A “conceal and carry class” is a common term that generally refers to the class required before a person can obtain their license or permit to carry. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the requirements for what a conceal and carry class must contain, or whether you even need to take a class to obtain your permit, vary depending on the state in which you live.
So, while “conceal and carry class” is a common phrase, the phrase itself doesn’t really tell you much about what is taught in most of these classes. With that in mind, here are the top three things we think the very best conceal and carry classes should cover.
Keep in mind that this list is in no way exhaustive. Additionally, if your conceal and carry class didn’t cover some of these topics, that doesn’t mean you attended a bad class.
Ultimately, part of being a responsibly armed gun owner is taking your education into your own hands and seeking as much knowledge and training as your resources allow. It can be difficult to get everything you need to know from just one class or source.
1. How to Carry a Gun
Thankfully, most people who choose to carry a gun will never have to use it in a self-defense encounter. But no matter the odds of actually needing your carry gun, being technically proficient with your carry gun is incredibly important given the stakes involved if you ever ARE forced to use it. Most importantly, you need to actually have the gun with you to defend yourself with it, and if you don’t know how to carry and conceal a firearm comfortably, the chances that you’ll have it with you to defend yourself go down.
With all that in mind, the best conceal and carry classes will teach you the things that you need to know so that you can conceal a gun on your person without negatively impacting your day-to-day life. This could include what to look for (and not look for) in a holster, the pros and cons of various carry methods, and, since we’re talking about the best conceal and carry class, a discussion on the principles of concealment.
2. How Things Can Go Wrong
Sadly, most people don’t like examining ways that they might do something poorly. That’s human nature and completely understandable. However, the best way to mitigate risk is to first acknowledge that the risk is present.
With that in mind, the best conceal and carry classes will include a conversation about how a self-defense encounter can go wrong and the risks that need to be mitigated by anyone who chooses to own or carry a gun for personal protection.
Specifically, there should be conversations about the potential aftermath of a self-defense shooting (so that people understand why it’s always better to avoid a violent encounter if at all possible) and about the rules of safe gun-handling and why it’s crucial that they must be treated as life rules, not just range rules.
The best conceal and carry class might even include a conversation about legendary firearms trainer Claude Werner’s work regarding “Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make.”
3. Deadly Force and Use of Force Law
One of the most misunderstood aspects of conceal and carry specifically, and personal protection in general, is the fundamental law surrounding when someone is justified in using deadly force to defend their own life or the life of someone else. The best conceal and carry class will spend a great deal of time on this subject and go into more depth beyond a generic “you need to be in fear for your life.”
Complicating this point is that while the basic concepts can be relatively universal, self-defense laws can have small or sometimes large divergences depending on the state that you live in. With the caveat that it’s of the utmost importance that you familiarize yourself with your local laws, there are four general things to keep in mind when considering whether or not you would be justified to defend yourself with deadly force.
First, does the person you’re defending yourself against have the ability to cause you death or great bodily harm? It’s important to realize that someone’s ability to do you harm is not solely dependent on them being armed with a weapon. Disparities in size, age, overall physical ability, or even positioning can significantly impact someone’s ability to do you harm.
Second, even if someone has the ability to cause you death or great bodily harm, they must also have the opportunity to bring that ability to bear. For instance, someone armed with a knife can injure or kill. However, suppose our imaginary knife-wielding attacker is separated from approaching you by something like a chain-link fence. In that case, they do not have the opportunity to use that force against you. Put a gun in the hands of the same attacker, and now they have both ability and opportunity. Ability and opportunity alone are not enough, though, because there are two other points to consider.
Third, your life must be in imminent (immediate) danger or jeopardy, and you need to be able to reasonably articulate that fact both in the moment and after the event is over. Ability and opportunity on their own are not enough. Many of us go about our everyday life surrounded by people who have the ability and the opportunity to do us harm. Suppose two friends have lunch together, and both individuals carry a gun concealed on their person as a normal part of their lives. In that case, both individuals have the ability and opportunity to do each other harm. However, there is no jeopardy because neither party is doing anything to indicate that it’s anything other than a normal everyday interaction.
Contrast that with a stranger approaching you in a parking lot, who produces a weapon, and demands all of your money. In this instance, you can clearly articulate that your life is in immediate jeopardy. There’s one final point to consider, though, and it absolutely has to do with the defender’s actions.
The fourth and final point to consider is that, above all else, the defender must not have done anything to preclude their claim of self-defense. The preclusion concept can be harder for people who are new to self-defense to grasp, and the best conceal and carry class would absolutely take time to walk students through this concept. Many specific actions could preclude someone’s self-defense claim, but as a general rule, the most important part for our purposes is that the self-defender must not have provoked the interaction; i.e., been the initial aggressor, or caused the initial confrontation as a pretext to use force or deadly force.
The Best Conceal and Carry Class?
There are many other things that a candidate for “the best conceal and carry class” would include, and any one of these topics could be, and in some cases are, the basis of entire classes. It is impossible to fit everything that could be discussed in the best conceal and carry class into even an entire weekend of training, which is why it’s important that responsibly armed individuals always seek the highest level of training that their resources allow.
In states where you must take an in-person CHP class, I wish the classes weren’t always all-day affairs. I agree with the points here, and I think they can be well-made in 90 minutes. Setting aside a whole Saturday or 4 hours after work is one of the perceived “barriers” to the missus getting hers. My class was 20 minutes of useful info and 4 hours of war stories from the instructor.
Mine was literally a five-day course. As in, four full 8-hr days of range instruction and classroom lectures specifically for defensive measures, and a fifth day dedicated to the CCW shooting skills test and State laws.
It was a lot. But in hindsight, well worth it. I could have probably been condensed down to only two full days if the class was smaller (there were 35 students total, and five instructors to accommodate), but not any less than that.
You mean the 1 hr classes at gun shows arn’t worth the ink (although expensive) on the certificates?
In what state is the required CCL class given in one hour at a gun show?
Take Mas’s MAG40 class and you will understand that even 40 hours isn’t enough. No, that’s not a concealed permit class, but anyone who thinks they can get all they need to know after a single class is fooling themselves. All the scenarios you need to train for, the mindset you need to have, the understanding of the legal side, etc. I take multiple classes every year. I learn something new with everyone of them, I read constantly about self-defense law and current cases. Carrying a gun is serious business. I want to know as much as I can because, God forbid, if I ever have to draw, my life and freedom are in jeopardy. You have to be prepared, there is so much more to this than most people realize.
A good permit instructor will stress to you that, once you get your permit, you haven’t reached the end of your training. You’re at the very beginning.
I’m sure Mas’s class was amazing. I’d love to take one myself. But we’re talking the basic CHP class just to get a permit. Most of us here probably don’t think a class should be required at all. I’m one of them.
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“3 Things You Should Expect From a Good Concealed Carry Class”
hmmm … you left one out.
4. A competent instructor.
Like one that doesn’t muzzle the class. Whether the lead pic has him muzzling the class or not, it’s close enough that he’s in the wrong (eg, if there is a person to the right out of frame, they are being muzzled…).
You left another one out:
5. Real live fire with real guns. Ideally including the proper use of cover, positions 2 & 3 and one-handed in addition to two-handed. Bonus points for moving off the X and communication as well.
Out of the five days for the course I took, I estimate that approximately 20 hours were spent actually on the firing line in front of targets, with live fire training. I couldn’t imagine any class being successful without live fire.
If you don’t mind – How many rounds total did you fire in that week-long extravaganza, and how light did the course make your wallet?
Almost 700 rds. Not too bad on my wallet, as I loaded up during the 2017-2019 “Trump Slump” years when prices were cheap compared to today.
I Haz a Question,
I think Geoff was asking you how much the class cost, not the ammunition that you shot during the class.
That second from last photo of the woman holding the gun one-handed: Someone forgot to tell her that “the non-shooting hand makes a fist in your chest.”
“the non-shooting hand makes a fist in your chest.”
it does not always need to be a fist, but a fist is preferred. It can also be bought up to the body like you are lifting a weight. Your hand – or your fist – can also go to the abdomen. Making a fist, or open hand, raising the arm to hip level with your palm facing upward, bend your elbow and draw the arm in tightly to your body.
Oh good god.
Is there any certain way you position your little finger on the tea cup?
And keep your finger off the trigger unless you’re aiming the gun at something you’re ready and willing to destroy…
And keep HER finger off the trigger…
I believe you mean, “keep your booger hook off the go pedal until you’re ready to light this candle and get the party started.”
“the non-shooting hand makes a fist in your chest.”
In all of my (lots and lots of) years, this is the first time I have ever heard that one. Please elaborate on why.
Items number 1 (how to carry a gun) and 2 (how things can go wrong) are valuable subject matter and I do not remember my class going over those points.
Top ten things my first CCW course covered, not listed in the article:
1) Forty-five minutes of political ranting and vote advocacy
2) Open derision of test material as “silly”
3) Two hours of unrelated chit chat (“15 minute break”)
4) Ten minutes of “here are the answers to the test, let’s just get this out of the way”
5) Thirty minutes practicing a gated single-action revolver reload, but don’t worry if it’s confusing and doesn’t work and you drop .22LR snap caps all over the floor, because no one in their right mind would carry this thing anyway.
6) Thirty minutes practicing a 1911 reload, because this is a man’s gun, and if you’re gonna kill a bad guy, you may as well steal his soul along with his life.
7) “Let’s just put the target a couple feet down range because it’s raining and I don’t want to get wet dragging it all the way out to five yards”
8) Three hours of advertising for the NRA
9) Two hours of ex-LEO and shooting competition stories, liberally seasoned with folksy sayings and gun show anecdotes.
10) 10 minutes of CCW law: “This is NY. You have a duty to retreat unless the guy is already molesting you. Even then, it would be gentlemanly to give him a quick reach around before blasting him.”
My first CCW course was… not great. I did get my permit though, so that was a win.
p.s. I wasn’t the one who dropped all the snap caps
Free bullets, more free bullets, a plethora of free bullets.
it should be like it is in wisconsin
the 3 things:
2 four hours long
3 at a bar
I’ll drink to that.
The most important thing I learned in my class is that every bullet that you send down range has a lawyer’s name attached to it.
Another good one in my required class was using caution when getting involved in someone else’s dispute. It may not be obvious who the bad guy is.
“your life must be in imminent (immediate) danger or jeopardy, and you need to be able to reasonably articulate that fact both in the moment and after the event is over.”
So when little d called for the unarmed protesters at the Capitol to be mowed down by automatic gunfire, he was thinking offensively instead of defensively. What kind of sick person would want to murder hundreds of people just because they disagree with their politics?
Quote : “What kind of sick person would want to murder hundreds of people just because they disagree with their politics?”
That is SOP for the political left. In the 1960 the radicals estimated they would have to eliminate 125,000 people to cleanse the country enough for them to rule.
Now days that number would be closer to 300,000 and they don’t care about collateral damage.
Be Prepared !!!
You can not really believe that false info??
Far more have died at the hands of those who preach various extreme right political and social ideas, than any ‘leftists’..
That is a simple historical fact.
“What kind of sick person would want to murder hundreds of people just because they disagree with their politics?”
Marxists, fascists, communists, socialists……..
Quite a mix of ideologies there..
Socialists are the people who bring you universal health care, decent basic education, working infrastructure, etc etc for all.
They are the opposite of the greedy 0.1 to 1% who continue to fleece the majority.
Look around at your country.
What???,,, there are States that allow a Citizen to carry a Gun outside the home on their person?? (asking from a May-Issue aka NO-ISSUE State).
That may be a reason for some of the illegal gunms in a previous article.
When the Constitution of the U. S. says yes but your city says No.
Sometimes no means yes. 🤔
Dated a few girls like this back in the ’80s.
i have a Conceal and Carry Permit from Colorado and I had to laugh a bit about some of the pictures showing women with rather large handguns. In my own experience most women like to shoot something that feels comfortable in their hand, does not have a large recoil, and that they can actually conceal in a purse or holster without disfiguring themselves. I may have missed it but I am not sure the article covered lessons in actual shooting. You can talk all you want about a variety of things which is good but you need to know how to shoot correctly. However, the one thing not mentioned that is the most important thing is that each individual needs to be certain that if they get in a situation they believe they can actually kill someone if they have to. If you aren’t as certain as you can be that you can you best not own a gun because someone might kill you with your own weapon.
Not mine, I’m smart, smarter then a smart gunm. I dont keep any bullets in mine.
Firegunms become violent when fed, the opposite of humans.
Please keep your violent gunm hungry.
It’s for my safety as well as yours.
To some of the comments in general:
All of the instructors that I have encountered were very clear. The training they provide is initial training. The students need to continue their training and practice. It is unrealistic to be prepared for the potential situations from one initial training, regardless of how long the training lasts.
In the current area where I live, the standard is 4 hours of classroom instruction and 200-250 rounds of fire with 50 of those being qualification.
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Thanks for the tip that being knowledgeable in self-defense is essential when getting CCW classes. I’d like to know more about concealed carrying because I’m interested in buying my own gun soon. It would be best to be as responsible as I possibly could for that.
Reading what you had to say about concealed carry classes and how they can prepare you for mistakes really helped. The only reason why I want to wield a firearm is that I want to defend myself and my family, so I better make sure I don’t make any mistakes. I’ll make sure I focus on those kinds of things when I find a place that offers concealed carry classes.