Previous Post
Next Post


TTAG Reader Mr. B. writes:

I’m an inherently optimistic individual. I always look on the bright side of situations, and I tend to dismiss the naysayers and pessimists. My wife even gets annoyed by it sometimes and my students can’t believe how happy and cheerful I am on Mondays when I tell them, “This is going to be a great week, just wait and see!” So when the North Dakota Attorney General’s website says that it may take up to 60 days to process my concealed weapon license application, I actually believed they could get it done early . . .

This wasn’t my first time applying for a concealed carry permit. I grew up in North Dakota and received my first permit in 2009, when the state still only had a single-tier carry permit. To get my permit I had to fill out an application, get my fingerprints taken, complete a 10-question, open book test, and send it all in with a fee of $60. Easy enough, right? My permit arrived in three weeks. The whole process was simple and fast enough for a gun-friendly state like North Dakota. Gun laws in general are better in North Dakota than most states (apart from those lucky few with constitutional carry).

That permit was valid until I moved to South Dakota, where I was delighted to find out that their process for concealed carry was even less restrictive. To apply in South Dakota, I went to my county sheriff’s department, filled out an application, and handed it back to the nice lady behind the glass. She mailed it to the state office, which made sure I could legally carry, and then they sent my permit back to the county sheriff. The sheriff’s office gave me a call when my permit arrived a week later, and I paid $10 for a five year concealed carry permit. That was even easier than North Dakota.

After procuring a wife and son in South Dakota I moved back up to the Better Dakota in 2015. My permit from the South was now invalid and I would need to reapply for a Peace Garden permit. However, during my absence from the state, North Dakota amended their concealed carry laws, the biggest change being the two-class system. A Class 2 permit in North Dakota is identical to the permit I had received in 2009, but a Class 1 permit provides much greater reciprocity with other states.

While the Class 2 only has reciprocity with 25 states, the Class 1 permit has reciprocity with 39. The most important addition to the Class 1 list is Minnesota. I, along with many other North Dakotans, had been hoping for this for a long time. Gone are the days of needing CCW permits from several states. (In fact, when the People’s Republic of Minnesota changed their adding reciprocity with our Class 1 permit, they eliminated and invalidated the Utah permits that many North Dakotans had obtained because of its reciprocity with Minnesota and other states. (That, by the way, pissed off a lot of people who had gone through the trouble of getting a Utah permit). I would now be able to take a trip to Grand Forks and then head over to Cabela’s in East Grand Forks without having to disarm.

In order to get that reciprocity with 14 more states, North Dakota had to increase the standards for acquiring a Class 1 permit. Both permit classes have to go through an entire class taught by qualified instructors and take a 35-question open-book test, but Class 1 applicants must also pass a shooting and firearm familiarity test, too.

The shooting test consists of 24 total shots fired at an 8½ by 11-inch piece of paper in two separate stages. Magazines are loaded with six rounds of ammunition and the shooter has two magazines per round. The stages are laid out in this way:

  • Stage 1 is shot from seven yards. The shooter must draw their handgun from a secured holster and fire one magazine using ONLY their strong shooting hand, reload their handgun, and then fire one magazine using ONLY the normal support hand.  All rounds are fired from a standing position. The time limit for this stage is 55 seconds.
  • Stage 2 is shot from 15 yards. The shooter must draw their handgun from a secured holster and fire one magazine from a standing position, reload their handgun, and then fire one magazine from a kneeling position. The time limit for this stage is 50 seconds.

Each shot that hits the paper is worth one point. In order to pass you must have a combined score of 70% from both stages, or 17 hits total. While not extremely difficult, the shooting test is a realistic example of distances at which personal defense shootings take place.

On the day of the class I chose at Gungnir Defense Solutions, I arrived to find nine other individuals looking to acquire their permits. The instructors had provided coffee and donuts for the students, which was greatly appreciated. Everyone had their pistols out on the table in front of them, with slides locked back and magazines out. All were semi autos. Most of the guns were GLOCKs, with a few Rugers and one HK. I took a seat, placed my Gen 3 G17 on the table, and waited for the class to begin.

The two instructors began by introducing themselves and the material the class would cover. They were both police officers from northeastern North Dakota and had been teaching CCW lessons for a while. A majority of the material that they had to teach was taken directly from the Concealed Weapon handbook that I had just read through. And when I say directly, I mean they have a PowerPoint presentation provided by the state that has the entire handbook and supporting ND Century Code statutes laid out word-for-word. This’s what the state requires to be done in the classroom. Dry as it is, the instructors made it as enjoyable as they could. They took questions throughout the presentation, gave insight from their own experiences as police officers, and gave a short demonstration of shooting techniques and handling firearms.

The test that followed was bureaucratic garbage. It was a confusingly worded 35-question true-or-false test. It seemed purposefully designed to trick the test taker into answering incorrectly. The typos and grammatical errors were just the moldy cherry on top of it all. As a teacher this really bothered me. A test should be written in a way that challenges the student to display their knowledge and mastery of a subject.

In order to pass the test, I had to get 100% on the first 28 questions, and 70% on the last seven questions. If you get a question wrong, you are allowed to correct it. However, they do not tell you which questions are incorrect because you could just switch it from true to false and vice versa. So they tell you how many are wrong on each page, forcing you to read through each question and determine if it was correct or not. (Again, this is not a great method of testing). Luckily, I only had one wrong and was able to find it and correct it quickly. Some of my classmates did not fair as well and spent close to an hour correcting their tests. The written testing process is a joke, but a hoop you have to jump through.

Once everyone had finished we were off to the range for the shooting portion. Our instructors asked if there was anybody who had shooting experience and felt confident going first. Another guy and I raised our hands and went to the front to prepare to shoot. (I figured they did this so that they could get finished so they could then spend more time with the less experienced shooters). They explained the range rules to the class and the other guy who volunteered went up to the firing line. He went through both stages quickly, only missing a few shots. I was up next.

I loaded four magazines with six rounds of Federal 115 grain FMJ. I put one mag in my left pocket and the other in my pistol. I racked the slide, holstered my weapon, and stepped up the 7-yard firing line. Firing with my strong hand was perfect, six for six, all hitting the middle third of the paper.

My nerves got to me when I switched to just my left hand, though, and the results were less than stellar: I missed my first four shots and nicked right edge of the paper with my last two shots.

First stage done and I can only miss two more shots. I grabbed two more mags and went to the 15-yard line for stage two. I composed myself, took a deep breath, and drew my gun. My first six shots hit paper. I reloaded, lowered my right knee, and knelt down. My last six shots peppered the paper, too. I ended with a total of 20/24, or 83%. One of the instructors signed my application and I was done.

As I was leaving the other instructor caught up to me. He thanked me for coming and we talked for a bit about different gun topics. I asked him about his police work and he told me a few good stories. I thanked him for the class and got in my car, hearing the shots of the next shooter as I drove away.

That was all on a Saturday. On Monday I gathered together everything I needed for my application — paperwork, fingerprint cards, passport quality photos, a copy of my ND driver’s license, and the $60 fee — and mailed everything to the state to start the waiting game.

I finally received my CCW permit in the mail on February 16th. I may only be a lowly English teacher, but I can still do some math: I took my test on December 5th and mailed my application on December 7th, so from the time the state would have received my application (December 8th) to the delivery of the permit to my mailbox was 71 days. I was hoping it might be a month at most. In the end I’m just happy it showed up and I don’t have to worry about renewing for another five years.

I understand that being optimistic about government efficiency is just setting myself up for disappointment. I suppose I gave them too much credit. The ND BCI has been getting bombarded with applications the last few years. When I applied in 2009 there were only 12,000 permit holders in the state. In 2016 there are over 40,000.

I’m glad I went through the whole ordeal, despite it being much more strenuous than South Dakota’s application process. (SD now has its own version of a Class 1 permit called an “Enhanced Permit” which also has greater reciprocity, including Minnesota.) I had great instructors and good classmates to spend the morning with (I cannot recommend Gungnir Defense Solutions enough). I can now carry most places in the state. I feel much more at ease knowing I’ll be able to defend myself and others should the need arise.

If I could carry at work I’d be even happier. As things stand now, school carry for teachers in North Dakota is not happening, but I’m confident I’ll be able to soon. After all, what’s the point of being an optimist if I don’t have a few dreams?

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. It looks like ND shooting qualification was little more difficult, California does not require weak hand shooting. Our wait time though is the worst. From submitting the application to having a license in hand was 10 months. From what I understand it is now closer to a year.

    • I used to be an instructor in ND. A BCI agent told me that they added weak-hand shooting because they actually want people to practice it. This agent said he’d sat through more autopsies than he could remember and he couldn’t recall a single one where someone died as a result of violent confrontation and didn’t have their dominant hand destroyed. You unconsciously attack/defend with your dominant hand and have it hit/slashed/shot in the confrontation. Even agents who raid houses and are charged with a weapon will unconsciously shoot at the hand with the weapon in it.

      • That’s Internet expert B.S.

        Take a kernel of truth, like defensive wounds, add some unconfirmable authority reference, then stretch the hell out of it to an unrecognizable degree.

    • Shooting quals in California vary by county, as does time to issuance. My county does not have a shooting qualification at all–they assume that is taken care of in the shooting portion of the mandatory training. I would be hard pressed to put shots on paper with my nondominant hand unsupported. Heck, I don’t shoot that well unsupported with my dominant hand either.

  2. The class one in ND also functions as a background check if you use it as a form of ID since they supposedly do an extensive check when you apply for one. Ive done this several times at my LGS.

    • Both class 1 and class 2 licenses can take the place of a redundant background check when purchasing a firearm in ND. The legislature actually added language during the last session stating that regardless of which license you possess, your are afforded identical privileges within the state of ND.

  3. My class in MI required 3 hours of range time. Proving safe shooting but accuracy wasn’t counted. Good thing for most of the class. The instructor shared his dissatisfaction with full size pistols at a ccw class, but he also had a FFL and tried to sell people a Keltec .380 package after class,

  4. Congratulations! I just got my South Dakota “enhanced” permit in the mail a few days ago. Warm Dakota looked upward, saw that it was good, and followed Cold Dakota’s lead. We have a 98-round requirement with accuracy unnecessary, and five hours of class time without testing for the new enhanced permit, which, like yours, gives MN reciprocity. (Previously I had NV for that, then just got a MN one.)

    I’m looking forward to more reciprocal states in the future, so AZ, UT and MN can rest in peace beside NV, FL and OR. Better yet, universal reciprocity.

  5. I’m glad that I don’t have to go through any of this nonsense in Washington. Yet. The antis could push through something like this at some point, so you never know.

    • Agreed; timed arbitrary accuracy requirements have the dreadful taste of polling ‘literacy’ tests, used only to deny people their rights.

  6. Anyone that plays the game and gets a permit is part of the problem and a slave.

    Shall not be infringed … Ring a bell?

    Anyone that tries to disarm you should be shot.

    • And here we have a perfect example of a liberal “deep level troll”, trying to capture a paticular narrative to spread on social media.

    • Many of us have better things to do with our time than spend it and a lot of money fighting entrenched unconstitutional laws in the courts or significant amounts of time in prison for violating those laws. If you find defying these laws and the justice system worth your time, more power to you, but other people have obligations to be met.

      All such government permission slips to exercise a natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right are prima facie unconstitutional. We must do everything we can, within reason, to establish this fact as an unambiguous legal precedent. Until that time I consider my CPL and my knowledge of the legal uses to which I may put my firearms a “Get out of jail free” card, nothing more.

      • I was in your boat as recent as a year or so ago.

        Now I realize the republic has been lost.

        No-one wants to be hurt/killed or to hurt or kill others. No one wants to go to jail or spend their life savings fighting the government.

        We all want to leave a country for our children that is free. We have lost some of that freedom already.

        I believe history shows and our founders understood that the price of freedom is occasionally blood.

        So the choice; pay the price and maybe leave a free country for your children or play their game and live more and more like a slave.

        Please educate me on a time/place in history where people voted themselves free.

  7. One nice thing about the ND two tier system is that non-residents are able to get a Class 2 permit. Because my home state of Michigan does not recognize non-resident permits, when I worked in ND as a non-resident, and got my Class 2, I was in the interesting position of being able to carry in the state I worked in, but not my home state. Of course, when I moved back home I quickly corrected this and got my MI permit.

  8. My first thought on reading the headline was “What? A permit for negligent discharges?”

    I did figure it out before starting to read the text, believe it or not. 🙂

  9. “it may take up to 60 days to process my concealed weapon license application”

    Dude, NYS it took me almost exactly 13 months.

  10. Mr. B did an excellent job of illustrating the licensure process in ND. Bravo. Great piece!

    For the upcoming legislative session, I intend lobby my local representative to sponsor legislation that will remove the testing requirement from the Class 2 license.(The class 2 already doesn’t require any classroom time or evidence of shooting proficiency.) This means that the class 2 will essentially require an application, prints, photos, a processing fee, and background check.

    I hope Mr. B and other residents of The Better Dakota contact their representatives and do suggest the same.

  11. Geeezuz. Here in FL all you gotta do fire a SINGLE round of 22LR. Heck you don’t even have to hit anything… as long as you just point it downrange.

  12. I am getting a knee replacement next month. Kneeling is impossible for me. Can I file an ADA complaint?

    • You can, but it probably won’t be needed; ND is very good about making accommodations for those people who need them.

      See my response below to the post by user “Watts’ Twat” dated February 21, 2016 at 22:30.

    • Not sure where you got that. I got my Nevada permission slip about 1 year ago and it took about four weeks to receive the card.

  13. I feel for the author. Ironically, the process to get a permit in MN is much easier. I only had to sit through a 4 hour class, no written test, and put 6 rounds on target from 7 yards. These inconsistencies are crazy. Bring on constitutional carry!

  14. I went to the local police station a couple of weeks ago to start the renewal process for my MA LTC (License To Carry). The state already has my prints on file, so I didn’t need to be printed again. I posed for a new license photo, submitted my completed application and paid $100 to cover the next six years.

    The nice lady who took my application said, “You’re 68. You know that once you turn 70, the license is free, so you won’t have to pay next time (when I will be 74).”

    I told her that I appreciated her optimism.

  15. Stage 1 is shot from seven yards. The shooter must draw their handgun from a secured holster and fire one magazine using ONLY their strong shooting hand, reload their handgun, and then fire one magazine using ONLY the normal support hand. All rounds are fired from a standing position. The time limit for this stage is 55 seconds.

    Stage 2 is shot from 15 yards. The shooter must draw their handgun from a secured holster and fire one magazine from a standing position, reload their handgun, and then fire one magazine from a kneeling position. The time limit for this stage is 50 seconds.

    Don’t these requirements discriminate against those with “disabilities” and violate the “Americans With Disabilities Act” (ADA)?

    What provisions are made if any for citizens/veterans amputees (hand/arm), those without prosthetic limbs or who are wheelchair bound?

    Sounds like North Dakota is in violation of numerous statutes and when sued for violating an American’s 2nd Amendment Right will have to pay up which we ALL know won’t come out of the legislators or those who crafted the requirements pockets but OURS.

    • Yeah, I don’t see any ADA lawsuits in North Dakota’s future over gun permit testing. They are pretty good about making accommodations for those folks who need them. Ever heard of Carey McWilliams?

      He was the first blind person to pass written and shooting tests and be issued a concealed weapon permit.

      I should mention that the shooting test was a lot easier back then (full-size B-27 silhouette target, 7 yards, hit it anywhere within the outline 7 out of 10 shots), and it had a very generous time limit. At the gun shop where I worked, we used to joke about shooting the qual test with one casing and refilling it with a reloading press for each of the next nine shots, and still making the time limit.

      I met McWilliams when he and his mother came into the gun shop where I worked. He spoke with a bit of arrogance on some subjects, IMO, but was very knowledgeable on guns in general. The story about him getting a carry permit was told all over the world; even made the NY Times (pretty good reach for a ND story).

  16. Ever the optimist, I submitted my application in the spring of 2013, just after the Peruta decision. Still waiting to hear back. Apparently that’s because I haven’t donated to the Sheriff’s election fund.

    Oh yeah, I’m in California, though I’m working on escaping soon.

  17. My last qualification in California (local police who I knew), the RO have me the option of only shooting half the qualification IF I shot offhand….made for quick work at the range….yes i passed.

  18. In what friggen’ state do you think you can drop something in the U.S. Mail and expect it to get ANYWHERE in one day? What color is the sky in your world? I used to mail stuff from Fargo to Bismarck on a regular basis, and it would take 3-4 days average, and at LEAST 2 days.

    And it must have taken some careful planning to manage to hit 4.5 holidays in your 60-day processing time; Christmas Eve (state offices closed at noon), Christmas Day, New Years Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and President’s Day (the day before you received your permit, so that one DEFINITELY extended the wait by one day).

    And the North Dakota Attorney General page that addresses permit processing time clearly states “If you have lived or worked outside North Dakota it may be necessary for us to verify information with another state – this may require additional time to process your application.” That means that due to your poor application timing, ND was trying to contact other state(s) about your records during the holiday season, so any holidays/personnel shortages in those other states would ALSO affect the processing time for your permit.

    I’d say you were darn lucky to get it in 71 days.

  19. I spent a year working in ND. Cold weather there is no joke. I didn’t get permitted whilst out there but, knew those who did. The dang weapons enables you to carry automatic knives from what l understood. It should be like that everywhere….

  20. If only I could get a permission to carry ANYWHERE. But moving on … that weak hand shooting should definitely be trained, but in a test situation it is particularly unfair to women, I think. We need guns more, but one handed shooting, let alone weak hand shooting really isn’t reasonable.

  21. I’m from ND and got my Class 2 at a gun show. The wait on mine was long due to so many people apply for them at the height of the boom

  22. Michigsn is basically the same. All of it takes place at 7 yards though. Both hands, right hand, left hand. Total shots are 97. One day classroom instruction including attorney explanation of rules and what to expect in the event of a shooting.
    45 possible waiting period.

  23. Very interesting article, thank you. I’m just glad I’m back in AK. Want a gun? Have it! No permits necessary.

    I did live in CO for awhile so I understand the pain of acquiring a CCW. Especially since I lived in the People’s Republic of Denver.

    So nice to be free again!

  24. As a SD resident I have to agree our permit system is pretty awesome, but I do believe you’re incorrect on the “better Dakota” statement lol

  25. I took my concealed carry permit and passed on January 18th of 2016….needless to say I am still waiting for it. I finally submitted a letter to the state but even then they are not allowed to talk to me about my application, that’s the truly frustrating part. I dont mind waiting but what’s with all the hush hush and not being able to tell people where their application is? You have my money why can’t I know the status of my application?

Comments are closed.