8 Things To Do Before Getting Your Concealed Carry Permit

8 Things To Do Before Getting Your Concealed Carry Permit

8 Things To Do Before Getting Your Concealed Carry Permit

Many states have a waiting period when applying for a concealed carry handgun permit.  It can take time for the background checks to return or the fingerprints to clear the database.  In either case, here’s 8 things you can do before getting your concealed carry permit.

1.  Get familiarized with firearms


Getting familiarized with firearms can be a fun and safe way to learn more about them.  Going to the range with friends is a good way to be introduced to different types and styles of guns.  You also get to practice the basic safety rules of firearms:

  • Treat every weapon as if it were loaded.
  • Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you intend to fire.
  • Don’t point your gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot.
  • Know what is in front of and behind your target.

2.  Take a beginner’s pistol course


Shooting with friends and family can be fun and educational but sometimes taking a lesson from a professional can help you correct bad habits.  People aren’t born knowing how to use firearms — it’s taught.  And while a lot of it is intuitive, it can be helpful to get some advice on proper marksmanship, safety, and just general situational awareness. Check out USA Carry’s Firearm Instructor Directory.

3.  Research your state’s reciprocity

Is your state widely recognized by others when it comes to its concealed carry permit?  Some states don’t have reciprocity with many other states.  In that case, it might make sense to get a non-resident permit.  Find a firearms instructor in your area that is certified to teach a concealed carry permit class for other more accepting states like Utah. You can also check out USA Carry’s Concealed Carry Permit Reciprocity Maps for more info.

4.  Try a variety of different pistols


You may have grown up around guns and seen your folks shoot the classic 1911s or revolvers.  There’s a wide world of guns out there and you won’t know what works best for you until you try.  Check out a gun range that lets you rent different types of handguns and don’t be afraid to experiment.  Once you find the right one, you’ll be glad you did.

5.  Learn your state’s laws about guns


The best thing you can do as a prospective concealed carrier is educate yourself about your own state’s laws concerning firearms.  Not everyone is well versed and people may be subject to misinterpret all sorts of things.  The good news is that many concealed carry handgun courses are required to teach at least a few hours on the law.  This is meant to be a good introduction and you’re eagerly encouraged to continue on your own time.

6.  Find out what obstacles you’ll have to face


Everyone has a different schedule.  Some employers don’t allow their employees to carry concealed.  Maybe you’ll have to pick your kids up from school and you’re unsure about laws covering you carrying concealed on school grounds.  These are individual obstacles you may face and it’s best to identify them early on.  This will help you get a better idea of what you need to do to avoid potential pitfalls along the way.

7.  Practice in advanced courses


If you’re serious about being a concealed carrier, it’s always a good idea to be introduced to “real world” style training.  Things like clearing doorways and corridors, moving from or to cover, and acquiring a target are all invaluable skills to learn.  They don’t happen overnight.  Taking advanced courses can help introduce those concepts so you can keep practicing them later on.

8.  Learn how to dismantle your gun for cleaning


Operator-level maintenance is absolutely essential.  You have to be able to break down your gun for cleaning.  It should ideally be done after every time you fire it or once a month — whichever happens first.

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Luke McCoy is the founder of USA Carry. In 2007, he launched USA Carry to provide concealed carry information and a community for those with concealed carry permits and firearm enthusiasts.
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Item #8…Clean a brand new gun BEFORE you fire it!!!


These are all great things to not only know but do. I did all but 7. Before I went for my CCW. I was also shooting in competitions as well before I got my CCW.

Morgan le Fay

I did all of the above. Great article anyway!


The demand for CC permits is so high in my county (shall issue state but in an urban area) that there is a 2 month wait at the Sheriff’s office just to get the fingerprints done. This is doubtless so that they can delay issuing and also make money off the fee, but also underscores how high the demand for permits is. My class was full of otherwise non-shooters.

Barefoot in MN

My sister recommends that while you wait, be wearing your gun around the house, UNLOADED of course ! — to try out various holsters, get used to the feeling of the gun, & practice drawing and re-holstering. That’s what she did for the 2 weeks it took her permit to arrive. At first, she practiced loading & unloading the gun with the plastic dummy rounds you can buy for that purpose, but after a week or so she used “snap caps”, the kind that go bang but have no bullet in them, no projectile — they just go bang, that’s all. She wanted to develop good habits and also to imprint upon myself very very firmly, that if she messed up, an accidental discharge could happen. It helped, she’s been carrying for some time now with no mishaps. And yes she does all the other things suggested in this list. I feel completely safe around her.

Kenneth Birgholtz

Being Retired and a Veteran of the Vietnam Era, I would like very much to get my CCW, but how can I find out if I am on one of Obama’s Bogus Gun Ban Lists??? I don’t want to go through the process and spend the required Fees and Costs associated with a Permit, only to be denied a Permit, much less to buy a Weapon???