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Old February 10, 2015, 01:46 AM   #1
TMiller556
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Options for a 20yo NY'er looking to work with firearms

Long story short, I'm a New Yorker who has been interested in firearms since I was around 16. Everything from the internal mechanisms to the history of firearms has fascinated me since then and still does. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to obtain much hands-on experience with guns due to the laws here in good ol' NYC. That didn't kill my dedication, however. In my spare time, I'd research all that there is to know about firearms. Marksmanship, gunsmithing, you name it. At one point I even refinished a M14 stock. There is this inexplainable intrigue that I have about all aspects of firearms that has never died out. It was never a phase, like most people said it was. Due to the passing of my parents, I had to live in foster care. My passion for firearms resulted in me kicked out of one foster home, believe it or not (because I had a firearm magazine... one that you read).

I'd come on this forum and ask about firearm designing careers during the time that I was interested in becoming a Mechanical Engineer. For financial reasons as well as not being very math-oriented, I chose not to pursue that career. Once again, I need and would greatly appreciate your advice.. My question is: what positions are out there, if any, for a guy my age that loves firearms but lacks the experience? I know that you all may be thinking that such a job is impossible to find in NYC and you're right. I am looking to relocate anyhow. I'm not necessarily looking for a career as of yet (I'm still unsure of what to study in college), but if it turns out that I love working with firearms as much as I think I will, I may choose that path. Until then, I'm going to take one thing at a time. Please, just throw any ideas out there, regardless of what they are.

Thanks in advance everyone!

Last edited by TMiller556; February 10, 2015 at 01:58 AM.
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Old February 10, 2015, 01:59 AM   #2
rcmodel
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20 years old?

Move to a free state, get a good job, and buy all the firearms you want.

That's what I did, except I didn't have to move to a free state, as I already lived in Kansas.

The other option is to join the military, get into a small arms or infantry MOS, and they will give you all the guns and free ammo you can carry & shoot.

That's what I did too.

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Old February 10, 2015, 02:02 AM   #3
TMiller556
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I got medically DQ'd from the Marine Corps due to an exercise-induced leg injury. I was going infantry.

I'd like to move to New Hampshire in the near future. It's beautiful as well as free.
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Old February 10, 2015, 02:22 AM   #4
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If you can handle basic math become a machinist or a tool maker. Kimber is in Yonkers, NY, so you could see if they have any entry level positions.

You could also do what RC said, and enlist in the military. USAF CATM (Combat Arms Training and Maintenance) falls under Security Forces. The US Navy has Gunner's Mates and Fire Controlmen. The USMC and US Army have similar positions. The Coast Guard is actually great option if you want to get into the law enforcement side of things. Any of the military options would pay for college and let you get out of NY.

Last, if you feel like taking out student loans you could always go to an accredited gunsmithing school.
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Old February 10, 2015, 02:50 AM   #5
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It sounds like you want to get "hands-on," but have your thought about other types of positions?

Going a slightly different direction, how about sales or marketing, whether working with an LGS, distributor or manufacturers?

Or customer service? Or logistics (sourcing). Or even admin/office?

Look at different ways you can break into the business. Sometimes to path to get where you want is not necessarily a straight line (says from someone with an extensively squiggly career path...).
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Old February 10, 2015, 08:17 AM   #6
Fast Frank
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Take a tip from a guy obsessed with motorcycles that made it his career.

Don't do it.

First, it turns your joy into work.

Second, It doesn't pay well enough to really afford enjoying what you love.

It's a much better idea to get a good career going that pays well, and then use that money to do the things that you love.

Trust me on this...
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Old February 10, 2015, 08:23 AM   #7
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Go to gunsmithing school, like the Colorado School of Trades. There's a real need for gunsmiths and you'll always have a job if you're good.
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Old February 10, 2015, 08:43 AM   #8
Sav .250
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If this is more of a down the road goal. Which it appears to be. I`d just get on with your education. Who knows, your choice of career goals may change. You never know.

Look at some Weapon manufactures net sights. Some list ,"Job opportunity " sections.
See what you need as far as education/experience is needed. That way you know what avenue to take in your education process.
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Old February 10, 2015, 09:06 AM   #9
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I do not have the advantage of an education, and this has held me back my entire life. You might want to re-think the notion of abandoning a degree in mechanical engineering---or any college degree for that matter. I can design, machine, fabricate, and invent with the best of 'em, but without that piece of paper, I'm a nobody. You can get good at math, and there's always a way to finance an education.

Re-read Fast Frank's post. It contains a lot of wisdom.
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Old February 10, 2015, 09:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Frank View Post
Take a tip from a guy obsessed with motorcycles that made it his career.

Don't do it.

First, it turns your joy into work.

Second, It doesn't pay well enough to really afford enjoying what you love.

It's a much better idea to get a good career going that pays well, and then use that money to do the things that you love.

Trust me on this...
This, exactly. If you really enjoy doing something, don't make it your job. I loved messing with computers when I was a cook. So I changed fields many years ago, and I don't even like looking at a computer when I get home.
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Old February 10, 2015, 09:30 AM   #11
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Since math isn't your strong suit, you'll be fighting an uphill battle with mechanical engineering, which requires STRONG math skills.

I agree with previous suggestion. Work for $$$ and keep firearms as a hobby. Possibly, some day you'll own a gun store, and get to enjoy guns while you count your money.
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Old February 10, 2015, 09:33 AM   #12
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Take a machine tool technology program at a community college and then apply for apprenticeships at companies you would like to work at. It works, especially
At your age.
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Old February 10, 2015, 10:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SleazyRider View Post
I do not have the advantage of an education, and this has held me back my entire life. You might want to re-think the notion of abandoning a degree in mechanical engineering---or any college degree for that matter. I can design, machine, fabricate, and invent with the best of 'em, but without that piece of paper, I'm a nobody. You can get good at math, and there's always a way to finance an education.

Re-read Fast Frank's post. It contains a lot of wisdom.
Just to throw my 2 cents into this, of those I went to college (engineering) with, very few are working in the field they planned to be except for three they are all working. Show me a guy with a degree in MechEng with a decent to reasonable work ethic and a modicum of curiosity and I'll show you some headhunters that think they have died and gone to heaven.

Add to the mix, with a few years of experience at saving your employer $$$ and keeping him running a MechEng can command enough salary to have his or her own little workshop in the backyard where they can follow their real passions and become a certifiable OMB. (Obsessive Machine Builder.) With a bit of imagination and a MechEng you can design a foundry furnace and pour the parts for machine tools such as lathes, drill presses, milling machines and other fiendish devices of mass construction. After that you are only limited by your desire and imagination. But it starts sitting in "Strength of Materials" 101. Give up the chance and you will regret it. Just as I have regretted not finishing my degree.
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Old February 10, 2015, 10:21 AM   #14
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+Fastfrank, and Officer's wife.

be safe
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Old February 10, 2015, 10:22 AM   #15
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Best advice yet,,,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Frank View Post
Take a tip from a guy obsessed with motorcycles that made it his career.

Don't do it.

First, it turns your joy into work.

Second, It doesn't pay well enough to really afford enjoying what you love.

It's a much better idea to get a good career going that pays well, and then use that money to do the things that you love.

Trust me on this...
Nothing sucks the joy out of something faster than trying to make a living from it.

Aarond

.
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Old February 10, 2015, 10:31 AM   #16
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To bad about your military experience. I sometimes regret not following my Dad's advice and not having gone Ordenance Corp rather than Infantry enlisted and then Commissioned Field Artillery. My luck I would have ended up in the 5033rd Mess Kit Repair Company rather than Small Arms though.

I have no idea what it cost to go to college in NY or to a tech school, but it likely will be more expensive than instate tuition. Something to think about.

More education would seem to be the answer. Not sure if the folks that do the actual work on guns in various companies are Unionized or not, but it might be wise to check out any unions that represent them, especially as there is the danger of closed shops.

I assume you have a job, any job, so you might have a good reference or two for when you do find something. Do whatever you do whole heartedly so as to get good references.

You might consider something like a janitors job at someplace like Henry just to get a foot in the door and see if the field really is something you could do day I and day out.

Would your physical problems or back ground keep you out of Law Enforcement? Getting on to a department and showing an interest in firearms like say making any competitive teams the department has and then spending some of your vacation time improving your firearms education at say places like Thunder Ranch or Gunsight on your own dime might attract the attention of the folks responsible for picking department firearms trainers or armorers. Of course it may just cause fellow officers to refer to you as a "Gun Fag" and you might not be suited to the life of an Oficer on the Streets anyway ( LEOs have a very high tur over rate for the first two years.)

Good luck.

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Old February 10, 2015, 11:00 AM   #17
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Leave New York.
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Old February 10, 2015, 11:30 AM   #18
OneWound
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Quote:
Just to throw my 2 cents into this, of those I went to college (engineering) with, very few are working in the field they planned to be except for three they are all working. Show me a guy with a degree in MechEng with a decent to reasonable work ethic and a modicum of curiosity and I'll show you some headhunters that think they have died and gone to heaven.

Add to the mix, with a few years of experience at saving your employer $$$ and keeping him running a MechEng can command enough salary to have his or her own little workshop in the backyard where they can follow their real passions and become a certifiable OMB. (Obsessive Machine Builder.) With a bit of imagination and a MechEng you can design a foundry furnace and pour the parts for machine tools such as lathes, drill presses, milling machines and other fiendish devices of mass construction. After that you are only limited by your desire and imagination. But it starts sitting in "Strength of Materials" 101. Give up the chance and you will regret it. Just as I have regretted not finishing my degree.
I completely agree with this. (I am currently an ME coop with a Defense contractor). If you want to really work with weapons, I suggest you apply for coops in the Defense Industry (ATK, Honeywell, Rockwell Collins, Lockheed Martin, etc) not just as an ME but as an EE, SE, etc. You get the chance to work on awesome things that not everyone says they get to work on.

On the other hand, ME's who work on guns in gun companies are rare. (I've been in your same position). Maybe consider doing something with companies like Magpul who do accessories instead? Or Gemtech?
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Last edited by OneWound; February 10, 2015 at 11:51 AM.
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Old February 10, 2015, 11:55 AM   #19
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I am a Mechanical Engineer that is married to another engineer. Getting the degree requires a lot of math, the job doesn't. I haven't used Calculus once since graduating 16 years ago even though I had to take 4 classes in it. That said, you still have to learn math to get the piece of paper.

A different option in a Engineering Technology degree. It is a 4 year degree similar to an regular engineer degree but without the calculus. A high-school friend of mine followed that path and only had basic algebra and geometry classes for his degree. Instead of a bunch of math, his degree had extra classes in manufacturing and business. He works as an engineer today.

Skilled trades is another excellent option and one in high demand right now. You could look into technical school or possibly a internship. I also encourage people to look into fields that need to be done in person. In today's global economy anything done on a computer can be done anywhere in the world and you are competing against workers all around the world. The last 2 companies I worked for (one very large international company, and one small privately owned company) had engineering centers in India because they could hire new engineers for $15 a hour and get a PHD for less than a newly graduated engineer in the USA. Something to think about, it isn't just blue-collar jobs that are being outsourced.
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Old February 10, 2015, 12:00 PM   #20
Lycidas Janwor
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Originally Posted by lilguy View Post
Take a machine tool technology program at a community college and then apply for apprenticeships at companies you would like to work at. It works, especially
At your age.
This.

Acquire a skill, learn a trade, especially if you are not able to serve in the military (like you said) and you are not good at math.

Learn how to fabricate, weld, machine, etc. If you like this kind of stuff, you can use it to work in many good paying jobs. If on down the road you think you still want to get into the nuts and bolts of how guns operate, you can start working for a local gunsmith and learn that trade.

The key is to have a skill that pays well. Don't waste your time on spending big money on a college degree, if you are not 100% sure it's what you want. Mechanical Engineering is extremely hard and I think--I could be wrong here--it doesn't always get you the best engineering job.

If you want to get some kind of engineering degree, I'd look at degrees that use computers and teach you programs like CAD which is invaluable in designing. You can take these CAD and Auto Cad classes at your local community college for next to nothing. If you want to design the future gun that the rest of us want to buy, learn the software that allows you to design that gun.

Also, IF you decide to learn a trade, like tooling/fabricating, etc., take an accounting course at the local community college. Learn the language of business, ACCOUNTING. Then you will have a good idea of how to eventually start your own business.

Best Wishes.

Last edited by Lycidas Janwor; February 10, 2015 at 12:10 PM.
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Old February 10, 2015, 12:23 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by SleazyRider View Post
I do not have the advantage of an education, and this has held me back my entire life. You might want to re-think the notion of abandoning a degree in mechanical engineering---or any college degree for that matter. I can design, machine, fabricate, and invent with the best of 'em, but without that piece of paper, I'm a nobody. You can get good at math, and there's always a way to finance an education.

Re-read Fast Frank's post. It contains a lot of wisdom.
Do you know CAD? If you can design stuff, like you claim, learn CAD my friend. It's an expensive software and you'll need a pretty powerful home computer to run it, but if you know CAD, I mean, really know it, you can sit at home and design anything you want.

Take your designs, then fabricate a prototype. This is extremely hard without all the expensive hardware (basically robotics that auto frabricate based on a design from a software like CAD). However, if you can do this by hand, even more power to you! But, with your CAD design in hand, you can at least present your idea to whatever company out there who my want to purchase your idea. Just food for thought.
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Old February 10, 2015, 12:26 PM   #22
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AutoCAD sucks. Learn to design and model assemblies in Unigraphics NX.
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Old February 10, 2015, 12:30 PM   #23
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Old February 10, 2015, 12:31 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Thermactor View Post
AutoCAD sucks. Learn to design and model assemblies in Unigraphics NX.
NX isn't all that great. I'd get an education version of Inventor (free if you are apart of a university).
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Old February 10, 2015, 12:34 PM   #25
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AutoCAD sucks. Learn to design and model assemblies in Unigraphics NX.
AutoCAD is just CAD light. I took an autocad class at the local community college back in the mid 1990s. The guys who were in that class with me were learning the software because they eventually wanted to design computer games, and you have to have 3D images in computer games.
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