A while ago I received an email from a reader that was retired and wanted to venture down a new career path. He wanted to be sure that his choice of careers would be valuable after the disaster, whatever that may be. He asked me about gunsmith and at first glance that might seem like a logical choice. Ill cover a few that I think would have value then Ill go back a revisit the gunsmith trade.
1. In my opinion number one would be medical training. Not a specialist like a brain surgeon, I mean something more like a Nurse or EMT. Those trades are more suited to trauma and immediately saving lives. You have to look back at your priorities when picking a trade, and maintaining life and health, is numero uno for survival. After developing those skills it would be handy to have the ability to use natural remedies and herbs for healing and wound treatment as well. A person with this kind of training would be of the greatest value to the rebuilding of society or to the lone colony that is putting things back together while building a new life.
2. Along with the medical side I think that a dentist would also be highly prized when rebuilding a semblance of what we used to take for granted. Think about the old west shows, a rough tough cow boy can be turned into a little boy by an infected tooth.
3. Producers of food. It took the world many years before we perfected the trade of farming, It started with wanderers gathering seed and spreading them around as they migrated so they would have a reliable and familiar food source as they moved. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. To have to relearn that skill without even having the basic knowledge of flora and fauna that fed the ancient wanderers would equal starvation. --Try this-- take some seed of your favorite fruits and vegetable, roll a few into a ball of mud and let them harden. Next time you are out and about toss the little mud balls out into areas that look suitable for growth. In time you will be producing food all over the place that you will be able to recognize and gather if you have to move out or live on the streets for a while. It is a form of guerrilla gardening that takes almost no effort to do and the gain could be enormous if times get tough.
4. Security specialist. As you move up Maslows heirachy of needs farther than the immediate physical needs you progress into security needs. Men and women with a security background have a tendency to not only notice but counter security risks that would otherwise go unnoticed. If you have ever watched some of those after disaster reality shows, it seems that those fools can make anything they need in time. Unfortunately they don't usually have any ability to organize people and priorities well enough to keep it. Police, Military are well suited to this role and would likely be a highly prized asset to any community. Likewise they can teach the "colony" how to defend themselves physically if the need arises and since most would have a good understanding of the effectiveness of different weapon systems, they could design a defense program that works but does not suck up all the resources to be effective.
5. Psychological professional. The toll that this kind of stress would play on families and individuals is immeasurable. Having a counselor or a chaplain, priest, psychologist would be a great asset to any community suffering post apocalyptic conditions. It is the cheapest investment that can be made in people. Sometimes people just need to get it off their chest and talk to someone. Everyone may be experiencing the same traumatic circumstances but not everyone can process it and get past it without help. Without help it can tear apart the structure before you ever get it reestablished.
Those are just my opinions and of course 100 people will have 100 different skills on their top 5. Perhaps you may think differently, that does not make either of us wrong, it makes us unique and that is how society would be rebuilt, by unique individuals with different experiences that come together for a common goal.
As for the gunsmith role, kind of seems a little limited after looking at the above list. And for that matter I would bet that if you only had one gun you would find a way to make it work before you dropped it off to be fixed, again, just my opinion.
Think about this and plan for the future, when it happens it is too late to get organized so you better have a skill that is worth something or you may just fail to survive the event. Remember, Survival is not mandatory!