Active Roster



Hear What SDI Students Have To Say

In April of 2013, we asked our current students and alumni for feedback on what they liked about the program and what they would change about the program.  The results were both humbling and informative, and we're sharing them with you so that you can hear opinions from the mouths of our students.  Thank you to everyone who contributed!

Brian Cutshall  

"I completed the Gunsmith Certification program in as little as 2 months and right away I became the sole gunsmith for 2 stores in the Savannah, Ga area. Customers ask me all the time how they can get certified and I always refer them to Sonoran Desert Institute's School of Gunsmithing program."

-Joshua L.
April 2013 

"I received my gunsmith certificate, I really did enjoy the course work and I often look back at the course materials. I plan on completing the firearms science degree using my Post 911 G.I. Bill and also opening a full service gun shop in the future.  Thank you SDI, you really helped me gain the knowledge I needed to start my own business."

-Marquitos T.
April 2013

  Chris Doss
Daniel Scott  

"I am currently on my last semester of the FAT (Firearms Technology) degree program. I have already registered and reseived my FFL and city business licenses for a part-time firearms refinishing business. I have refinished three firearms for customers to date and have repaired several others. SDI has been a great asset to me as I prepare for a full-time, post military business. Thank you so much for your support of me and my fellow service members!"

-Andy S.
April 2013

"I loved the Gun-Smith program from the beginning.  It is an exceptional program that was recommended to by a co-worker of mine who completed the program last year.  I have in-turn recommended the program to another co-worker who really enjoys learning about fixing guns.  Your new on-line test a great improvement for test submissions.  Keep up the outstanding work."

-Kelly C.
April 2013

David Magowen  

"I think what I like best about the SDI Gunsmith program is the tools that are sent with the lab lessons.  I looked at several gunsmith classes before deciding on SDI.  I believe it is the best hands on experience you can get to learn the skills that are being taught in the, they are yours to use when and if you start working in the field.  And, they are quality tools, not some cheap throw away ones that break during the first use!  Keep up the great work and thanks."

-Gary Y.
April 2013

"I thoroughly enjoy the gunsmithing program. I can  have all the coursework to study, and get assistance within 24 hours of a problem. The staff are very pleasant to work with and understanding that most individuals who take this course lead "varied and atypical" lifestyles. The courses are broken down to very manageable sections and really give a good look into what all gunsmithing entails. Upon completing my first module the system notified SDI and I received my new materials and cleaning kit within a week! It's everything you expect from an elite school."

-Mike D.
April 2013

  James Farley
James L  

"The greatest thing about my time with SDI was the pace of my education.  This allowed me to seek out local gunsmiths and get a real hands on look to supplement my course work.  The staff at SDI was great and I always talked to a person every time I called with a question.  Today my education from SDI has helped broaden my technical skill and professional development as an armorer in the U.S. military and has also helped me pursue an apprenticeship with local gunsmiths in my area."

-Joshua D.
April 2013

"Sonoran desert instute has taught me so much in a short period if time.  I was able to rebuild a 1944 Mosin Nagant in less than a month, so now instead if a $150 rifle I have a precision tactical rifle valued at just over $1000."

-Jacob H.
April 2013

  Jim Abbott
John Benedict  

"I love the Gunsmithing Certificate program given at the Sonoran Desert Institute. It provides you with everything you need to learn the essentials for gunsmithing. The program also gives you more than enough time to complete all the work given.  The program gives you the freedom to study and learn on your own time. I would recommend this program to anyone interested in this program or any other program provided by the Sonoran Desert Institute."

-Edwin G.
April 2013

"With my current course work on getting my gunsmithing certification I plan on on swinging into full action and opening a gun shop. The great thing is I can use my GI Bill to continue my education in firearms technology. Thanks SDI!"

-Mike M.
April 2013

  Joshua Heath
Ken Dougherty  

"I loved how fast the instructor would get back to you on questions you had and with the grades of the classes. I liked it so much I have told a few friends about it and they are waiting to get back from deployment to enroll in the school.  Great tools and books were sent with everything else. One of the best classes ever taken."

-Dustin C.
April 2013

"I came into the program at SDI just having ETS from Fort Bragg, NC. I was already familar with firearms, or so I thought. After receiving the material I begain to realize how much more went into the realm of gunsmithing. I have enjoyed learning and gaining more knowledge as I finish up my degree.  I will recommened SDI to anyone wanting to study gunsmithing."

-John K.
April 2013

  Kevin Rogers
Mark Scott  

"Your professionalism in the online education presentation was greatly appreciated.  I had several schools ask for my time, but I felt SDI was the best and after enrolling I knew I had made a good choice.  I do look forward to advancing my education with SDI into the Associate degree program of Firearms technology.  Thank you for what you do, I think other schools should pattern their philosophy after yours."

-Rob R.
April 2013

“My experience at Sonoran was superb. I was at the point in my life where early retirement was an option and I wanted to pursue my passion in the firearms industry. I had already achieved certification as an instructor and range safety officer but wanted to be a gunsmith. Sonoran offered me a program not only to achieve my goal of attaining my certificate in gunsmithing but an Associate degree in Firearms Technology. Plus the ability to work with weekly interaction with the SDI instructor staff was right in the sweet spot I needed to achieve my goals.
As a result of this education experience I have expanded my business and own a firearm, gunsmith shop and firearm training center that is doing very well. I have been featured as a subject matter expert on a local radio station, featured in the local paper and testifying before the state senate on firearms matter.  SDI has mad a difference in my life!

-Buddy M.
April 2013

  Matt Obrien
Paul Marreum  

"As a civilian with the U.S. Army, I am using my education from SDI to help serve the soldiers.  I specifically work for the TACOM sniper weapons team, by supporting all the sniper rifles in the U.S. Army inventory.  My education from SDI has allowed me to solve technical issues related to the various firearms.  Everyone I work with has been impressed with my new knowledge and skills I have received from my SDI training."

-Rodney H.
April 2013




Why SDI?

The Sonoran Desert Institute mission is – “adding value to our students’ lives by providing innovative, relevant and
applicable workplace-driven education through distance-delivered instruction.”

We are committed to your success – whether you are actively seeking employment, or simply honing your personal, technical skills.


Since 2004, the Sonoran Desert Institute has been accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council. The Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency.


Certain SDI programs are approved for U.S. Military Tuition Assistance Reimbursement. For active duty military, we are also approved to participate in the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) Education Services Active duty military service persons should contact their base Education Services Officer (ESO) to apply for tuition assistance.


Facebook Twitter Linkedin Google+ (new)


    8767 E. Via de Ventura Suite 126 Scottsdale, AZ 85258