Monster Hunter Nation

Mandatory Training for CCW

There was recently a discussion on THR about a newspaper article that talked about how shocking it was that CCW training in Florida was too easy.  Of course, this kicked off into the inevitable argument amongst gun folks about how we have to have mandatory training vs. people who don’t believe in mandatory training. 

 

I know a little bit about this subject, and I’m against any MANDATORY training for a permit.  I’m a huge fan of training, but only if you want to do it.  I’m in favor of Alaska style CCW, where you don’t even need a permit, you feel like carrying a gun, carry a gun.

 

A little background.  I am a CCW instructor.  In fact, as far as I’m aware, I’m the busiest instructor in Utah.  I average 100-150 students per month.  I certified just over 1,000 people last year, and that was with taking a couple of months off.  Basically, I think that about 2% of the people carrying guns in this state were signed off on by me.  So I’ve got a teensy bit of experience on this subject.

 

Utah doesn’t require a shooting portion.  I think that’s a good thing, and here’s why.

 

When I first started out, I did a full on basic handgun class in addition to the lecture portion that was required by the state.  What I quickly discovered was the people who were going to be smart, were smart.  People that were going to be stupid, were on their best behavior while I watched them, then immediately went back to being stupid when they were on their own.

 

Shooting is a skill that can be taught.  People that want to learn, are going to learn.  People with giant egos assume that what they know is good enough, and you can’t teach them anything anyway. 

 

But more distressing was the fact that shooting accurately means very little in the grand scheme of things.  Don’t get me wrong, being able to hit your target is important, but it pales in comparison to the importance of making good decisions.   I can teach a monkey to shoot a piece of paper. Teaching you to react intelligently under stress is a whole lot harder.

 

The big problem?  What I saw was serious lack of knowledge on the law or how violence worked.  I saw this over and over again amongst people that already had their permits too, because they had gone through some cheesy instructor’s wimpy course. The minimum Utah course requires a bunch of extraneous stuff that is best learned on your own, or from your owner’s manual, but there is almost nothing in there about use of force, when you can shoot, why you should shoot, and absolutely nothing at all about tactics.  There’s no info about what to do after the shooting, nada. 

 

I also discovered that a bunch of so called experts knew how to punch paper on the range, but knew jack squat about how violent encounters actually unfolded.   Instructors like that love big qualifiers, because they can check off of a list, and feel like they’re accomplishing something.  Two shots, five yards.  Check.

Plus, if anything, a basic qualifier gives you a false sense of security.  I get this all the time when working with law enforcement.  “I passed my shooting qual in POST!  I already know how to shoot good!”  Snort.  They don’t realize that the qualifier they shot was an easy test, usually designed for the lowest common denominator to pass.  

 

So I changed my class.  If a student wants to learn to shoot better, they can come with me another time and learn to shoot.  But I now spend the majority of my class time going over use of force, decision making, and the stuff that keeps you A. alive and B. out of jail. 

 

As far as I know, I’m the only Utah instructor that uses a role playing session.   I do it to challenge the student’s preconceived notions of how “their gunfight” is going to unfold.  (usually it is some variant of them being John McClane).  I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve had somebody who’s already been through CCW classes come up to me afterward and comment about how eye opening that was.

 

Super in-depth qualifiers assuage the conscience of bureaucrats, and that’s about it.  The article in question points out that police have lousy hit ratios.  Well, that’s because gunfights are HARD, and also, most of the cops with the lousy hit rate’s training is basically the same type of BS qualifiers that the bureaucrats want to force on CCW holders. 

 

The vast majority of the time, just producing the gun solves the problem for the permit holder, or the violent encounter is so close that you can just jam the muzzle into the bad guy’s chest.  So why exactly should we put some extra hoops for the permit holder to jump through, that don’t really matter, don’t really help, and just cause one more expense to getting the permit to begin with?

 

And if you’ve already got the law written so that it requires a shooting portion, what is to keep some future anti-gun bureaucrat from tweaking it so that the test is so difficult that nobody can pass it?  And even if it is only as difficult as the qual for say, the Air Marshals, and you personally are a bad-ass gunslinger killer of cardboard, do you want to force that requirement on your mom or your grandma?   Sorry, Mom, you don’t get to carry a gun to use at conversational distance against a rapist, because I don’t FEEL safe knowing you can’t shoot the Seal Team Six pistol qual. 

 

That’s basically what this fixation on mandatory training comes down to.  Feelings.  We’ve got some people on our side that are no different that the anti-gunners who want to ban everything because it makes the FEEL unsafe.  Well, they only want to bar admittance to their secret-club to anybody who isn’t quite as good as they are, because they FEEL that’s unsafe. 

 

Okay, regardless of your feelings, show me the numbers.  If mandatory training makes a huge difference in safety, how come Alaska and Vermont, with no training, are about the same as Utah with 4 hours, or states like Arizona with a mandatory (If I recall correctly) 16+ hours of training?

 

Also note, that the people who are in favor of more training and tougher tests, don’t want to set the bar so high that they can’t personally reach it.  They would much rather set the bar just below what they can do, because obviously, that’s how proficient you should be.  Anybody who can’t shoot as good as they can is obviously a menace to society. 

 

The next time somebody tells me some nonsense like that, I’ll tell them sure, only I think you should shoot at least as good as me, and odds are that since I’m a fanatic, and I can easily outshoot you, no permit for you.  On the new mandatory Correia Test, the permit holder has to be able to shoot at least Expert on an IDPA classifier, while wearing a backpack loaded with eighty pounds of cinderblocks, while teenagers pelt you with rotting fruit, and listening to Barry Manilow records… BACKWARDS!   I figure that will take it down from 115,000 CCWs to where there are only about fifty or so people carrying guns in Utah.  That should keep the riff-raff out.   Because you know, then I would feel safe.

 

Nope, no mandatory training at all.  Zip, nada.  In fact, I’ve already volunteered to testify before the state legislature as a subject matter expert should the issue of Alaska/Vermont style carry make it out of committee again.   I’ll take the pay cut in exchange for freedom. 

 

I've got some extra STI Spartans if anybody wants one for cheap
Taught a pistol class on Saturday

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67 Comments on "Mandatory Training for CCW"

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T.
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T.
8 years 6 months ago

Just FYI incase it comes up in the future… Arizona has an 8-hour minumum class time.

http://www.azdps.gov/ccw/procedures/obtainPermit.asp

Not that this means anything for your point. It is well made regardless.

Carry on.

-T.

Tim
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Tim
3 years 11 months ago

AZ no longer requires a permit (for anyone like me reading this a while after it was posted).

Alan
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Alan
3 years 11 months ago

And since Arizona dropped their permit requirement, training classes for safe firearm use have surged. Looks like Larry will still be teaching lots of folks if Utah goes Constitutional Carry.

Leslie Fish
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3 years 10 months ago

I got my CCW in Arizona, where I live, because I expect to be traveling outside the state with my gun; with a very few exceptions, such as NY and CA, states recognize other states’ permits, and this cuts down on a lot of legal problems. BTW, the Arizona CCW course does spend considerable time on law, tactics, and follow-up.

–Leslie < Fish

Dan
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Dan
8 years 6 months ago

Very well put…but also comically true. Its been a while since I’ve laughed so hard. In all seriousness, I took a ccw course from an instructor who wanted us all to qualify at 21 feet with 25 shots on a 100 yard rifle target. It really felt like a waste of our time that could have been spent going deeper into the subject. Great article post. This ones going in my file of top 100 discussion on concealed carry. Well Done!!!

Alex
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Alex
8 years 6 months ago

I wish you didn’t live on the other side of the country! I would dearly love to take one of your courses. How did you acquire all of this knowledge?

Daniel S.
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Daniel S.
2 years 4 months ago

Same here. This made it for me “I’ll take the pay cut in exchange for freedom.” If more politicians thought this way the country would be a better place.

Tim Covington
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Tim Covington
8 years 6 months ago
Texas has similar training to what you give, with an easy range qualifier. However, the inane part of the range qualifier is if you test with a revolver, you can only conceal a revolver. If you qualify with a semi-auto pistol you can carry either a semi-auto or a revolver. I would rather have no range qualifier and an online or classroom test on what is supposed to be covered in the class. The classroom requirement makes it extremely difficult for those who have jobs with odd hours/days. It also adds an additional expense to a high cost license (with… Read more »
T. Ankrom
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T. Ankrom
3 years 11 months ago

oklahoma has the same idiotic rule about what type of gun you can carry based on what you took the class with

Cleland Early
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Cleland Early
3 years 4 months ago
The 83rd regular session of the Texas Legislature (2013) passed HB 3142, which eliminated the distinction between semi-autos and revolvers. This law has already gone into effect. The legislature passed a number of laws that make it easier to obtain and renew a Texas CHL, including reducing the classroom hours required for initial licensing and eliminating the education and qualification formerly required for a renewal. Having attended one of the longer classes, I thought there was plenty of useful material covered during the class. The written test was really trivial (I made 100), and qualification was not that hard. I… Read more »
Madrocketscientist
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8 years 6 months ago
In my dream CCW course, 80% of the class time would be going over the state laws for use of force and role playing, with the last 20% being at the range so everyone can get a chance to shoot once with an instructor, so questions can be answered. Such a class would also advertise advanced courses for those that want to learn more, or ranges that have targets other than paper. I think for the average person, knowing when and why you can use deadly force is so much more important than being able to keep a 6″ group… Read more »
Tim
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Tim
3 years 11 months ago

Your last statement took me back to the end of the paragraph that read, “but there is almost nothing in there about use of force, when you can shoot, why you should shoot, and absolutely nothing at all about tactics.  There’s no info about what to do after the shooting, nada. “. I couldn’t agree more! My first CCW course gave some hi lights of this but moved quickly to good ways to conceal and where even concealed was forbidden. My second CCW course was primarily taught by an attorney that defended Police officers. Totally different course–Much better!

Sailorcurt
Guest
8 years 6 months ago
I absolutely believe in mandatory training. And i truly mean mandatory. I believe it should start in pre-school and kindergarten with an “Eddie Eagle” style curriculum. Advance to basic gun safety, then more advanced gun safety, operation of various types of firearms, hunger safety and marksmanship training through Junior High School (or middle school, or whatever they call it these days). Ethics and legalities of CCW (state-specific of course), psychology and ramifications of lethal use of force, more marksmanship (with sanctioned intramural teams for bullseye, high powered rifle, practical, sporting clays, and any other disciplines that I’ve not thought of)… Read more »
Sailorcurt
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8 years 6 months ago

hunger safety

That little typo made me chuckle at myself.

I, of course, meant “hunter safety”…

perlhaqr
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perlhaqr
8 years 6 months ago

For the record, Larry’s “decision class”, with the simulator, was one of the more amazing things I’ve ever gone through, in terms of opening my eyes.

Boy, things happen fast, and getting a pistol out of a holster is hard. Even when you know it’s fake, the adrenaline gets up. Or, heck, maybe I’m just excitable.

As for the “where to set the training level” thing, it’s just like driving. Everyone else on the road is either a maniac for driving faster than you, or a moron for driving slower…

Phil
Guest
8 years 6 months ago
Most accuracy training is a joke anyway. In Missouri, the requirement is for 20 shots at a standard silhouette target 7 yards away. 15 of them have to be in the black, and that’s after 50 shots of “practice.” Doesn’t matter if the hit is in the X ring or in the shoulder. I could take somebody who has never held a gun before and have them meet the 15-out-of-20 standard with a .44 magnum revolver loaded with full power rounds. Piece of cake. If you’re going to carry a gun, you need to be interested in practice, but the… Read more »
MC
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MC
8 years 6 months ago
My license class was just as you wished, but with a practical thrown in. Law, law, anger management, how normal situations can erupt into quick violence rapidly, conflict resolution, the whole nine yards. It was 8 of our 10 hours together that day The shooting portion was to make sure you understood the manual of arms of your particular firearm, and that you were at least minimally competent. Enough to defend yourself and not hurt anyone around you. As a caveat, we were trained by the 1st certified instructor in Texas when the CCL law passed. A man intimately involved… Read more »
-gary
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-gary
8 years 6 months ago
Arizona’s 8 hours is a joke. We spent a decent amount of classroom time, but an inordinate amount of time on the range. I watched 3 individuals (out of a class of about 24) get booted off the range for muzzling everyone in sight with loaded and cocked weapons, one pair that shared a semi that they had to bang on the back of to get it to chamber and one guy that shot the test 4 times (7 of 10 shots into a standard upper body (anywhere on the black) at 7 yards) and still fail. The instructor went… Read more »
Quadmax
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Quadmax
3 years 11 months ago
I guess it depends entirely upon who conducts the class. My original CCW class was back when Arizona did require 16 hours and it was taught by a 30-year veteran of the Glendale, AZ police department. The class was very well presented and I would estimate that about a third of it was focused on the legal and moral aspects of using lethal force against another human, another third was devoted to judgement training (shoot/don’t shoot scenarios including use of their Fire Arms Training System [FATS] that presents you with video-based situations that respond to your decision making) and the… Read more »
Aaron M Brown
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8 years 6 months ago

You make an exceptionally compelling argument. I’ve always been somewhat in the mandatory training camp, but it occurs to me that you definitely do have a point. Aside from the legal vulnerabilities (which, I’m embarrassed to say, had never occurred to me before), perhaps the people who will benefit from mandatory training the most are those that would have been smart enough to get themselves trained anyway.

Flintlock Tom
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Flintlock Tom
8 years 6 months ago

Larry,
In about three years I’ll be fleeing CA and moving to your part of the country. If you’re still teaching I would love to take your class.
Okay, that bit of “suck-up” was just so I could say this:

Sailorcurt,
“Hunger safety” is avoiding being between my teenage son and the refrigerator during a commercial.

Sorry.

Johnny
Guest
8 years 6 months ago
You could not be more right with this post. Here in UK, the so-called “shooting community” has been the worst possible enemy of gun rights, from the UK NRA on down. If I may quote myself here… “But the very group of people who should have been shouting loudest about RKBA in this country have been the most acquiescent to the continual increase in State powers. In fact, the pleasure the typical FAC holder (what you might term “licensed gun owner”) takes in being a member of the government-sanctioned elite is one of the most obnoxious things I’ve ever come… Read more »
Laughingdog
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Laughingdog
8 years 6 months ago
“However, the inane part of the range qualifier is if you test with a revolver, you can only conceal a revolver. If you qualify with a semi-auto pistol you can carry either a semi-auto or a revolver.” That’s especially inane since, in my experience, it’s much harder to shoot a double action revolver accurately than a semi-auto. Most people, and I would be one of those, get thrown by that long, hard trigger pull. In Virginia, the common method used to get a CHP is to take an NRA sanctioned safety class. In the class that I help teach, we… Read more »
Jennifer
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8 years 3 months ago
My class was fantastic. The owner of the local range was told that since he nor his staff are attorneys that he couldn’t answer legal questions. He would have to refer them to the book. So he asked what if he hired an attorney. The powers that be agreed and now 4 hours of the Oklahoma Carry Conceal class is taught by an attorney who tells about all the legal ramifications and how the situation should go down. He even goes so far as to tell you exactly how to behave at a traffic stop since you need to inform… Read more »
Kent
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Kent
3 years 11 months ago

Sounds good, but I live in Texas

dilvish
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4 years 1 day ago

Hmm, backwards? Are you, perhaps, a fan of the Reduced Shakespeare Company? They do a version of the Scottish play at high speed and BACKWARDS! Highly recommended, if you’re not familiar with them.

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[…] partially agree with my friend Larry Correia, in that I think a lot of anti-gun legislation is a feelings-based exercise. Not a rational thing, […]

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chantel stephens
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chantel stephens
3 years 11 months ago

Do you still teach CCW classes in Utah? If so, where, how much do you charge, and when? Please reply to chantel.c.stephens@gmail.com

Jack Burch
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Jack Burch
3 years 11 months ago
Howdy Larry, I am an instructor in Texas and believed and still do in minimal qualification. More to see if the person could safely manipulate the firearm with acceptable accuracy under stress. The course of fire in Texas is just that, minimal. For a time I thought it was too easy and we needed to increase the standard but then I looked at the stats nationwide on collateral damage caused by all civilians in DGUs. As you are aware it is so low as to not be an issue at all. Many of my students do not do any practicing… Read more »
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Robert C Roman
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3 years 11 months ago
Thanks for the explanation. Like many legal things, ‘mandatory training’ apparently means different things to different people, and the lawmakers writing laws are not using the definition I use when I talk about it with others online or off. I’m from New Jersey, which is death on guns; I wanted one when I was in my teens and twenties, but gave up on it since I could never afford the money for fees and time for red tape. I’ve always thought folks who wanted to carry should be trained, but when I said ‘trained’, the two things I was thinking… Read more »
Kent
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Kent
3 years 11 months ago

OK. You convinced me. I live in the Dallas area. Please recommend Concealed Carry instructor/course in the area.

http://www.facebook.com/kent.hervey

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Robert M
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3 years 11 months ago

When I took the Utah course everything that they covered seem rudimentary to me but likely wasn’t to others in the class.

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[…] Mandatory training is a placebo at best. Here is my take on why. […]

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[…] Well, okay. You make some good points. But I’d be more comfortable if you gun people were force to have more mandatory training! And I did actually have this one said to me, which is an amazing victory by internet arguing standards. Mandatory training is a placebo at best. Here is my take on why. http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2008/05/20/mandatory-training-for-ccw/ […]

Bob Hurley
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3 years 11 months ago
I agree with everything said, save one point – I think there should be at least some shooting to weed out the folks who draw with their finger on the trigger and sweep everybody on the range in the process. Let them believe that they’re shooting for accuracy, but have the instructor primarily watch them to see if they’re prone to dangerous gun-handling practices. Fail them, have them seek some additional training on gun handling, and re-test them. Most people are trainable when they realize where their problems lie. I took my first test in Tennessee, 8 hours worth, and… Read more »
Alex Reynard
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Alex Reynard
3 years 11 months ago
This article completely destroys itself. Your arguments don’t support your conclusion. At all. You say we don’t need mandatory training because the stupid people will just keep on being stupid and there’s nothing we can do about that. Yeah, there is. You fail them in class and don’t give them a license. You say we don’t need mandatory training because the classes themselves don’t teach what they ought to. Then we need better training that includes roleplays like yours, not zero training. You say we don’t need mandatory training because no one can decide how much training is enough. How… Read more »
Chris Lucki
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3 years 9 months ago
Please allow me to address your stupidity for Larry. He’s already done more than his fair share of enlightening(or in your case attempting to shed some light in that cavernous void where most of us house a brain): YOU sir are the prime example of what he refers to as those who FEEL we need to do SOMETHING about people who wish to protect themselves against people who DO NOT take ANY gun classes or follow ANY rules of engagement, or any gun laws whatsoever!!! YOU sir wish to impose greater restrictions on an individuals RIGHT to defend oneself…! And… Read more »
Alex Reynard
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Alex Reynard
3 years 9 months ago
>YOU sir wish to impose greater restrictions on an individuals RIGHT to defend oneself Yes, I do. Thank you for stating the obvious. >And yes, mandatory training IS a restriction. Yes, it is. Thank you for stating the obvious. If it’s okay for you to want protection from criminals, why is it not okay for me to want protection from someone like you? I’m supposed to just trust that you’ll do a good enough job teaching yourself how to use a deadly weapon? Would you also expect me to not protest if I lived in a world where no one… Read more »
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[…] Mandatory Training for CCW […]

Sean
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Sean
3 years 11 months ago
Larry, I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know your article has changed my mind on mandatory training for permits. I grew up in California I lived through the years of assault weapons banns and I knew individuals who had signed letters from legislators and the state attorney general that their weapon was not part of the ban, only to have police arrive to confiscate it later when the law was “reinterpreted” by new politicians all without actually changing a single letter of the law. Since then I have been opposed to weapon registration and instead… Read more »
T. Ankrom
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T. Ankrom
3 years 11 months ago

I would like to see states recognize someones previous permit from another state so one could avoid having to take a training class in order to renew their previous states permit when it expires

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Stugatz
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Stugatz
3 years 11 months ago
Bless you, Larry – I’ve been preaching much the same message for years! The bulk of the honest citizenry is smart enough to make the gun work and point it right. They need a better understanding of their legal and physical limitations not some BS test designed so even their doddering old Grandma could pass it! My biggest concern is that tying tighter “qualification” or testing requirements to ownership or carry permits is essentially de facto gun control! I appreciate sailercurt’s point about universal gun training in the schools – I’ve preached that, too – but not tied to any… Read more »
ericnhitterdal
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ericnhitterdal
3 years 10 months ago
Taken from the Arizona http://www.azdps.gov/Services/Concealed_Weapons/Permits/Obtain/ Item 2 stands out to me, and is how I got my CCW. But i’ve been shooting/hunting for years, though I still plan on taking a Use of Force course. N. An applicant shall demonstrate competence with a firearm through any of the following: 1. Completion of any firearms safety or training course or class that is available to the general public, that is offered by a law enforcement agency, a junior college, a college or a private or public institution, academy, organization or firearms training school and that is approved by the department of… Read more »
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3 years 10 months ago

[…] […]

Thomas Cordell
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Thomas Cordell
3 years 10 months ago

Are there any statistics on gun assisted mayhem in Switzerland? I’ve heard that the crime rate dropped in the town that has an ordinance that every household own a gun. Is that correct?

Sean Duggan
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

I’m all for the idea of mandating safety training. As you said, far too many people are ignorant (and often proud of it…)

banger377
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banger377
3 years 7 months ago
I’m a Viet vet. My wife took a CC course in Mass. There was a lot of “are you sure” stuff. I’ve been mugged 3 times, 1st one was left for dead, won the other 2. One thing I never want to do again is hesitate when speedy action is required. I almost let a girl drown once, because I had just come from a Navy required sexual harassment course and was worried that she would object to me touching her mostly naked body. What a dumbbell for letting someone cause me to second guess my own judgements. When seconds… Read more »
Paul Koning
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Paul Koning
3 years 6 months ago

The Constitutional Carry states are obvious examples of no mandatory training. There are others: New Hampshire is one. CCW permit requires filling out a form and paying a small fee and waiting for the local PD to check you out. No other hurdles. Town may not add any requirements of its own. No fingerprinting. No public records. NH state law is pretty nicely crafted in this area. And yes, smart people get the training, of course.

Leslie Fish
Guest
3 years 6 months ago

Here in Arizona, getting a CCW permit requires a two-day course on legalities and qualification. There’s no mandatory training, except that if you don’t pass the qualifying tests you don’t get the permit; therefore, anyone who wants the permit must get the training, somewhere, somehow, to pass the tests.

–Leslie < Fish

Bob Robertson
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Bob Robertson
3 years 3 months ago

“I’ll take the pay cut in exchange for freedom.”

Exactly.

If I had to have a basic test, it would be to load, fire three rounds, clear the weapon. Show me you’re not going to shoot yourself in the foot.

Fredrich O'dool
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Fredrich O'dool
3 years 2 months ago
Hrm … I have to admit, even after reading your post, I’m still for manditory testing, but testing of the type of information you were offering, not the type that seems to be politically motivated. I would love to see a test on the laws, on how to care for and keep your gun in an operating condition, and what constitutes good range use skills. Very few things scare me more than an unmaintained gun in the hands of a nervous individual who is in the midst of questioning what he or she can legally do at the moment.
DaveP.
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DaveP.
3 years 11 days ago
Since folks are still posting on this, I’ll go ahead and kick my $0.02 in… Here in NC the CCW madatory course is very short and easy- to the point that, if you can’t hack the course of fire (15 rounds at each of 7 and 10 yards, of which no more than 5 may be flyers) I don’t WANT you carrying a handgun. The course is deliberately built to be a bare-minimum course; there’s quite a bit of attention to the laws involved and I do wish there was more on practical considerations but other than that it’s more… Read more »
Mike Uher II
Guest
2 years 6 months ago

My bud from the Corps got me reading your blog. I am going to have to get your books now, too. Keep it coming.

OmegaPaladin
Guest
1 year 7 months ago

I think the desire for mandatory training comes from that adolescent right of passage – Driver’s Ed. Basically, if you need training for driving a dangerous car, you need training for carrying a dangerous gun.

Here’s a thought – what if we accepted the mandatory training, provided it was offered in high school at the same price as Driver’s Ed?

Art Nickel
Guest
Art Nickel
11 months 12 days ago
If you want to mandate training mandate “Shoot-Don’t Shoot” training. It is the best place to show someone what it is really like because I don’t care how often you repeat the training (with new scenarios) you will experience fear and what it is like to shoot with the adrenaline flowing. You may also learn something about how hard it is to shoot someone. Cops get this training and it is interesting to watch their faces after some 12-year old kid on a bike snatches a .357 out of the basket and shoots them or some nice old lady pulls… Read more »
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