that the road to profitability lies in companies finding ways to simplify the manufacturing of sub-assemblies and final assembly processes of their various brands. Real innovation is far and few between.

Remember that this is an old mature industry that is under severe legislative and societal threats. Ownerships are being consolidated under the purview of people whose souls are not stirred by fine wood or the ingenuity of an action's mechanism.
The trend is towards the fattest & quickest possible bottom line.

Other factors: Factory automation is growing; robotics around the corner.
QC & cyclic testing should grow due to the cost of litigation and recalls.
Offshoring operations is a big trend; design is likely contracted out and may even follow offshore: lots of PhDs out there in China.

if you really want opportunities to innovate, look at the military or aerospace end of things. The search for and the transmission & storage of energy will continue to present opportunities. The integration of mobile mechanical devices of all sizes to sophisticated batteries, sensors and AI is just starting out.

As mentioned by Mike, the CFD field has huge potential...as does the related nano materials engineering field. Combustion engineering is far from dead.

My 2 cents.

Mike OTDP
July 26, 2014, 09:46 PM
Yes, I'm speaking of production methods. Bill Ruger didn't innovate in firearm design, he came up with new manufacturing methods. Gaston Glock was a plastics expert who applied that to a firearm design that used the old Browning tilting barrel and lockwork copied from the Roth-Steyr of 1907.

I'd also be paying close attention to 3-D printing technologies, particularly for suppressor manufacturing. That's a technology that can create some incredibly complex forms easily. Optics. Integration of optics and powered accessories into a rifle.

No, you don't need military experience for a DOD Civil Service position. It can help...but isn't essential. We're hiring at the Naval Air Systems Command. Try USAJobs (http://usajobs.gov). Do try to be open-minded - you might not get to work on small arms, but design a cannon.

dprice3844444
July 26, 2014, 09:49 PM
beretta is opening up a new mfg plant in tennessee

Officers'Wife
July 26, 2014, 10:02 PM
Hi One Wound,

Very few of the ppl I went to college with ended up in their intended field. More than a few ended up in an industry that doesn't really match their degree... That said, blanket every industry that uses engineers with resumes then as your finances permit buy or build the equipment to design/build at home. The guy that has worked X number of years in Y design with a man/f permit from BATF is going to get a heck of a lot more attention to a firearms company than the ME straight out of college. Especially if he owns patents on working improvements or a new design.

OneWound
July 27, 2014, 12:09 AM
Mike, honestly I'd like to design anything that goes boom (And if you're looking for interns next summer/co-op, please say so!). I'll keep the USGOV in mind. I've seen some cool things that Rockwell Collins (CR, IA) gets to build...if only I liked electric engineering more.

Dprice, I appreciate the information.

Officer, I understand what you're saying but I have an inkling I will be different, and here's why. I currently have an internship already @ an engineering company, and I like what they do (but what they make is pretty boring, and I have a feeling it will get repetitive). As well, I understand what you mean by people who have experience are worth more. I know one guy who only has a 2-year degree in ME and one who has a 4-year degree in teaching, yet they are engineers. As well, it would be nice to start my own shop sometime and I do plan on doing it (Haas VF-4 here I come). My only issue with that is that I need something to solve first.

DPris
July 27, 2014, 04:33 AM
Actual design staff at most gun makers is quite small.
Genuine design engineers capable of producing new adaptations, like the Smith and the Ruger poly revolvers, are still needed, but the field isn't huge & the opportunities are fairly limited.

The occasional oddball exception in "something totally new", like the USFA Zipper, is rare, and frequently a failure.
Look at the Dardick, the Gyro-Jet, and the more recent Remington Etronix ignition system.

Don't mean to be discouraging, but I don't see any maker hiring a body immediately out of college & turning him or her loose on a new gun design right away.

Best chances of success would come from learning materials, processes, and mechanics.
Give yourself as broad a base as possible in those areas, and as several have pointed out above- get ANY related practical experience from internships and other similar sources that you can.
Denis

MachIVshooter
July 27, 2014, 05:25 AM
I actually love machining. I'll be a certified machinist in about 3 weeks.

I do as well, and there's still money in it, but not in working for someone else. When I said maximizing efficiency in machining, I didn't mean you'd be doing any machining (especially not on manual equipment). I meant you'd be tweaking CAM files to get just a little more life out of cutters or spit the part out a few seconds sooner by reconfiguring speeds & feeds, tool paths and minimizing tool changes in CNC VMCs.

The call for real machinists these days is very small scale production or one-off stuff, and it's done by one or two man operations. It's something I do as a (very modest) supplementary income to my primary career in automotive repair. In the big leagues, though, it's all about CAD/CAM; very few "machinists" in the production world would know their way around a manual knee mill or turret lathe. And believe me, if you need to make more than a couple of any item, CNC is definitely the way to go. I can often knock out a single small part on a manual machine in far less time than it takes to CAD it and then write/perfect the CAM file for a CNC. But 100 parts will take me not quite 100 times as long, while a high speed VMC will crank them out with blinding speed once everything is dialed in.

cfullgraf
July 27, 2014, 09:27 AM
As a person wanting to get into the gun industry as a mechanical engineer,

If you want to work for "The Man", don't work in engineering. Engineering does not command the respect anymore that it once did.

Unless you are one of the Peyton Mannings of the engineering world, larger companies tend to abuse their young engineers these days using them as cheap glorified gophers and babysitters for the folks doing the actual work.

Be an entrepreneur and start your own company or go to work for a very small company. While you will work your butt off and be chief cook and bottle washer, the work will be much more rewarding both financially and mentally.

That said, the more experience you have the better your chances although in today's electronic resume world the recruiter is buried in applicants.

Every company and recruiter has different goals but when I was recruiting, I would look for organizational skills, the ability to accomplish projects and goals, leadership skills, a passion for things, and a good basic technical knowledge. Many of these items did not necessarily have to be in the type of business I was working in as many engineering skills are transferable from one industry to another.

I once made the move from a hydrometalurgical refining company to a paper company. Hey, a pump is a pump regardless of what is passing through it.

But, I worked with some recruiters that if you did not have a 4.0 average or better, they would dismiss your resume out of hand.

Good luck.

HexHead
July 27, 2014, 09:56 AM
If you can out design Samual Colt, John Moses Browning or Gaston Glock you might have a shot. Otherwise, you're probably pissing up a rope.
That's cold. But really funny.

HexHead
July 27, 2014, 10:04 AM
While you're probably not interested in another 2 years or so of school, consider gun smithing school on top of your ME degree. That may make you more marketable for what you're looking for.

22-rimfire
July 27, 2014, 10:18 AM
Definitely try to get an internship. You need a little experience to separate you from others when you first graduate.

Learn about the industry and how the process and machining works. If you can't find a job working for an actual firearm company, I would try to find a job in a similar industry in terms of what you actually do.

Keep your grades up and I mean that. It makes a difference especially for your first couple of jobs out of college.

You will do a lot of CAD work. Learn the software so you can be really fast. Being fast allows you to experiment and still get the job done usually for a more senior person quickly.

barnbwt
July 27, 2014, 10:31 AM
Don't bother trying to design complete guns. Think about it; that's the "brass ring" job in gun design, so it therefore will go to the most talented, experienced, and connected persons, entrepreneur or otherwise. Start out with firearms accessories, and you are more likely to find a niche where you, as a small fry, and thrive in peace while you slowly build up your resources to compete with bigger fish. The accessories market is enormous, diverse, and full of items with very small markets (few buyers) but desperate demand (things like semi-auto conversion parts for submachineguns, for instance)

If you want some inspiration, go check out Arne Boberg's website and forum; it is extremely impressive what that guy has accomplished in the last few years, bringing an entirely new handgun concept to market that's been very successful for him. What is neat, is that much of the process was documented since he frequently engaged the online shooting public during design, development, manufacture, and ongoing improvement.

What ever you choose, if you do it yourself you'll need a lot of capital to get going, for which debt helps, but can also get you into deep trouble, very early in your career (and future employers will learn of it). So I would suggest you take any job that will sufficiently pay your bills, and save money like a miser for at least a few years so you have a little nest egg to start out with on this risky journey. At the very least, use the time to get any other debt you have paid off, so a future loan won't tax your already tenuous profit margins.

TCB

larryh1108
July 27, 2014, 10:42 AM
It seems that most here see no value in reinventing the wheel. The way I see it, I'm sure companies are looking ahead to find the next, best thing in the firearm world. Who knows what that will be? Electric pulse? Caseless ammo? I'm sure they are looking but have yet found it yet that is cheap enough to produce for the masses. It would seem that you'd have to be proficient in the computer design, CAD or whatever. Who knows who the next Browning or Colt may be?

Officers'Wife
July 27, 2014, 11:22 AM
Mike, honestly I'd like to design anything that goes boom (And if you're looking for interns next summer/co-op, please say so!). I'll keep the USGOV in mind. I've seen some cool things that Rockwell Collins (CR, IA) gets to build...if only I liked electric engineering more.

Dprice, I appreciate the information.

Officer, I understand what you're saying but I have an inkling I will be different, and here's why. I currently have an internship already @ an engineering company, and I like what they do (but what they make is pretty boring, and I have a feeling it will get repetitive). As well, I understand what you mean by people who have experience are worth more. I know one guy who only has a 2-year degree in ME and one who has a 4-year degree in teaching, yet they are engineers. As well, it would be nice to start my own shop sometime and I do plan on doing it (Haas VF-4 here I come). My only issue with that is that I need something to solve first.
My uncle used an old corn crib for his shop and pretty well built all the power tools himself. I'd mention the day he melted down my aluminum cookware to cast the faceplate of a lathe but that would be beside the point. He claimed when he was on contract his working question was how do I keep everything running, at his shop the working question was how do I make this better. Essentially he followed his curiosity which was all over the map!

Case in point, one of his lab notebooks is titled, "The Modification of the Stoner Action to High Performance Ammunition." (Keep in mind his definition of "high performance" was quite different than the accepted term.)

But if you are really looking for a problem to solve how about a magazine you can load without breaking a fingernail!

nugun55
July 27, 2014, 12:46 PM
^^Now that's funny.

Willie Sutton
July 27, 2014, 01:47 PM
What most people don't understand that is that firearms manufacturers are just factories making widgets. And in any lifecycle of widget-manufacturing, original design is only a very small part of the total mechanical engineering work.

Production tooling, jigs, measurement for QC, process management, material control, and all of the rest of the daily work is a very larger subject than the actual original design of the product.

There's plenty of engineering work in any factory, and truthfully it's not any different at Smith & Wesson as compared to Briggs & Stratton. Producing electrical outlets or outboard engines or handguns? It's all just making x number of interchangable parts according to a spec, keeping them within spec, and assembling them. The devil is in the details, and engineers figure out the details.

With all that said, with a good background in mechanical engineering and a concentration in actual manufacturing processes, pick something and make it yourself. Pick some accessory, or small niche item, improve it, and become an expert at it. Build yourself as you build your product. You might be surprised at how big both of you become. I speak of this from experience... a very small niche in a very large industry made a very handsome profession for me. The money and satisfaction in the world is in being an entrepreneur, not an employee. Use jobs to gain experience. Use yourself to take that to the level you can achieve on your own.




Willie

.

Sunray
July 27, 2014, 04:11 PM
"...don't think there are many engineering jobs in the firearms industry..." Who do you think digs the holes? snicker.
If you can get an internship, jump on it. There's no work for anybody, doing anything, anywhere, without some experience. And if you don't ask the firearms companies about it, they won't tell you.
You do need to think out of the box when it comes to who you talk to though. There aren't that many companies designing anything, but there are places doing other related stuff. RCBS, etc.

pokute
July 27, 2014, 05:07 PM
It seems that most here see no value in reinventing the wheel. The way I see it, I'm sure companies are looking ahead to find the next, best thing in the firearm world. Who knows what that will be? Electric pulse? Caseless ammo? I'm sure they are looking but have yet found it yet that is cheap enough to produce for the masses. It would seem that you'd have to be proficient in the computer design, CAD or whatever. Who knows who the next Browning or Colt may be?

I agree. Walter Roper was a brilliant engineer who came up with plenty of action and sighting improvements, not to mention some sweet grips. If you are a clever designer and builder of mechanisms, there is plenty of opportunity for improvement in any gun design. Most of Browning's best work was incremental improvement based on an early, not particularly robust design. He was always tinkering and improving... A lot of folks seem to think the 1911 sprung fully formed from his brow on a cold winter evening. In fact, he worked during a boom time for gun designers, and was fully aware of the work of his peers. I'd be surprised to hear of any engineer who doesn't think the Luger is as brilliant a design as the 1911. If the ability to ingest sand were the most important thing on earth, clams would be the dominant species.

OneWound
July 27, 2014, 05:52 PM
Alright, this is a lot of information. For those who are wondering, I am starting to look for an internship for next summer already!

Willie, thanks for the idea. I have one or two ideas spinning around in my head. Hopefully I can be successful as you one day!

Officers, you can always have shorter fingernails :neener:. As well, your uncle sounds like an interesting man to meet.

MachIV, I understand what you're saying. As it sits, I can understand G&M code for a mill very well and can work my way around a lathe as long as I have G&M code reference material.

Mike, I'm surprised they havn't used them in suppressors yet. You can already 3D print metals, although it's very expensive for the home consumer.

Mike OTDP
July 27, 2014, 08:27 PM
OneWould, someone may have tried it. But the real virtue of 3-D printing a can would be the ability to make a very complex baffle system. Highly asymmetric.

Sol
July 27, 2014, 10:09 PM
I heard Remington is looking for competent engineers...

ZING!!

That was a low blow.

Jorg Nysgerrig
July 27, 2014, 10:19 PM
You know, there have been dozens of threads like this over the years and I don't recall a single one where someone came back raving about their great new job in the gun industry.

SlamFire1
July 27, 2014, 11:08 PM
Firearms concepts basically peaked a century ago with every concept being patented before 1900. Refinement of ideas peaked around WW2. If you can find the defense department budgets on firearms, you will find they are trivial.

A bud of mine was on a design team for a 50 caliber rifle. They were all "consultants" as the firearm industry has close to zero in house technical staff.

However, there are growth areas in the defense budget. One that I am aware is Missile defense. There are bunches of short, medium, and long range missiles, but very few systems that can shoot them down. Functioning technology needed for radar systems, guidance and control, to intercept missiles has only been around for a short time, and I predict more work in this area in the coming decades. They need mechanical engineers and project engineers. Single people who don't mind living for months over seas will make good salaries.

Comrade Mike
July 27, 2014, 11:37 PM
I had a buddy who worked for a firearms company. They're looking more for manufacturing engineers than MechEs right now according to him.

Officers'Wife
July 28, 2014, 02:08 PM
Officers, you can always have shorter fingernails :neener:. As well, your uncle sounds like an interesting man to meet.



Unfortunately my uncle died 9/5/2011, but as the resident OMB he kept the place interesting.

As for shorter fingernails... Such a design improvement would make firearm sport more attractive to women. Especially younger women... A manufacturer could use that in advertising to attract a growing demographic of their consumer base making the guy that held the patent rather appealing to the industry. Comprede?

OneWound
July 28, 2014, 06:45 PM
Slam fire, wouldn't rockets be more electric engineering and such because they need to be guided?

Mike, I see what you're saying but manufacturing engineering is not as appealing to me

Officers, si comprede. Gracias

pokute
July 28, 2014, 07:17 PM
The inevitable move away from lead will bring new problems to firearms and ammunition design. Also consider that we are living in a time of transition between open sights and optics, with optics still an accessory in almost every case. And the optics that are currently available are incredibly primitive. Though I'm not sure *I* want a gun that takes all the challenge out of shooting, if I shot people for a living I suppose I would.

Willie Sutton
July 28, 2014, 10:19 PM
wouldn't rockets be more electric engineering and such because they need to be guided?


They are "Missiles".

Aero would be the engineering discipline for the airframe, Electro-Optics and other specialized EE stuff for guidance, Chem for propulsion, etc. All at graduate levels of education.

And you would likely work for the USAF, as most of the real work is done in-house. At Wright Patterson AFB to be exact.


Willie

.

Comrade Mike
July 28, 2014, 10:43 PM
Slam fire, wouldn't rockets be more electric engineering and such because they need to be guided?

Mike, I see what you're saying but manufacturing engineering is not as appealing to me

Officers, si comprede. Gracias


Well industries/ companies don't really care what's appealing to you, they care about their needs. Generally if you want to get into an industry tailor yourself to their needs.

OneWound
July 28, 2014, 11:15 PM
I see mike. For me personally, I'd take a job designing products not related to guns and enjoy the designing challenge over doing a different engineering discipline in the gun industry.

barnbwt
July 29, 2014, 12:20 AM
Do realize that whatever you do, you'll be earning my pay. By which I mean it will not be pleasurable. As with all engineering jobs, it will be both tedious and difficult, and you will likely be designing very small facets of designs, if not just pushing paperwork and looking over others' effort. Engineering is the mental equivalent of skilled physical labor, and as with physical labor, you will get tired of beating your brain against whatever problem you are presented with, regardless the industry. A sheet metal clip is a sheet metal clip whatever it goes in, as is a tool fixture, as is a stamping die. Except for what the drawings are titled, there's a whole lot more commonality between all engineering design disciplines than you can imagine.

Wise men have said to never pursue a hobby as a career; you too frequently end up hating it (and losing money in the process :D). And the guys that do like that path, usually do because they run their own concern and find that task even more rewarding than the production of the product --obviously that is not for everybody.

TCB

OneWound
July 29, 2014, 01:08 AM
And the guys that do like that path, usually do because they run their own concern and find that task even more rewarding than the production of the product
What do you mean by run their own concern? Own their own business?

Comrade Mike
July 29, 2014, 01:16 AM
I see mike. For me personally, I'd take a job designing products not related to guns and enjoy the designing challenge over doing a different engineering discipline in the gun industry.


Then do that dude. Like a lot of these guys have said, working in your hobby is a quick way to learn to hate it. You may also have some unrealistic expectations about what a meche would do in the industry. You're not going to be the next Browning. You'll be working on minute refinements at best.

I wanted to work in guns too at first. Now I just love guns and participate in my hobby because I can, not because I have to. I work in aerospace, which like an above poster said, can be like beating your head against a wall as with all engineering jobs. Take it from a fellow twenty something.

No offense but you don't sound like you have much technical job experience. Get out there and get a mechanical engineering internship in your field. See what the engineering working world is like and decide from there.

IlikeSA
July 29, 2014, 01:16 AM
If I were you, I would do one of two things: look at some major manufacturers of military hardware like tanks, APC's or learn from a small firearms manufacturer like a 1911 maker. You will not be using your engineering degree, but you will be gaining valuable hands on experience that will translate into a different job later on.

I do not have a degree in the field that I am in now, but got here by experience. As you move into your thirties, experience counts for a lot in the hiring process. Think of firearm manufacturing and design as a long term goal, and consider carefully the steps you need to get there.

DeepSouth
July 29, 2014, 05:52 AM
The amount of ignorance and pessimism in this thread is amazing.

Dude if you want to be a ME for a firearms company.....please ignore these people and contact people who auctually know what their talking about, people like the manufactures or maybe the instructors that teach ME.

I work in a paper mill, we have been making paper the same way for about 150 years, The mill I work at has been going strong for over 50 years....... With the same paper machines. BUT I'd guess we employ 30-40 ME's maybe more. All I'm saying is you don't know what needs a manufacture will have until THEY tell you, the majority of the people here (myself included) have NO IDEA what the manufacturing process involves so this is a bad source of info.

Comrade Mike
July 29, 2014, 01:03 PM
Except for the myriad of engineers that frequent this site? No idea what they're talking about....

pokute
July 29, 2014, 03:09 PM
When we post for an engineering position, we usually wind up taking the best of a bad lot. I've been a working engineer for 26 years, I get a pay raise and bonus every year, and have to carry 3 or 4 other engineers who seem to be perpetually clueless. I've designed MANY novel mechanisms, worked on everything from cheap Indian made Come-alongs sold at Home Depot to Beryllium bed frames for the Int'l Space Station, and rocket nozzles for ICBM's.

If you are good enough, you can get the position you want, and you can work without being beaten down by management. There is nothing made that cannot be improved. The Chicago faucet cartridge was recently redesigned and the new ones are a huge improvement, after a hundred years or so of the old one.

MachIVshooter
July 29, 2014, 05:27 PM
The amount of ignorance and pessimism in this thread is amazing.

Dude if you want to be a ME for a firearms company.....please ignore these people and contact people who auctually know what their talking about, people like the manufactures or maybe the instructors that teach ME.

I work in a paper mill, we have been making paper the same way for about 150 years, The mill I work at has been going strong for over 50 years....... With the same paper machines. BUT I'd guess we employ 30-40 ME's maybe more. All I'm saying is you don't know what needs a manufacture will have until THEY tell you, the majority of the people here (myself included) have NO IDEA what the manufacturing process involves so this is a bad source of info.

What was that you were saying about ignorance?

There are a great many members here with education and experience in technical and scientific fields that most certainly does qualify them to speak on this matter.

I'd love to know what kind of paper mill employs three dozen engineers, as well. Or do you mean people with engineering degrees who wound up working in a paper mill? Because if the latter, it kind of exemplifies the points made in this thread.

DPris
July 29, 2014, 07:34 PM
I've dealt engineers in the firearms industry, which was part of the basis for my comments.

Don't mean to be a downer, just saying gun designers are neither a large nor an easy field to get into.
Denis

OneWound
July 29, 2014, 08:48 PM
Mike, I understand that. You're right, I do not have a lot of technical experience (but this can be explained if need be), but I am currently at an internship working with engineers and I do enjoy what they do, even though the product they make is uninteresting to me. Honestly, I'd be happy working on suppressors, buttstocks, or whatever is related to guns. In reality, I may end up starting my own business doing my own little products (ideas are currently in the works).

OneWound
July 29, 2014, 08:50 PM
SA, I am trying to get as much experience as I can with engineering and machining to make myself more appealing to potential employers.

DPris, it's not just gun designing I'm trying to get into. I'd be glad as an engineer with any gun company, and I am currently trying to get internships aligned with them.

DeepSouth
July 30, 2014, 03:42 AM
What was that you were saying about ignorance?
I was saying some people are ignorant about the given topic but pretend to know what their talking about. Want an example? See below


I'd love to know what kind of paper mill employs three dozen engineers, as well. Or do you mean people with engineering degrees who wound up working in a paper mill? Because if the latter, it kind of exemplifies the points made in this thread.
There you go, that's a good example. Even if your implications are in the form of insincere questions. But to answer the questions it's a solid bleached sulfate board mill specializing in medical and food grade paper board. And yes I meant engineers, I'd hate to count the amount of people we have with engineering degrees, it'd be well over 100 probably double that, maybe 3 times that. I really can't say but it's a lot.


There are a great many members here with education and experience in technical and scientific fields that most certainly does qualify them to speak on this matter.
I completely agree BUT their are also people who are ignorant yet act like that they know what their talking about, and it can be hard to tell the two apart therefor the OP should talk to people that are credible. For instance I could work at fish skinning plant and just be BS'ing everyone. So if someone wanted to know about a future in say engineering equipment for batch digesters used in the paper making process they shouldn't ask me, they should call people/companies they KNOW to be in the industry, such as the mills/manufactures themselves.

Outlaw Man
July 30, 2014, 09:27 AM
As an engineer who was trying to get into the gun industry, I can tell you the majority of engineering positions, at least those that were open, we're manufacturing type jobs - QC/QA, machine maintenance and/or improvement, and facilities management. Still, there are design jobs out there for which a mechanical engineer would be a good fit - optics or electronics design (ok, that's more EE, but...), ballistics engineers, R&D at pretty much any location. Another one I saw, mostly because there's an ammo factory nearby, is a metallurgical engineer. That would limit your marketability in the gun industry, though.

Keep in mind that many of the jobs will be in locations where you can't own the products you design or they will be severely restricted. A lot of the people who work in the industry really aren't "gun people," per se. However, the ones that are tend to be more sought after by a lot of companies.

Keep an eye on NSSF's job postings. Most of them will require experience, but there are quite often engineering jobs posted, and it will be a good, single location to keep up with what types of jobs are out there. Many of the big names use it for job postings. I have seen a few intern/co-op jobs there before.

Or, you could do like me and go into the retail business. On second thought, I don't need anymore competition, so forget that idea. :D

Willie Sutton
July 30, 2014, 01:06 PM
just saying gun designers are neither a large nor an easy field to get into.


And the point being made by the *engineers* here, either those working as engineers or those who have taken their education and done something else with it (cough cough) is that *most* engineering positions that can be envisioned at *any* manufacturing firm are not those of designers, but of the reliably employed process and manufacturuing engineers.

I daresay that *nobody* is designing firearms or improvements to same before they are ABSOLUTELY EXPERT at the production engineering side of things. To know how things are made is to know how to design things that can be made... inexpensively and reliably.


If I were going to hire an engineer as a firearms *designer*, I would be looking for someone who's spent a few years on the production floor troubleshooting and keeping the manufacturing processes running. And who knew how to grind and sharpen a lathe bit. And who shot competition on weekends.


Willie

.

Oldman1151
July 30, 2014, 02:26 PM
When we post for an engineering position, we usually wind up taking the best of a bad lot. I've been a working engineer for 26 years, I get a pay raise and bonus every year, and have to carry 3 or 4 other engineers who seem to be perpetually clueless. I've designed MANY novel mechanisms, worked on everything from cheap Indian made Come-alongs sold at Home Depot to Beryllium bed frames for the Int'l Space Station, and rocket nozzles for ICBM's.

If you are good enough, you can get the position you want, and you can work without being beaten down by management. There is nothing made that cannot be improved. The Chicago faucet cartridge was recently redesigned and the new ones are a huge improvement, after a hundred years or so of the old one.
Would be interesting to know where you work being you have worked with Beryllium bed frames for the Int'l Space Station, and rocket nozzles for ICBM's. I worked for a place process the Beryllium for Beryllium components items you mention. Not suppose to talk about the ICBM thing. Can not be many sources out there. I can think of one. PM me if you want.

Comrade Mike
July 30, 2014, 08:02 PM
Would be interesting to know where you work being you have worked with Beryllium bed frames for the Int'l Space Station, and rocket nozzles for ICBM's. I worked for a place process the Beryllium for Beryllium components items you mention. Not suppose to talk about the ICBM thing. Can not be many sources out there. I can think of one. PM me if you want.


Haha no kidding, I've worked on ISS components as well. I've got work going up on a resupply mission here in the next six months.

To the detractors out there, this community does occasionally know what it's talking about ;)

larryh1108
July 30, 2014, 08:35 PM
To the detractors out there, this community does occasionally know what it's talking about

...let me see.... who should I believe here.... the guys who are engineers and have been there done that or the guy who works at Walmart, is smoking a doob and telling the OP (via the internet) to not believe what other people say on the internet because they don't know what they are talking about..... hmmmm, tough choice....

Officers'Wife
July 30, 2014, 09:19 PM
Gentlemen, the original poster is asking for advice. We can give him that advice and allow him to accept or discard using his own intelligence. Or you can quibble and accuse like a pack of Ferengi

Derry 1946
July 30, 2014, 10:14 PM
Who stole my latinum???

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