What Happens in a CCW Class?

I often get asked what to expect in a concealed carry class. Really, it varies greatly. There is a wide range of abilities for instructors and can be a lot of diversity in what it taught.

If it is a straight up NRA Basic Pistol course you’re going to learn a lot about safe gun handling and proper shooting technique but often not much about actual carrying a firearm or using it for self defense.

If the instructor created his or her own course it can be a grab bag as to what to expect. Ohio law only has a few specific requirements and not required curriculum. But I can give you an overview of my class which begins similar to the NRA Basic Pistol course but then goes into defensive topics. I use a mixture of lecture, discussion, powerpoint presentation, pictures, and video.

We start with the basics: type of handguns, types of actions, terminology, proper operation, safe storage, and ammunition. We talk a bit about how to select a handgun that is right for you and how to clean and maintain it.

Then we’ll get into safe gun handling and proper shooting technique. We cover what to do when the gun or ammunition fails to function properly (stoppages and malfunctions).

After that it is on to the basics of self defense. Risk management, managing unknown persons, environmental awareness, conflict avoidance and deescalation, defensive mindset, etc.

We talk about keeping a firearm in the home, workplace, and on your person for defense as well as the accompanying issues like holsters, belts, off-body carry, and cover garments.

There is also time spent covering some of the legal issues with armed self defense ranging from how to apply for a concealed handgun license to some of the legal requirements for using deadly force.

From there it is on to the stages of violence, things like pre-assault indicators, criminal interview, positioning, and attack as well as recommendations for dealing with each stage. We end the classroom portion talking about what to do afterwards if you’re forced to use deadly force to defend yourself or someone else.

After that is the range portion. I usually do the range portion on a separate day because I like the students to be fresh and focused. We start shooting 15′ from the target and then move back to 21′. There are various drills that are kept pretty basic since this class is more about safety and basic shooting technique than an intermediate or advanced shooting skills class.

If you’re interested in taking my next class, check the training calendar!

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