Recommended Concealed Carry Training
When it comes to concealed carry training, there's what you have to study in order to satisfy state requirements and then there's what a person should be learning. Some courses don't always cover everything, after all.
Therefore, you should know what you need to learn about in order to be a better-informed, more conscientious carrier.
We're going to go over some recommended CCW training subjects that everyone should receive instruction in. This includes both shooting and non-shooting subjects, as there is plenty a person should know beyond mere use of a pistol in self-defense.
Self-Defense Laws Of Your State
One of the first recommended concealed carry training subjects - and one that can easily get ignored - is one of the most important to know, namely the self-defense laws of your state. It's one thing to understand legal principles of self-defense; what constitutes legal self-defense in your state is quite another.
That training should include a review of not only statutory law, but also relevant case law. The former is what the law says, the latter determines how that law is applied. Almost all courts in the United States rely on the legal doctrine of stare decisis, or in other words, relying on the precedent set by previous court cases.
When a particular type of case was handled in a particular way, any subsequent cases like that case must be handled the same way according to the legal precedent set by the controlling case from which that precedent originated.
A good CCW training course should include both examining the spirit and letter of the laws of your state, but also - at minimum - a cursory glance at relevant case law, including the controlling court cases and recent examples.
A good discussion of what to do after a defensive shooting should also be included.
Why does this matter?
As a person with a firearm, you hold tremendous power in your concealed carry holster. With that power - as we all learned from "Spiderman" - comes great responsibility. You need to know how to act within the bounds of the letter and spirit of the law, just as when driving or doing anything else. It is your responsibility to do so, as you will be facing consequences if you do not.
Naturally, any formal instruction regarding firearms should include a generous portion of gun safety. Just as knowing the law is important if you're going to concealed carry, knowing how to do so safely is just as important. This is an equally important recommended concealed carry training subject, and one that should be taken as a refresher for the experienced and drilled into the novice.
Gun safety training should include knowledge of the various types of firearms and how they work, such as the various types of semi-automatic pistols and also revolvers. The mechanisms of each type of gun should be explained, as well as their benefits and drawbacks.
The basic controls of the different types of firearms should also be explained, as should the safety features. You should be instructed on how to safely carry them as well.
Handling safety should also be included in CCW training. A person should definitely learn the 4 Laws of Gun Safety and how that pertains to handling a firearm of any sort.
Naturally, a person should also learn the basics of shooting safety. Having a good backstop, being aware of the target and what's beyond it, not shooting at hard, flat surfaces or at water, identifying if a ricochet is possible and so on are all topics that should be covered by safety training. It would also do to learn some range etiquette as well.
If a person doesn't know how to handle or use firearms safely, then nothing else matters.
For beginners, part of good CCW training should be instruction in basic marksmanship. For the already experienced, it's good to have a refresher. This is also normally included in range portions of many hunter's safety courses as well, so it's a feature of almost any basic course regarding firearms and their use.
Shooting is a muscle memory activity, after all.
For a new shooter, they need to be instructed in how to do it properly so they can start building good habits for the rest of their life.
For more experienced shooter, good skills can be maintained or further honed so that they can shoot better and continue to shoot well.
Which, naturally leads us to the conclusion that
Good Concealed Carry Training Should Include Live Fire
If you don't actually fire a weapon during concealed carry training, it isn't very good training. It is poor instruction in any skill, in any discipline, that doesn't give a person hands-on experience in what they are doing.
For shooting skills, that must-needs include a live-fire component.
Many courses do include it, but some do not and those that don't should be avoided if at all possible. This is why many CCW courses ask that students bring a firearm and ammunition for shooting.
Perhaps saying so is stating the obvious, but it merits mentioning.
But Don't Neglect Dry Fire Training
A good concealed carry training course should also include dry fire training. Arguably, it's the most important training one can do for shooting, as the trigger pull has almost as much to do with accuracy as your aiming technique does.
A good shooting instructor will assess your shooting technique via dry firing. They should also offer you a few tips on how to address any issues and give you a few drills to practice at home to enhance your trigger technique and keep it up.
If there's one thing that's almost universally agreed upon by experts on firearms use of any sort - including everyone from military personnel to elite hunters - it's the importance of dry firing.
Make sure that any training course you take as well as your practice routine includes it.
Drawing A Handgun
How to shoot is one thing, but drawing a handgun...is something else. A lot of instructors in defensive pistol use, as well as combat handgun instructors in service to police departments, federal agencies and to the military advocate that the draw is arguably more important than almost any other aspect of using a gun in self-defense.
Not that aiming isn't important, of course...but all the marksmanship in the world doesn't matter if you don't have your gun out to confront the threat.
Drawing a gun isn't as simple as just yanking the gun out of the holster. There are some subtleties to a draw technique that have to be learned in order to get a clean pull from concealment.
Delf "Jelly" Bryce, the famous lawman that eventually became chief firearms instructor to the FBI, was able to draw, shoot and hit a target in under a third of a second. Bryce was known to practice his draw every day, sometimes for hours at a time. Bill Jordan, another famous lawman with the US Border Patrol (and also a Marine that saw combat in WWII and Korea) was able to achieve the same feat, and recommended that 90 percent of a person's pistol practice be drawing and firing a single shot. If the first hit was "in," he reckoned, the others were sure to follow.
These and many, many others have recommended that practicing the draw be just as much a part of concealed carry training as marksmanship. Therefore, look for a course or an instructor that will help you with yours.
Defensive Shooting Drills
Along with basic marksmanship, another recommended concealed carry training component is defensive shooting drills. This is practical marksmanship; not only hitting the target, but hitting the target in specific areas so as to have an effect on a live target.
In other words, you're training to hit vital areas.
Just as a boxer drills combinations to hit an opponent in the ring by letting muscle memory take over, learning defensive shooting drills trains you to do the same. Once things go bad, you put the target down. This is why drills like double taps, controlled pairs and the Mozambique or failure drill are taught to law enforcement and military personnel for when the shooting starts.
While a few hours with an instructor won't make you a handgun guru, you should come away with a few exercises that you can incorporate into your regular practice and training to keep your skills sharp.
Reloading skills should be included, as well as operating a pistol with either hand and from multiple shooting positions and stances. You may have to shoot one-handed, so this should be taught as well.