Emmanuel Ajagbe: An ambitious student getting all he can out of an SDI education.
Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) created the Field Study Program to give students a chance to gain hands-on experience in the firearms industry by working alongside industry leaders and various successful gunsmiths throughout the country. It’s a program that is not taken advantage of enough, but for a student like Emmanuel Ajagbe, it’s a program that he has jumped into head first. In his quest to be a gunsmith, Emmanuel has now completed not one, but two, Field Studies with SDI partners.
It takes a certain level of drive to build your experience the way that Emmanuel has. Attending a Field Study requires a student to take on extra initiative and responsibility as well as show exceptional work ethic. Moriarti Armaments® was Emmanuel’s first Field Study and was chosen because it was a convenient location to travel for Emmanuel. Although he didn’t really know what to expect, he ended up gaining enough from this experience that he wanted to do it again and enrolled in a Field Study with Moss Pawn & Gun.
Moriarti Armaments is a Type 07 FFL manufacturer and Type 08 FFL importer of firearms located in Miami, Florida. Emmanuel started their program by learning under an armorer understudy on AR-15 and AR-10 platforms. “I personally built in excess of over 10 rifle builds of both AR-15 and AR-10 platforms, checking every build in our in-home steel shoot housing,” said Emmanuel. He also had the opportunity to learn the basics of a firearms business by participating in sales, setup of the store, proper storage of firearms for store closing, how to run FDLE background checks, and how to fill form 4473s to tender the sale of a firearm. Emmanuel worked regular hours and he worked hard.
In all, Emmanuel participated at Moriarti Armaments for four weeks, which he said was ample time to learn a company’s processes and learn or improve old skills. “I have personally built my own AR-15 rifles prior to this field study, but in this study I learned the proper order of assembly, proper use of tools, solutions for abnormal issues, and the management of time, which all improved my total armorer skills. The AR-10 and AR-15 armorer learning aspect was my overall favorite portion of the field study.”
Given what Emmanuel learned at Moriarti Armaments, a lot of students would have called it good. They would have moved on with their careers, but Emmanuel wanted more. He decided to enroll in a Field Study Program with Moss Pawn, a well-known shop with a successful YouTube channel. According to Emmanuel, the experience was “everything I hoped it would be.”
Moss Pawn took Emmanuel in right away. Renown Master Gunsmith Ray Vaughn took Emmanuel around the establishment on day one and introduced him to the entire staff. Emmanuel was then introduced to the tools and was put to work on a project with a Lee-Enfield rifle—a type of rifle that Emmanuel had never before worked on. While he said it was a challenge, Emmanuel was walked through the project by Ray Vaughn, who let him build his confidence by doing it himself.
Emmanuel Ajagbe built many skills while attending the Moss Pawn Field Study. He had this to say, “ I learned many skills from Moss Pawn, such as repair on revolvers, striker-fired pistols, rifles, sighting-in precision rifles, Cerakote™ application, diagnostics, customer relations, business-to-business relations, and many approaches on how to problem solve.” With Moss Pawn being a high-volume shop, Emmanuel had no shortage of work to do.
Emmanuel had high praise for both Moriarti Armaments and Moss Pawn. They are both hardworking, professional establishments and Emmanuel was able to make friends across the industry while attending these Field Studies. He came away from both experiences saying that he would recommend them to any student wishing to gain hands-on experience in the firearms industry. Given the work ethic that Emmanuel Ajagbe has shown, there is no doubt that someday he will probably be hosting his own students at his own successful business.