How Guns Work (Design & Function Lab at CST) with Jeff Evans

Previously, we toured the Colorado School of Trades and took a look at their curriculum. This time, Jeff Evans from CST walks us through the Design and Function lab.


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About Jeff Evans

Jeff has been interested in firearms from a young age and spent some time working in customer service in the gun industry until he discovered one of the best gunsmithing schools in the country was in his backyard. After a few years of planning, he attended the Colorado School of Trades and started working with a well-known Denver gunsmith before moving to other shops. When the school changed ownership, Jeff reached out and is now running the Design and Function section. 

About the Design and Function Course

This program includes a classroom portion reviewing 30 to 40 different firearms systems.

Students not only learn about the systems, but about how they work, why they work the way they do, and special considerations. After time spent in the classroom, students get hands-on experience working on customer firearms. The Colorado School of Trades has a working repair shop that sees over 2,500 guns each year. Volunteers send their guns here for a reduced repair cost for students to work on and learn from. 

What gun goes to which student is really based on order of arrival: first in, first out, just like a typical shop. However, if there is a particular job that requires special care, instructors select students exceeding in the relevant areas. Instructors also step in to help if the students are really struggling.

Bluing Section

This approach prepares students for the uncertainty of working in a gun shop—you never know what will come through the door. It’s important to know that you have the knowledge to complete a job, even if you choose not to take on the project. 

Cerakote Gun

While all general gunsmithing skills fall into design and function, stock refinishing is one of the most lucrative. This includes bluing, Cerakote, and woodwork.

From Colorado School of Trades:

Students combine all of the skills that they have learned to clean, diagnose and repair firearms in the Design and Function section.  While the school operates one of the Largest Repair Facilities in the United States that is open to the public, students are exposed to repair scenarios that are as real world as can be achieved in a learning environment.  Students are faced with both modern and antique customer firearms that are in need or either repair or customization.

Once the student understands the operation of the firearm, they insure safe operation and will complete any customer requested repair or customization work.  This work can range from a simple cleaning, repair, complete restoration or a complex modification.  Students will grasp a working knowledge of firearm safety, machining, fixturing, firearm alteration, sight installation, troubleshooting, parts fitting and installation and firearm operation in the Design and Function section.


If you’re interested in attending the Colorado School of Trades, check out their website

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Gavin Gear

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