Gunsmithing 101, or, How to Pretend You're Clooney

In the new film The American (in theaters today), George Clooney is an undercover assassin who needs to construct a gun. Clooney always makes things look easy, but that's why he's Clooney and everyone else is, well, everyone else. Let's explore gunsmithing to see what he's so effortlessly pulling off.

The process of building a weapon is a fascinating and intimidating concept for some. But for others (Clooney), it's just how they roll. For fun, get yourself up to speed on the wonderful world of hand-held weaponry.


All Things Airgun

Airguns are rifles, pistols, or shotguns that fire metallic projectiles using pneumatic technology. In fact, airguns are the oldest known pneumatic technology with the oldest existing mechanical air gun dating back to about 1580.

This site is dedicated to airguns of all sorts and their maintenance, pellets, and technologies. You'll find reviews, tips, info on potato guns, and a lot of sexy gun pics.

And to prep for your next plinking excursion, pick up your airgun of choice from (where else?) the Airgun Depot.



How Stuff Works has a incredibly interesting guide to the history of gun manufacturing. The earliest hand-held guns were in essence very small cannons that had to be manually ignited. As weapons technologically advanced, so did their accuracy. Head here for a comprehensive history of things that go boom.


This Marshall Brain individual has compiled a series of videos to get you crafting your own weapons. From slingshots to a Gauss rifle, your weekends will be filled with propelling little metal objects in safe places, miles from any living thing.

Here's a step-by-step video demonstrating how to make a gun out of a toilet paper roll, a balloon, and some electrical tape with which to do some serious damage to the bottom of a soda can with a penny.


If you're looking to embellish your gun frame, barrels, magazines, floorplates, trigger guards, etc. with gold or silver animals, here are your instructions.

Maybe you want to keep all of your gun-building virtual. Well, here you can construct a customized rifle by dragging-and-dropping your muzzle brake, trigger, barrel, action, and stock.


Building your own nuclear weapon is not recommended and virtually impossible. But fascinating!


In contrast, building your own super soaker is highly recommended and relatively simple (if you are the What-am-I-gonna-do-with-all-this-PVC type).


Higher Education

Become a certified gunsmith at the American Gunsmithing Institute or just peruse the how-to videos which offer tips on Glocks, Optics, and something called "Cowboy Action." Fun fact: AGI is presided over by one Gene Kelly. Not that one. The gun one.


And you can also get your degree in gunsmithing and spend your life getting paid to assemble weapons. That's one industry that won't be slowing down anytime soon.

There you have it—and check out George Clooney's cache of hand-built weaponry in The American. For a sneak peak, watch the trailer below!

The American is in theaters now.


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