Choosing A Women's Concealed Carry Class
Training is a vital component not only to owning a gun, but certainly to competent use of one in defense of yourself or others. And more women than ever in the past few years have been starting at square one.
If you pick the wrong class, learn the wrong material and instill bad habits at the beginning…it can take years to get a bad start corrected.
So how do you get started? How do you pick that first women’s concealed carry class? Or, for that matter, a course for continuing your education and training?
There are some things you want to look for, which we’ll cover. It should also be said that you may want to take different courses for different things; we’ll go over that too. However, there are also some things you want to steer clear of, so let’s dive right in.
Who Says It Has To Be A 'Women's Concealed Carry' Class?
When it comes to anything related to guns, concealed carry, shooting and self-defense…the truth is that virtually everything that’s true for a man is also true for a woman. In other words, you don’t necessarily need to find a “women’s” class to find what you need.
Good training is good training, period, and that’s what you need.
The fundamentals of practical marksmanship are the same. Align sights on target, press the trigger. There’s nothing about that unique to any gender, color, creed or orientation.
The law is the same. You cannot use a firearm unless in the gravest extreme. There is nothing different about that for any gender, color, creed or orientation.
The fundamentals of gun safety are the same. Nothing is different about that for any gender, color, creed or orientation.
We aren’t saying don’t take a women’s concealed carry course, developed by and for women. What we are saying is that isn’t the only concealed carry class or marksmanship course that’s being offered out there.
Therefore, have a look at everything that’s being offered in your area. You don’t want to miss out on a resource just because it isn’t being marketed to a specific demographic.
Find A Concealed Carry Class That Specializes In What You Need To Learn
You can’t learn everything in one weekend. Any course that purports to cover everything you need to know in two days…just won’t.
Therefore, avoid general courses that cover lots of bases and find one that focuses on one core area. However, this comes with the following caveat:
Definitely take the required course for obtaining your permit, if you need to.
Bear in mind also that the typical concealed carry class for obtaining a permit…is rarely in-depth enough for you to gain a good understanding of almost anything it covers. You might remember a few things, but it isn’t enough.
If you’re starting at absolute square one, you should plan on taking several courses to get a good foundation under your feet.
A basic course, to learn the basics of firearm operation and safety.
A practical marksmanship course, so you learn techniques of fighting with a gun. Drawing from a holster, getting shots on target at combat distances.
You also need to learn the laws of armed self-defense, so you understand not only the letter but also the spirit of the law when it comes to defending yourself with a firearm.
Any class that purports to do all of that in one weekend is lying. They might give you the short version of all of the above, but it isn’t going to be enough.
The point here is that you first need to realize that you need more education than you can get in one weekend. Since that’s the case, pick a class that specializes in one particular aspect such as pure fundamentals, practical shooting or legal education, instead of trying to do it all at once.
Definitely take your class to get your permit, but go beyond that as well.
If Taking A Concealed Carry Class For A Permit, Make Sure It's Accredited
One thing you definitely want to make sure of, if possible, is that any women’s concealed carry class that you take for a permit is accredited or – failing that – is listed as an approved course to satisfy permit requirements.
To find out, you’ll have to get on the interwebs and find your state government’s website. Look up the body in charge of concealed carry licensing, which is usually the state police or the Department of Licensing in most cases.
They will almost always list the requirements that must be satisfied in order to get the permit, and some states will maintain a list of instructors and courses that satisfy the requirements.
If your state maintains such a list, make sure you take one of them.
Look For Instructor Credentials
Another thing to look for is instructor credentials.
Police service and military service are all well and good…but in truth may not mean much. The average police officer will rarely use their duty pistol in the line of duty, and most members of the military by volume never meaningfully shoulder a rifle, except in training.
So unless they have a police or military service record that actually has something to do with regular use of firearms, it may not mean a whole lot.
A serious background in competitive shooting is also a plus.
There aren’t too many professional accreditations for firearms instruction, but there are a few to look out for.
NRA instructors are a good starting point. Most NRA courses, however, are very basic and broad; they’re great for introductory courses (basic gun safety, etc.) but not necessarily beyond that, though you’d be surprised at the depth of some offerings.
Another certification to look for is MAG instructor certification, or from the Massad Ayoob Group.
Massad Ayoob literally wrote the book on lawful armed self-defense (“In The Gravest Extreme,” among others) and in between serving as an expert witness in civilian and law enforcement shootings, offers instructor certification in teaching the materials he developed over decades as a law enforcement officer.
Look for a graduate of the MAG Instructor Course and Use Of Deadly Force Instructor Class. Instructors with these credentials learn directly from experts in both defensive use of firearms AND in lawful use of a gun in self-defense.
A fledgling certification is the Active Self Protection Instructor network. Instructors with an ASP certification learn from the course material developed by John Correia, who created the Active Self Protection brand/foundation, whatever you want to call it.
ASP is based totally on real-world shootings and their aftermath, and includes not only reality-based training on the shooting and other skills needed to survive a deadly encounter, as well as the legal education to go with it.
ASP’s instructor’s program includes materials from MAG and others, and is already national in scope.
Rangemaster and Gunsite instructor certifications are also good to look for; Gunsite was the birthplace of the modern pistol technique, and Rangemaster is a professional instructor development body with special focus on practical shooting disciplines.
There are plenty of women that have one or even several of the above certifications, in case you’re curious.
With that said, you want to find an instructor that has the professional pedigree and CV indicating they know what they’re talking about.
Pick The Right Women's Concealed Carry Course, And You'll Get A Lot From It
What course you should choose…really depends on what it is you’re looking to learn. If you’re an absolute beginner, choose an absolute beginner’s course. Take a licensing course if you want to get a permit. Take defensive pistol shooting if you want to learn to fight with a gun.
And definitely get some legal education to know what the law is regarding armed self-defense.
As you can probably tell, the idea here is that you want to pick a women’s concealed carry course that will help you get what you need from it. You should also take it from a qualified instructor.
Think of it like this.
There are a lot of colleges and universities not only in the United States, but everywhere. Some are very good, but not all of them are, and not all of them offer courses in the same subjects.
In fact, some specialize in certain areas. MIT and Cal-Tech are known for their math and science departments, Johns Hopkins is known for its medical school…and some schools are just known for football.
Those colleges are filled with instructors. All of them have to know something, or else they won’t get hired…or at least won’t stay hired for long! But not necessarily all of them are great instructors in their or any discipline.
Just as with selecting a college to attend, you want to pick a concealed carry class where you can not only learn the subjects you want to learn, but also get a good education in those subjects.
Pick the right one, and it will serve you very well in your endeavors. If you don’t…you may have to get back to school at some point and start over.