Required Skill Level?

Should the state impose a required skill level on concealed pistol carriers? Of course not! We all know how state intervention makes things worse in our lives, like passing the Affordable Care Act and how many people can’t afford coverage or have seen costs increase and care decline!

My state requires a CPL to be renewed every four years so they can collect their tribute. In the CPL renewal class, each student introduced themselves and explained why they have a CPL, many of them cited the location, travel, or nature of their work that made them want to carry a concealed pistol for self defense.

The lanes were set up for us with the target carriers at about 15 feet. The cardboard was previously used, but the two rectangular blank pieces of paper were fresh for our test. We were told to fire 50 rounds at only one piece of paper. I was on lane 3 doing rapid fire at first and could have finished easily in less than 30 seconds, but humbly slowed down when I realized the other guys were taking their time. I was shooting holes through holes and had a tight group that my hand could have entirely covered. I cleaned up my brass and packed up while the guy on lane 2 was about halfway through his 50 rounds, when I snapped that picture.

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Why am I telling you this story? I am not trying to put anyone down who has lesser skills. Certainly I am not bragging, I’m not great and want to be a lot better. There are many people much better than me. I am telling you this to illustrate the difference between someone who reads, trains, practices, and is interested in learning and someone who does not. There is no secret to shooting well. Don’t be discouraged when you see someone shooting better than you, take that as a challenge to improve to their level. Next time you see someone performing well, observe and maybe you can pick up some tips, maybe even complement them on their ability when appropriate. People like to talk about their passion and will gladly offer you help if you ask for it.

What should your skill level be? You can determine what level of skill is appropriate for you. I recommend as a concealed carrier, that your skill should be far and above the average gun owner. You should be able to group your shots together, as opposed to holes everywhere with no pattern. That will ensure you are on the right track and have control. Remember shooting skills are perishable, which means they degrade over time, so at least practice often enough to maintain your current level. The state should not be involved in this, people will do what is best for themselves. Let me know what you think about skills in the comments!

The State & Mandatory Training

Should there be requirements for people who want to conceal carry? This issue is left to the state governments to decide, some require training and a license before being able to carry a concealed pistol.rangetarget Some states have Constitutional Carry where permitless concealed carry is allowed. It is interesting to note that the government does not administer the required class, but allows the free market to provide the class. Does this forced government training produce competent concealed carriers? The answer is NO.

Many people have a negative attitude towards attending a government required CPL class. One obvious objection is that their 2nd Amendment rights are being infringed. The 2nd amendment does not prescribe any requirements that must be met before someone can exercise that right, for this reason alone some people resent having to take the class. People who begrudgingly take the mandatory class usually develop a schools out mentality, they are done learning and will not take any further courses. People need to be curious and want to learn more of their own volition. Perhaps more people would hire a personal shooting instructor or take a practical course that would benefit them if they didn’t have to expend their resources on a mandatory class.

Some people may have to take a day off from work to attend and they must pay for the course and the cost of ammo. If that wasn’t enough, there are fingerprinting fees, identification photo fees, and license fees. As you can see, the mandatory CPL class and the licensing process takes time and money, so there is a great opportunity cost; this can cause hardship for many people, as it may be a strain on their available resources. Having to jump through so many hoops can feel like an infringement upon rights. All of these requirements and costs are significant barriers to entry that keep people from being able to defend themselves and their families. People with the most urgent self defense needs are often the ones with the least ability to take the class and pay all the fees.

I doubt states where a CPL class and license are required are any better off than states with Constitutional Carry. When people are given freedom, they generally enjoy it responsibly and don’t bother other people. I haven’t heard of any serious problems in states with Constitutional Carry. If there were, you would see those states moving towards licensing. We see the opposite of that happening, where states are considering adopting Constitutional Carry. Besides the obvious, of allowing people to defend themselves and their families as they see fit without having to take a required class and obtain a license, it would solve travel problems for concealed carriers who want to travel across state lines. Currently you have to delve into the laws of each state you travel to in order to make sure you are compliant with their concealed carry laws. If all states adopted Constitutional Carry, it would be much easier for concealed carriers to travel.

Find a reputable range with a thorough CPL training class if it is required. The class should encompass both classroom learning and range time. You should learn about firearm safety and function, marksmanship fundamentals, firearms and the law, and range time firing at least 100 rounds. The most important thing to bring is a positive attitude towards learning. You will learn something from the class and that will be a positive takeaway. Your time and money is being spent, if you feel like you are being forced to be there, be positive and get everything you can out of it! Meet other like minded people, ask questions, be involved, help others, forge friendships. Sign up for additional training of your own free will and maybe some of your new friends in class will do the same. Let us know what you think in the comments!

Find Your Mr. Miyagi

Early on in the 1984 film The Karate Kid, Daniel had the wrong motivation to learn karate and lacked an understanding of its intended purpose. That was before Mr. Miyagi taught Daniel that karate should only be used for self defense, suspiciously inline with libertarianism and more specifically the non aggression principle.

Do you remember how quickly Daniel learned karate? He went from not knowing karate, to winning a tournament in two months. Do you think that would have been possible without Mr. Miyagi’s training? Daniel constantly made mistakes while learning techniques, but was corrected under Mr. Miyagi’s watchful eye. Once Daniel had the technique down, Mr. Miyagi would leave Daniel to practice for hours. If Mr. Miyagi left Daniel alone to complete the chores and never demonstrated the waxing, sanding, and painting techniques, he would have not learned the fundamentals of karate.

Training helped Daniel learn karate and you should seek training to learn pistol craft. In order to find your Mr. Miyagi, research your local shooting ranges and see what kind of training they offer. Going to a range with other students to learn and engage in a course of fire is fun! You will be surprised how much you didn’t know before taking the class. It will open a whole new world of possibilities for you. You can see big improvements in your skill in a short period of time. The best students have no prior experience and follow instructions. They can become much better shooters seemingly overnight than some “experienced” shooters. People become set in their bad habits and it is difficult to break them. Do not worry if you don’t know what you are doing, that’s to your benefit and the purpose of the class is to learn!

At a minimum, you should take a basic pistol training class. These classes are great because you meet a lot of like minded people who are learning just like you. Here are some of the basic fundamentals of pistol craft that you should learn how to perform properly:

  • grip and stance
  • holster draw
  • sight alignment and trigger squeeze
  • magazine reloads
  • how to clear malfunctions
  • situational awareness

Are you planning on taking any training courses and why? What has been your experience with taking training classes? Let us know in the comments!