Getting started as a Gunsmiths. Suggestions?
Hey everybody my name is Steve from Hampton, VA. I have been closely involved with firearms as a passion and I have been closely involved in maintenance through the military as a job, loved both, but after much debate have realized that to be truely passionate about my job why not make it about firearms. I am very thorough and precise and really believe Gunsmithing is for me. I have tossed around the idea of starting up my own Gun Store/Gunsmithing after I retire from the Navy, but am thinking of just starting now with Gunsmithing as a hobby/apprenticeship to further my knowledge in firearms. I have done a little research and thanks to the USN tuition assistance I wanna start up college and get my degree, but I don't want to just get my degree in anything. I understand that there is an A.A.S. for Gunsmithing however they do not offer it anywhere around where I live and I don't want to rely on learning a hands on trade without doing hands on training. I have decided on going the route of A.A.S. Technical Studies of Specialization in Materials Science (Study of different metals) as a way to learn all about the different metals and composites a Gunsmith can use at his/her disposal to customize firearms. I looked at the schools the NRA (I am a Life Member) and they do have some classes just south about 4 -5 hours I can take for specialized training (1911, Ar-15, etc) as well as the basics. I also looked into taking some classes from a Vocational College for Machinery (Mills, Lathes, etc), just to kind of boost my own knowledge and to have it on my resume. I am sure everyone on here has heard of TAOGART (The Association of Gunsmiths & Related Trades) and thanks to them have learned alot about the certificates and requirements, my questions are these:
How accredited/reputable is this organization and are there any other ones like it?
If from, or aware of, Virginia area, more in particular the Hampton Roads area, who is a well known Gunsmith in the area? Preferably one with good business ethics and reputible in the Gunsmith community.
Any other information anyone could offer would be great! Especially if you took the same or similar route I am trying to take. Thanks for hearing me out!