Is Ordnance And Accessories A Good Career Path
Career Advice

Is Ordnance And Accessories A Good Career Path In 2024

You may be considering a career in the ordnance and accessories field in 2024 but are unsure if it’s a good path for you. 

With military spending on the rise and new technologies constantly emerging, this industry has plenty of opportunities and some challenges to consider. 

This article will comprehensively overview ordnance and accessories careers to determine if they match your skills and interests.

What Is Ordnance And Accessories?

Ordnance refers to military weapons and ammunition. The ordnance and accessories field covers everything involved in the design, development, testing, manufacturing, handling, storage, and disposal of weapons and munitions. 

Professionals in this industry work on conventional weapons like guns, artillery, and bombs.

They also handle more advanced systems like missiles, drones, and laser/energy weapons.

Accessories refer to the components and attachments used with ordnance, like scopes, triggers, rails, stocks, grips, magazines, mounts, sights, etc. 

Professionals may focus on designing, engineering, prototyping, manufacturing, or sourcing these accessories.

The ordnance and accessories industry serves military and defense organizations around the world. 

Major customers include arms of the U.S. military, foreign militaries, law enforcement agencies, private security contractors, and hunting/sporting companies.

Is Ordnance And Accessories A Good Career Path In 2023

To determine if the ordnance and accessories field is a good career path to delve into, you must weigh the sector’s benefits, drawbacks, and general overlook. 

The Pros Of An Ordnance And Accessories Career

Working in the ordnance and accessories field offers some unique advantages that may appeal to you, including:

  • Technical complexity – The field involves intricate, leading-edge technologies that provide constant intellectual stimulation and challenge.
  • Rapid innovation – Ordnance technology evolves quickly, allowing you to constantly work with novel innovations.
  • Specialized expertise – You can gain highly valued skills and knowledge in advanced engineering, ballistics, explosives, military systems, etc.
  • National security mission – Your work directly supports the defense capabilities of your nation and allies, which provides purpose and pride.
  • Funding security – Robust, long-term military budgets provide job stability and continuity in the ordnance sector.
  • High salaries – Strong demand and specialized skills translate to above-average compensation, especially with defense contractors.
  • Transferable abilities – Your mix of technical, problem-solving, management, and customer service skills are valuable across many industries.

The Cons To Consider

However, there are also some potential drawbacks to evaluate:

  • Ethical concerns – Some have moral objections to directly supporting weapons development and warfare capabilities.
  • Work hazards – Ordnance testing and manufacturing carry inherent dangers like noise, chemicals, explosives, machinery, etc.
  • Physical demands – Some field service and production roles involve physically strenuous work.
  • Client constraints – Tight military budgets, requirements, and bureaucracies can hamper innovation and creativity.
  • Geo-political shifts – Program funding and job stability are influenced by unpredictable factors like elections, conflicts, treaties, etc.
  • Cyclical volatility – Defense spending tends to follow boom-and-bust cycles, leading to hiring surges and layoffs.
  • Relocation needs – You may need to move near key government/contractor hubs or remote testing facilities to access jobs.
  • Security limitations – Obtaining these roles’ security clearances can be challenging and invasive.

Questions To Consider

As you weigh a career in ordnance and accessories, here are some helpful reflections:

  • Does working directly on weapons conflict with my ethics or values?
  • Am I comfortable working extensively with military clients and cultures?
  • Which specific field – design, engineering, testing, manufacturing, etc. – best matches my skills and interests?
  • Do I prefer developing new technologies or producing existing ordnance systems?
  • Am I willing to get specialized training and security clearances for this field?
  • What locations offer the best mix of job options and quality of life for my family?
  • Will I feel fulfilled supporting national defense, or would a civilian industry career be more satisfying?

Key Career Paths in the Ordnance And Accessories Field

There are many potential career paths within the broad ordnance and accessories field. Here are some of the most common:

  • Weapon Systems Designer: Designs complete weapons systems and platforms, including warships, aircraft, tanks, missiles, and artillery. Must have strong engineering skills.
  • Ballistics Engineer: Focuses on the flight path, impact, and penetration of projectiles like bullets and artillery shells. Conducts extensive field testing.
  • Fire Control Specialist: Works on fire control systems that aim and guide weapons toward targets, such as radar and electro-optical systems.
  • Test Engineer: Plans and conducts tests on ordnance, accessories, and full weapons systems to evaluate performance and safety.
  • Production/Manufacturing Engineer: Oversees ordnance production processes, machinery, scheduling, quality control, and cost management.
  • Ordnance Developer: Researches and develops new types of ordnance technology, such as advanced propellants, explosives, and pyrotechnics.
  • Accessories Designer: Designs and engineers ordnance accessories like optics, stocks, rails, triggers, and magazines.
  • Program Manager: Leads teams and oversees major ordnance development and production programs.
  • Field Service Representative: Provides technical assistance, maintenance services, and product training to military units in the field.
  • Quality Assurance Specialist: Develops and implements quality control procedures for ordnance manufacturing.

Key Skills And Education

You need specialized technical skills and military/defense industry knowledge to succeed in ordnance and accessories careers. Here are some key requirements:

  • Engineering expertise includes mechanical, aerospace, electrical, systems, and/or industrial engineering. This provides core skills for design, testing, manufacturing, and integration roles.
  • Scientific knowledge like physics, chemistry, ballistics, aerodynamics, and material science. This supports technical design, research, and testing work.
  • Math and analytical abilities, including calculus, statistics, modeling, and simulations. Essential for engineering calculations and analysis.
  • Military/defense acquisitions training. Defense contracting has unique protocols, standards, and regulations. This knowledge helps manage programs and requirements.
  • Technical writing and verbal skills. You need to produce detailed reports and specifications and liaise effectively with clients.
  • IT/software abilities. Tools like CAD, modeling, data analysis, and ERP software are widely used.
  • Hands-on/mechanical skills. Testing, maintenance, manufacturing, and training roles involve working directly with ordnance systems. 

A bachelor’s degree in engineering or physical science is the minimum education for most ordnance and accessories jobs. 

More advanced roles require a relevant master’s degree or Ph.D. Ongoing education in new technologies is also essential.

The ordnance and accessories industry evolves constantly in response to new technologies, geopolitical factors, and military needs. 

Here are some key trends shaping the field in 2023 that you should be aware of:

  • Increased R&D spending – Military R&D budgets are expanding to develop new ordnance capabilities like hypersonic missiles, directed energy weapons, and autonomous systems. This is creating new R&D job opportunities.
  • Lightweighting – There is growing demand to reduce ordnance weight to improve mobility, logistics, and efficiency. Engineers use more lightweight composites, alloys, polymers, and manufacturing methods.
  • Power generation – Onboard power generation advances allow for more powerful sensors, data links, and weapons on platforms like aircraft and armored vehicles. This is spurring demand for integrated power systems.
  • Modularity and interoperability – Modular, open-architecture designs allow for tailoring and upgrading capabilities. There is also a push for increased interoperability between allied/coalition forces.
  • Modeling and simulation – Expanding the use of virtual modeling and simulation improves ordnance design, reduces testing needs, and aids training. This requires software proficiency.
  • Cybersecurity – Cybersecurity is crucial with ordnance systems becoming more networked and digital. Expect strong demand for security engineers and analysts.
  • Sustainability – Environmental factors like waste, hazardous materials, and emissions influence ordnance design and manufacturing. Sustainability expertise is increasingly valued.

The Outlook For 2023 And Beyond

As military rivalry with China heats up, and new technology reshapes warfare, most experts forecast healthy growth, demand, and budgets for the ordnance sector in 2023 and beyond. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also highlighted the need for continued ordnance innovation and manufacturing capabilities.

While the long-term forecast is strong, year-to-year federal budget squabbles could slow new program starts and hiring in 2023 until funding is finalized.

 Some analysts also caution that rising inflation, interest rates, and debt levels may eventually limit public spending.

Nevertheless, with your specialized skills, you should enjoy abundant job options and career development potential in ordnance and accessories in 2023. 

This industry offers the chance to work at technology’s cutting edge while helping equip your nation’s military for the 21st century.


Ordnance and accessories careers remain a strong option in 2023, offering you stimulating technical challenges, abundant funding, and the chance to safeguard national security with your specialized skills. 

However, the field also has moral considerations, physical risks, client constraints, and employment cycles to weigh. 

Comparing the pros and cons against your own skills, values, and priorities will help determine if this multifaceted industry is the right career home for you in the years ahead.