As a campus for teaching gunsmithing, Black River Technical College is ideal. Because of the already exisiting programs and infrastructure, a gunsmithing program will make use of existing resources with very little additional need:
- existing machine tool,
- existing welding program,
- 1 of the 2 state law enforcement training academies.
Several LETA instructors already offer gun maintenance, care, safety, and instruction. In addition, BRTC has access to both a shooting range and a weapons vault.
Gunsmithing students at BRTC would have access to a police-quality shooting range whenever needed. This range allows for 20 shooters at one time, allows shooting up to 150 yards, and has concrete firing points every 25 yards.
The site has 2 buildings from which smiths can shoot as well as picnic tables covered by an awning where adjustments to guns can easily be made on-site. LETA has a brass collector which speeds up the cleanup of spent bullet cases and maintenance is performed routinely by inmates housed at the Randolph County jail located next-door.
Safe storage of all weapons is also already integrated at LETA. College and community officials can be assured that no weapons will be accessible while unsupervised. The weapons vault at LETA is double-locked, has excessively limited access, and utilizes installed security cameras to maintain protection.
Law Enforcement Professionals On-Site
Because LETA utilizes a large number of outside adjuncts who work in the field, law enforcement professionals from all facets of security are frequently, even daily, on-site at Black River Technical College. Professionals assist LETA from a wide variety of law enforcement agencies include those from the following:
- Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Bureau,
- Arkansas Highway Police,
- Arkansas State Police, and
Wildlife officers, constables, police chiefs and other ranks, SWAT and bomb team members, ex-military professionals, and other security officials are also utilized as adjuncts and guest lecturers. Each of these agencies and professionals have specialized knowledge of gunsmithing, handling, problems, and safety which would be invaluable to the gunsmithing student.
Machining skills are essential to gunsmithing. Machining ability and knowledge is central to gun part manufacture, gun building, scope drilling, barrel-making, modify existing gun barrels, installing slides, modifying pistol frames, and more.
Gunsmiths routinely use drills and lathes, both manual and CNC-controlled, in their every day work. These skills are precisely the skills taught in machine tool technology.
Types of Machines at BRTC
BRTC machine tool technology already has the following machines essential to gunsmithing:
- manual lathes,
- manual end-mills,
- chevalier surface grinders,
- HAAS VF1 and VF2 CNC mills, and
- HAAS CCN lathe.
Quality of BRTC’s Machines
BRTC utilizes state of the art equipment which is standard in the business. The HAAS machines are the current industry standard used by many machining industries in and around Northeast Arkansas.
Welding skills are also essential to good gunsmiths. In particular, TIG welding is “especially helpful in making a difficult repair when the parts are very small and thin.” TIG is important for repairing, fabricating, and manufacturing gun parts. In addition, welding skills are useful in allowing gunsmiths to custom make their own gunsmithing tools which they will use later on.
BRTC’s machine tool instructor and welding instructor both teach TIG welding.
Other classes offered by BRTC are also very important to gunsmithing students. Such classes will help students be more successful in their career, especially if they decide to be a future business owner or work parttime for themselves.
- Business classes
- Accounting and spreadsheets classes
- Technical math
- Career Communications
- U.S. government