GRAD SPEAK: Realized Resilience with Patrick Samples

  • Drew Poplin

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.” – Thomas Edison

I couldn’t pin down when the great inventor had made this claim, nor could I determine the context for such a quote. Maybe he was speaking from his own experience or was observing where some men had failed. Or perhaps he didn’t utter it at all.

However, whether or not he made such a claim is irrelevant. After all, what is important are the principles of hard work, grit, and common sense themselves. The story of Patrick Samples is one characterized by such traits. His resilience and determination have seen him overcome the many twists and turns of life, and have led him to where he is today.

Firearms Forge a Passion

Patrick’s introduction to firearms began in childhood, hunting with his grandfather. As he recalls, “I got into guns by hunting with my granddad. My dad wasn’t the biggest gun guy, but my granddad was and he got me into it that way.”

Amongst Patrick’s other burgeoning passions were his interests in action films, guntubers, and the military. Hickock45 slinging lead, Sylvester Stallone, and soldiers bravely serving their country all coalesced into a passion for firearms.

These interests ultimately led to Patrick enrolling in the U.S. Army in February 2020, where he would serve until suffering a devastating back injury nearly a year later. Now being on the sidelines, he knew that he would need to have a backup plan.

Getting His Education at SDI

At the time, Patrick was unsure how to get his foot in the door of the firearms industry. Recalling some of the advertisements he saw on Hickock45 and Garand Thumb’s videos, he considered enrolling at Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI). He soon discovered that the school’s online nature, support for military personnel, and financial aid options could provide an avenue to start a career in gunsmithing. Ultimately, he decided to take a leap of faith and started the Associate of Science in Firearms Technology (ASFT) program in September 2021.

However, the burden of juggling his responsibilities as a soldier, a husband, and now a student was not an easy one to bear. After all, he was now assisting the chaplain with religious support for over 800 people. Time management was now becoming a skill that he would develop and hone over the next few years.

Still, Patrick worked hard and learned a lot at SDI, particularly during the ballistics classes. According to him, “I’d always wanted to get into reloading and just never did it. I believed that you needed a couple of thousand dollars to get all the equipment to get going. Through that class, one of the assignments was to price the equipment needed and I was like, ‘Man, this stuff, it’s not expensive at all!’”

Continuing to work diligently through all the courses, Patrick’s hard work would pay off as he graduated from the ASFT program at the end of 2022.

Back Home

As it turned out, 2022 was a very busy time for Patrick, filled with many life changes. Knowing that his time in the military was short and now armored with the knowledge he received from SDI, he started to apply for jobs within the firearms industry. He eventually found a promising position with famed firearms manufacturer Remington.

As he describes it, “I let them [Remington] know that I was very close to finishing and that definitely helped. It was more so of an entry-level position. In fact, when the recruiter called me, she didn’t think I was going to accept the job because the pay was a little bit lower than what she thought it should have been with my qualifications. Of course, I was just pumped to be working for Remington.”

Shortly after starting his new role at Remington, Patrick would be officially medically separated from the Army. Meanwhile, things at his new job were going well. After a few months working on the assembly line, he received a promotion to the gallery, where Remington conducted their test firing. But something wasn’t quite sitting right with him. He remembered how he used to desire a career in law enforcement and he started to long for the opportunity to pursue that career. Despite loving his job, he decided to leave Remington and try his hand at a new career.

Trying New Things

In June 2023, Patrick started his time with the LaGrange Police Department. For months, he continued working just as hard as he always had. Upon graduating from the academy, he started his Field Training (FTO) program. But something wasn’t sitting right.

According to Patrick, “I was a week away from my exit interview and I just decided that it takes a very special person to be a police officer. And unfortunately, I don’t think I’m that special person. I wish I was, but I’m not. So, I started looking for other opportunities.”

Initially hoping to continue where he left off with Remington, he was disappointed to find that they didn’t have any openings. Soon his search began to expand when he came across an opening at Glock. Despite being an hour and a half away, he was driven to get back into the industry.

“So I started expanding my search because Glock is about an hour-and-a-half drive for me right now. They had an assembly line leader position, so I applied there. In the initial interview, they asked me a lot about firearms in general. Then they asked me how to strip a Glock right there in the interview. So I had to walk them through that process, which thankfully it’s pretty simple. Then they asked me some of the things that I did at Remington. That definitely played a big part. And then, of course, obviously about SDI.”

Impressed by the skills he displayed and his previous experience, both work-related and educational, Patrick started his new position at Glock in 2024.

Looking Back & Looking Forward

While Patrick continues to work at Glock, he has shown a desire to further his education. Currently enrolled in SDI’s new Certificate in Firearms Technology – Handgun Specialist program, he plans to also pursue a Bachelor of Science in Applied Management at Grand Canyon University.

Education and firearms are not the only things on his mind, however, as his family has grown to welcome a newborn son. Undoubtedly, Patrick will pour as much passion and hard work into being a father as he has with everything he has done in his life.

Reflecting on his time at SDI, he made sure to give praise to the faculty, in particular his American Government instructor. “He was very cool. He was very understanding. He sent me an email following the class and just said that if I ever needed to use him as a reference to reach back out to him. Very personable and easy to communicate with. He was a strict grader but fair at the same time. He gave you the grades you deserved, and I can certainly appreciate that.”

Ending on what he would say to those considering SDI, he advises, “Go ahead and do it. It’s a very cool process. You learn a lot about firearms but also learn a lot about life in general. I had a great experience with it.”

Learn More at SDI

We are proud to call Patrick Samples an SDI graduate and are excited to see where life leads him next! To read more stories like Patrick’s, click here.

To start your own educational journey with SDI, click here to request information about any of our programs.

Spread the love