What You'll Need To Satisfy Mandatory CCW Training
When it comes to mandatory CCW training, there are differing standards between states - though almost all states have a baseline. That said, you will need to sit for a course that satisfies the training requirements in your state in order to receive your concealed carry permit.
It behooves the interested person to know what to expect from concealed carry training courses and what they will demand of a person.
Classroom CCW Training Requirements Can Be Minimal Or Extensive
The first thing to look into regarding CCW training requirements is what your state requires. This article will explore that a little later, but since so much of firearms law is left to the states, that means you had better do your homework.
With that said, there are some common themes.
The most common requirement is a very basic, cursory course in order to get a concealed carry permit. Most of the time, it covers the basics of firearms function and operation, the basics of gun safety and so on. In many cases, the NRA Basic Pistol course (offered in all 50 states by certified NRA instructors) will satisfy state requirements and it is also common for hunter's safety courses to qualify as well.
Some states, however, have more stringent requirements. In states where more exhaustive classroom training is required, firearm safety will certainly be covered but so will topics more pertinent to daily carry. Often enough, self-defense law and firearms law will be covered, so the person seeking the license will get instruction in lawful defense of one's self. Carry laws, such as the legal manner in which one can carry on foot, in one's car and in various locations will be covered as well.
There may or may not be an examination involved; whether one is required or not depends on state regulations and/or the course in question.
Other aspects that may get covered are concealed carry reciprocity, how to interact with law enforcement and other topics.
In states such as Idaho where an enhanced concealed carry license is available, there will be a base license with more basic requirements and more strenuous requirements for the enhanced license.
Live Fire Instruction
Live-fire instruction will also vary, depending on the course offered and what the state requires.
For the most basic of courses, typically the range portion of the course will be brief. Every person attending will probably get a chance to shoot a gun a few times. They may even get to load one. However, it won't be too extensive.
For more comprehensive shooting courses required for a CPL, students will usually be asked to bring their own gun and a supply of ammunition. The instructor may go over basic marksmanship and defensive shooting. Students may receive some feedback on technique, what adjustments need to be made and what to focus on in future shooting practice.
Another aspect is that there may be a qualification shoot involved. A few states - not many, but there are a few - require an applicant for a license to pass a qualification shoot, just like police, federal agents and the military have to be able to do.
With a qualification shoot, the test-taker shoots a course of scored fire. If they achieve the minimum requisite score, they pass. If not...they don't pass the course and thus won't get the endorsement for the license to concealed carry. Again, only a few states require a qualification shoot and not all courses will require it. Some courses may require a qualification shoot despite state law not mandating it.
Select State Concealed Carry Training Requirements
Below is a selection of state concealed carry training requirements, so the interested person can get an idea of what state requirements look like and what they may have to expect. Required classroom instruction and live-fire instruction is included, as well as any additional pertinent information.
Texas concealed carry training requirements: though Texas would seem to be one of the most politically conservative and therefore gun-friendly states in the union, the Lone Star state has some of the more stringent requirements for concealed handgun permits. (And overrated pro football teams.) Four to six hours of classroom instruction is required, covering firearms and self-defense laws, non-violent dispute resolution, safe storage and general firearms safety and use. In addition, a range day is also required along with a qualification shoot.
Arizona concealed carry training requirements: Arizona's concealed carry training requirements are maintained by the Arizona Department of Public Safety, which includes the Arizona highway patrol. They require proof of completion of an approved course that teaches "competence with a firearm." Approved courses include hunter's safety, any NRA training course and a list of other approved courses.
South Carolina concealed carry training requirements: South Carolina has similar requirements to Texas. The state requires an applicant to complete a course of classroom and live-fire instruction. Required materials include statutory and case law regarding use of firearms and self-defense, state firearms and permit law, safe storage, gun-free zones and prohibited carry locations, liabilities and responsibilities regarding firearms, how to interact with law enforcement, the four rules of gun safety, handgun operation and safe operation, basic marksmanship, concealed carry techniques including draw techniques, and a shooting qualification course.
Arkansas concealed carry training requirements: to obtain an Arkansas license, an applicant must take an approved course. The course must include "proficiency with use of a handgun on the firing range" so the course must therefore include a live-fire component. So long as the course is state-approved (the state maintains a list of approved courses and instructors) a certificate of training is all that's needed.
Vermont concealed carry training requirements: CCW in Vermont has only ever been constitutional carry. No training is required, though private instruction is available.
Idaho concealed carry training requirements: while Idaho is a constitutional carry state, both base licenses and enhanced licenses are available. The base course has very similar requirements to Arizona's license, but an enhanced license requires 8 hours of total training. This includes 4 hours of classroom instruction including safe handling, firearms and self-defense law (which must be taught by an attorney) and 4 hours of range instruction, including a live-fire portion.
Each state's concealed carry training requirements are different, of course, but hopefully this gives you an idea of what will be required for you.
About The Author
Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.