Colorado School of Trades Established in 1947 - Lakewood, CO
Student Bluing
Springfield Flag

Woodworking Scraper
Lathe Turning
 Larry Lathe

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation there are an estimated 423 million firearms in the United States, there will always be a need for a Gunsmith.

During the past seven and a half decades, the Colorado School of Trades has developed a unique hands-on system utilizing project oriented and customer provided training geared to educate individuals who wish to become accomplished Gunsmiths. The school prides itself on a personal approach that allows students to acquire job skills that will prepare them to enter the workforce as an Entry Level Gunsmith and begin a lifelong career in that field.

Just six short miles from downtown Denver, Colorado our 20,000 square foot facility can accommodate up to 160 students. New classes start the second Monday of each month and run for 14 months of continuous training.  We do not take traditional breaks such as Spring or Summer Breaks thus allowing a traditional 2 year program to only take 14 short months to complete. Class schedule is Monday through Thursday from 7AM – 3PM. All instruction is project and customer based. Using “Real Customer Projects” allows for the student to experience real world work situations that provide a basis for a learning experience.

Are you ready to start your journey to become a School Trained Gunsmith? Contact our Admission Staff at 303-233-4697 ext. 2.


Education at its core extends past curriculum to encompass the community the program creates. For us, that means fostering a sense of community that extends to our student family, our local community in Lakewood, through to our national Alumni network. This commitment to a strong sense of community sets our graduates up for placement success and creates a life-long family of gunsmithing excellence.  Each Thanksgiving and Christmas Colorado School of Trades hosts potluck dinners for Students and their families.  Through out the year Colorado School of Trades also hosts annual barbecues for many holidays.

Our History

The Colorado School of Trades was founded in 1947 by John J. Snyder, with its first class beginning in July of that year. During the late 1940’s and 1950’s, the School offered numerous programs but was primarily a School training students in the Artisan Craft of Gunsmithing. By the end of the 1950’s the School had ceased offering all programs but Gunsmithing. In early 1992, the School converted the Gunsmithing Program from a Certificate Program to an Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) Degree in Gunsmithing, making a rare Program even more unique. Beginning in 1992 the School briefly offered a Farrier Science Program, but yet again in 2007 the School’s only focus returned to Gunsmithing. The School has been in the same location since the early 1970’s.

Colorado School of Trades operated under the guidance of the Snyder family directed by both John J. Snyder and later by his son John T. Snyder until 1990, when the school was purchased from the Snyder Family Trust by Sawtooth, Inc. From 1990 to 2018 Robert E. Martin served as President of Sawtooth, Inc. With his passing in early 2018, Jean B. Martin served as President of Sawtooth, Inc. until 2021, when the school was purchased by Secondright, Inc.  Ryan E. Lishner serves as President of Secondright, Inc.  Mr. Lishner graduated from the program in 2006, and has fulfilled many roles here at the school.  Mr. Lishner continues the family influenced guidance the student community has come to know over the last seven decades.

Dial Caliper
Revolver Barrel
Student Checkering
Student Mill
Nitre Blue Glock
Students Cerakote

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