Folks who carry concealed are a diverse lot. We are of different ages and occupations. We live in large cities, small towns, and rural areas. We are both male and female. Some of us like revolvers, others like autoloaders. Some of us are new to the game, others have been carrying for many years. Our preferences in chambering run the gamut from .22 LR to .44 Magnum. There is one thing upon which most all of us agree; a person needs training to be able to carry the firearm of their choice in a safe and effective manner.
Here at Concealed Nation, we all believe that good training is important for those who carry their firearms in public. In this article we examine various points of view on what constitutes an “adequate” or “acceptable” level of training for the issue of a concealed carry permit or license. First, let’s look at the CCW requirements on a state by state basis. A GAO Study published in July of 2012 reported that there were four states with no licensing requirements at all for carry of a concealed firearm. Obviously, no license required implies no training required. For those states with licencing requirements the specific nature of the training varied considerably, from none (GA) to 10 to 15 hours of both classroom and live fire (TX) combined with written examinations and a shooting proficiency test. A number of states indicate a training requirement but do not specify the exact nature in their state laws.
Given this wide variation in requirements, we would like to take this opportunity to advance our own opinion on the nature of adequate and suitable training for one who carries concealed. To keep things simple, we will assume the case of an applicant with either little or no experience with firearms. The following list covers just the minimum requirement.
- Handgun nomenclature, operation and function.
- The Four Rules of Firearm Safety.
- Detailed review of state and federal laws concerning carry and transport.
- Review of state law concerning justifiable use of lethal force.
- Handgun cleaning and maintenance.
- Safe storage, including prevention of access by children and unauthorized persons.
- Legal liabilities of carrying a firearm.
- Situational awareness and conflict avoidance.
- Non-violent resolution of conflicts and escalation of force.
Range and Live Fire Instruction:
- Range safety, etiquette and range commands.
- Safe loading and unloading.
- Shooting fundamentals: Grip, Stance, Sight Alignment, Breathing, Trigger Control
- Slow fire at stationary targets, including ball-and-dummy drills, cease fire commands.
- Rapid fire and silhouette targets.
- Fire from behind cover.
- Draw from concealment, single shot, reholster.
- Draw from concealment, engage multiple targets, return to safe position.
In addition to a number of qualifying exercises on the range, there should be a written examination which emphasizes the question of when to shoot, rather than how to shoot. If your state does not require training in all these areas, it should be your goal to obtain this training yourself in order to carry safely and responsibly.
Finally, we should all recognize that training is not a one-time thing. We all need to keep our skills sharp and continually learn new things. We should constantly strive to improve our skills and enjoy ourselves while doing so.
If any of you feel that there is a particular area of training that is particularly important, please comment below. We are also interested in what types of training you feel would be most useful. Train well and stay safe!