Things to know before taking a CCW Class


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StuntHeavy
September 5, 2009, 12:34 AM
So I've seen alot of threads on different boards about which class to take, what permit(s) are best, which holster, which style of carry, which firearm, which ammo, and so on and so forth. But I can't recall ever seeing a thread about things to go over, to prep yourself before taking a ccw course.

What are some things that should be gone over/practiced/knowledge that should be known by those who are looking to take a CCW course in the near future?

I believe general firearm safety, ears & eyes, and the 4 are pretty much a given, but is there anything on top of that?

I'm looking to enroll in a class in the new few months (once I get my pennies saved up...I want to take the class, and send in for different permits at the same time, to cover all my bases), so I have some spare time on my hands until then.

I don't want to waste the instructor's, or my time having to be taught something I should already know.

How proficient does one have to be? I'd currently consider myself decent with a handgun, but theres always room for improvement. Are there any particular distances that I should know, so that I could practice those specifically?

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w_houle
September 5, 2009, 12:38 AM
I don't want to waste the instructor's, or my time having to be taught something I should already know.

You pay for the course, might as well get it.

bensdad
September 5, 2009, 12:50 AM
Try to know the laws (re. carry) in your state before the class. that way, you can ask more detailed, informed questions. If you're really a half-way decent shot, the qual should be no problem. I'm not in Maine, but I can't imagine that it's much different.

One thing to be really cognizant of is trigger finger. There was one person in my class who had the rest of us a little upset. KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL READY TO SHOOT!

There's also one very serious thing to consider. Are you willing to spend the rest of your life in prison for protecting yourself or your family? I know none of us ever plans on going to prison. However, a jury can be a fickle thing.

just sayin.

bigfatdave
September 5, 2009, 01:18 AM
The class I took made the class material available ahead of time.
Going over that and the state laws regarding CC allowed me to ask intelligent questions, unlike some of the people who obviously reserved a spot and did zero research before the class.

Just casual research online will make you look like a genius in the class, most likely.

StealthyBlagga
September 5, 2009, 01:27 AM
Can you safely draw from a holster ? Can you safely reload and reholster ? Make sure you can do these things proficiently - don't worry about speed, just safety. If you are not sure, practice with an UNLOADED weapon (double check unloaded, no ammo in the room, still observe the 4 rules etc.).

WTBguns10kOK
September 5, 2009, 01:39 AM
Just make sure you're awake and breathing normally on the day of the class. I did that for 4 hours, signed my own documents and viola I wented to get a permit.

bigfatdave
September 5, 2009, 04:37 AM
StealthyBlagga, the AZ course included working with a holster?
The Ohio one didn't, which I found odd.

loop
September 5, 2009, 07:33 AM
What you need to know is that you need to listen to your instructor. No matter what you know your instructor earned the right to teach. You have not.

Pay attention and show respect.

Understand that some of your fellow students were lost at the word breech.

If you are so advanced that you don't really need the class, show it on the firing line - not before.

Try to subtly and quietly help the students who are lagging.

Do not be argumentative with your instructor. Don't ask stupid questions because you can.

Be honest, helpful and focused.

Don't worry about your equipment. Worry about what you do with it.

The last thing I want in one of my classes is someone who has all the "right" equipment and knows how to do everything.

In short - be a student.

ezypikns
September 5, 2009, 09:25 AM
What you need to know is that you need to listen to your instructor.

I don't know how it is in Maine, but here in Texas it is assumed that you know firearms safety and are familiar with your weapon before you ever sign up for a class. At the same time, there are always a few who bring their new pistol or revolver to the class to learn all about it. Very bad choice.

As someone pointed out earlier, you'll probably receive information in the mail before the class. It's nice but not necessary that you review this information.

Pretend you know nothing. Listen and pay attention. Do exactly as you're instructed.

When you're on the firing line, pay particular attention to what is being said.


The people I've seen in CHL/CCW courses who have problems are usually the ones who believe they know more than the instructor.


I believe you'll find the range qualification to be the easiest part of the course.


The hardest part is waiting for your license to arrive in the mail.

scottaschultz
September 5, 2009, 05:46 PM
I would say that the very first thing you should do is ask yourself why you want a CCW permit. Of course the obvious answer is to protect your own life and that of loved ones, but judging by some of the posts I see here and on other forums, I can't help but think that some people actually think that the CCW permit somehow empowers to uphold and enforce the law "because the police can't be everywhere".

If you seriously want to apprehend "BG's" and make your town a safe place to live, enroll in your local academy. The other choice is to enlist. Not only is the training free, they actually pay you to get trained! On the down side, you are also being paid to be shot at!

Scott

wrs840
September 5, 2009, 06:24 PM
The class I took made the class material available ahead of time.

Mine too. The instructor gave out a DVD (about two hours worth) when you sign up, to watch before you show up for the class, covering NC CC law with instructions to "drink a lot of coffee before you watch it... 'cause it's real boring and real important"...

Les

Ghost Walker
September 5, 2009, 08:21 PM
Well, I am an instructor; and, straight off, I noticed something in your initial statements that would cause me to keep a careful eye on you.

'The 4' should never be taken for granted. It is NOT enough to know these rules; Cooper's Four Safety Rules need to be inculcated into your: physical, emotional, and mental patterns of habitual reflex.

(In other words, if you have to consciously stop and think about it then the lessons haven't really been learned!)

A large majority of firearms owners know all about Cooper's Four Rules; however, this never seems to stop someone from either blowing his own brains out or shooting someone else in the foot. Don't take these rules for granted; don't be smug when referring to them, either.

As I said, 'The Four Rules' have to become an intimate part of your everyday habits; otherwise you're only kidding yourself and that dreaded accident with a gun remains more likely to happen. If not right now then several, or more, years on down the road.

(You can trust me on this. I've already seen it all, at least, twice!) ;)

Yes, it's always a good idea to be familiar with your home state's gun laws; and, if you can, get the course literature in advance and read it over from cover to cover.

Here, and strictly from my memory:

1. The gun is ALWAYS loaded.

2. Never allow the muzzle to, so much as, cross ANYTHING you are unwilling to see destroyed.

3. Never place your finger inside the triggerguard until AFTER you have made a conscious decision to fire.

4. 'Mark' your target AND what is behind it.

Remember: These aren't rules; they're HABITS! ;)

General Geoff
September 5, 2009, 08:43 PM
While being an instructor does NOT necessarily mean you are always right (even on course material), it DOES mean you are in charge, and you are the authority in the class.

So, as a student, if you have a problem or disagree with something the instructor says, talk to him about it in private, not in front of the class. The instructor might have a reason to be teaching something which you think isn't right, but with some deeper wisdom turns out to be better than what you think is right. As a student, you're there to learn, not to undermine the teacher's authority or cast doubt in his abilities.

And lastly, even if you think you know better on technique, try it his/her way, think of it as broadening your horizon. You may find you like it better after all.

Nicodemus38
September 5, 2009, 09:32 PM
the first thing to check is if they allow you to use your own gun during the shooting test or if they make you use one of their loaner handguns. if you cant use your own gun, see what weapons you have to choose from and select the closest to what you shoot.

flrfh213
September 5, 2009, 10:43 PM
i got my cfl in florida, i did as i was told when i was told and hit com when i was asked to SAFLEY DISCHARGE THE DIRECTED WEAPON, had 2/3 the class almost upset with my shot..... hit com with only shot and made it look easy... most just got round down range but passed. was no holster involved, it was pick up, point in safe direction down range and fire then safly set weapon down... easy direct and to the point...

tpaw
September 5, 2009, 10:49 PM
Know the laws in your state especially the ones addressing "deadly physical force". If by any chance you have to use your firearm against another person, remember this, once that bullet leaves the barrel of your hand gun, you can't take it back!

NinjaFeint
September 5, 2009, 10:58 PM
In CT we only have to take the NRA basic safety course and there is only one permit you can get. It is a catch all carry permit (CCW/Open). Just show up and be awake. There is not much to it but learning safety.

StuntHeavy
September 5, 2009, 11:09 PM
Thanks for all the great info gentlemen. This is exactly the kind of stuff I was looking for.

Well, I am an instructor; and, straight off, I noticed something in your initial statements that would cause me to keep a careful eye on you.

'The 4' should never be taken for granted. It is NOT enough to know these rules; Cooper's Four Safety Rules need to be inculcated into your: physical, emotional, and mental patterns of habitual reflex

Sorry if I worded my ideas awkwardly in my first post. That probably made them confusing, and I apologize for that. But, I certainly did not say take the 4 for granted. I meant to imply that it was a given that someone should at least be familiar with those 4, and know what was intended by them. I certainly dont want to be "that guy" sending a cannonball through my neighbors house 400yrds away (as seen in that other thread floating around here)

I'm not too far from my school days, so I should retain the ability to keep my mouth shut, and scribble notes and facts furiously.

Sounds like it'll be a great experience, and money well spent. I look forward to some formal training!

22-rimfire
September 5, 2009, 11:11 PM
I would think about what kinds of things are important to you and ask questions within that general topic when it is appropriate. Try not to interupt the instructor. You're paying for it, so let him/her instruct. The instruction generally follows a certain pattern and you will probably at least have an outline.

I would be sure to shoot a day or so prior to the class with the handgun you are taking the shooting portion of the class.

One of the things that interested me was how other people conceal their firearm. Seeing it is alot better than reading about it.

Know how much ammo you need for the class. I would not use a 22LR even if it is legal to qualify with the gun. Shoot something that you actually may carry.

KenWP
September 5, 2009, 11:21 PM
From my experience most instructors have some kind of blind spot be it a saftey issue or some kind of prejudice about something. It is sometimes impossible to keep silent when he is saying something totally dumb that you know isn't right or he's presenting it wrong. Just because a guy has the words instructor along with his name dosn't mean he can instruct worth a darn. I alwasy go into a class like that ready to take on the instructor if he's got any flaws as most times he's got the job becasue nobody else wanted it.

Ghost Walker
September 5, 2009, 11:43 PM
Sorry if I worded my ideas awkwardly in my first post. That probably made them confusing, and I apologize for that. But, I certainly did not say take the 4 for granted. I meant to imply that it was a given that someone should at least be familiar with those 4, and know what was intended by them. I certainly dont want to be "that guy" sending a cannonball through my neighbors house 400yrds away (as seen in that other thread floating around here)

I'm not too far from my school days, so I should retain the ability to keep my mouth shut, and scribble notes and facts furiously.

Sounds like it'll be a great experience, and money well spent. I look forward to some formal training!

:) It's OK! I just wanted you to be more aware of your mental thought processes regarding this subject. 'The 4' set me off because it is a very casual remark that might be indicative of an attitude that, 'won't really get the job done for you.'

In more than 50 years on the line, believe me, I've seen it all, and been grazed twice! Know what? Sometimes, my own personal safety habits have slipped too. Confusion, distraction, preoccupation, whatever, it happens! All I'm trying to put across is that the concept of merely, 'knowing' the Four Rules isn't anywhere near enough to keep you and anyone else around you genuinely safe.

In order to be truly effective you have to constantly: think, feel, and reflex in tune with these important safety ideals. Even then your habits might not be enough. In all these years I've never had a serious accident with a gun that I was handling. The same thing, however, cannot be said for some of the other people around me.

(I could tell you stories; but, unquestionably, it was my habitual safety behaviors that always prevented worse from happening at the moment something suddenly went wrong!)

Still, for all of my acquired caution and ingrained safety habits there was that time when I tripped and fell. The gun I was carrying landed in front of me with the muzzle pointing at a very understanding older woman who - seeing my face turn red - decided not to read me the, 'riot act'.

Stuff happens, even to the most careful among us. Just be aware that there is no such thing as being 100% safe with a firearm. Things will, however, be a lot safer and trouble will be less likely to happen if you teach yourself how to use your daily habits in order to protect yourself and others.

That's all I'm saying. ;)






PS: Ken, you must be a, 'joy' to work with! :D

jfdavis58
September 6, 2009, 12:03 AM
I must be the exception because my instructor was one of the most gun knowledgeable and subject unbiased fellows I've ever met. He was patient and helpful, firm and level headed and friendly with everyone. In fact, the only problem any of us encountered in the class or on the range was guns that didn't fit their users.

We had at least three people who had never fired a gun on a controlled range and they all brought small cannons to shoot-two 44mag and one 454!?!?!?. Lucky for them that many of the rest of us brought small arsenals of handguns spanning a full selection of gun & grip sizes and calibers.

My suggestion for anyone considering concealed carry is spend some time at a controlled range (with a good range officer) which offers rental guns--get one that fits your hand well and in a caliber that you are comfortable controlling.

22-rimfire
September 6, 2009, 12:04 AM
PS: Ken, you must be a, 'joy' to work with! :D

Made my evening. I just had to laugh.

wrs840
September 6, 2009, 12:47 AM
I just had to laugh.

Me too.

Jeez. I mean... eh?

Les

SevenŠ
September 6, 2009, 01:01 AM
Things to know before taking a CCW Class


In some cases, if you are allowed to carry concealed. :)
Seriously.
I've seen guys go through the class, pass, then get denied a permit because they had a felony or prior assault conviction.
Then they come back raising the devil. It's not an instructor's place to determine that. Well, not it my state anyways.

dairycreek
September 6, 2009, 01:36 PM
I took my CHL course in Oregon over 25 years ago. It was a two day affair and much of what I learned stands me in good stead to this day. It was a great course. My advice is to pay attention, learn what you can, and apply your lessons. Good luck.

Pweller
September 6, 2009, 05:16 PM
The best, and most obvious, thing to do is to contact the place where you will be taking the CCW class and ask them what they would advise. I think there is a lot of variation on the classes between states, so what is necessary here may not be necessary where you live.

I had a few new shooters in the class I was in - I'm not sure that they had ever shot a gun before. They passed, though it is easy in AZ.

bigfatdave
September 6, 2009, 05:36 PM
I had a few new shooters in the class I was inThere was a nice lady in the class I took who was surprised that brass had to be removed from the revolver she was renting after she had fired it.
I'm fairly sure that she and her boyfriend/husband were using the CC class as a basic pistol course following a home invasion scare or something similar. I also remember that after a few 5-shot strings on the firing line, she got her groups tightened up nicely and embarrassed a lot of the experienced shooters on the line. I saw her rolling up her target with a big grin, I'd bet it ended up on the wall or fridge at home.

Just a reminder that you may encounter someone just getting started shooting at a CC class, and if they don't hamper the class, that's OK. They have the same right to a carry permit as the experienced shooter, the ex-cop, or the recently discharged vet.

Tirod
September 6, 2009, 10:49 PM
Expecting to learn what is legally required can leave you learning just the basics your state requires. I don't honestly think the minimums are what anyone should have as their end goal.

You should know your weapon and already have it's manual of arms. Shot it some, too. New owners deserve better than to be snickered at by others at a qualification, and shouldn't endanger the money for the class by failing to know how to load and shoot.

An awareness of your peculiar state's interpretations and no-go areas is valuable. It's not just a list of what bars to avoid - but what times, places, streets, etc., right in your community. Be aware what neighborhoods have drug dealers, drive by shootings, and strong arm break-ins. Without a significant reason to be there, you are just cruising for victims to shoot. Ask any DA.

Whch surrounding state's share reciprocity is need to know information. You don't want to ruin a quiet trip with a wrong assumption.

Learning how much more a CCW licensee has to accept in the way of insults, because they are required to back down, and prevent escalation. Provocation and brandishing a firearm are two fast ways to lose the license or worse.

A read through Massad Ayoob's In The Gravest Extreme, and other books he's written on the subject. It's good clear writing with no sales pitches for the latest equipment or technique - it clearly explains when and why you can't shoot as much as can.

I got my CCW after 22 years in the Army Reserves and holding a MP MOS mobilized. Much of the CCW was a good refresher - and at the pace information is presented in a one day class, someone learning things new really needs more repetition. Having some of the above already familiar and known leaves you time to listen for what you don't - which is more and better training, and what you are paying for.

Those who read up ahead benefit from a better education. Then you can smile with some quiet knowledge at the macho blowhards reciting wrong information and poor tactics.

The unpleasant truth is that if the gun needs to come out, the round should hit the perp within seconds. The decision that life was in danger and someone needed to be stopped should occur before the gun is touched. It's not like on TV at all.

CCW isn't a one time test, it's a lifelong accumulation of new habits and knowledge, which never ceases to provide new lessons. It's also an immense responsibility in the application - and where you never want to be wrong.

"Ooops" won't fix it.

Boris Baninoff
September 7, 2009, 01:42 AM
I finally purchased a gun after my daughter was born. I'm an older, first-time parent, and horrible scenarios haunted my idle thoughts and sleep. They all had a common theme: Violent home invasion.

I enrolled in a local CCW course to familiarize myself with the Castle Doctrine here in Ohio. During the law portion of the course, I guessed that every possible angle (realistic and improbable) would be covered with a classroom full of diverse minds asking the questions. I guessed right. The students were creative, but the instructors meticulously walked through each scenario until sufficiently answered, which also served to highlight and emphasize certain points. This aspect of the course was very rewarding as it made me knowledgeable with the law. I'm convinced that I could NOT have gained this knowledge by merely reading the text of Ohio's Castle Doctrine or anecdotal examples that may be embellished or entirely fabricated.

Going in to the CCW course, my intent was not to always carry, but now I do. I'm always in risk assessment-mode while in public, and I believe that's a good thing. The repercussions of carelessly wielding a gun in public with a CCL are severe, as it should be. Therefore, it would be in any potential student's best interest to take one with a solid reputation (mine was held at a policeman's lodge by instructors who were current and former law-enforcement officers).

I hope this proves to be helpful.

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