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Sonoran Desert Institute

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Zachary Wannarka and Michael Paez

Field Study Report: Sons of Liberty Gun Works

Zachary Wannarka was looking for a career change. He started looking for ways to break into firearm industry but without experience in law enforcement or military service it proved rather difficult to get a foot in the door. Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) became an avenue for him to gain experience as well as attend a field study internship with Sons of Liberty Gun Works (SOLGW) based in San Antonio, Texas. This is his story.

Growing up, his dad owned some firearms but Zachary had never shot nor had he taken it seriously. Starting at 21 years old, Zachary bought a handgun and began teaching himself to shoot. After 15 years of developing his knowledge with firearms he decided to enroll in Sonoran Desert Institute. While investigating the SDI website he noticed our field study program and saw that one of our locations was in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas and he enrolled in the program before his graduation. While the location was perfect, what Zachary liked most was the company’s philosophy and products. “The Military mindset of doing things right and for the good guys was really appealing” said Zachary.

On his arrival at Sons of Liberty Gun Works Zachary let the company know he had done his homework. He had familiarized himself with their product lineup and set about earning their trust on the machinery. The staff approached Zachary in “broad strokes” and started by familiarizing him with the individual components he would be working with. Zachary built a lower receiver and moved on to the upper receiver right away. After building an entire AR15 from the ground up he permitted to test fire it at their facility. Performing proper prep work like degreasing, etching and texturing surfaces for cerakote was a big learning experience for Zachary as he did not have any previous experience with cerakote. In total, he spent 5 weeks with Sons of Liberty Gun Works and loved every minute of it. When asked which skills he found most improved with his experience, he said enthusiastically “ALL OF THEM”. He likened his experience to “building a Ferrari instead of just doing the oil changes”.

Zachary came away from his field study experience realizing how much of a benefit it is to gain hands on training at a place like Sons of Liberty Gun Works. Working beside experts in the AR-15 platform proved indispensable. He stated his impressions of the company “SOLGW AR-15’s are top of the line”. Using the education and the kits from Sonoran Desert Institute enabled him to jump in and be productive with his time on field study.

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Zachary has an expected graduation date of mid-April 2017 from Sonoran Desert Institute. “This was definitely the right move for me” said Zachary about his experience taking classes from SDI. He found the application to his field study program with Sons of Liberty Gun Works to be quick and easy. It was a blessing to have a location in the same town and enabled him to juggle the field study, life obligations and his current employer. Zachary expressed a lot of praise for the SDI program and credited his student adviser for helping him along the way. He is currently finishing his program by working on the 1911 capstone project.

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