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Sonoran Desert Institute

24 Reviews

Locations:   Scottsdale (AZ) 

Annual Tuition: $10,950

33% of students said this degree improved their career prospects
46% of students said they would recommend this school to others
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I Smell Freedom

Reviewed: 10/26/2023

Degree: Gunsmithing

Here. We. Go. I first started looking into SDI as a way to hopefully get some education for an actual degree in the field of gunsmithing and a way to get my foot in the door for expanded college options later down the road. Little did I know that this school teaches nothing. All the coursework to the point I am currently at has been a joke. There is no real flow to any of the material. The discussion posts are irrelevant half the time or are harder than the actual coursework for that week. Also,... Read More

Dakota Wright

Reviewed: 5/24/2023

Degree: Gunsmithing

I have been debating on writing this for roughly a year now. So here it is. Hello my name is Dakota Wright. I own Wright Firearm Solutions. When I began looking into SDI, I was told by the staff right off the bat. "Sir with your experience, I would strongly advise you not to enroll in the program. It sounds beneath you." (Strike 1) automatically I started getting more red flags. Because I was asking hard questions the staff was tryingto discourage me from attending. Starting class I quickly realized... Read More


Reviewed: 1/17/2023

Degree: Gunsmithing

SDI emphasizes old and outdated work while only briefly covering modern methods and technology. For the machining course, for example, we received a coursebook that was written for certified machinists and the entire course was theoretical. I honestly did not understand anything yet my grade was in the high 90s. THAT SHOULD TELL YOU ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IT. The materials you receive are mostly cheap Chinese crap with the occasional cheap American-made crap. Someone who knows absolutely nothing... Read More


Reviewed: 1/14/2023

Degree: Gunsmithing

Full Disclosure: Sonoran Desert Institute is an absolute joke. Do not waste your money or allow them to further swindle federal education funds in your name or from your service member education funding benefits. The courses lack actual instruction, the course material consists of 98% various YouTube links which are not made by OR for SDI instruction/instructors. I withdrew from classes after my 2nd semester, and have since filed an official petition with the federal student loan board to have any/all... Read More


Reviewed: 12/20/2022

Degree: Gunsmithing

I read all the comments about the school and I guess my experience was different. I learned a lot and it helped me get into a position to get my FFL. I found the school to be helpful to me and all the courses online were good. The block of instructions was definitely intense at times and the practical exercises were good. Learning how to build a holster press, do hydrographic dipping, and build a project firearm was great for me. I learned a lot, got some neat tools, and an AR-9 platform build and... Read More

Online Learner

Reviewed: 12/4/2022

Degree: Gunsmithing

As of writing this I have 2 more weeks before graduating with my Assoicates degree. I grew up with firearms but never got into the level of repair and the science of how they functioned or how to repair. With life happening I had to leave my job and make a move. I ended up choosing SDI not only to learn more about firearms but to also get my general classes done in order to work towards a Batchlors degree to obtain better employment. Not knowing what I wanted to do at that time, the Assoicate program... Read More

Former student

Reviewed: 9/3/2022

Degree: Gunsmithing

Just going to put it into monkey terms. THEY. ARE. G.I. BILL. PREDATORS. literally every class you take is a YouTube video or a commercial article related to firearms. If you want to learn anything about firearms just watch their YouTube channel and get your education for free and don't waste a few months of your G.I. bill. Watching their YouTube channel and then subscribing to some firearms related articles online is free and will still give you the same education that they already offer. For some... Read More

Brett Johnson

Reviewed: 8/12/2022

Degree: Gunsmithing

Stay away!! GI bill predators and they know it. Most of the curriculum is either a YouTube video or an article you can find online for free. Find somewhere else to find a subpar education. These people also don’t seem to care if they spread your personal information accidentally. One of the forms you need to complete with my sensitive information was sent to a bunch of people. I was contacted by someone who received it stating in a large group email to prospective students, my completed form was... Read More


Reviewed: 7/10/2022

Degree: Gunsmithing

Overall this is a great program for learning about firearms. You will leave this school knowing significantly more about firearms. However, this is really only a baseline education for entering the firearms industry. You will need to put forward more effort and research into firearms on your own. SDI will provide a solid education and it’s up you how far you take it. 100% you can do the bare minimum and pass. The curriculum is not difficult but still requires a lot of work. They will mail you projects... Read More


Reviewed: 5/31/2022

Degree: Gunsmithing

Ok, here is the deal. I came to SDI only because AGI wants cash up front only, and lets face it, unless you are Elon Musk, who is going to have 20,000 just laying around, right? I wanted to get an associates degree in firearms technology because I wanted to show potential customers coming to me for work that I am competent and that I know guns. For the first year, things were great. I was acing my classes, making good grades and things were going pretty good. Then shooting sports management and government... Read More


Reviewed: 2/11/2022

Degree: Gunsmithing

I would agree with most of those who gave SDI a low rating. I graduated with a 3.85 GPA in 2017. There was very little discussion or feedback from instructors. Keep in mind that most of the instructors, with the exception of the core class teachers, have other jobs within the firearms industry and teaching is there secondary profession, and as educators, they lack academic experience. SDI gave me a theoretical overview of gunsmithing, but not hands-on experience that could be applied in a real-world... Read More

richard martin

Reviewed: 11/24/2021

Degree: Gunsmithing

I am currently enrolled in the Gunsmith 2 year course. I am amazed how much I did not know about things like reloading,swaging and the like. Paul is an amazing instructor and he is a valuable asset to SDI……for the haters all I can say is quit being losers and do your homework….and grow up.


Reviewed: 10/21/2021

Degree: Gunsmithing

After finishing my final projects for the last week of my degree, I can honestly say that this school has taught me so much. I've read the negative reviews people have given, and most of them are actually incorrect. My instructors didn't just, "copy and paste" responses to students, unless the students were the type that didn't give the coursework actual thought. They invested countless hours into helping me, and I've grown so much in my knowledge of firearms. The labs taught me a lot, and the coursework... Read More

James B.

Reviewed: 9/27/2021

Degree: Gunsmithing

I understand that there are a number of individuals who are bashing SDI. I would venture to say that these individuals who "never" received timely feedback or similar correspondence from their instructors failed to check their emails and/or alerts. My experience with this school has been outstanding. I have attended multiple colleges and universities, and very few have given me the personal assistance and flexibility that SDI has. Any course that I have not achieved an "A" in has been due to a failure... Read More

Jeremy Michael

Reviewed: 7/11/2021

Degree: Gunsmithing

A joke of a school. Instructors copy and paste feedback for forums and assignments. Instructors don't give any instruction at all, just grade assignments that you are left alone to read directly out of the book. Tools included in the course are cheapest on the market. If you want a piece of paper that says you have a degree this is the place for you. Do not waste your GI Bill! No one will hire someone based off of the material taught by this school. If a grad is hired it is because of knowledge gained... Read More


Reviewed: 10/13/2020

Degree: Gunsmithing

I understand why some might have a negative view of the online format but that has nothing to do with the quality of the resources, the tools, and especially the instructors! I am only two classes into the Gunsmith Certificate program and I couldn't be happier. SPEAKING TO ACTIVE DUTY or GI BILL users: this is a great use of Tuition Assistance but it does require you to dip into two months of your GIBILL as the TA Certificate money tops out at 21 credits and the Cert program is 32. So, online learning... Read More

Jason M

Reviewed: 7/13/2020

Degree: Gunsmithing

This place is a joke. All you do is watch Youtube video created by others people, not related to SDI that pertain to what the lesson is that week. The course materials are junk. I didn't learn anything that I didn't already know before enrolling. The classroom discussions are stupid and a waste of time. Don't waste your time or money. You can educate yourself a lot better and cheaper. Buy some gunsmithing books and watch online videos.

Joseph a moore

Reviewed: 10/30/2019

Degree: Gunsmithing

I really enjoyed the program. The school is continually updating the program. this degree got me into a fantastic federal job. Some of the courses seemed kinda basic for me with years of personal firearms experience and 6 year's of infantry experience. But you have to have the basics to advance to the higher levels. Would definitely recommend this program for armorer's or anyone trying to get into the firearms field.


Reviewed: 6/25/2019

Degree: Gunsmithing

For those reading the previous or subsequent reviews, please note that the negative comments were from people who quit the course of instruction after a couple classes. I do not think it acceptable to write a thorough review with such limited knowledge and therefore, it is basically a person complaining who didn't give it their best shot. Bottom line, they quit. If you want to learn from the internet, then do that but you will not walk away with a degree, which in many businesses, IS where customers... Read More


Reviewed: 6/14/2019

Degree: Gunsmithing

The only thing I can say about this school is that you will get paid to go if you use your GI bill. DO NOT expect this school to help you in any way in the real world. I hate to say it but I had time left on the GI bill and didn't want to lose the money. I stooped to SDI's level and am doing this strictly for the financial gain. If this is what you are trying to do, then yes go to this school. It is easy and you can sandbag your way through it. If you want to be an actual gunsmith and have a degree... Read More

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