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May 27, 2008

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Mandatory CCW Training

I’ve been through any number of firearms training classes over the years covering everything from the basics to more advanced stuff. I don’t know how many times I’ve taken the intro level NRA course in my lifetime—I can think of at least a half-dozen instances off the top of my head—but even though it is repetitive it has never been time wasted. I always manage to learn something new or see something in a new way depending on the instructor and his or her skills.

Most of the time I’ve taken the course to satisfy the requirements for getting a concealed carry permit. I’ve done that in Connecticut, New York, Washington and, most recently, for a non-resident permit for Utah. Some of these classes have had a shooting proficiency element, others have not.

I’ve never thought much about the requirement to take one of these classes, but Larry Correia over at Monster Hunter Nation, who has taught CCW classes for years has and he’s concluded that mandatory training classes are essentially worthless:

When I first started out, I did a full on basic handgun class in addition to the lecture portion that was required by the state.  What I quickly discovered was the people who were going to be smart, were smart.  People that were going to be stupid, were on their best behavior while I watched them, then immediately went back to being stupid when they were on their own.

He makes a number of very compelling points in his essay. I still believe it is a good thing to make sure a person at least knows how a pistol or revolver functions and that it is worthwhile to drill folks in the basics of firearms safety (or to try to at any rate) but it is hard to argue with Correia’s point on how any proposal for a shooting requirement is little more than just window dressing.

—John Snow



In Indiana, there are no class or shooting course requirements.

Fill out the paperwork, pay your money, wait about 6 weeks and get your permit.


Washington and Michigan also, with about 4 weeks wait.

B. Cameron

New York, of all places, doesn't require class time. At least not on a state level. Individual counties might.


I went to the Sheriff's office, filled out the forms, paid my $10 and was handed a temporary permit that has all the privileges of a permanent permit! Received the real card in the mail in two weeks. I love South Dakota! Only requirement is SD resident for 60 days prior, and all the questions on the federal form you fill out at a dealer anyway.

R. Woodman

I'm originally from Ventura, CA having relocated to Birmingham, AL.

Quite a contrast betwen the two.

To obtain my CCW in Ventura County California required a written essay explaining why you felt the need to carry, an interview with the Sheriff's Dept., classroom study including dryfire exercises before you ever made it to the range. Your classroom work determined if you made it to the range.

Range work included basic shooting, master grip, single hand and offhand shooting, shooting from cover, reloading with one hand, etc.

In order to obtain your CCW you had to pass a shooting exam which consisted of a timed test working from a holster. You had 20 seconds from the buzzer to draw your weapon, move, fire 5 rounds from a magazine loaded with 5 + 2 dummies (simulating a jam - each time you encountered a dummy round you tapped/racked), fire until dry, drop the mag, grab a full mag from your hip, reload, and fire two additional rounds, at 7 yards at a human silhouette and all 7 rounds had to hit center mass.

In Alabama, you write something up explaining why you need a CCW, pay 7.00 and wait for a background check your permit (assuming they accept your explanation and you pass the background check).

Frankly, although it's much more difficult, I think I prefer the California method. It keeps people who don't really know what their doing from walking around with a concealed weapon (at least legally).

Jim in Mo.

In Missouri the shooting portion consisted of letting the instructor see you point and fire a mag or cylinder into a silhouette. Needed to be more. The lecture consisted of being scared silly to carry at all because of the possibility of your being wrong in the usage of your gun. Which may be good.

Bud in TX

In TX, one attends 8 hours classroom instruction (incl. CCL law, safety), shooting profiency firing 50 rounds. Fingerprinting, background ck by TxDPS, fee 140 for license, 100 for instructer, and approx 60-90 wait.


In Tennessee it's much like Texas. I learned, which makes logical sense, that one is responsible for the bullet no matter where it goes. You shoot the threatening party, the bullet passes through, strikes someone else and you have civil charges pending at least. Be Careful!!!

Blue Ox

Here in the Communist Republic of Illinois, we are not allowed any of that. We are not allowed to protect ourselves, our loved ones, or our children. All because 'Da Mayer' and 'Da Guv' want more and more gun control.
Guns have only two enemies; rust and polititians.
The 2nd amendment is in place in case the politicians ignore the others.
This country is supposed to be all about freedom.
Free men do not ask permission to bear arms, and besides, what part of 'shall not be infringed' do you not understand?
It's our right to bear arms. It's our right to defend ourselves and our families from whatever threat that may arise. A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.
And if you don't know your rights, then you don't have any.


After leaving the so-called Communist Republic of Illinois, I am so glad I did. Here in Alaska, anyone who can posses a firearm may carry one concealed, no permit required. At least one state still remembers what freedom is.