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Dichotomy of CWP

The concealed carry permit, enhanced concealed carry permit, or license to carry depending on how your state describes represents the authorization to conceal carry a firearm for personal protection. And depending on the issuing authority, may or may not include minimum standards for training to be completed prior to issuance. This article is not intended to challenge whether permits are constitutional, or if training should be a component of the permitting process.

Here's the challenge/dichotomy - training to satisfy the requirements of permitting does little to prepare the carrier for a lethal encounter with the firearm they're carrying. The permit training requirement is intended to be minimally onerous and ensure you understand the fundamentals of safety, function, orientation, and deployment. It's not intended to provide the full curriculum that encompasses all potential scenarios and skills required to navigate foreseeable threats. Ultimately, the permit to carry is typically a minimum standard and not a standard for proficiency. The permit is the starting point, and should not be the destination. Similarly, a drivers license ensures you understands the rules of the road, and can safely operate the vehicle. And just because you can drive a car, doesn't mean you're qualified to strap yourself into a NASCAR and run in a pack at 190mph.

As a firearms instructor, I get this question all the time. When is your next Enhanced CWP class? My response is, "Well that depends. Are you looking for the certificate for the permit, or do you want the training to make sure you perform well if you need to use your concealed weapon?" These are two different training paths and each is valid. Both can end with the student successfully receiving their permits to carry. But, there are are two very different products when complete. One satisfies the minimum standard for permitting, the other sets up the carrier of the permit to survive and more successfully handle the deadly threat encounter. It's rare if someone calls and asks, "what is the best training plan to set myself up for success in the context of defensive pistol encounters?"

We get it! When I went through the permitting process, I was interested in satisfying the legal requirements. But, gratefully, the difference was impressed upon me early in my shooting carrier. Here's some suggestions - spend more money on training than you do for your firearm. If your pistol is $500.00, you should expect to spend at least that amount in training with a qualified instructor. If you can do that, you're probably looking at about 3 great classes with a crawl, walk, and run framework. You'll start with the fundamentals, then progressively move into more challenging skill sets, cognitive loading, and from static to dynamic training. Ultimately, you should hit advanced classes and ensure you're drawing from concealment working under pressure, with large movement that includes managing cover, strong hand, and weak hand only, in and around vehicles, and working with others in the environment.


  1. The permit is a starting place, a minimum standard and not a standard of proficiency

  2. Spend more on training than you do your firearm - 3 classes should be your target

  3. Training should be progressive and culminate in dynamic, scenario based training that requires drawing from concealment with a timed component

Get out and train, train often, train safely, and train to win! If we can help, reach out!

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