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American Handgunner Nov/Dec 2010 - Page 44
PISTOLSMITHING Alex Hamilton THE INSIDE SCOOP ON PISTOLSMITHING TECHNIQUES Younger gunsmiths are discovering what older ones already know: revolvers still rock! Here’s Chi taking on a big S&W. o say it’s difficult for the American gunsmith to survive in today’s toxic, political environment would be an understatement. We’re pummeled on a daily basis by rules, regulations, laws, ATF compliance checks, mounds of paperwork, taxes and scores of gremlins that attack in the night. Conditions are extremely hostile for one man in a single shop to make ends meet and support a family of two, much less one with kids. Yet, the talent exists and the flame of desire still burns bright for young men and a few women who T enter the field. Full-service gunsmith schools like Montgomery Community College in Troy, N.C., Trinidad State Junior College in Trinidad, Colo., and Murray State College in Tishomingo, Okla., have fed these flames of desire and have been the firearm industry’s educational leaders for many years. These exceptional schools have honed the talents of the finest gunsmith students in the world. The cost of all education today is “through the roof” no matter what field of study you choose, but the high cost of education falls heavy on gunsmith students, who often come from a lower rung on the Are Gunsmiths Becoming Extinct socio economic ladder. Tuition is just one high cost, but when you add very expensive tooling, books and more the cost can be suffocating. Add to that apartment rent, fuel and groceries and the financial burden for many skilled students can be daunting, stressful, even overwhelming. This is where the American Pistolsmiths Guild will step up to the plate with a new, unique, “business-proven” scholarship program designed to help top-notch gunsmith students financially and professionally. Guild scholarship winner Dennis Chi at his bench. One of the new breed of young, innovative gunsmiths coming onto the scene. ? CaSh T he Guild is offering $500 scholarships to students in the final hours of their course of study and to the top 10 percent of their class. Eligible students fill out an application available as a download from the APG website and submit it along with recommendation letters from at least two professors, along with a transcript showing grades with grade point average and completed hours of study. If the student is selected he or she will receive a check for $500 with “no strings attached.” The scholar can spend the money on anything he chooses including fuel for his car, apartment rent, gunsmith tools, groceries or anything else important for his staying in school. He will also be added to the rolls of the American Pistolsmiths Guild as a “student member” to pique his interest in becoming a full-member upon graduation. The student will have access to Guild members who will stand by to give advice and possibly job opportunities when the education is complete. We hope the firearms industry will rally behind this future-oriented scholarship program, and help establish it as a nucleus program with their money and support. Frank and Pete Brownell of Brownells have stepped up to the plate with matching funds for every $500 donated by others up to $4,000 per year. The Brownell family has been a leader in the gunsmithing supply and firearms industry for well over 50 years, and this generous support for the Guild’s gunsmith scholarship program is greatly appreciated. Donations from other industry giants, hopefully as an annual amount in $500 increments will be greatly appreciated, as will amounts in “any” denomination from individuals. Your donations may be sent to Scott Mulkerin, 3775 Foskett Road, Medina, OH, 44256. Scott will place scholarship money into a special account from which checks to students will be written. On behalf of Ten-Ring Precision I have kicked off this industry-leading program with a $1,000 donation. FirsT Winner T he first recipient of a Guild scholarship is a student I met at the Brownells DeMoines, IA Job Fair in May 2010. This fine young man, Dennis Chi, is in his final semester at Trinidad State Junior College, one of the oldest and finest full-course gunsmith schools in the US. Dennis presented himself at the Job Fair in a very mature manner. He was well dressed, clean cut and appeared to be a goal-oriented person. Credentials for this former US Army Cavalry E-4 Scout Specialist were simply stunning, which included glowing letters of recommendation from two professors, Dave Nolan and John McLaughlin, and a verbal recommendation from another, Mike Watkins, putting Dennis at the top of the list for receipt of the first Guild scholarship. Please, let’s all get on board and be a part of educating quality gunsmiths for the future. * 44 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER2010