If you have ever thought about turning your firearms hobby into a money-making venture this is the post for you. Everyday people take their hobbies and turn them into businesses. In this article, we will talk about five ways you can turn your hobby into money.
Firearms and money making may sound like a dirty combo for some people but it is no different than any other hobby. It’s no different than people who like cars, toys, or any other collection. The only difference is to make sure you follow local, state, and federal laws when doing anything with firearms.
They say that those who can’t do, teach. Well I am here to tell you that is not the case. Some of the best teachers in the firearms world are also some of the best shooters.
Think of Gunsite and its founder Jeff Cooper who is considered the godfather of the modern pistol technique. He has built a training school that has lasted over three decades and is widely regarded as one of the premiere firearms training facilities in the world.
Many people want to learn how to use a firearm properly, and many states require people to take a firearms safety course for a purchase or to have a concealed-carry permit.
The only exception to this rule, is if you’re a member of the military. In most states, you can submit a M9 qualification card to your local county sheriff’s office in place of a safety course.
You’ll still have to pay a fee; however, most counties will add a discount due to you being a military member. You will have to provide legitimate identification to prove your status as a military member, so don’t try to forge one.
Many places require you to be a certified NRA instructor. The National Rifle Association has been able to provide education and training in the safe and proper use of firearms.
Knowing how to shoot is an important requirement for NRA instructors, but you will also need to know how to teach others to shoot. NRA Instructor Training Courses help you develop the additional knowledge, skills and techniques needed to organize and teach courses in the NRA Basic Firearm Training Program.
If you want to qualify as an NRA Instructor there are a few requirements.
According to the NRA website:
Candidates must possess and demonstrate a solid background in firearm safety and shooting skills acquired through previous firearm training and/or previous shooting experience. Instructor candidates must be intimately familiar with each action type in the discipline they wish to be certified.
Candidates will be required to demonstrate solid and safe firearm handling skills required to be successful during an instructor training course by completing pre-course questionnaires and qualification exercises administered by the NRA Appointed Training Counselor.
Candidates must satisfactorily complete an NRA Instructor Training Course in the discipline they wish to teach (e.g., NRA Basic Pistol Course), and receive the endorsement of the NRA Training Counselor conducting that training.the NRA
Another NRA certified instructor who in-turn certifies you through the NRA does all of this training. In some states, your name can go on a firearms instructor list and you can teach state-approved concealed carry, hunter safety, and other firearms classes.
Having your name “legitimized” through these lists goes a long way in helping you make a name for yourself. If you are already running a blog or vlog, that exposure can also drive customers to your door.
Renting and Selling Firearms
When I talk about renting, I am not talking about renting your guns out like they are cars so that just anyone can use them. I am talking about renting out special types of firearms. These are prop firearms that shoot blanks.
Thanks to the Internet, everyone wants to be a film maker. Prop firearms are one of the hardest things for people to understand as there are still regulations for owning such firearms.
Buying and selling firearms is about as easy as buying and selling organs. It’s illegal if you don’t file the proper paperwork or follow the law. While the rules for getting them are not overly complicated, the process can be long and expensive.
Buying and Selling firearms can be as simple as a home-based business to a large store with rotating inventory. Every state and municipality has laws for buying and selling of firearms.
Swap meets, gun shows, and even Internet boards can help you buy and sell firearms legally. If you want to get into the business of buying, selling, or renting firearms your first step is to get a Federal Firearms License or FFL.
How to Become a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL)
Once you have decided to make an application for a federal firearms license (commonly referred to as an FFL) you would need to send the completed application to the ATF. The application must be accompanied by the proper application fee, which you can pay by check, credit card or money order.
Once the application fee is processed, the FFLC will enter your application information into its database and commence a full review of your application and supporting materials, including fingerprint card(s) and photograph(s).
The FFLC will review the fingerprint card(s) you submitted for clarity and, as required by law, will then conduct an electronic background check on all the “responsible persons” you have identified on your application.
The ATF defines a responsible person as “a sole proprietor, partner, or anyone having the power to direct the management, policies, and practices of the business as it pertains to firearms. In a corporation, this includes corporate officers, shareholders, board members, or any other employee with the legal authority described above.”
The FFLC will then send applications for new licenses to the nearest ATF field office having responsibility for the area in which your business is located. The field office supervisor will issue an assignment to an Industry Operations Investigator (IOI) who will conduct an in-person interview with you.
The IOI will discuss Federal and State and local requirements with you and go over your application with you to ensure the information is correct and current. The IOI will then prepare a report of his/her interview, the inspection, and make a recommendation to either issue you the license or deny the application.
Some reasons for denial may include failure to comply with State or local law (such as zoning ordinances), evidence of previous willful violations of the Gun Control Act, or falsification of the application.
The field office supervisor will also review the report and then submit his/her recommendation to the FFLC. Assuming that all background checks have been completed and your business address and proposed business operations are in compliance with State and local law, the FFLC will complete the application processing and issue you the license.
This will take approximately 60 days from the time your application was first received and if the application you submitted was completely and correctly filled out.
The ATF recommends that Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL) take every precaution available to protect their firearms from theft or loss. This includes conducting periodic and thorough physical inventories and then reconciling the count to the book inventory. We highly recommend an annual inventory or its equivalent at a minimum.
As a firearms buyer or seller, the ATF puts a large burden on you to teach your customers proper firearms safety.
According to the ATF, purchasers of firearms inherit the significant responsibility of protecting themselves and the public from the theft or loss of their firearms. Firearms dealers have an opportunity to help purchasers by providing information and products that can help them with this responsibility.
Firearms dealers should insist on complete firearms safety. Also, demonstrating safe firearms handling including clearing and unloading procedures give customers the opportunity to learn these firearms safety procedures.
Federal law requires that firearms safety or locking devices be available for purchase and provided to anyone purchasing a firearm. Advising customers to take their firearms directly home rather than leave the firearms in their vehicle while taking care of other errands. Reminding customers that firearms should always be unloaded when being stored is another valuable piece of advice.
As an FFL holder, the burden for other people’s use or misuse of firearms may come back to you. It can be a wonderful job, but it is not for anyone who is not detail-oriented or thinks they are able to skirt the law to make a little side money.
Blogging involves a personal web log, in which a person would journal about their day. From “web log” came the term “blog.” Blogging has quickly become one of the most popular ways of communicating and spreading information and news. Now it is one of the most popular ways to share your ideas, thoughts, and reviews.
Not only can a blog be used for marketing your firearm hobby it can also be a home business in and of itself. If you are able to generate traffic and even sponsor a blog, it can be a good source of side income. Firearms blogs can be written about specific firearms, training, accessory reviews, and even interviews with leaders in the firearm industry.
So how do you start and make money from a blog? Setting up your blog is as easy as going to Blogger and starting a blog. Instructions on sites like Blogger are so easy even the least tech savvy people can create one.
One you have a blog, you have to create useful content. A blog is not a blog without content so once you’ve set your blog up you need to focus your attention upon creating useful content. What you choose to create will depend a little on the topic that you choose to write about even firearms have niche or targets groups that you can cater to.
The key with creating content is making it useful. Focus on creating content that changes people’s lives in some way will be the type of content that people will value the most and it will help people to feel like they know and trust you.
As you create the most useful content you can get caught up in a ‘build-it-and-they-will-come mentality” however this is not the best idea. Reader engagement helps you to keep readers coming back and growing your readership.
Videos / Vlogging
Social video sites like YouTube have given people the ability to express themselves in a whole new way – vlogging.
People can sit down in front of their video or web cameras and talk about anything, from gun reviews to gun safety videos. This gives users the ability to upload their videos to YouTube and share their opinions with the world.
While YouTube is not the most firearms-friendly site on the Internet, there have been many video channels made popular for this type of content. You can search YouTube by channel or content and find thousands of videos by companies and individuals who are sharing their firearms-related videos with the world.
But what is it exactly that makes some vloggers rise to the top while others fall by the wayside? If you have heard of “Nutnfancy” then you know what I mean. By using videos to make money through reviews and vlogs, some of the highest paid YouTubers are vloggers.
The personal connections through their videos help them to drive people to their site. If you can make videos that connect your love, knowledge, and information of firearms together like “Nutnfancy”, you can make money on YouTube.
YouTube vlogs are no longer simply hobbies or diversions. If you are serious about creating and marketing high-quality video posts for your small business on a regular basis, then you could start making money from the ads Google places on your videos.
Building your vlog’s reputation and viewership to the level where you are making serious money from Google’s revenue sharing will take time. Starting down this path, however, is as simple as creating a Google account for your YouTube vlog, creating an AdSense account to handle your payments and uploading your first vlog post to YouTube.
The first way you can make money vlogging is by allowing others to advertise on your YouTube channel’s content. You could do this by going out and finding your own advertising clients and landing contracts with them, but at times that can be difficult and time consuming.
As you grow your fan base and build a community around your YouTube channel, your viewers are going to get more and more interested in your brand. They’ll recognize your logo when they see it on videos, websites, and social media, and they’ll click to watch whenever they see your face, your brand colors, or your logo on a video link.
Once you’ve built a strong brand for your YouTube channel, you can start to make money as a vlogger by creating branded merchandise, wearing or using it in your vlogs, and selling it through an online store.
Not only is starting a companion blog a great way to strengthen your YouTube channel’s community (by providing them with even more content), but it’s also another way earn money on YouTube as a vlogger and on your own site as a blogger.
Once you have an AdSense account, you can actually monetize more than just your channel. Just like the AdSense ads on your channel, Google will match targeted ads for your audience with your blog, as well.
You can control where these are placed through the settings on your AdSense account, and your audience can enjoy reading a quality blog with relevant advertisements that they may be interested in.
There is no quick or easy way to make money with firearms. The amount of time, energy and resources you may have to put into a firearms-money-making venture may be overwhelming to some people. The firearms industry is still growing and there are plenty of ways to share your love of firearms with others all while making a little money.
Again, this is not the end-all be-all list of how to make money with firearms. With a little hustle and common sense, you can turn any hobby into a money-making side hustle or even full-fledged business. As long as you are creative and follow the laws you can find ways to make money with your love of firearms.
updated by Reaper on Sep 11th 2017
James C. spent four years as a Gunner’s Mate in the United States Navy. He served two tours to the Persian Gulf and played a role in the Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He has a Master’s Degree in Military History as well as an MBA. After leaving the Navy he married his wife, Krystal in Las Vegas and later joined the church in 2005. He and his wife have two daughters, Hannah and Emma.