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Training A Gun Manufacturing Workforce

Katrin Frye

Training a workforce for a growing gun manufacturing industry is the goal behind a new program at the Flathead Valley Community College. This fall, FVCC will offer a new Firearms Technology Certificate.

Fred Zeglin is coordinating the program. He said there are about 15-gun manufacturers in the Flathead, and he spoke with a number of them about what they’re looking for.

“They’re not looking for gunsmiths, they’re looking for machinists who have a good understanding of firearms. So, the program is designed around that concept. What we want to do is teach the systems of firearms, so, we’ll go through a number of different guns, but it’s not so much the specific gun that we want them to learn as it is how the mechanics of that firearm work,” Zeglin said.

He said this program is tied in to the school’s computer-assisted, CNC manufacturing program. Zeglin said there are a number of gunsmith programs across the country, but he says this is the only one focusing on the concept of manufacturing and firearms systems.

“All the other programs are designed around the idea of general gunsmithing, teaching repair, and, most guys who take those classes are interested in hanging their shingle out as a gunsmith, and being that independent person, whereas this class is really designed for guys that want to be a machinist and work in the firearms technology business,” Zeglin said.

The Firearms Technology Certificate starts this fall, it’s a 1-year, 27-credit certificate and has room for 12 to 16 students. Applications to the program are due August 1st.