Virginia provides concealed carry permits to non-residents who meet certain criteria, including the usual clean background check, plus the provision of a fingerprint card, photograph, and certificate of completion from an approved firearm safety course. Why, pray tell, would a resident of another state want an Old Dominion carry permit? Well, a Virginia non-resident permit is valid in 28 states thanks to reciprocity laws. Additionally, there is no requirement for travel to Virginia to complete the permit process. In fact, I completed a safety course and received the above certificate in little more than a half hour thanks to The Carry Academy. This course is also applicable for residents of Virginia, Oregon, Colorado, and Iowa looking to get their resident permits. . .
In at least the case of an Oregon resident with OR resident permit, also getting that Virginia non-resident opens up reciprocity to a lot more states. So even with a resident permit available to somebody in their home state, there are often reasons to get a Virginia non-resident permit as well. With a WA resident permit, adding a Virginia non-resident would allow me to carry in four more states.
For the purposes of using The Carry Academy to get a Virginia non-resident permit, this map will show all of the states that recognize it as valid. Just click on Virginia on the map and choose “Non-Resident” from the two options. Not only does this obviously allow you to carry in many states, but if you’re in one of the states that gives reciprocity, you may be able to carry in your own state with a Virginia non-res permit instead of your own resident permit. For example, in Texas. Make sure to verify this for your state, however! While you can carry in those other 27 states with a VA non-res, your state may legally require a resident permit for you to carry at home.
If legally applicable, there are many reasons one might want to get a VA non-res permit instead of a resident permit in one’s own state. It may cost less. Your resident state may have requirements that make getting a permit more difficult. For example, it’s often the case that various parts of the resident permit process must be done in person at designated locations, which could be an hour away or otherwise inconvenient due to business hours and such. It’s sometimes the case that a resident permit requires more hours of training and/or live fire time. Even in these states, if they accept the Virginia non-resident permit for their own residents then you’re good to go without a permit from your own state.
The Carry Academy’s online basic firearm safety course consists of a 30-minute video followed by a 20-question quiz. You must answer 15 of the 20 questions to pass it. The video is available to watch as many times as you’d like for 30 days, and if you don’t pass the test on the first attempt you
shouldn’t be around firearms or pointy objects or hammers or vehicles have 30 days to take it ad nauseam until you succeed.
I was surprised to find a scrubber bar on the video and, sure ’nuff, you can skip right to the end. In fact, you can just click the “take the test” button at bottom to skip the video entirely and go straight to the test. This is actually pretty great, as the “Basic” in “Basic Firearm Safety Course” is no joke. It’s effectively geared toward people who are encountering a firearm for the very first time.
Naturally, I did watch the entire, 30-minute video for the purposes of this review though.
Overall the video was clean and simple and easy to follow. I have notes on some facts and statements that I took issue with, but realized I have to stop being so annoying and accept that it’s at a really basic, high level while covering a decent amount in 30 minutes. The video covers the following, discussing both revolvers and semi-autos where applicable:
- Parts of the gun
- Shooting (position, grip, sights, trigger pull)
Nothing about how to physically carry a firearm — i.e. “concealed carry best practices” — so it’s not really a “how-to” carry video so much as it’s a very first lesson on handguns. Safety, use, and cleaning.
I was happy to see that it’s relatively current. The video teaches a thumbs-forward grip on a semi-auto, and a pretty square stance. Not completely isosceles, maybe, but significantly closer to that than to a Weaver. There were some minor technical inaccuracies or misstatements that made me mumble in frustration, but nothing that would affect a beginner.
The only real problem with the video, in my opinion, is when it delves into legalities of carrying concealed. It states something to the effect of “Do your own research, as laws vary state-by-state.” Great. But it then immediately proceeds to make all sorts of blanket statements about where one can and cannot legally carry a firearm, such as in churches and other religious institutions, how to legally transport a firearm in a vehicle, opinion/fact on open carry, etc. It was both specific and overly broad at the same time, in that it gave all sorts of specifics but they just aren’t applicable to all of the states in which you can carry with a Virginia non-resident permit.
Should have taken that ~4 minutes and shown how to break down a GLOCK to supplement the example Beretta 92, which is pretty unique in its field stripping.
If you’re reading this, it’s probably no surprise that little more than common sense is needed to pass the test. Most firearm safety rules are, of course, simply common sense. If this isn’t your very first exposure to firearms, skip the video and go straight for the test. There’s almost no chance on earth you won’t pass, and if you don’t you can always take it again. For the purposes of the certification, it’s pass/fail.
Don’t overthink it. I got one wrong, just like in that Washington Times quiz, for overthinking the question. Well, overthinking the answers, really. Interestingly enough, it was also on one of the few questions that was shooting related rather than safety related.
The correct answer is the pad of your finger. As in, the part with the fingerprint on it. That wasn’t one of the choices. It was clearly one of two — the tip of your finger, or the “dent” of your first finger joint. At first I felt like, by “tip,” they meant the part that you would poke somebody with, but then I thought maybe they were trying to say pad after all. I mean, the joint ain’t right. That first joint pull was common advice for heavy, double action triggers though, so maybe I have too much target shooting on the brain. Of course, not as many people are carrying DAO revolvers these days either.
Well, 19/20 ain’t too shabby.
In the photo above, it shows that I took 3 minutes and 50 seconds to complete the test. Had I not decided to watch the video for the purposes of the review here, that and $49.95 would have been my investment to achieve the basic safety certification necessary for a Virginia non-resident CCW. The “Virginia State Police” link seen in that screen shot took me right to the relevant page for requesting my non-resident CCW application. It’ll take $100 plus a fingerprint card (which the Virginia State Police will mail to you), photos, and filling out a form. Plus, of course, you’ll need to print out the Certificate of Completion that you have earned from The Carry Academy and include that in the envelope as well.
Congratulations, you may now CCW in 28 states. Or, if this would be to supplement a resident permit that you already have, that carry map can help determine how many, if any, more states you could carry in with the Virginia non-res.