When it comes to CCW there is a lot of preplanning that needs to take place. I’ve instructed many clients from all walks of life. I have adopted the “One on One” instruction method and it has been working out very well. Carrying a concealed weapon is not something that most people just think of and then go get one. Most of my clients have had the application for a while just sitting around or on the PC desktop. People are a little unnerved or intimidated by the CCW process. Granted, most processes are similar due to state guidelines. California, as you can imagine, has a thorough process which includes the application, in-person interview, fingerprints, background check and training applicable to the license by an approved instructor. Some instruction classes are 16 hours long. People have busy lives, kids, jobs and many other responsibilities that just seem to take up all of one’s time. To the average person this sounds like a lot of time is involved in getting the CCW license. Maybe it is, but for good reason.
CCW is a serious business. Not many other decisions even come close. If you’re thinking that all you must do is fill out an application, go to the interview and pass a background check to be a successful CCW candidate, think again. Oh, sure you might squeak by without much thinking going into the decision to carry a concealed weapon. A clean background a little coaching from a friend that has their CCW license already and a little experience with handguns maybe you’d get by. This kind of mindset in the beginning of the process may set the standard you adopt for your entire CCW carry over your lifetime. This could turn out to be a bad choice, read on.
Deciding to protect yourself (and others) by obtaining your CCW license and adopt the CCW lifestyle is just the beginning. There are some important things you must make decisions on as you proceed forward. Decisions on:
- Why you’re carrying
- Who you’re protecting
- When to carry
- What handgun
- Which ammunition
- What holster (s)
- Training & ongoing training
These are just some of the decisions you will need to make. Many more await you. Why you carry and who you are going to protect is your business. But if you’re smart, you’ll have a discussion with your chosen CCW instructor so the instruction can be tailored toward your needs. The law enforcement agency conducting your CCW process will also want to know up front why you are requesting a CCW license. This sometimes is opening of Pandora’s box.
Ongoing legislation (especially here in CA, duh!) at Federal, state and local levels combined with politics have turned what should be simple into the complex. Some jurisdictions require “good cause” for issuing a CCW license and some accept “self-protection” as all that is needed for the reason. Depending on where you live will weigh heavily on if your reason for carry will be accepted.
When to carry and how you will carry are very subjective in nature. Personal experiences, and other dynamics will determine this. Some set a goal of always carrying a handgun when they go out. Good luck if this is you. Been there done that. Now I’m slightly more realistic. There are just too many things that will predict whether you will be packing your handgun on any given day. Things that are out of your control. Things like secure areas at buildings, events and outdoor areas. Security checkpoints seem to be very common place nowadays. The weather will also have a bearing on how you will carry your firearm. For instance, warm weather means less clothing for the job of concealing your armament. Depending on the size of your gun, holsters that are available this can be a real problem.
Time to think about choosing the gun(s) you will carry. If you are new to the gun world I highly suggest you spend some time with an expert. The right choices here are so important. Flub this stage of the CCW process up and it will be like a tooth ache. It’s only going to get worse as time goes on. Do it right early on and you will save money and have a flawless start at CCW. Don’t take for granted that the person behind the counter at the gun store is an expert. They probably have very limited knowledge about CCW. Hunting, target shooting and competition shooting have little to do with CCW. Very different in deed. Make a mistake in choosing the gun or holster or both and you will be leaving the gun at home or in the car. I guarantee it. Talk to people who carry concealed weapons on a regular basis. People like cops, relatives, neighbors etc. There are thousands of choices to choose from when it comes to firearms and gear. If the right equipment isn’t made then think about modifications to accommodate what you need to be successful at CCW.
Check your chosen instructor out carefully. Ask some questions like:
- What applicable experience to CCW does this instructor have?
- Where did that experience come from? Real World stuff?
- How long has this instructor been teaching CCW?
- Is this Instructor recommended by someone you trust?
- Where do they do the training? Standing behind a counter at a range is okay some of the time but you will need some outdoor real world scenarios to become a confident in CCW.
- Are you interested in training in a classroom environment or one on one? I always recommend one-on-one unless it’s a family affair.
- Does the instructor include additional training during the instruction?
- Is the instructor available at any time after the initial instruction?
So much to learn when you are starting out on your journey into the CCW world. Ask questions, do you research. Reach out to credible sources for information. Make solid common sense decisions on everything involved with the subject of CCW. Yes, do your Due Diligence and look before you leap.