Last week we looked at how the NRA’s three basic rules for firearms safety apply to concealed carry. Now let’s look at some of the criteria that should be included in any concealed carry firearms course.
First, find an instructor that has been certified by a national firearms organization, a nationally recognized shooting academy, or your local or state law enforcement agency. Do your research, ask for credentials, and check references. There are some people claiming to be firearms instructors that have no formal training at all or have credentials in other disciplines (e.g. shotgun certification teaching pistol classes). Check the websites of firearms organizations; they will guide you to good instructors that you can check out. A few examples would be the NRA, NSSF, USCCA, or USPSA.
Check out the curriculum. Is there a text, will there be exams, how much live fire range time is included? Will state and federal firearms law be discussed? I’ve seen many courses that offer none of the above items or activities; in fact, in some, students never even touch a gun, let alone learn how to handle or shoot it. It is important that the course be centered on all aspects of concealed carry. A general firearms safety course might meet the statutory requirements of the law, but it will hardly prepare you for carrying a concealed pistol in public.
A quality concealed carry course will teach basic defensive pistol skills, and defensive pistol accuracy. It should give you information on various carry modes and it should offer help in choosing for the one that might be right for you. When finished, you should have a reasonable understanding of the law; where and when concealed carry is legally allowed. And remember, finishing the course is just the beginning of your training, both mental and physical.
Carrying a concealed weapon involves great responsibility, mature judgment, and constant practice of firearms safety. CWP holders must follow all laws and regulations applicable to the legal carry of firearms; our fellow citizens deserve no less.
Be safe and good shooting.