Gunsmiths modify, service and restore rifles, revolvers and other firearms. In their work, gunsmiths use hand tools and machines such as grinders, planers and millers. They may restore antique guns, convert old rifles to up-to-date firearms, or adapt factory-made rifles to the special needs of customers. A gunsmith's work calls for many different skills. Gunsmiths must know how to handle and operate a gun. They must also understand the various assembly requirements, such as fitting the action (moving parts) and barrel into the stock (handle or butt end). They must be able to attach optical sights, pistol grips and recoil pads, and they may be asked to install new choking devices. Carrying out these adjustments calls for skill in stripping the old finish from the barrel and action. Knowledge of woodwork and different types of steel is useful for producing, fitting and polishing various parts.
Licensing and registration is required in some states and territories.