History of Gunsmiths

Posted by RailScales on Aug 29th 2020

History of Gunsmiths

It would make sense that with the advent of gunpowder and firearms that someone would be needed in order to manufacture, care for, and repair them. Thus, the trade of gunsmithing was born, and it continues going strong to this very day.

RailScales offers the best rail covers in the industry. Made with our G10 fiberglass laminate, which is one of the gouthest glass fiber resin laminates on the market today, our hand stops are super thin and textured, yielding a superior grip and heat protection. Coming in a variety of sizes and colors, you are sure to find one for your firearm of choice, from a Springfield 1911 to an AR15. Below, we'll take a brief look at the history of gunsmithing. Visit our online store, and buy your vertical grips today!


Gunpowder was invented accidentally by the Chinese in 904 AD (for a brief look at the history of gunpowder, click here). This technology could not be kept a secret as much as China wished it to be, and it slowly made its way throughout the Middle East and into Europe. Fire lances followed, which slowly evolved into what we think of as a firearm. No one is sure when guns were invented, but the first depiction of one is from the 12th century in China. The technology followed the infamous Silk Road, making its way to the Middle East in the late 13th century and early 14th century. Italian craftsmen made the first gun barrels, prompting the need for those skilled in the manufacturing of firearms to take root.

The trade and craft of gunsmithing began slowly, as it was so new. Many national governments bought and stored firearms for use in their wars, and gunsmiths sprang up around these. In the Middle Ages, a craftsman had to be a member of a guild in order to be legitimized and to receive customers. However, because gunsmithing was so new, none existed. Thus, gunsmiths joined the next closest guild, blacksmiths, who worked with armor and metal.

Since firearms were so new, there wasn't exactly a manual to read on how to make one, repair one, or even use one. Thus, early gunsmiths were on their own, toiling many hours and making countless mistakes until they got it right. In the early days, it took up to 400 hours to make one gun. Knowledge of many different fields was required, such as woodworking, metal working, and the new technology of gunpowder. Apprentice gunsmiths spent years learning the craft as well.

Finally, in the mid- to late-1400s, gunsmith guilds began to form as individuals began to acquire firearms and need work done on them. Most of the gunsmiths were on continental Europe, which left England out of the picture. Realizing England was behind in firearm technology, King Henry VIII invited leading gunsmiths from Europe to live and work in London in the 1500s, particularly near the Tower of London, which is where Britain stockpiled its weapons.


Being entrepreneurial in spirit, Americans took the rifle and ran with it, inventing the long rifle. The long rifle was a firearm with a long barrel that made it easier to shoot prey that was running fast, which would have been deer and bear in North America. This allowed pioneers to survive while settling the West. It used less black powder than other rifles, and it served the needs of colonial America better. Handguns were largely imported from Britain.

Gunsmiths made a great living while the Wild West was being settled. Pioneers needed weapons, which they were more than happy to provide, to hunt game and provide personal protection. Gunsmiths supplied the guns, the ammo, and the repairs needed. When the Civil War hit, demand skyrocketed.


With the Industrial Revolution, the manufacturing of guns became much easier, and soon firearms began to be mass produced. Still, the demand for high-quality, handmade guns and customized weaponry never waned. Gunsmiths today prosper just like in the days of old, creating beautiful firearms for their customers that will last for years.


RailScales also offers a customized solution for our customers as well with our hand stops. The best in the industry, our rail covers were born out of the need for high-quality vertical grips to help with heat buildup from firing and with grip, especially in inclement weather. If you've ever tried to shoot with a wet firearm, you understand how hard this can be.

Our rail covers allow for ultimate customization, as you can place them on different spots on your firearm, and they come in different colors as well. The fit is tight, using screws rather than clip-ons, and they are easy to install. These grips are even great for kids who have smaller hands. The last thing you want to be doing is aiming to shoot, either a practice target or while hunting and your hand to be too hot or your grip to slip, and you miss the shot.

If you're looking for improved accuracy and overall comfort, as well as style, you can't go wrong with RailScales' rail covers and hand stops. We offer military, first responder, and medical personnel discounts as a thank you for your service. If you are looking for a superb hand stop, such as our CNC-machined Karve, or a premium rail cover such as our RailScales in MLOK, visit us online, and buy today!