Training For Concealed Carry (CCW):
By: William P. Flinn
When I got my pilot’s license, the old WWII vet who gave me my check ride handed me my temporary pilot’s license and said to me: “This is your license to LEARN how to fly an airplane.” What he meant by that was that I should practice my flying skills, practice those things that I wouldn't normally have to do except in an emergency, and seek further training. That thought has stuck with me over the years, and I find it especially relevant when talking about training for carrying a concealed handgun.
The Colorado requirement for proving the required training needed to submit an application for a concealed handgun license (often referred to as CCW or CHL) simply calls for handgun proficiency training. The Colorado Revised Statute says the following:
18-12-203. Criteria for obtaining a permit.
(h) Demonstrates competence with a handgun by submitting:
(I) Evidence of experience with a firearm through participation in organized shooting competitions or current military service;
(II) Evidence that, at the time the application is submitted, the applicant is a certified instructor;
(III) Proof of honorable discharge from a branch of the United States armed forces within the three years preceding submittal of the application;
(IV) Proof of honorable discharge from a branch of the United States armed forces that reflects pistol qualifications obtained within the ten years preceding submittal of the application;
(V) A certificate showing retirement from a Colorado law enforcement agency that reflects pistol qualifications obtained within the ten years preceding submittal of the application; or
(VI) A training certificate from a handgun training class obtained within the ten years preceding submittal of the application. The applicant shall submit the original training certificate or a photocopy thereof that includes the original signature of the class instructor. In obtaining a training certificate from a handgun training class, the applicant shall have discretion in selecting which handgun training class to complete.
Those who carry concealed handguns already know the enormous amount of responsibility they have accepted when they carry concealed. Most of the people I know constantly practice, participate in shooting skills building events, and attend further training. For those seasoned veterans of the CCW ranks, I commend you for your recognition of the part you play in ensuring that you are as proficient as possible.
So now I want to take this opportunity to reach out to those contemplating applying for their CCW permit for the first time. First of all – I am among those who believe that as law abiding citizens, we shouldn’t have to beg for permission to carry the appropriate tools for practicing the natural right of self defense. But since we do have to go through the application process, and some sort of handgun training (or accepted alternative such as military service) is a requirement, I wanted to talk briefly about that training. For those just starting out, basic pistol training is a great place to begin. NRA instructors offer the NRA Basic Pistol Shooting course, which includes such things as learning firearms safety and storage, the parts of a gun, how to select and maintain a firearm, and the basics of shooting a pistol. That training will give you the required training to apply for the permit, but does not necessarily give you the required skills to responsibly carry a concealed firearm.
Once you receive that basic training and apply for your permit, don’t stop there. There is a wide variety of things you can do to increase your skills. Participate in some skill building events. Many shooting ranges offer monthly International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) and other defensive pistol shooting events. Various indoor shooting ranges in our area offer pistol leagues and events for building skills. Seek out additional training by attending NRA courses such as Personal Protection Inside/Outside the Home, or advanced handgun courses elsewhere.
Once you receive that basic training, and have received your CCW permit, you are legally permitted to carry. But remember – you have the additional moral obligation to be proficient – follow the old WWII vet’s advice: practice your skills and receive further training.
About The Author: "The Gonz" is an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor (Pistol, PPiTH, RTBAV), US Concealed Carry Association Affiliate Instructor, and an NRA Certified Range Safety Officer. Additionally, he a trained and certified Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member, with several years of training in the Incident Command System (ICS) procedures and practices.