Title: Faculty, School of Firearms Technology
Highest degree and school: BA, History, University of South Florida
Teaching at SDI since: 2020
Sam Rabaja teaches ballistics courses for the School of Firearms Technology. He holds a B.A. in history with a minor in criminology, and spent much of his time in college studying firearms and understanding their role in the development of human history. While in school, he was a member of the USF Shooting Sports club, which he says helped him land a job at a local gun store and shooting range after he graduated. He’s worked in virtually every area of the firearms retail sector, including shooting instructor, purchasing manager, machine gun armorer, shooting range maintenance tech, and store manager. Additionally, Sam graduated from a federal law enforcement academy where he received extensive firearm training.
Throughout his career, Sam has taught at several different levels, including coaching sports, running an afterschool program, teaching firearm use and safety, and working as an adult tutor. His combined passion for firearms and for teaching led him to SDI: “SDI is one of the few places where I can share my knowledge and enthusiasm for firearms with a student population that’s just as passionate as me. I’ve done my fair share of teaching firearm basics to the average Joe, but SDI’s students are here because they want to get into the nitty-gritty of guns and ammo, and I love being able to.” He says he most enjoys learning from his students and discussing their individual perspectives on the topics covered; “I love reading through discussion board posts each week and getting to know each student through their experiences and opinions. Being exposed to new perspectives is always an enjoyable part of my workweek!”
Outside of work, Sam enjoys tinkering with his guns and reloading recipes, sporting clays, bullseye shooting with friends, and spreading awareness on gun laws, especially NFA regulated firearms and suppressors. Some of his non-gun interests include spending time with his siblings, hiking, traveling, and “pretending I know how to cook.” A Florida native, Sam says his perfect day would be spent on the Gulf Coast with his family with a little reading, fishing, and swimming, capped off with some shrimp tacos and a peaceful view of the sunset; “If I can fit shooting in there somewhere, that’s just a bonus.” He says he’d love to spend more time learning new languages like Arabic, Russian, and Japanese to supplement the little Spanish and ASL he knows right now.