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By Lee Williams

After the U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic Bruen decision, which obliterated most state restrictions on the public carrying of arms and changed forever how lower courts should decide Second Amendment-related challenges to anti-gun regulations, many blue states seemingly tried to outdo each other with the number of unconstitutional post-Bruen tantrum laws they could pass. At this, New Jersey certainly lead the way, especially for its residents seeking to carry a defensive firearm. 

Obtaining a New Jersey permit to carry was never easy. It’s not easy now. Instead, it remains an expensive multi-step nightmare specifically designed to make the process as difficult as possible for the applicant. 

Now, not only must New Jerseyans bend a knee, pay a fee and beg permission from the Crown to buy back their constitutional rights, they must also pass a difficult shooting test that was designed for police, not civilians, to prove they’re capable of exercising their constitutional rights to the government’s satisfaction.  

Last month, the Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police in conjunction with the state’s Attorney General, issued new requirements titled “Use of Force Interim Training for Private Citizen Concealed Carry.” The document contains written material for in-person classroom training as well as the requirements for an arduous 50-round qualification course that every concealed carry applicant must pass. 

It’s easy to get lost in the minutia of the qualification standards and lose sight of the big picture here: New Jersey’s concealed carry requirements are a massive infringement of the Second Amendment, which clearly violate Bruen. Does New Jersey test other constitutional rights? Do journalists there need to demonstrate competency before writing news stories? Do clergy in the Garden State need to pass state testing before delivering a sermon? Must voters prove proficiency before they’re allowed into a booth? 

Clearly, New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin and his state police sycophants want to hold gun owners to a far higher standard than those who exercise other constitutional rights. 

Vintage training 

New Jersey’s new CCW qualification standards have been criticized for being too high, too rigid and too much like a police qualification course. The critics are right. This is nothing but a decades-old police qualification course revamped and repackaged for civilians.

police range train vintage

It does not reflect current best practices, far from it. The tactics and techniques it requires applicants to master were state-of-the-art in the 1990s. 

Unrealistic score

New Jersey requires a 50-round qualification course, which uses an “FBI-type Q-target,” which looks like an oversized milk bottle. To pass, students must somehow achieve a score of 80% or 40 rounds within the border of the Q-target. 

25 yards 

Applicants must fire four rounds kneeling and three rounds standing at a 25-yard target. This precludes most new shooters from using popular concealed carry firearms, such as smaller and easier to conceal 9mms, .380s or short-barrel revolvers. Sure, there are some who can make consistent hits at 25-yards with any handgun, regardless of its size. However, many new shooters have difficulty hitting beyond 15 yards.

Twenty-five yards is also a totally unrealistic test for civilian concealed carry. While there are certainly a few incredible exceptions, most justifiable deadly-force encounters involving civilians occur at much closer ranges, usually within spitting distance. 

Open carry holster

This qualification course is designed to use an open-carry holster, worn either outside or inside the waistband. However, only law enforcement officers can openly carry handguns in New Jersey. Civilians must carry their defensive firearms concealed.

open carry gun holster 1911
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

Therefore, why test them on their ability to draw and fire from an open-carry holster? Most ranges won’t even allow drawing from the holster, so where can civilians train this technique other than dry firing at home? 


In a gunfight, once your knees touch the ground you’re stationary, and stationary targets don’t survive very long. 

Shooting from the kneeling position is an old-school law enforcement tactic, not unlike shooting a handgun from the prone position. Testing a civilian’s ability to shoot from the kneel is lunacy. 

shoot train range kneel target
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Like drawing from the holster, most private ranges don’t allow their customers to practice from the kneeling position. One range I know that did quickly abandoned the practice after a customer positioned their target too close and put five rounds into the ceiling. 

Additionally, there are many shooters who can’t kneel because they suffer mobility issues or use a wheelchair. Will they be denied their Second Amendment rights because of their disability? 

Forcing applicants to kneel violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires “state and local governments including their criminal justice agencies to comply with the ADA.” 

New Jersey’s AG and its state police should be ashamed of their “ableist” misdeeds. 

Point shoulder 

“On command, from a secured holster position, draw and fire 3 rounds in 5 seconds from a point-shoulder position,” the training document states.  

Those words haven’t been spoken at an American gun range for quite some time, yet New Jersey still plans to require its concealed carry applicants to shoot from the point-shoulder position.

The point-shoulder or Weaver stance was developed by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Jack Weaver in the 1950s. It fell out of favor among law enforcement tactical trainers decades ago, because by blading their body toward the threat it exposed the officer’s side, which was not protected by body armor.

While the point-shoulder position has remained popular with some competitive shooters, nowadays, most instructors teach a modified isosceles shooting position, which was first developed by Tier One trainers. It’s more natural and not as awkward as the point-shoulder because it makes it easier to absorb recoil and track moving targets.   

Offhand Shooting

New Jersey requires concealed carry applicants to draw using their strong hand, transfer their weapon to their support/weak hand and then fire three rounds in two seconds at a 5-yard target. 

Offhand shooting requires constant practice because it is not a natural skill. While it is a prerequisite for police and military shooters, it has no place in a qualification test for civilians – other than to prevent them from achieving a passing grade. 

offhand left had shooting
Courtesy Eagle Gun Range

Besides, has there ever been a documented defensive shooting where a civilian was forced to transition their handgun to their off hand? 


Critics of New Jersey’s concealed carry qualification have likened it to the “John Wick” film series. While the comparison may not be totally accurate, it certainly deserves a chuckle or two. 

What’s not laughable is that anti-gun elected officials have come up with yet another way to infringe upon the Second Amendment by reworking an antiquated police qualification course and making it mandatory for anyone who wants to exercise their right to carry a gun. New Jersey has erected an unconstitutionally high hurdle for the average person to clear to qualify for a carry permit. 

Nowadays, many police departments are understaffed and their response times have suffered. Those of us who live in free states have long understood that we are our own first responders and are responsible for our own safety. Clearly, New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin and his pals in the state police don’t want their subjects to have this ability to defend themselves. It doesn’t fit their narrative. After all, when someone in New Jersey is murdered, they’d prefer just to blame the gun. 


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This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.

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  1. “…they must also pass a difficult shooting test that was designed for police, not civilians, to prove they’re capable of exercising their constitutional rights to the government’s satisfaction.”

    Does LE have a problem passing their ‘test’?

    While I agree the requirement is unconstitutional, cops damn sure ain’t ‘Superman’, and their little requirement just might result in an army of pissed-off citizens who actually know what end of the gun the bullet comes out of.

    Request injunctions, post-haste…

      • NJ Officers still qualify from the 25 yard line but the firing positions are different, and yes we have plenty of officers who have difficulty qualifying twice a year requiring retraining. Police recruits get an average of 40 hours of firearm training in the 28 week training course. NJ is anti firearms for everyone including L.E.

    • “…not only must New Jerseyans bend a knee, pay a fee and beg permission…”

      So, just another day in California, then.

    • ‘Weaver’ is still obsolete, since body armor construction hasn’t fully caught up yet…

        • That attitude is destructive to productive learning. Weaver is a technique that may or may not be appropriate depending on your needs. USPSA != defensive != tactical != police != etc. != etc. != etc.

          If you are shooting USPSA then use the techniques that are best suited for that type of shooting.

          If you are a cop and/or shooting w/ body armor, then train/use the techniques that are best suited for those types of situations.

          If you are an armed citizen, then train/use the techniques that are best suited for the types of situations you are likely to encounter.

          The ‘fact’ that USPSA or cops or FBI or your neighbor disproved ‘Weaver’ or any other technique for their particular disciplines means jack squat. If you don’t understand the advantages and disadvantages of Weaver or any other technique then you should not be parroting what you hear. Educate yourself and stop with the anti-Weaver tripe.

    • That’s how I was taught the Weaver — using two hands.

      It’s more natural and comfortable for me. My left shoulder doesn’t rotate as well as my right. The isosceles stance feels “uneven” to me because of that.

      I don’t wear body armor so that’s not a concern.

  2. Sherman if you want to see where such Gun Control thinking comes from set the Way Back Machine to the era of Jim Crow and the nazi third reich.

  3. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
    Unless it’s by twinkle toed communist cakesuckers who think that men are women, women are men, and those that don’t know what the hell they are but think they have more rights than anyone else.

    • Squirrel – My uncle was 11 or 12 when the Sullivan Law was passed, and witnessed the transition of NYC from a town of pocket pistols to an empire of mobsters first hand. He said it was the big time gangsters and the pols behind them that were/are responsible for NJ-style gun control.

      • He also explained the procedure for getting a carry permit – first you applied, then you got the runaround for 6 months or a year – if you were still alive at the end of that time, you obviously didn’t need a gun, and the permit was denied.

        However, if you were rich, all was not lost at that point, because by that time you knew who to bribe…

  4. I like the idea of sharing what police/military standards are, so civilians can compare their capabilities with what professionals are being measured at.

    Making this a requirement is just an utterly pathetic attempt from the communists that should be shut down with all available power.

  5. Decided by Congress in secret session. Amendment 28: The Regulatory State being of supreme importance, and necessary for the enrichment of The Congress of the United States, The Process Shall be the Punishment for exercising any of the prior 27 amendments.

  6. Most of the techniques required for this test are banned at my New Jersey gun club, so where the heck are we supposed to practice?
    Shooting from a kneeling position — Banned. We can only shoot from a standing position (and I think most cop ranges also only allow shooting from a standing position, so where did they get this “kneeling” crap, the 1950s?)
    Drawing from a holster — Banned at my gun club and at every NJ gun club I know of.
    “Draw using their strong hand, transfer their weapon to their support/weak hand and then fire three rounds in two seconds at a 5-yard target.” — I’m pretty sure that’s banned as being too dangerous (and besides, we don’t have 5-yard targets at my gun club).

    Also, when I was in the Army, we were never taught any of those techniques. We fired pistols from a standing position, and rifles from a prone position and from a foxhole position. No kneeling, no drawing from holsters, no transferring to the left hand.

    • I *suspect* the response will be for the ranges to install concrete walls on some of the shooting lanes…

  7. Guys, I think this requirement is the bullshit it appears to be. An impediment to the 2A. However, I would like to remind some that for years I read derisive comments on this site about LE firearms training. Specifically, the low and unrealistic standards for qualifications. I think they are. Unfortunately, many in the day of the wimp, have had to dumb it down. On the other hand if LE firearms standards are so low I would think most citizens wouldn’t have a problem. Constitutional issues aside. You can’t have it both ways. Either LE qualifications are not relevant, or they are too difficult for the average citizen.

    • GF, is the NJ standard to place 80% of shots on target at 25 yards with a subcompact handgun “unreasonable?” (Forget about the gymnastics of kneeling, offhand, drawing …)

      I think that you can make the case that it is. IIRC the FL CCW “test” that I took consisted of firing 50 rounds at a target, but I think it was at 15 yards and I can’t find the specific requirements as to accuracy for such a test to qualify as “proof you have undergone firearms training on how to safely (and competently) manipulate a handgun and pass a shooting proficiency test,” which is how the standard is described.

      (I took the test with my .38 Special 2-in snubbie — I must have been accurate enough, and the constant reloading was evidence that I could “safely and competently manipulate a handgun.”)

      • The NJ test requires 80% for all 50 rounds ranging from 25 yards to 1 yard (“shooting from retention”, also known as the hip at a paper target that flies up as gas from pistol hits it), and using the different techniques mentioned above. What isn’t mentioned are the time requirements such as 2 shots in 3 seconds starting from the holster at 15 yards. Also not mentioned is the requirement that those who already have a permit to redo the training and qualification by October 1st, though the police were 18 days late on releasing requirements for which the deadline was July 1st. There is a lot wrong with the law and the police qualification exam. People should try and achieve proficiency with a firearm, but not as a prerequisite for getting the permit and certainly not as a requirement under tight time constraints for keeping a permit they already have (mind you, the state police were late with the requirements, but that does not include what the various trainers would have to set up in terms of classes and vet what can be considered equivalent to the requirements given range safety requirements after the requirements were released).

      • Tell me how hard the spelling and punctuation test you had to take was before your state allowed you to post on the internet.

  8. I imagine that all of us have heard the saying, “Give them an inch and they will take a mile.”

    That saying applies especially so to government.

    I wish I had a dollar for every time a government bureaucracy or legislature enacted a new policy/law under the pretense of “being for our own good” — only to use that new policy/law to subjugate the populace.

  9. I hate to agree with our on site Uber Karen, but debbiew is right about this being racist. Affluent white folks will be the ones getting these permits. And the system was designed that way.

    Why do you think miner49er is hot for mandatory in school gun safety training? He knows that the poor inner city kids go to sub standard schools and a lot of them do not graduate. These are mostly non white kids and miner knows this.

    Didn’t finish school and all safety course requirements? No guns for you. Ever.

    See how that works? miner knows and he likes it that way.

    • “I hate to agree with our on site Uber Karen, but debbiew is right about this being racist.”

      A stopped clock is correct 2X daily, that doesn’t mean the clock is any good…

  10. Word to the wise: the Ruling Class has advocated disarming the masses for well over two thousand years. The earliest documented instance (that I know of) of someone proposing that government disarm the populace was either in ancient Greece or Rome. A more recent example from several hundred years ago was the Ruling Class in Japan disarming the populace. Of course there are examples galore in the last three hundred years.

    What drives that? The answer is amazingly simple. The Ruling Class invariably gets bored with their mountains of cash and settle-in on humiliating, exploiting, and consuming the populace for their entertainment. And that always escalates to the point that the populace seeks to push back. The Ruling Class knows that and thus always–ALWAYS–tries to proactively disarm the populace in order to maintain their ability to humiliate, exploit, and consume the populace.

    Disarm at your own peril.

    • “A more recent example from several hundred years ago was the Ruling Class in Japan disarming the populace.”

      A lot longer ago than that, sword control was a thing for likely 1,000 years. Simple possession got the serf a summary beheading, on the spot…

  11. BREAKING NEWS: The 28th Amendment Process, To DESTROY the 2nd Amendment, Has Officially Begun!

  12. “Additionally, there are many shooters who can’t kneel because they suffer mobility issues or use a wheelchair. Will they be denied their Second Amendment rights because of their disability?

    “Forcing applicants to kneel violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires “state and local governments including their criminal justice agencies to comply with the ADA.” ”

    Wouldn’t a disabled applicant have “standing” for an immediate challenge to the standards? (Pun NOT intended.)

    Especially under the ADA?

  13. I can see it now…some person in a wheel chair that wants a CCW laterally rolls up and the lawsuit for tens of millions begins and the state loses the case in a week and has to pay out

  14. I think you mean “private citizen”, not “civilian”. LEOs are also civilians.

    Why does everyone imagine the USA to be a military junta?

  15. When (not if) SB2, the new and improved concealed carry law is passed in California, one of its many requirements is a mandatory shooting qualification, the standards for which are to be proposed by the CaDOJ. The easy way out for the DOJ is to adopt the same standards as for security guards, found here: Yes, there is a 25 yard shooting portion, but it is only a few rounds. The whole test is 100 rounds, 50 practice and 50 for scoring. Basically if you can put rounds in the torso of the target, almost all of which are fired at 15 yards or less, you should be able to score 80%. There is however a weak hand unsupported firing portion. Learning to shoot weak hand is undoubtedly a good idea, but to make it unsupported for the test is pushing many’s abilities.

  16. Precisely why I am opposed to mandated training requirements. Whatever government demands can be swiftly be corrupted to serve government control.

    But, bring it on. We (POTG) need more laws to nibble at, while strategizing for the coup de grâce challenge to NFA/GCA, somewhere in time. God bless our benefactors, who have unlimited patience and money.

  17. I suspect that if you actually check the testing standards, you will find that most police in New Jersey are not required to pass these same tests and achieve such high standards. I know that most of the police that I have encountered on the shooting range could not. Perhaps I should be demanding that police officers should be able to meet my own standards by hitting a running elk from a range of 950 meters?

  18. Must voters prove proficiency before they’re allowed into a booth?

    After the last National election, you could make an argument in favor of that one…

  19. I was an NJ gun owner for almost 10 years. Firearms law is written to be so convoluted that it discourages people from even applying for their FID Card. I was fortunate to have grown up in a relatively conservative, small town in western NJ, still took three months for my FID to get approved.

    Transport laws are the most insidious, imagine if going anywhere but the range or gun shop with your cased, locked, and unloaded piece in your trunk was a felony. That’s NJ. The law has become worse every decade since FIDs were implemented in the 1960s, and the carry permit scheme has always been reserved for retired cops and the politically connected.

    Active duty personnel stationed here have been denied. MP’s can get around it ’cause they count as Fed LEO, every other soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine was fvcked.

    A woman who included copies of her entire court case and restraining order against an abusive ex-boyfriend in her carry permit application was denied.

    It’s all by design to destroy any semblance of the constitution, and Gov Phil Murphy has made it clear with his “if you don’t like higher taxes, NJ isn’t for you” rhetorical line in the sand.

    • Milsurp Collector,

      If you think about it for a moment, New Jersey’s pattern of behavior makes perfect sense: New Jersey state government keeps escalating and no one ever does anything meaningful to resist it–so why wouldn’t the New Jersey state government keep escalating?

      What really baffles me is why anyone would keep living in New Jersey. There is nothing exceptional nor spectacular about New Jersey. The climate (weather) is not fantastic. Scenery is not fantastic. There are no significant outdoor recreational attractions other than a few miles of ocean beaches which are available in plenty of other states. Cost of living is VERY expensive. The laws are atrocious of course. And the state certainly isn’t some manufacturing, technology, natural resource, financial, artistic, nor academic Mecca.

      Come to think of it, the only major attractions that immediately come to mind is Atlantic City and proximity to New York City–both of which are NOT attractions to millions of people in our nation.

  20. New Jersey should already have been dragged before the SCOTUS and had their knuckles handed back to them scrapped raw

    • Geez I thought ILLANNOY sucked(it does). Joyzee sucks worse. In Wisconsin Dells right now for a mini vacation. Wisconsin is starting a leftard spiral but always had that Madison “make a bomb” anarchist thing going for it🙄

  21. To be honest, a John Wick style test would be pretty, kinda really badass.

    “On command, from a secured holster position, the subject will execute a flying armbar followed by a transition to a leg triangle which the subject will simulate failure of before transitioning to a crucifix, drawing and firing two headshots into the first target. Immediately following Target 1, the subject will execute a Mozambique drill from the prone position on Target 2. The subject will then get up, sprint 50 yards, simulate blocking a roundhouse punch with their offhand and then strong-leg high kick the final target in the side of the head before properly applying an anchor shot. This must be accomplished in under 40 seconds. Points will be deducted for self inflicted GSWs and improper strangulation/submission/contol technique”.

    More seriously:

      • That’s for your advanced CCW permit that allows you to carry more than six rounds.

        The above allows you to carry a revolver, note that it requires exactly six shots.

  22. 90% of gun owners can ace that. my CCW class is similar with alternating shooting hands taking a quick lap then doing the same drill. not necessary to pass but a welcome change to other classes I’ve taken

    • Your estimation of the skill level of gun owners is greatly exaggerated.

      90% of POTG can do that. Less than 25% of “gun owners” can.

      Example: My father in law is a gun owner for over 50 years, he’s never held a handgun in his life but his bird-gun collection is damned impressive and cost the GDP of a small country.

  23. Mandated training is for sure unconstitutional. However, that being said, anyone who says that he does not need any training is a person to stay way far away from either on the range or if you know this person is carrying a concealed weapon.

  24. I will play Devil’s Advocate. None of this sounds especially difficult. If you can’t hit a Q-target at 25 yards on demand with a pistol, you need dark glasses and a long white cane, not a gun.

    Granted, point-shooting, like the cup-and-saucer grip, is one of those really bad firearms-related memes from the middle of the last century that keeps coming back like a bad penny. It’s right up there with “but wif muh J-frame, I can shoot through the pocket of muh trenchcoat!” in the list of horrible, horrible ideas that immediately tell you that the speaker is not to be taken seriously. But they appear to be mandating the offhand and point-shooting portions of the qual at powder-burn distance, so it hardly matters.

    “However, many new shooters have difficulty hitting beyond 15 yards.” Git gud, scrub.

  25. I disagree wholeheartedly, the communist State of New Jersey has so restricted firearms purchases and up until recently you had a better chance of getting hit by lightning than get a ccw. In addition a lot of ranges have been closed down for a myriad of reasons. Most of the ones still open do not allow drawing from a holster and actual movement. I have been a L.E. Firearms instructor for over 25 years and with the exception of some private ranges , they absolutely don’t all movement and drawing from the holster, and the added stress of it being timed.

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