View Full Version : Pennsylvania Gunsmith School
August 5, 2005, 09:34 AM
I'm just wondering if anyone know anything about Pennsylvania Gunsmith School ?
August 7, 2005, 01:10 AM
Well, there aren't many smithy schools around. And you'll note they don't tell you how much it costs. Nor is there any mention of job placement. Nor any testimonials from graduates. Mind you, no private school does. Nor do they tell you that inexperienced guys are not wanted in any industry. Even the ones that empolyers are whining about not being able to find staff. Unless you know somebody, entry level work doesn't exist.
August 7, 2005, 12:30 PM
I have heard from a guy about to graduate from there now and he raves about it all the time. They require more training than any other school, whether that means anything or not I do not know. No school has ever done anything for anyone other than to prepare them to go into the job market. Some schools will have better instructors and some will have better machines, so I would ask a lot of questions to make sure they will give you the knowledge you are looking for. OTJ training has always taken place when you start a new profession. You will get more OJT doing gunsmithing than you would normally get in a nine to five job. Even if you think you have seen every gun and can do every job, there will come a day a guy brings in a gun you have never seen before and the OJT will start all over again. With that said, check them out and ask for references. Most are only too happy to oblige. Ask the folks they give as references to tell you how prepared they were to open their own business. This is what would matter the most to me.
August 7, 2005, 01:25 PM
I try to remember that Schools are selling education. That is what they are all about. I know this becuase I sell education, too. The difference in what I do and what the other schools do is that I give your money back in the 1911 you build. The education is primary and the gun is secondary but it does return your total investment if you pass and don't fall by the wayside like some students do. Even if you do not complete the course, the parts kit is worth more than your total investment, sans tools.
Going to a Gunsmith School is a fine idea. Working as a Gunsmith is a whole different deal. It is like any mechanical job, the only way to learn is to do it. Every 1911 I have worked on is different and presents different challenges. I am still not an "Expert" and I still learn something on every job I do. The Single Action Tune Up work is the same way. They all are different to some degree and the way you learn is by doing the job. And doing it well counts, too.
August 7, 2005, 04:58 PM
Dave, I think what happens most these days is the folks that go into smithing don't have the same mechanical background as a lot of guys do. When I grew up, my Dad was an electrician/jack of all trades kind of guy. We added on to our house and did all the work except the bricklaying. From him I learned to do carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, fixing machines and general shop type of work. I didn't need to take a class that gives you the bascis of working with tools and machines and working with your hands. I had this knowledge already. For a guy like this, going to school to learn how isn't necessary. A guy fresh out of highschool with no experience at all of doing anything mechanically, I would think it would be a must. This is the guy who the schools benefit the most. I know some guys who grew up fatherless and one whose father had no mechanical skills and for them building a dog house is more than they do. I did like most smiths do, I started tearing my guns apart cleaning them and went from there to fixing them to customizing them. I did get very lucky and find a few smiths that didn't mind showing me the ropes, but I spent the money on the AGI video course because I wanted to have something to look at when tearing into a new gun that I hadn't seen before simply so it wouldn't take me forever to learn how to break it down. The basic breakdown of the gun is the same for most, but I have found more than not, that the little small details of the gun can make it very difficult to put them back together once you figured out what is wrong. I could have learned all of this and would have if I had to, but the video sure does save me time and expense when I have to get the gun out to make any money off the repair. With that being said, I wouldn't accept a lot of the work that I have seen done by guys that go to the various schools, but I have seen some excellent metal smiths and stock workers that did go and say they learned a trick or two that made it worth it to them.
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