Online Gunsmith School | Penn Foster Career School

Online Gunsmith School

Why Penn Foster Career School?

  • Regionally & Nationally Accredited
  • Self-Paced
  • Supportive
  • Low monthly payments

Gunsmith Career Diploma

Whether you are looking to start on your path to becoming a gunsmith, or just want to refine your skills for your hobby, you can get your gunsmithing career diploma in as little as three months with Penn Foster Career School's online gunsmith training program.

Penn Foster Career School has offered gunsmith training for over 30 years. In the Gunsmith Career Diploma online training program, you can learn gunsmithing knowledge and skills online, with the flexibility to study at a pace that’s right for you. Our gunsmithing program includes over 50 short how-to and instructional videos to supplement your reading materials, covering topics like disassembling and assembling a firearm, to stock finishing and engraving.

Throughout your program, you’ll have access to connect with our dedicated faculty to receive expert instruction. Additional resources for your program include helpful wall charts, manuals, and two NRA guides on Firearms Assembly. You will also receive information on how to apply for a Federal Firearms License and will have the opportunity to complete a comprehensive Brownell's practical exercise during your program. Get started on your gunsmith career diploma today!

Curriculum Details

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

To provide students with a working knowledge of basic gun repairs and modifications and to allow students to gain an entry-level career in the gunsmithing field.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Develop a full awareness of the rules for the safe handling of firearms
  • Identify and evaluate firearms by type, manufacturer, history, and physical characteristics
  • Know how to disassemble and reassemble various firearms; correctly identify and qualify the fit and finish of each part
  • Identify the correct replacement or customization parts required for a job, and properly order them from key suppliers
  • Know how to modify, custom-fit, and install stocks, sights and optics, and accessories on various firearms
  • Be familiar with the design, assembly, and fit of the modern sporting rifle, modern revolver, and modern semi-auto sidearm
  • Know how to identify, evaluate, apply, and repair various metal finishes, including blue and Parkerizing
  • Show familiarity with basic machine tool operations required of a gunsmith
  • Show basic knowledge of cartridge loading specifications and basic ballistics

Unit 1

Starting Your Program

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.


  • Understand how to use your Student Portal.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
Getting Started in the Firearms Industry


  • Identify career opportunities.
  • Outline basic firearm assembly and disassembly procedures.
  • Describe government licensing safety, personal safety, and liability insurance.

Unit 2

Identifying and Evaluating Firearms


  • Identify firearms and caliber.
  • Determine if a firearm is safe to shoot.
Gun Stocks


  • Explore gun stock function and design.
  • Make, inlet, finish, and repair gun stocks.
Customizing Gun Stocks


  • Glass bed, checker, stipple, or carve a gun stock.
  • Install recoil pads and buttplates.
Practical Exercise

This practical exercise will help you learn how to locate sources of information and perform business research that will improve your probability of becoming a successful gunsmith.

Additional Unit Materials

Learning Aids:

  • Cartridge Wall Chart
  • Using a Micrometer
  • Modern Gun Values


  • Firearms Glossary

Unit 3



  • Understand the history, design, and function of rifles.
  • Repair and modify various rifles.
  • Explore re-barrel safety, headspacing, go gauges, and no-go gauges.
The Modern Sporting Rifle


  • Explore the military and civilian roles of the modern sporting rifle.
  • Describe the care, cleaning, maintenance, troubleshooting, assembly, and disassembly of modern sporting rifles.
Gun Sights


  • Describe the design, function, and installation of various gun sights.
  • Install, mount, and alter mounting scopes.
  • Explore installing new safeties.
  • Install new safeties.
Practical Exercise

This practical exercise will guide you in familiarizing yourself with gunsmith work, gun hardware and tool stores, and your workshop layout.

Additional Unit Materials


  • Customizing Rifles
  • Firearms Record Book

Unit 4



  • Outline the history and development of shotguns.
  • Install, modify, and repair chokes and ribs.


  • Outline the history of muzzleloaders.
  • Load, fire, troubleshoot, repair, and customize muzzleloaders.
Practical Exercise

In this practical exercise you'll research and design a blueing shop, purchase an inexpensive military surplus rifle to sporterize, and familiarize yourself with Brownell's catalog.

Additional Unit Materials

Learning Aid: Customizing Shotguns

Supplement: Gun Parts Catalog

Unit 5



  • Outline the history and identification of handguns.
  • Describe revolvers and single shot/specialty pistols.
Ammunition, Reloading, and Basic Ballistics


  • Understand basic ballistics.
  • Describe reloading and bullet casting procedures.
Practical Exercise

This practical exercise will help you become familiar with gun shows, shooting ranges, as well as becoming involved with safety training.

Additional Unit Materials


  • Customizing Handguns
  • Firearms Assembly: The NRA Guide to Pistols and Revolvers
  • Firearms Assembly: The NRA Guide to Rifles and Shotguns
  • Reloading Manual
  • Smith & Wesson® Wall Chart

Unit 6

Basic Metalwork and Machine Tool Operation


  • Outline basic metallurgy and the welding process.
  • Describe soldering, brazing, and heat treatment techniques.
Metal Finishing


  • Describe metal preparation, touch-ups, and finishes.
  • Identify electric counter mounted buffers.
Starting Your Own Business


  • Outline sales and services, types of ownership, licensing requirements, and seasonal issues.
  • Navigate Internet auction sales sites.
Additional Unit Material


  • Drill and Tap Wall Chart
  • Applying for Your Federal Firearms License
Access online to instructional videos
  • AR-15
  • Checkering
  • Clearing a Firearm
  • Disassembling and Assembling a Firearm
  • Engraving
  • Glass Bedding
  • Metal Finishing
  • Reassembly of a Colt 45
  • Removing a Live Cartridge
  • Stock Finishing

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 7® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to participate in and complete your program.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Sample Lesson

To view a Gunsmith sample lesson, click here.

Gunsmith Program Details

In the Penn Foster Career School Gunsmith Program, you’ll cover topics such as:

Gunsmith Student Discount Program

Personal Defense Network Video Resources
Students enrolled in the Gunsmith Career Diploma Program are eligible for discounted rates for the Personal Defense Network premium online how-to videos. This video resource site can serve as a supplement to your Penn Foster program, but is not required to complete your coursework. Learn more about this offer here.


State Licensing Information

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered by your Penn Foster Program. You should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where you plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in your Program. Please click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

Gunsmithing Online Training

A Gunsmith builds and repairs firearms, which includes rifles, handguns and shotguns. This program is designed for:

  • Gun collectors or hobbyists
  • Hunters who want to learn to maintain their own firearms
  • Those interested in getting a job as a Gunsmith
  • People interested in opening their own Gun Repair shop

After completing my Gunsmith Program, I opened my own gun shop. Penn Foster is a great way to get ahead in a career and the way the program was set up, even the busiest person can get through it. I'm so glad I found Penn Foster.

Guiseppe S, Gunsmith Career Diploma Graduate

I have had great feedback from my employer after my training from Penn Foster. I have also had other job offers for gunsmithing. The knowledge that you learn is priceless. Penn Foster is an excellent school.

Kenny B, Gunsmith Career Diploma Graduate

Your program includes:

  • Customized payment plans with 0% interest
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster's online community, plus immediate membership in the Gunsmith academic group
  • Books and learning aids
  • Includes over 50 short how-to and instructional videos to help you learn the material faster
  • Instructional support from our experienced faculty
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Goal-setting and progress-tracking tools
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

Where can Gunsmith students receive hands-on training?

The best ways for Gunsmith students to receive hands-on training is through work with their own firearms or by volunteering with their local gun club or shop.

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