Finding a New Passion in Firearms

  • Joey Upper

A Difficult Path

Sometimes, the best of intentions and a lot of hard, purposeful work can still lead to an unfortunate conclusion.

David Baz is here to tell us that if that happens to you, it only means it’s time to get back up on the horse and try, try again.

Baz worked in the automotive industry for a long time – he was a level 2-certified Chrysler technician and found himself successful in a vital industry. But after years of hard work, he found that it wasn’t his passion anymore.

“I decided I’d try to figure out what else I wanted to do, and around the same time I started to get into guns a bit more, and … quickly amassed a large collection,” he recalled with a laugh. “I found out that I enjoyed working on them, fixing them, and tinkering with them. I decided that was something I really liked doing and wanted to pursue it. I had done a ton of research, and found a school in North Carolina that I was going to go to – they only accept 30 students per year, though. … I was on the waiting list for four years. They finally accepted me, and in order to be able to afford to go we moved to North Carolina from Ohio about a year prior to establish in-state residency so I could be able to go.”

A great deal of hard work and planning went into turning David’s passion into a career. Unfortunately for David, there was a paperwork mishap that resulted in him accidentally being bumped from the front of the waitlist to the back, which was now increased to a six-year wait.

New Opportunities

Baz needed another option to pursue his dream of turning his passion into a career.

“I was ready to begin moving on it after waiting for four years and having that happen,” Baz said.

When Baz realized that SDI was an online, DEAC-accredited school, was available where he was located without another move, and brought with it the possibility of starting classwork much sooner, that was that.

“It was nice!” Baz said. “It was something I could do at home on my own time … and we didn’t have to relocate again, or something like that.”

A Flexible and Fascinating Curriculum

Of course, SDI does maintain deadlines and standards for its students, but it does boast more flexibility than many other schools, often enough to help students balance their other obligations. We’re thrilled when that is the case!

“When it comes to schooling, it can be difficult to balance life with the school, a full-time job, and being with your family and everything like that. It can be overwhelming at times. But you have to work through it, and it’s worth it in the end.”

As soon as David planted roots he found that his course of study was not only something at which he could be successful, but which he could enjoy along the way!

“I really liked all of (my classes)!” Baz said. “Some of them were more difficult than others. Advanced Ballistics… it’s a pretty complicated class, but it’s definitely worth getting to know that information and getting that knowledge.”

Baz’s favorite class was the build, which had more significance than most. Many students, grads, and prospective students know that certain firearms hold emotional significance to their owners, and David’s was crafted as a test of his skills, but more significantly as a memorial.

Preserving a Legacy

“The other reason I chose (the 1911 build) – my grandpa, he’s the one that really got me interested in firearms. Before he passed away he gave me his rifles and everything. He had always wanted a 1911 like he carried while he was in service in Korea. … It was almost like a memorial to him.”

“My grandfather … served as a Marine right after WWII and as a firefighter in the Air Force during the Korean War,” he said later on. “He’s also the reason I became a volunteer firefighter.”

Baz Cerakoted it Midnight Bronze, and it’s hard to find this anything less than an excellent tribute to one who served our country.

Now, Baz has taken his skill and his drive into the gunsmithing field. After making the switch over to the firearms industry, Baz has worked his way up the ranks of his company with incredible speed.

Getting in the Industry

“I left the automotive industry, and I work for a firearms manufacturer down in Charlotte,” he said. “I started out doing their packaging – shipping, receiving, (that) kind of stuff and also their customer support. I have quickly moved up and I am now their director of support and operations.”

That’s a move he made in 18 months.

Angstadt Arms, the company for which he works, is a specialist in pistol-caliber carbines. According to Baz, they are finding ever-increasing success, no doubt in no small part due to Baz’s effort.

Funnily enough, that’s exactly the advice he had for prospective students, as well.

“Be prepared to work hard,” David said. “When it comes to schooling, it can be difficult to balance life with the school, a full-time job, and being with your family and everything like that. It can be overwhelming at times. But you have to work through it, and it’s worth it in the end.”

David Baz is a 2018 SDI graduate.