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.