Question of the Day: Concealed Carry Competency Test?

We don't need no stinkin' badges! (courtesy legallyarmed.com)

Americans shouldn’t have to take a test to “qualify” for a concealed carry license. In fact, there shouldn’t be such a thing as a concealed carry license. That said, people who carry a firearm should train up to the highest possible standard, including Simunitions training. Again, no legal requirement. Just a damn good idea. Illinois—the last state to license concealed carry—has its own ideas about minimum mandatory training for concealed carry license holders. Sixteen hours of instruction including “a live fire exercise with a concealable firearm consisting of: 1. A minimum of 30 rounds; 2. 10 rounds from a distance of 5 yards, 10 rounds from a distance of 7 yards, and 10 rounds from a distance of 10 yards at a B-27 silhouette target approved by the ISP [Illinois State Police]. If you HAD to devise a test for CC, what would it be? What defensive gun use skills would be the baseline?

avatar

About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

84 Responses to Question of the Day: Concealed Carry Competency Test?

  1. avatarGunracer1958 says:

    IMHO – It would be tough enough that most current LEOs wouldn’t pass. Everything would be timed on a smooth “no aiming point” target (Bianchi cup or USPSA style) from both concealed draw and low ready. In varying light conditions and ranges to 10 yards.

  2. avatarjwm says:

    As long as a person can safely handle their weapon that should be the only requirement. Actually there should be no requirement but since you insist. If a person can demonstrate that they know the 4 rules and can physically manipulate the gun safely that should be all. And the requirement should not cost anything and it should be administered by NRA volunteers.

  3. avatargreat unknown says:

    NYPD cops could certainly not pass the test; however, they might end up wounding/killing the people administering the test.

  4. avatarBlehtastic says:

    I just got my CHL today. My gun’s finally going everywhere with me.

    The reason I don’t have a huge problem with the training in Ohio/Utah is because of how much research I did before getting my permit.

    When we get back to a point where firearms familiarity is universal then it will be ok to get rid of the training and the license. We’re not there yet and a baseline of the four rules and a little manipulation and firing practice is probably a good idea.

    It is, however, ridiculous how long the wait was between training and getting a chl application appt. the chl should have been issued at the end of the training.

    • avatarVSN says:

      I was a little unnerved by the number of people in the CCW class that I took (Iowa) that had never handled a gun. Even more so by the fact that our state allows them to just watch a video online to qualify.

      • avatarPatriot 68 says:

        Actually, I was pleased to learn that a large percentage of the people in my CCW class had no experience with firearms. It indicated that there were a lot of new converts to pro-2A. It was also encouraging that about 50% of the class were women and that about 50% of the class were black. Said another way, the gender and race of the class was pretty evenly distributed. It just showed that all people just want to be able to protect themselves.

  5. avatarPaul B says:

    Only if the test proctors are armed as every one knows the po po need to go home at the end of the day. The rest of us, not so much.

    • avatarJason says:

      What if the cop felt threatened by the way the proctor held up his clipboard? Officer safety is the number one priority.

  6. avatardwb says:

    people are allowed to carry? In this state people would give their left nut* to carry.

    *insert politically incorrect joke involving a democrat here.

  7. avatarRalph says:

    Thirty shots at ten yards using the Constitution as a target. Any shooter who obliterates the Constitution completely gets to be President.

  8. avatarMark N. says:

    California requires 16 hours of training for a first CCW, Renewals are a 4 hour class. Counties vary widely on qualification shooting, from nothing to the same requirement for LEOs. Classes are not about safe gun handling–you have to pass that test just to buy a handgun.

  9. avatarAnonymous says:

    “If you HAD to devise a test for CC, what would it be?”

    A written test that is not graded (you get a 100%) that informs you of when you can perform a DGU with full confidence that the DA will not hang you.

  10. avatarJulian says:

    In Washington, there is no training requirement. It’s great until you travel someplace like CO, which won’t recognize our permits because of the training requirement.

    • avatarBlue says:

      States that want to weasel out of reciprocity will find an excuse. Washington dropped Florida who in turn dropped Washington because Florida allows military personnel under 21 get ccw licenses. Of the 1.1 million + active Florida licenses, it isn’t like that many have them, but non-the-less it is Washington’s policy.

    • avatarJason says:

      If WA didn’t require me to get a WA CPL when I became a resident, I wouldn’t have bothered. My AZ nonresident permit is still much better. To get that one I had to fire five shots at five yards, and five at ten yards, at a standard torso target. Seven of the shots had to hit. I took the test less than a month after I first touched a gun and found it ridiculously simple.

      • avatarMark Horning says:

        You don’t have an AZ non-resident permit. You have an AZ permit. AZ DPS does not issue resident and non-resident permits. We issue one permit regardless of where you live.

    • avatarCarlosT says:

      Colorado doesn’t honor permits from a lot of places, apparently. I was checking USA Carry’s maps, and even adding Utah and Florida non-resident permits it still remained in the no-go column.

      • avatarDonS says:

        By statute, Colorado doesn’t recognize non-resident permits. For your non-CO permit to be recognized, you must be a resident of the state that issued it (or a recent immigrant to CO).

  11. avatarGov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    You don’t need a test to establish your proficiency with a weapon, you need a class to inform you of all the legal landmines you need to avoid. Very few of us are at a high risk of felonious assault. Running afoul of the law is much more likely.

    • avatarJason says:

      Agreed. It shouldn’t be a requirement to exercise a right, but it’s a really good idea.
      The NRA personal protection in/outside the home classes cover that.

      • avatarGov. William J. Le Petomane says:

        Do they offer a class on how not to get busted by the police and spend the next 7 years in prison for doing something you never realized was illegal?

    • avatarUnapologeticallyAmerican says:

      I would have agreed with you prior to my wife’s experience getting her carry permit where the student next to her had a ND that went sideways down the firing line. Didn’t hit anyone luckily. Student was asked not so politely to leave and didn’t get the permit or a refund for the cost of the course. When asked, the instructor told her that it happens occasionally despite ample instruction that a student is kicked off the range for a safety violation.

      Sure any student can “qualify” with one type of handgun, then buy something else to carry. But if someone has to demonstrate competence with a loaded gun, even if it is a rental from the gun store, a few potential “irresponsible gun owners of the day” could be avoided.

  12. avatarBlue says:

    It is ironic that they bring up 30 rounds and 10 rounds when those folks don’t like magazines that hold more than 1 bullet.

  13. avatarJ.G. says:

    What I believe is a reasonable expectation of the ability to safely manipulate a firearm, and how I define an infringement as stated in the 2A, are at odds. I believe that EVERYONE who carries a weapon, should at the time they carry it be able to draw from whatever holster they use, and hit a target advancing from ten yards at two yards per second with every round they fire, and score at least two lethal hits (A zone) in the five seconds it takes to go from ten to zero. I beleive that they should be able to clear an unexpected malfunction, and reassess, re-engage as appropriate, also with a five second limit. I think that five seconds is generous, and should be the lowest standard acceptable. I also have a very literal definition of infringed. I think these expectations are resonable but I dont think it should be the government that mandates it. There lays the contradiction, it is an unenforceable expectation. Peer pressure notwithstanding.

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      So if you fail the test, you’re doomed to never be able to try to succeed again? This has thrown me for so hard a loop I’m unable to elucidate what’s wrong with it!

      • avatarBlehtastic says:

        I’m guessing that if you failed, they wouldn’t take away your gun, but would take away your extra special morale patch of mall ninja, dry firing awesomeness.

        • avatarJ.G. says:

          Try it, its not that hard to place two rounds in the A zone, or tap rack bang in five seconds.

      • avatarJ.G. says:

        Where did I say you could only take test once? I didnt, read it again.

        • avatarJ.G. says:

          I would go as far as letting you take the test twice a day until you did pass. Then at least youre training a course of fire that is worth the effort, and not jus poking holes in paper at ten yards.

    • avatarchris says:

      If that was the standard, most cops wouldn’t be carrying!

  14. avatarMistereveready says:

    The only test I’d have for the actual permit is can you show that your mother either pushed you out, or had forcefully removed from her womb on or at least slightly above U.S. soil. But then again, innocent till proven guilty. If not, become a citizen the way immigrants do.

    However, I wouldnt be completely adverse to the idea of training people to be part of a militia. All able bodied men show up, bit like national guard but with less strict physical requirements to teach the basics of tactics, some PT (cause it’s good for everyone), and of course education and training of firearms. Cause the purpose of the 2nd amendment is to secure a free state. Not hunt, not feel good, not to stare at a delicious black or brown adjustable buttstock on a rifle, but to make sure that anyone, including our own government understands they have a hell of a fight waiting for them should they try to take away our rights.

    • avatarBDub says:

      Let me get this straight. You don’t think immigrants and naturalized citizens or people here on a visa should be allowed their inalienable right to self-defense?

      Hmm.

      • avatarMistereveready says:

        Maybe you misread or I did, but I put, first check if they are natural born citizens. If not citizens go through the immigration/naturalization process. Not that they can’t. Basically, if you are an American, whether by birth or red tape, you should be able to carry. Then coerced to march up and down the square a bit.

    • avatarMatt in FL says:

      “I wouldnt be completely adverse to the idea of training people to be part of a militia.”

      I’d be interested in this, to be honest. The idea of some knowledge and training and PT really appeals to me, but the two most conventional ways of getting it are right out for me. I didn’t want to sign several years of my life away to the military, and I don’t have the deep pockets to take lots of classes to train like they do.

      • avatarMistereveready says:

        There are some of us too, who aren’t quite healthy enough to do 30 mile hikes and marathon runs, but are more than willing to fight for freedom just the same. Utilize the 2nd amendment to its fullest.

        One of the biggest issues with the militia’s in the Revolutionary War were that the volunteers were untrained, and had to be used just right (fire their lot, then run away for regular soldiers to take their place). To not waste the vast resource that is the gun owner population good training and adequate weaponry is required.

  15. avatarChuckN says:

    Administer the same test required of your state’s law
    enforcement. This would neuter any argument that
    LEOs are more highly trained and curtail carve outs
    for LE. Though, ideally there wouldn’t be any
    requirements.

  16. avatarJim Barrett says:

    Regulation is a funny thing. Before the Enron and Worldcom debacles, the Accounting profession actually was self-regulating. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) which was composed of industry people were charged by the SEC to administer the rules of accounting. For decades this worked. After Enron and Worldcom, it became clear that letting the Accountants manage themselves was not in the best interest of the public, so we got Sarbanes Oxley and a boat load of other Government oversight. Note that in this case, it was a few bad apples that wrecked it for everyone. Most accountants were law abiding, professional, and followed the rules. A few did not, but that was all it took.

    Gun owners would do well to remember this lesson. We often say that our community should not be judged by the actions of a few idiots/psychopaths, etc, but the truth is that we will be so judged. If we can demonstrate the ability to regulate ourselves, we are less likely to be saddled with new onerous government oversight. On the other hand, every time something like Newton happens, we get opportunistic a-holes who try and convince the public that all gun owners are nut jobs looking for an opportunity to snap.

    I agree that rights should not be infringed. I just wish that every gun owner who chooses to carry outside their home 1. Knew the laws regarding the use of legal force, 2. Used common sense to avoid problems when possible and 3. When avoidance was not possible, was a good enough shot to ensure that they hit what they aim at and nothing else. No one and I mean no one shoots well without regular practice. If you don’t practice, you should have the good sense not to carry in public as you risk hurting someone. Of course, if you drink too much, you should have the good sense not to drive, but we know how well that works out.

    The ability for us to maintain our rights against unjust regulatory rules will largely be contingent upon how voters see the gun owning community. The more professional and responsible we appear, the more they see the gun grabbers for the idiot jerkoffs that they are.

  17. avatarB says:

    After they pass all the rigorous tests they should also have to wear an armband so the police can know who they are. Maybe afterwards they can give them a nice train ride to firearm owners camp for further testing.

  18. avatared says:

    You should be able to carry if you can spell “gun”

  19. avataruncommon_sense says:

    My baseline skill test would be that a student demonstrates proper trigger and muzzle discipline and that they can draw and shoot and put the shot into a human size target at 5 feet.

    • avatarMatt in FL says:

      That is basically the “hands-on” requirement in Florida. The class where I actually got my permit (because I’ve surveyed others) put a .22LR semi-auto in my hands, pointed me towards a target (I think it was a 12″ bullseye) about 6 feet downrange, and told me to “shoot ’til I tell you to stop.” He stopped me after 2 rounds (X-ring, natch). Another guy he stopped after 10. I think the standard was something like “7/10 shots on the target without shooting yourself or anyone else.”

  20. avatarBDub says:

    I don’t believe there should be a test either, but I am always fascinated that most live-fire requirements don’t stipulate that the test be taken from a concealed draw. Is that because the liability of testing is higher?

  21. avatarJ.G. says:

    The members of the group taking the class should not know each other personally. A classroom requirement for a guided group discussion of the importance of the four firearms safety rules, breaking each rule down specifically. Each individual should be required to write down and share with the group, a list of the things that they believe are worth discharging a weapon for and have a further discussion, based on the examples provided by the group of the specific self defense laws, and the consequences, both moral and legal of using a weapon and taking a human life. A specific breakdown of how semi-automatic pistols, and revolvers function. What ammunition is, its component parts, and how it works. Each person in the group should have a say as to the competence of everyone else in the group. If a person or persons in the group are unanimously voted to be a risk by the rest of the group, they fail the course.

  22. avatarDan says:

    I hate the idea of restricting CC to “qualified persons” because could easily go awry when requirements become too rigorous. Then again, I knew a guy who carried a .40 SW loaded with FMJ, and hadn’t fired a single shot through the gun. He never bothered to learn anything about the laws about deadly force, and had a habit of pointing it at people’s faces when it was supposedly unloaded. A sizable minority of CCW holders would benefit greatly from an education.

  23. avatarS.CROCK says:

    i would love to do the training that ill requires, but i see why people will less free time would not.

  24. avatarDavid says:

    (Ignoring the question of what I would suggest)

    I’ll support competency tests for concealed carry as soon as we require a college degree or equivalent competency for voting.

    Then, when the dumbocrats lose their voting base, we get Constitutional carry, and the issue goes away. Right?

    • avatarChuckN says:

      “…as soon as we require a college degree…”

      You’re putting a lot of faith in a college education.
      It’s even worse when you look at some of the
      degree programs out there.

  25. avatarjacob says:

    I wouldn’t require a firing portion at all. CPL classes are not the places to teach tactics, drills, accuracy, or even shooting fundamentals. Too many new shooters to actually accomplish anything. I’d require basic handling, big 4, and that’s about it.

  26. avatarRLC2 says:

    I’m going with the Biden protocol-

    Just shoot two rounds out the window.
    After racking the slide on semi’s to make that scary noise*.

    *Revolver owners have to snap them open and closed repeatedly,
    because thats pretty scary too.

    Extra points for twirling them upon holstering. Thats scary too.

    Classes to be given by community organizers-
    the same ACORN types that will be giving out information about OBAMACARE.

  27. avatarMojoRonin says:

    I thought MN was reasonable, 5 hours, mostly legal stuff, and a session of shooting for an hour, instructors stayed later to field questions and tutor ones that weren’t good shots. the instructor did start the class with the assumption that we were already familiar with handguns and had previously practiced.

  28. avatarJSIII says:

    Are you here legally or an American citizen? If yrs, carry on. That would be my test.

  29. avatarMark Horning says:

    Honestly that is not “that far off” from the Original AZ requirement.
    Back in 96 the required course was:

    16 hrs (which was bad, because there simply isn’t 16 hrs worth of material)
    5 shots at 5 yards
    5 shots at 10 yards

    Passing required 7 of 10 in the center zone.
    Standard B27 target.

    After a few years we managed to get legislation to take it down to 8 hrs (and then 4 for the renewal)

    A few years later we got legislation through to waive the renewal class on the 3rd and subsequent renewals.

    A few years later we got legislation through to waive the class entirely if you were active military, former military (other than dishonorably discharged), were an NRA instructor, had training in another state, plus a host of others.

    So, baby steps.

  30. Here’s the test:

    1) In your own words what are the 4 most important rules of gun safety?

    2) What is AOJP?

  31. avatarNo_Smoking says:

    I agree it shouldn’t be a “requirement”.. but there should be extremely attractive incentives for getting the -optional- training/classes.

    I’d say do away with calling it a ‘permit or license’ and call it a Certification Card. If you have this card, it entitles you to perks. Tax breaks, discounts, VIP treatment, etc…

    I’ll never understand why our gov doesn’t offer the training FREE. It only serves to benefit EVERYONE

    • avatarChip says:

      One possible attractive benefit would be to receive a discount on liability insurance related to firearms (offered by the NRA, USA Concealed Carry, etc.).

      Businesses could also offer discounts; that’d be great. I know at least one place offers a discount to those who are carrying – All Around Pizza in Virginia Beach.

      While universal training would be great, just remember that NOTHING the government does is “free.”

  32. avatarNCG says:

    I just took an online course that qualifies for Oregon CHL. It cost $10 (via paypal), and took about half an hour, and I read everything twice. I didn’t learn anything new, and I was disappointed when there was no test at then end. I do well on tests. I’m not saying the course was bad, it was just really basic. Next step for me is to send in my application to the Sheriff and wait to schedule an appointment. Then $65 bucks and fingerprinting.

    I do have one major beef with the Oregon application. It asks the applicant to check a box stating: “I have never been to court for any charge involving drugs.” I haven’t, but I did go to a certain liberal arts college in Oregon, and I may have been in the presence of illegal drugs a couple or a thousand times. It does not ask if I’ve ever been to court for beating the shit out of my wife or setting fire to a Synagogue. I guess those activities are okay. Seriously, this is just a way to keep more black/poor folks disarmed.

    All that said, I’m on the fence about training. I’d like to get firearms training (I’ve had nothing beyond the NRA summer camp course, though I’ve read plenty). But training ain’t cheap. I think if states are going to require training, they should give you some special “well regulated militia” status. Which ain’t gonna happen, so the Vermont model works for me.

  33. avatarArdent says:

    I’m on board with the ‘citizen test’ for concealed carry. I like some of the ideas about incentivizing additional training, and especially making it free. However, if your own survival isn’t enough incentive to train, what would be?

  34. avatarC says:

    one item discussed would be not getting those stupid badges or anything, like in the above photo, which announces that you have a gun.

  35. avatarDon says:

    If you are an adult that that has been told the four rules, explained justifiable lethal force, and can pull a trigger an hit a man sized target at 4 yards then you are qualified. So anyone.

  36. avatarKirk says:

    Um…if your finger fits inside the trigger guard?

    The issue isn’t certifying competency. The State, of all things, is identifiably incompetent to judge that.

    The issue is moral-legal-ethical. Once that is embraced, competency of one sort or another will follow.

    And if it doesn’t? Then there will be others all around you for whom it does.

  37. avatarKen Hagler says:

    While sitting through the painfully long Texas CHL class (nine hours, plus an hour of range time for a 50-round course of fire), one of the students sitting next to me made the observation that the whole thing was basically a hazing ritual. That was the best description I’ve yet heard of the whole CHL training thing. (The Texas legislature apparently reduced the obnoxiousness of the process greatly in their most recent session.)

  38. avatarJohn in AK says:

    Although I cringe when I type this, I have to be against ANY test requirement set down by Government to exercise a constitutionally-protected right.

    There is no Government test required for me to eat, breath, relieve myself, fornicate, have children, buy a house, choose a mate, or marry; All of these things are natural rights, and beyond the scope of Government control. I also have a naturally-guaranteed right as a living thing to attempt to protect my own existence by whatever means necessary, so long as I have not abrogated that right by first threatening the life of another. I do not need to pass a Government test before I can vote; I need not pass a Government ‘test’ before I own a firearm for my own protection, or in fact for any other lawful purpose whatsoever.

    The only ‘test’ of firearm ownership and use for a citizen is whether or not one uses the device legally and correctly, as it was designed and for its proper purpose.

    On the other hand, law enforcement personnel must be subject to stringent testing and training before THEY can possess firearms; They are the Government arm of force and must be strictly regulated.

  39. avatarKR says:

    Private sector schools, since the 1970s, have had their own graduation standards that are far higher than any gov’t minimum, because the private sector schools are training students to win. Their standards are based on study of actual incidents. The standards all cover about the same ground.

    Concealment draw time of 1.5 second or faster. Fire 2-3 shots per second and get “A-zone” hits on targets from 3-7 yards. Draw and shoot while taking a few steps. Shoot with the gun in one hand. Clear a malfunction/reload and fire at least one shot within 2-3 seconds. I have my own 20 round test (Three Seconds or Less) that we use in our classes. A 50% score on the IDPA classifier is another good measure of competence, as is a 10 second run on Gunsite’s El Presidente drill, or a 10 second run on the FAST drill.

Leave a Reply

Please use your real name instead of you company name or keyword spam.