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Colorado School of Trades Established in 1947 - Lakewood, CO

Colorado School of Trades takes great pride in the commitment of the education, graduation, and placement of quality entry-level gunsmiths.

Student Bluing
Springfield Flag
Woodworking Scraper
Lathe Turning
 Nick & Student

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. The Colorado School of Trades is a world-class gunsmithing school in Denver, Colorado. As the Nation’s Largest Gunsmithing School, our vocational training program imparts the skills necessary for you to become an Entry-Level Gunsmith with an Associate of Occupational Studies Degree in Gunsmithing.

During the past seven and a half decades, the Colorado School of Trades in Lakewood 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 8AM – 4PM. Due to COVID-19 Restrictions, we currently are running two schedules.  Monday through Friday, either 6AM-12PM or 2PM-8PM.  We hope to get back to our traditional schedule very soon.  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. 11.


The community in our gunsmithing school in Denver extends past curriculum to encompass the people the program brings together. 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.  Throughout 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. Our gunsmithing school’s denver campus 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 now serves as President of Sawtooth, Inc. Mrs. Martin continues the family influenced guidance the student community has come to know over the last seven decades.

Dial Caliper
PJ Helping Student
Student Checkering
Student Mill
Nitre Blue Glock

Students CerakoteRequest


CST has developed a system based on hands-on, project oriented, customer provided training that has been honed over the last 70 years. The school prides itself on a personal approach that allows a reasonably diligent student to acquire job skills that will prepare them to enter the work force as an entry level gunsmith and begin a lifelong career in the field.

The Colorado School of Trades offers a nationally accredited Gunsmithing course. The School of Trades has developed a unique hands-on system utilizing project oriented and customer provided training that has been honed for nearly 75 years. The school prides itself on a personal approach that allows students to acquire job skills that will prepare them to enter the work-force as an entry level Gunsmith and begin a lifelong career in the field.

In our 20,000 square foot industry simulated facility, Colorado School of Trades can accommodate up to 160 students with new classes beginning on the second Monday each month. This allows for individual class sizes to remain small, putting more focus on student and instructor interaction. All instruction is project and customer based. Using “Real Customer Projects” allows for students to experience many real world work situations under instructor supervision.

Students are offered additional courses throughout the duration of the course. Armorer’s Courses consist of representative from various companies visiting Colorado School of Trades to pass along information regarding certain platforms. These Armorer’s Courses usually carry additional costs that are determined by those putting on the course. Presenting companies may include but are not limited to; Beretta, Glock, Sig Sauer, and Smith & Wesson. Cerakote also provides a free course to all students at the school once a year to supply students with the knowledge and application of their product.

Total cost to attend Colorado School of Trades is approximately $28,950. Tuition cost for our program is $24,300. There are additional costs including approximately $4,500 of tools and materials necessary to complete the program, including all aspects of the bolt action project rifle, as well as a $150 supplemental accident insurance policy. For more information regarding the application process and the program please contact Admissions at 303-233-4697 ext. 11.

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