California native finds new home, launches new career in Kingsport

Katina Rose • May 7, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Keith Nichols, owner of Stryker Gunsmithing, has enjoyed working on firearms since his youth and now offers his professional gunsmithing services in Kingsport.

Growing up around his family’s ranch in southern California, Keith always had old guns that needed work. From an early age, he was picking them up and taking them apart to make repairs. When Keith was a teenager, he wanted to be a sheriff’s deputy. He volunteered at a local training center for officers and at the age of 17 was working on the guns used at the facility.

Keith’s career was in construction for 30 years in the Los Angeles area, where he owned his own construction company. A few years ago, he was seeking new career challenges and, since he enjoyed working on guns as a side business and hobby, he began thinking about changing his full-time occupation from construction to gunsmithing. It was around this same time that the Nichols decided to move away from the LA area and look for a new place to call home.

“We were looking for an area that had four mild seasons, lower taxes and a sense of community. In the fall of 2013, we began that search. We started in Knoxville and made our way to Kingsport. On that first trip to Kingsport, we visited the downtown area, talked to people in the chamber office and ended up staying for the Oktoberfest festival that was taking place that weekend. We felt an immediate connection to Kingsport and began planning our move here,” said Keith.

Keith saw there was a need for a gunsmith in the area and opened Stryker Gunsmithing in April 2015. Business has continually increased since opening and he recentOffly expanded his space.

“I enjoy meeting people from all over the Tri-Cities area and have discovered that a lot of my customers moved to Kingsport for the same reasons we did,” said Keith. “Some of the more common services I perform are replacing parts, customizing and building guns. Another popular service is threading barrels for chokes on shotguns. I work on all types of firearms except for class 3 guns. I enjoy what I do and using my years of experience with firearms to get customers’ guns ready for hunting and shooting sports.”

Keith is a fully licensed and certified Gunsmith and holds a Federal Firearms License (FFL). He is a member of the National Rifle Association, American Gunsmithing Association, Cherokee Rod and Gun Club, Wilderness Road Shooting & Conservation Club and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

He welcomes people to walk in, but encourages appointment times. His hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, and on Saturday by appointment only.

Stryker Gunsmithing is located at 2002 Brookside Lane, Unit B, Kingsport. Contact him at 423-440-6394, by email at keith@strykergunsmithing.com, or visit his website at www.strykergunsmithing.com. Follow the business on Facebook at StrykerGunsmithing.