Requirements for a CC Permit by Sheriff Departments, City Police and States vary widely and wildly. Wildly because in some venues there seems to be little connection between self defense and a field hunting course to obtain a CC.
In the field, never carry a rifle with a chambered round. Always keep the muzzle down. Never crawl through a fence with your rifle. Congratulations. You passed.

Responsibility for being fully qualified to obtain a permit and carry a sidearm rests solely with you, the applicant. You are responsible for the depth and pertinence of the course, after all, the choice of a teaching methodology is something upon which you must decide. Its not only your right, but its more importantly your duty to seek the proper teacher and course methodology to ensure your own safety both in real life and in the courts should that be your misfortune. Selecting the right course is the first and probably most important step you’ll take in your quest for a CC Permit.

There are many approaches to teaching self defense employing the use of a firearm, be it pistol, revolver, shotgun or rifle. There are most certainly more than one good approach, but the end result should always be the same. A knowledgeable, competent and aware CC candidate, well schooled in every aspect of firearm and personal responsibility. You should most certainly interview your prospective teacher as if he/she were a job applicant. Interviewing a self defense instructor is by far more important than interviewing a salesman, waitress or a structural engineer. Upon that interview and acceptance of an instructor will potentially hang the rest of your life.

I’d like to give you the basics of what a CC course should contain. There may be instructors who require more or less, but the end result should be the same.

My course of instruction begins with a two way interview. The candidate should be asking me any and all questions to determine my qualifications, approach and expected attitude. I will be asking the candidate a number of key questions to determine that I am comfortable with his/her state of mental preparedness for a live firearms course. Some of the questions might be leading questions to determine the candidate’s true purpose for wanting a CC. In my history I have most definitely turned down candidates for what I consider to be bad or cavalier attitudes. Its my right to determine fitness as it is theirs to determine my qualifications. If I certify you, its my responsibility to the Sheriff to give him truly qualified applicants.

Classes begin with required reading. I typically use the old Ayoob book, In the Gravest Extreme. Discussion of the book contents always follows, and when I determine the candidate has a firm grasp of potential negatives and the legal ramifications that can be potential life changing events, I move on to firearm introductions with a side trip of another required reading, Jordan’s “No Second Place Winners”
A range that allows users to check out various sidearms is greatly preferable. I never recommend a specific firearm other than to point out that a snubby revolver might be easier for a lady to carry in her purse. Proven revolvers have virtually a zero FTF, and by “proven” I mean a revolver and caliber that’s been successfully in production for a long time. For anyone, never less than a .38 with a +P and up being preferable. (Although it appears that I’m going to take a personal “flyer” at the new .327 Magnum just for fun) I know, I know.

If a candidate has no access to a pistol loaner range I discuss the reality of a suitable revolver or semi-auto for purchase. This may include a number of personal factors as to method of anticipated carry, comfort/size of the caliber and budget. Personal strength and recoil factor into the decision making equation. My own feeling is that a revolver is the correct sidearm for anyone who has no practical firearm experience. Semi-autos are an inherently more difficult tool to master for the complete novice. If an experienced shooter appears to have issues with semi-auto function during the course I require a switch to revolvers. All attention should be focused on the issue of learning and not on the function or periodic failure of the firearm to feed, extract or eject.

Practical field instruction begins with lessons in Point of Vision shooting. The candidate is taught how to make paraffin loads for his/her sidearm. This allows them to practice at home in the garage or even in the house. we take a nominal 40 cases, drill out the primer pockets to 1/8″, notch the rim with a file (to avoid mistaking the brass as re-loadable with powder and projectiles), and size the brass. Paraffin is then melted in a shallow pan to a depth of a nominal 1/4to 3/8″ deep (depending on caliber) . The cases are then placed nose down in the paraffin and allows to cool until hard. Once cool and hard ( a refrigerator helps) they are gently rocked side to side and removed. By this time the candidate has already secured a Lee or RCBS hand primer in the appropriate caliber. The cases are primed. A piece of cardboard or softer material is set up with a black Magic Marker, life sized profile of a human. Using plywood is not recommended and will startle you with the impact of the paraffin. Its far more than you imagine. No… the paraffin won’t goo up your rifling. After the session, collect the paraffin on the floor and target and then using a brass brush and a swab with alcohol leaves the lands/grooves/ clean and free of wax if there is any. The wax won’t melt as it passes down the bore. Dwell time is very short and the primers cause no appreciable heat.

The next step is one that must be experienced to fully understand. The applicant is taught to hang the pistol at the side, raise to a natural height midway between stomach and chest, bring both hands together, focus on the chest area, squeeze and fire, fluidly in one motion. Many succeed quickly, but for most it takes practice. Lots of practice, thus the economy of wax loads. Raise, left hand over the right on the pistol grip, center, squeeze and fire. Over and over until its second nature. If the projectile hits consistently too low, some applicants learn to simply “look higher” IE: at the shoulder level or even the neck level of the foe. If their point of vision impact is naturally low, they simply look higher. Understand that these wax projectiles will travel an easy 25 feet dead true, just as true as a lead projectile. Make no mistake. The impact of the wax projectile is enough to penetrate and kill as very short ranges.

Once a true point of vision exercise is natural and accomplished every time, the applicant begins to draw from the holster, purse or bag, whatever the normal carry vehicle would be. Sound odd? Nope. If she’s going to be carrying in a purse, then the purse is from where she will draw. At this point a number of women may determine they want to have the option of carrying behind the right hip. In either case, practice now shifts to that mode.

The next step will be “reflex” shooting. Learning to use one hand and hit a body center every time. When a quick reflex to a danger is suddenly required, this exercise is paramount. This exercise is less accurate for some and very accurate for others, but both must be learned. Wax projectiles, weapon hanging at the side, raise and fire and then on to drawing from the carry mode. Speed has nothing whatsoever to do with the course. Speed for the candidate comes later and on their own. No speed drawing is ever allowed on our premises. We do recommend a few on-line videos for those who intend to learn proper speed draw methodology.

Now comes the live fire course. We always begin with a .22 pistol and the (by now) familiar two handed raise, center, squeeze and fire exercise followed by the reflex application. The final part of the live fire course is utilization of the candidate’s own firearm in the same, very familiar sequence. Drawing from the carry vehicle is always done slowly and smoothly. No quick draw on premises.

By this time we’ve already covered (with the applicant) why the applicant should avail him/herself of every opportunity to avoid the confrontation. Walking, talking, running away (if practicable), being constantly aware of surroundings, keeping clear of unusual secluded areas and late night individuals in low light, little trafficked areas and doing anything within reason to avoid drawing their firearm.

The applicant is urged to never discuss the firearm, show the firearm, make carrying obvious or the fact that they are indeed carrying. Not friends, not family (if applicable), not fellow workers, not even your Priest, Pastor or Rabbi. Nobody.

Its very important that the applicant learn to assume the weight of the firearm as natural, something not noticed, not consciously aware of the weight or the fact that its even there. Its equally important to not be suspicious of every stranger, every situation of daily life, every sudden noise, every quick movement around you. The firearm should simply be another part of your body, not a conscious part but one to be called upon in the gravest extreme.

A successful applicant will not be constantly watching and waiting, expecting the worst. Carrying in itself typically makes the carrier more relaxed, more secure feeling, more responsible and far less likely to react violently or overreact.
Regular range time is strongly encouraged.

There are far more aspects to my course than can easily be presented here considering the typist has the will of a youngster and the fingers of an OldGuy. Push, step back, brace and draw etc. Many little and bigger things are presented in the course of the live classes. Bear in mind that this is not a Practical Pistol course but a base for self defense shooting. Other instructors may broaden the base of their courses and expand into related shooting exercises and events.
Its only important to remember that the final judge of the prospective course is you, the applicant. The responsibility for everything that occurs after the issuing of your CC with your firearm is your responsibility, and yours alone. There will be no instructor to stand by your side in a courtroom testifying as to the validity of the shoot. No instructor should ever present scenarios to a student. Its not remotely possible to present them all and the student’s first confrontation would most likely be something never considered. Don’t dwell on “what if”s. Ayoob’s books present rational confrontation responses. I can only answer what I might do, not what the candidate should do.
Choose your teacher carefully and remember that if something doesn’t sound reasonable and rational, it probably isn’t.

Shoot straight, think carefully as quickly as you can and……….
….stay low.

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