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SDI Student Joshua Stevens Wins Gun Digest Writing Contest

  • SDI Admin

We are so pleased to announce that Gun Digest has selected an article written by SDI student and grad Joshua Stevens as the winning submission for the SDI-Gun Digest Writing Competition. His work, titled “The Rise of 80 Percent Firearms,” has been published and is currently featured on

Josh’s 2,000+ word submission is both thorough and interesting to read. We appreciate the combination of personal anecdotes, product and process reviews, and background information. If you’re interested in reading Josh’s in-depth look at building out 80 percent receivers, visit the published article HERE.

When we reached out to Josh for some insights on the writing contest process, he responded with a note worth publishing in its own right. He says:

Currently, I am an Army Infantryman stationed in Ft. Bliss, Texas, with ten years’ time in service. At this time I am going through the process to be medically retired after being injured during one of my deployments. During this process, I received a partnership opportunity as a gunsmith, with an existing gun range and shop in Oklahoma called the Yellow Rose Firing Range. This offer was largely based upon my background, deployment history, and firearm experience, but it was contingent upon me being a certified gunsmith. This requirement is what lead me to enroll in the Advanced Gunsmithing Program through SDI which I originally chose solely because they accepted my GI Bill. I graduated that program in February of this year, I enjoyed the course so much I almost immediately enrolled in the Associates of Firearm Technology program.

When I first heard about the writing contest I thought it was a neat idea, and the chance to become a published gunsmith before even opening my shop had a great deal of appeal to me. But to be completely honest, I didn’t think I stood a chance to win–my writing has always been average at best–so I blew the contest off at first. After some prodding and support from my family, I decided to give it a shot despite my reservations…after all nothing ventured, nothing gained. At the time, I looked at it as a chance to practice my writing and learn how the publishing process works, and since the whole goal of school is to learn new things I figured looking at the contest in that context meant that I almost had to participate.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic when my submission was accepted and I made it passed the first step. I honestly figured I would have gotten laughed out of the proverbial door before even starting. To describe what I felt when I found out I had actually won would be impossible. The whole time I intended to do my best, have fun, and write about something I enjoyed. To me, just doing those three things was its own reward; to actually win was amazing and something I didn’t expect to happen at all. It’s been really neat to see all the progress SDI has made since I started going to school with them early last year, and to see them continue to progress and offer all of these opportunities to students and Alumni really makes me excited to see what the future holds for SDI and very proud to be part of that future.

Josh Stevens

Please join us in congratulating Josh Stevens, SDI student (and graduate!), and an outstanding example of the SDI student body. Great job, Josh!

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