Am I required to take a concealed carry class?
We've gotten a surprising number of emails asking about whether a concealed carry class is truly needed or not. It's more than just safety – it's gaining trust in your abilities and your firearm. However, depending on the state – it may not be required.
CCW Permit Training Requirements Vary By State
Unfortunately, it's not as simple as one classroom fits all requirements. Most courses offered through the National Rifle Association (or advised through) will have a standard classroom setting and a live-fire portion. States such as Florida only require the CCW permit trainee to have fired one single round out of the chamber of the firearm. Other states, such as South Carolina, accept a DD-214 or current DoD Common Access Card as proof of firearms training.
And then, the rising tide of states which allow constitutional carry. In a state with permitless concealed carry, there may be no training or CCW course requirements in order to carry.
What are the fundamentals of CCW training?
Regardless of state requirements to handle and conceal a firearm, the only metaphor that comes to mind is if there was no driving test required prior to getting a driver's license. Can someone naturally figure out how to operate a motor vehicle? Yes. Will he? In some cases, yes. In most – no.
No matter where a person believes he or she is in his or her proficiency with firearms, it's always a good idea to regularly refresh those skills with instruction and training. As such, a variety of CCW training courses focus on both beginners and more advanced weapon specialists to ensure both have a proper understanding of safety, form, and function of their soon-to-be CCW handgun.
Step 1 - Safety
Every course, as rote as it may be for many firearms enthusiasts, ultimately solidifies the four firearm safety principles.
Firearm safety principles:
1. Treat every weapon as if it is loaded.
2. Do not point the weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot.
3. Keep your finger clear and off the trigger until you intend to fire.
4. Identify your target prior to shooting.
Step 2 – Familiarization
Every pistol and revolver handles differently. From unloading and reloading magazines to dis-assembly for maintenance – the devil is often in the details. Any good CCW course probably won't be able to give you familiarity with your firearm but they will instruct you on how to approach it.
Training is a key essential for concealed carriers. The ability to reliably reach down, withdraw one's firearm from either an inside the waistband or OWB holster and discharge it appropriately into a target is essential. Those skills are trained through proper instruction and repetition.
Step 3 – Confidence
For those who don't yet carry a firearm in a concealable holster, it's a bit of an adjustment. Even if that person trains consistently at the range, there is a change of pace and style going from not carrying to carrying. That's part of confidence – an element any CCW course will try to instruct.
After a person has become familiarized with his firearm and is confident enough to know when it is and is not appropriate to draw and use said weapon, he is now more likely to be in a mental place to make the most use of that pistol or revolver.
About The Author
James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.