An armorer or armourer (see spelling differences) was in former times a smith who specialized in manufacturing and repairing arms and armour. In modern usage, the word may also designate a member of a modern military or police force who maintains and repairs small arms, and weapons systems, with some duties resembling those of a civilian gunsmith.

With the renewed interest in traditional armour and weaponry in modern times, the profession also involves suppliers for historical and reenactment societies, period costumes, and reproduction armor, swords, and related equipment used in film, stage, and recreational activities.


Within the British Royal Air Force (RAF), armourers are considered the most specialized of any trade. After spending an initial phase of generic training at RAF Halton with the majority other non commissioned trainees they transfer to DCAE Cosford for their trade specific training. Once qualified they can find themselves employed on a wide variety of tasks including non trade specific jobs such as the flight line servicing of aircraft. As well as sweeping bomb dumps, painting boxes,various other shit jobs, prepping, maintaining and loading aircraft bombs, missiles and aircraft assisted escape systems they are also responsible for the maintenance of explosive release systems and small arms within station armouries like the L85A2 (SA80), 9mm Browning pistol and the GPMG (General Purpose Machine Gun). Armourers can also volunteer to specialize in Explosive Ordnance Disposal and are often employed on the front line of conflicts clearing airfields form any unexploded ordnance (UXO). They can also work alongside their army equivalents the Ammunition Technician or ATO helping to deal with Improvised explosive devices . The founder of the RAF Lord Trenchard held the armourer in high esteem and was quoted saying "The armourer, without him there is no need for an airforce".

Irish Army

Irish Army armourers are called Artificers. They are part of the Ordnance Corps and are trained to maintain all types of weapon. Individual soldiers are responsible for daily cleaning etc, but the artificer (known as "tiffies") maintains mechanisms, sights etc. Weapons which do not pass the Artificers inspection are withdrawn from service. Artificer ranks are the same as most branches of the army; Private, Corporal etc.

Chemical Warfare

In a response to the disastrous unloading of the Idomeneus ship in January 1943 - where a wharf labourer died and many other were badly gassed by mustard gas leaking from a drum - the Royal Australian Air Force created a specialist unit, the Chemical Warfare Armourers. Their role was to handle, maintain and move upwards of 1,000,000 chemical weapons imported into Australia to counter a possible Japanese threat - Chemical Warfare in Australia

United States Military

The title "armorer" was formerly part of several Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) designations across the services. Even where the title has disappeared, those with duties similar to those of earlier armorers are often referred to as such. See for further information on armorers and their craft.

Obsolete "Armorer" MOS classifications

Notable armourers

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