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Sonoran Desert Institute

All the Latest News, Reviews and Developments happening with the Sonoran Desert Institute!

Sonoran Desert Institute Faculty Hightlight: Master Gunsmith Kip Carpenter

For some, gunsmithing is a job. For others, a hobby. But for Kip Carpenter, it is a way of life. The ever-savvy gunsmith is a master of his trade and has the experience to back up all his learning, both in the classroom and in life. As a young man, Kip got into gunsmithing with a friend and learned from his friend’s father, and learned how to shoot from his own father. He was also instructed by his god-father, a gunsmith and professional shooter.  Kip began gunsmithing when he was just 14 years old, an age where most haven’t even fired their first pistol. At this time he split his love for gunsmithing with another hobby, playing the guitar. Shortly after this Kip started reading up on anything he could get his hands on about gun repair, and ever since then we’ve been witnesses to history in the making.

Kip has amassed a treasure trove of certifications during his time as a gunsmith. His credentials include being a certified pistol smith, shotgun smith, rifle smith, rimfire rifle smith,  and advanced glock armorer. He also earned Armorer’s Certificate from Barrett Firearms on all of their long range rifles. The accomplishments don’t end there, as Kip is also a certified NRA instructor. Eventually, his passion and expertise came together and Kip opened up a shop in Colombia, Tennessee, where had moved to in order to help take care of his ailing father. While in the small town, Kip quickly noticed that the they were in dire need of a gunsmith. From enthusiast, to student, to businessman, Kip’s gunsmithing career has completed the cycle, as he is now not only an instructor at SDI, but also our Master Gunman. SDI’s VP of Academic Affairs Mike Olson perfectly summed up what Kip means to the institute.

“As a member of our faculty, Kip Carpenter has guided and mentored SDI students for years. His dedication to our student body has been demonstrated time and again by his willingness to work one-on-one with his students, help other faculty members, and answer any ‘gun question’ under the sun. In his new role as Master Gunsmith, Kip will lend his 30-plus years of experience in the firearms industry to guide the Department of Curriculum and Assessment in the development and revision of our courses while still bringing his expertise to SDI’s students in the classroom.”

If you haven’t been able to tell by now, Kip really loves what he does. In fact, the only thing that Kip may be more passionate about is teaching. Being able to share all the knowledge he’s gained with the next generation of gunsmiths is what Kip loves most about his job. Their inquisitive nature and desire to learn as much as they can about the craft of gunsmithing reminds Kip asking as many questions as he could in his beginnings. Don’t take my word for it, Kip sums it up perfectly himself.

“What I love the most about being an instructor is passing on the knowledge and history to a new generation of future gunsmiths, so the art of gunsmithing will continue long after I am gone. I also love the questions these young men and women ask me it reminds me of me; I would ask all kinds of questions to gain any knowledge I could and I see the same desire in our students and it makes me so proud of them! I tell you I have the greatest job in the world being at SDI”

So what advice does this Master Gunsmith have for those interested in getting into the trade?

  1. Learn all you can learn from reading books to hands on to just asking question. The master admits that he’s still learning till this day.
  2. Have confidence in yourself and do not be afraid to mess up it happens you learn from it and move on!
  3. Don’t commit to anything you are not trained to do it will just get you in a bind with the customer and damage your reputation, also be completely honest!
  4. Always obey the laws!!
  5. Enjoy what you do and take pride in your work and work space! No one wants to leave their firearm with someone who seems unprofessional or disorganized.

SDI gives Kip the ability to share his love and knowledge with young up-and-coming gunsmiths and he couldn’t be anymore grateful. Kip has been with SDI for three years and sees the school as one big, happy family. Everyone from SDI from the faculty to the students are thankful to have Kip on the team and hope he’ll be with us for many years to come.

 

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SDI Attends IV8888 YouTube Range Day

Boom! Red, white, and blue smoke filled the air as a concussion ripples across the field and a chest-thumping sound expands across the rural landscape of Georgia just North of Atlanta. With this, the IV8888 YouTube Range Day kicked off its yearly event of shooting, socializing, and networking for the firearms community.

Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) attended IV8888’s invite-only event on October 7, 2017, and it was an impressive display of solidarity, friendship, and fun. Representing SDI was its own Wes Lemay, Garett Bischoff, and Mac Christian. With the current political environment surrounding the firearms community, an event like this could very easily evolve into a highly politically charged meeting. This day, however, maintained its course as an occasion to gather with like-minded individuals representing various areas of the firearms community to have fun and learn.

Walking around the tables set up at IV8888 YouTube Range Day, attendees could find a large assortment of firearms in almost any model and type. Even the most avid firearms enthusiasts would be able to find something new at this event, whether it be Kriss Vectors, suppressed 50 cal rifles, or Ruger’s new backpacker rifle with a suppressor added–which SDI’s Wes LeMay called “the coolest darn thing I’ve seen in a long time.” The air around Range Day was filled with a constant cacophony of firearms. The sound would vary from large bolt action rifles to the occasional rattle of fully automatic rifles as well as the thunderous noise of a 50 cal bolt action rifle. These were all handled under the supervision of professionals with specialty licensing to work with these types of firearms.

Held on a private property in Georgia, the shooting course might have resembled a bit of bedlam but once the range went hot, a fair amount of order ensued. A rotary clay launcher sat in the middle of the range and shotguns were primarily demoed in the center of the course to provide access to the randomly firing clays. Fully-automatic and semi-automatic rifles along with handguns were fired on either side. Close targets were identified as handgun-only targets to prevent any fragments from coming back to shooters. Targets were placed at varying locations up to 100 yards and consisted of foam torso, popups, steel, tannerite, two cars and a gong. IraqVeteran8888’s Eric Blandford kept constant communication with the shooters through a loudspeaker system to notify the shooting range to halt shooting at various time intervals for the resetting of targets.

IV8888 YouTube Range Day was a terrific outing and a great example of solidarity within the firearms community. SDI was proud to have been a participant and honored to have attended such a professional and positive event.

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