Pre-2018 Associate of Science in Firearm Technology

Sonoran Desert Institute

Tool List

FAT 105 Introduction to Firearms AFY 100 Accuracy and Functionality SFL 100 Stock Fitting and Metal Work Lab BBS 100 Basic Ballistics BBS 200 Advanced Ballistics BTL 100 Basic Hand Tools Lab CFL 100 Cleaning Firearms Lab FTT 130 Customizing and Woodworking FAT 100 Firearms Technology I FAT 200 Firearms Technology II MTL 200 The Rotary Tool Lab GSL 200 *FTC 301 Capstone Project tool lists will vary with course selection.

Curriculum Update

As of January 8, 2018 this program has changed and will no longer accept enrollment. For current curriculum, please click the link below.

Current SDI Programs

Associate of Science in Firearms Technology

SDI’s unique Associate of Science in Firearms Technology Degree program offers our students the opportunity to learn about the firearms industry and gain a coveted credential, all without having to travel or relocate. This 60-semester-hour program is the most comprehensive of all the School of Firearms Technology programs, and is one of only a handful of firearms degree programs in the nation.

Convenient, Accredited Learning

Because SDI specializes in online learning, students enrolled in the Associate of Science in Firearms Technology Degree program get the convenience of completing coursework at home, backed by a DEAC national accreditation. It’s the best of both worlds—focused, proven curriculum, delivered to your door. Plus, students round out their degree program by completing 15 credit hours of general education while learning the core topics of firearms technology and gunsmithing. Our unique mix of online and hands-on classes allow students to learn and practice efficiently and conveniently.

Tools & Materials

You choose how you learn best: it’s up to you whether you’d like your course materials to be delivered via text book or via an SDI-provided notebook computer, either of which are included in the total cost of your program. Either way, you’ll have access to our Learning Management System (LMS) to view additional resources and to submit coursework. You’ll get hands-on training during your five Lab courses. In addition to the course materials, training manuals, and other learning aids, your program courses include a number of entry level tools (see side bar). It is truly our goal to prepare you for success in the firearms industry.


The Associate of Science in Firearms Technology Degree program is broken into 4, 16-week semesters. Because of our flexible learning options, students choose to study at whatever time of day works best. For General Education courses, students choose from an approved list. Each student will work with a member of the SDI Student Services staff to select their personal semester schedules from the following list:

AFY 100 4 Accuracy and Functionality
BBS 100 3 Basic Ballistics and Swaging
BBS 200 3 Advanced Ballistics
BTL 100 1 Basic Hand Tools Lab
CFL 100 1 Cleaning Firearms Lab
FTT 130 4 Customizing and Woodworking
FAT 100 4 Firearms Technology I
FAT 105 4 Introduction to Firearms
FAT 200 4 Firearms Technology II
FTC 301 5 Capstone Project
GSL 200 1 Gunstock Checkering Lab
MTL 200 1 The Rotary Tool Lab
SFL 100 1 Stock Fitting and Metal Working Lab
SSM 200 5 Shooting Sports Management
TSF 100 4 Troubleshooting Firearms
CODE VARIES 3 Arts & Humanities
CODE VARIES 3 Science and Mathematics
CODE VARIES 3 Communication Arts
CODE VARIES 3 Social & Behavioral Sciences
CODE VARIES 3 Elective
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Additional Program Information

Program Objectives

With the successful completion of this program, a student should be able to do the following:

  • Identify and explain firearms and the required components and subcomponents
  • Explain the function, disassembly and assembly protocols, and the customization of rifles, shotguns, and handguns
  • Diagnose the impediments of correct firearms operation and formulate appropriate repair strategies
  • Develop plans for stock improvements using blanks, duplicating, inletting, bedding, fitting, and shaping
  • Install hardware, finish and hydrographic coat the stock of a rifle or shotgun
  • Fit barrels on rifles and handguns including threading, chambering, crowning, and custom contour techniques
  • Install metallic and optics sights
  • Refinish metal firearm surfaces utilizing various bluing techniques and Parkerizing finishes
  • Test and adjust firearms and ammunition for both internal and external ballistics
  • Demonstrate use of techniques for the metal engraving of rifles, pistols, and shotguns
  • Manage a full-service firearms or gunsmithing department utilizing basic principles of business and regulatory compliance

Course Descriptions

AFY 100: Accuracy and Functionality

This course provides an understanding of procedures for cleaning, properly storing, and accounting for firearms. During the course, the student will examine techniques for the complete and comprehensive cleaning of firearms. Diagnosis of problems of firearm functionality will be explored. Functionality will be addressed for rimfire, centerfire, and black powder firearms. Additionally, firearm sights and sighting systems will be reviewed.

BBS 100: Basic Ballistics and Swaging

This course will identify techniques for the development of ammunition. Included will be lessons on swaging and casting bullets. As an outcome of the course, students will be able to understand the basics of ballistics and techniques to develop more accurate ammunition.

BBS 200: Advanced Ballistics

This course builds on the outcomes of the Basic Ballistics course. The course will explain how ammunition accuracy is impacted by gunpowder and various projectiles. This course will address reloading techniques for various types of ammunition and will include article reviews discussing various firearm technology.

BTL 100: Basic Hand Tools Lab

In this lab, the student will engage in hands-on techniques with some of the gunsmith’s essential hand tools. The student will replicate appropriate tool methods on a variety of firearms with the aid of detailed diagrams and drawings. Techniques will be identified that gunsmiths apply in the use of files, rasps, hacksaws, drills, wrenches and screws. Maintenance techniques of these tools will also be identified.

CFL 100: Cleaning Firearms Lab

In this lab, the student is supplied with training lab tools. The student will demonstrate cleaning techniques by utilizing the tools from the lab to ensure a firearm will continue to operate properly. The lab provides step-by-step instructions on techniques to disassemble different kinds of guns and examine them for obstructions. The lab includes methods for cleaning and conditioning guns by removing greasy buildup, powder, and moisture.

FTT 130: Customizing and Woodworking

This course will describe methods to replace and repair gunstocks. Techniques on ways to properly select the wood and to shape the stock will be described. Included in those techniques will be methods to fit the new stock to the action of a firearm. Included in this course is how to custom fit a gunstock to a customer’s specifications and how to install a recoil pad. Students will demonstrate the process of gunstock inletting, and a hands-on lab on this topic is included.

FAT 100: Firearms Technology I

This course will describe techniques to replace the barrels of firearms. An outcome of the coursework is the formulation of techniques to fit the chamber and adjust the free bore and headspacing. Also, techniques to adjust the trigger pull on rifles, handgun, and shotguns will be described.

FAT 105: Introduction to Firearms

This course is an introduction to firearms technology and the field of shooting sports management. During the course the student will review firearm fundamentals and multiple types of firearms available. The student will be introduced to the necessary tools for comprehensive firearms repair.

FAT 200: Firearms Technology II

This course covers the preparation and finishing of metal. Techniques for polishing, bluing, Parkerizing, and browning of metal are explained and practiced. Also included are methodologies for the engraving of metal that will allow customization of firearms.

FTC 301: Capstone Project

This course will provide the structure to plan, develop, present, and assess a shooting sports project that incorporates outcomes from other courses in the School of Firearms Technology. This course will be completed in consultation with a faculty member. The project will be based on an area of focus determined by the student and approved by the faculty member. Students may opt to use topics from other courses, including those in the optional FTA prefix series, as part of the project course. Note that optional courses may require additional fees.

GSL 200: Gunstock Checkering Lab

This lab supplies the student with tools, templates, and stock blanks to recut worn checkering and to checker new stock. The lab provides for a demonstration of the skills required in gunstock checkering.

MTL 200: The Rotary Tool Lab

This lab introduces the student to the rotary tool. The tool is a portable, lightweight, hand-held device and is included with the lab materials. The rotary tool may be used to throat gun barrels, carve stocks, drill, engrave, grind welds, and polish and finish metal for the removal of rebluing and rust. Mastering the use of this tool by the student will ensure quality service and intricate craftsmanship.

SFL 100: Stock Fitting and Metal Working Lab

In this lab, the student will operate the tools needed to fit the stock and trigger to meet a gun user’s requirements for a proper fit. A model of developing and adjusting the proper fit for a gun user is included.

SSM 200: Shooting Sports Management

This course will provide the foundation to establish a firearms-related business. Included in the course is a review of the practices, rules, and laws that govern the operation of a firearms repair and sales business. In addition, the course is an introduction to bookkeeping and appropriate business record maintenance related to shooting sports. Advertising and marketing will also be described.

TSF 100: Troubleshooting Firearms

This course will describe methods to determine causality of improper functioning of a firearm and appropriate methodology to troubleshoot. The course will address rimfire and centerfire rifles and handguns, as well as shotguns. Also reviewed are techniques to convert (sporterize) military firearms to sporting arms.

CODE VARIES: Arts & Humanities
AGT 100: American Government

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of American government and politics, focusing on the historical evolution of government and policies, and the major institutions and processes. Course goals include developing an interest in and understanding of today’s government, policy development, and politics, as well as developing critical thinking and information literacy skills in the areas of government and politics. Topics include the Constitution; federalism; civil rights and liberties; the structure and processes of the three branches of government; political socialization; interest groups and public opinion; political parties and the election process; and basic U.S. social, economic, and foreign policy. Students will examine institutional structures and how they interact with each other to explain the processes of government and how the historical development of the United States has affected the contemporary political environment. Instruction includes an analysis of the formal and informal processes by which public policy is made; how individual actors impact the contemporary political environment; and application of informational literacy skills in the study of politics. This class includes the following eText: Shea, D.M., Green, J.C., & Smith, C.E. (2011). Living Democracy, 2010 Update Edition, National Version. 2nd ed. ISBN: 0205798411.

CODE VARIES: Science and Mathematics
BSM 100: Business Mathematics: 3 Credit Hours

This course applies math fundamentals to business applications. Topics include a basic math review, business statistics, profit calculations, payroll, banking, interest calculations, insurance and taxes. Students will learn to solve mathematical problems; apply mathematical concepts to various business transactions and statistics calculations; and analyze business problems using mathematical equations. This class includes the following eText: Cleaves, C., Hobbs, M., & Noble, J. (2012). Business Math. 9th ed. ISBN: 0135108179.

ENS 100: Environmental Science: 3 Credit Hours

This course explores the relationship between man and the environment. Students examine the balance between natural resources and the needs of mankind as well as the scientific, political, economic, and social implications of environmental science. Students will examine the field of Environmental Science in terms of theoretical perspectives, economics, policies, and environmental ethics. Included is an exploration of population growth and demographic transitions; toxic substances and their effects; non-renewable energy sources and their impact on the environment; the biodiversity of earth and conservation biology and its benefits; and the foundations of environmental science. Students will learn how to analyze land use and planning for creating livable cities; evaluate soil as a system and its importance in the environment; describe the function of the earth’s atmosphere, its composition, structure, and changing global climate; and appraise the importance of water and marine ecosystems. The student will also understand how to examine renewable energy and analyze the types of waste generated and disposal methods. This class includes the following eText: Withgott, J. H., & Brennan, S. R. (2009). Environment: The Science Behind the Stories. 3rd ed. ISBN: 0136045316.

CODE VARIES: Communication Arts
ENG 101: English Composition I

This course develops written communication skills with an emphasis on understanding the writing process, analyzing text, and practicing writing for personal and professional applications. Students will learn to implement the steps of the writing process; identify essay components; and write effective and grammatically correct paragraphs and essays. Instruction includes how to analyze the role of reading and writing in academic and professional careers; apply strategies to achieve clarity and effective style in writing; differentiate between writing patterns; identify sentence types and parts of speech; discriminate between proper and improper use of punctuation; and to implement correct spelling. The student will also examine and then apply strategies and guidelines for writing an effective research paper. This class includes the following eTexts: Arlov, P. (2010). Wordsmith: A Guide to College Writing; 4th ed. ISBN: 0136050549. Aaron, J. E. (2010). The Little, Brown Compact Handbook. 7th ed. ISBN: 0205651631.

CODE VARIES: Social & Behavioral Sciences
PSCH 101: Introduction to Psychology

This course introduces human behavior. It includes the study of the theories and concepts of psychology including the scope of psychology, biological foundations and the brain, sensation, perception, motivation, personality, learning/memory, emotion, states of consciousness, personality theories, cognition, lifespan development, and applied psychology.

In this course, students will examine the field of psychology in terms of history, key perspectives, issues, and current trends. Instruction will cover scientific and research methods; the anatomical structures and physiological functions related to psychology; sensation, perception, heredity, and genetics; consciousness, sleep, sleep disorders, and hypnosis as related to psychology; the underlying principles and basis of the psychology behind learning, memory, and experience; cognitive abilities and intelligence from a psychological perspective; the different phases and stages in human development; the different motivation theories; and the psychological basis of emotions. Moreover, students will examine sexuality and gender in relation to psychology; psychoanalytic approaches and humanistic theories to explain behaviors and traits in personalities; health psychology and approaches to health management; different mental disorders; psychotherapy, differing methods, and their effectiveness; the importance of thoughts; trends in social behavior; and the impact of social influences. This class includes the following eText: Ciccarelli, S. K. & White, J. N. (2012). Psychology. 3rd ed. ISBN: 0205832571.

BUS 101: Introduction to Business

This course provides students with an overview of business in an increasingly global society. Topics include the business environment, ethics, management, marketing, production, information systems, financial elements, entrepreneurship, and global business. This course serves as an introduction to business terminology, concepts, environments, systems, strategies, and current issues, and provides a solid business foundation for more detailed and higher-level study in subsequent courses. Students will gain an understanding of the key components of contemporary U.S. and international business in addition to the role of ethics and social responsibility within this sector. Included is an examination of how businesses can be organized and structured; the key strategies, tools, and issues involved in operations; and the key financial concepts involved in enterprise. Students will be instructed in how to analyze the various functions of and approaches to management, marketing processes, forces, and issues in a business enterprise; and to develop a business plan incorporating sound concepts, systems, and strategies. This class includes the following eText: Ebert, R. J. & Griffin, R. W. (2011). Business Essentials. 8th ed. ISBN: 0137053495.