What Concealed Carry Is Not

As a martial arts instructor over the past 30 years, I’ve encountered a wide variety of people, with a wide variety of experiences. Occasionally, I’ll run across someone who’s had some other training, but usually, people are starting from scratch, whether they are children or adults. 

For the purpose of this article, I’d like to focus on adults. In all my years, I’ve rarely met anyone who had started training, with no prior experience, that also wanted to jump right in a mixed martial arts (MMA) cage. 

I say rarely, because I’ve actually had a couple, (out of hundreds) that were really wanting to test themselves like that. One in particular named Roy, was very focused, and after a year or so of striking and Brazilian JiuJitsu, he won his first fight easily. It actually went down just as he’d envisioned it. But that’s the exception. 

Most people aren’t interested in testing the themselves in that way. And to a person, including Roy, not a single one felt competent to just jump right into a fight, without getting substantial training. This seems like a wise approach to me. 

But as a firearms instructor, I’ve observed that many people seem to have a completely different thought process when it comes to firearms. And it’s pretty common. 

I think there’s a real misconception about what concealed carry classes are for. Over the last few years, I’ve encountered quite a few people who have NEVER handled a handgun, but plan on carrying them as soon as they get their concealed carry license.

While I don’t want to trample on anyone’s 2nd Amendment rights, this is irresponsible at best. To me, firearms are MUCH more dangerous than jumping in an MMA ring. 

You can get in a ring or cage and get beat up, but usually, a referee will stop the beating before there is significant injury (but not always). But with a firearm, there is no referee, and a single shot can alter or take a life forever. 

Please understand me. I’m a lifetime NRA member, an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor; an Illinois State Certified Firearms Instructor for Law Enforcement Personnel; and an Illinois State Police Certified Concealed Carry Firearms Instructor (ILCCF). I love guns. I love shooting them, and I love teaching people about them. 

While a human can be potentially lethal, a firearm can be immediately lethal with a single trigger pull, whether intentional or accidental. You need to know this, and you need to prepare yourself for the proper handling of your weapon, with hundreds, if not thousands of repetitions, and proven safety habits, before you carry it, if at all possible. 

Or at the very least, with continuing training after you get your CCL. I’ve not met a single instructor who disagrees with this. We always tell people to keep training. Yet we often see people think nothing on dropping $800 on a new handgun, holster, and ammo, but balk at paying $50 for 3 hours of tactical instruction on how to use it. 

Concealed carry instruction is NOT training on how to carry, and it’s NOT training on how to fight. It’s NOT tactical training. In fact, it’s often very little training at all. 

In a perfect world, it’s still only very basic training on your handgun. It is however, fairly extensive training on your legal responsibilities, which is what Illinois insists on. So that’s what we teach, and we try to add as much as we can. But in my opinion, it’s not nearly enough. We only have 16 hours. 

So if you’re going to carry, I salute you. You’re standing up for right, and you’re a sheep dog among wolves. Thank you. 

But you owe it to yourself and the lives you might need to save someday, to get some more training. Lots of it. Keep training. If you ever need it, you’ll thank God you did. 

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