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Conversations with Chris Walden

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Walden.

Chris, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Well, we got our start in late 2012. I am a gun enthusiast that really digs deep into the tools that are firearms.

I was tired of walking into your run-of-the-mill gunshop to buy guns or accessories and getting talked down to or worst yet, watching someone talk down to my wife who I take gun shopping from time to time.

So we got our Federal Firearms License (FFL) and started doing gun shows back in early 2013 when it was slightly profitable. We sold a lot of guns and met a lot of interesting people and then in 2014 gun shows kind of came to a kind of grinding halt so to speak. That’s when I decided to start gunsmithing. Sure I had done plenty of it on my own firearms and the occasional friend’s firearm but nothing commercially or what I would consider a “Professional” level.

I stepped out slow at first, being a long-time mechanic, with backgrounds in automotive, heavy diesel, motorcycle, and even aviation, my background was diverse enough that I knew where my limits were and never spoiled a gun. As the years went by, I began to seek apprenticeships and formal education in the art that is Gunsmithing. Fast forward to 2018, I received my first Certification as a gunsmith.

It was off and running then. I have since achieved several other certifications and experience while I ran a small machine shop and gunsmithing operation out of my 2 car garage in Rincon.

We have finally, after 10 long years, been able to purchase another business, Thunderbolt Guns, and move into a retail storefront location where we sell new and used guns, ammo, and accessories as well as offer full-service gunsmithing and machine work.

We started operations at the new location on March 15th and could not be more excited. The community seems to be responding very well to the level of customer service we bring to the game.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Yeah right. A business partner that we originally started the company within 2012 ended up not being such a good business partner. we had to buy them out at the infancy stages of our company. That really set us back.

– Having to learn all the tax laws surrounding what we did because we could not afford an accountant.

– Having to figure out the ins and outs of the firearms business without any mentorship and help from fellow industry members.

– Had to make the difficult decision to leave my job at Gulfstream in 2021 to run our firearms business full time because we were just that busy.

– Watching my family struggle with me to make ends meet.

– The sacrifices we have made as a family-like spending extra time away from my bride of 13 years and our three wonderful children.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a fully licensed certified and insured Gunsmith.

I repair firearms from antique all the way up to modern firearms. I perform warranty work for a variety of firearm manufacturers. Our level of customer service, quality of craftsmanship, and attention to detail we provide that not many can provide.

We offer full-service machining work and welding on firearms that no one else in the area provides.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Yeah, stock more guns and ammo.

Pricing:

  • Labor rate $80 per hour
  • $40 Bench Minimum
  • Barrel Threading $150
  • Field Strip and Clean firearm $40
  • Detailed Firearm Clean $100 and up

Contact Info:

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