Choosing a carry permit class is much more important than meets the eye. The class and instructor will likely set the tone for you for the rest of your life in terms of the grave importance of training, safe handling, practicing to proficiency, attitude towards carry and lethal force, and much more.

Why would you spend $300 — $1500 or more on a gun and not spend a hundred or more on learning to use it to save your life? Please, not to be rude, but if you just said to yourself, “if I needed to, I’d be able to stop him in his tracks”, or “two to the chest and one to the head”, or “I’m a mama bear when my kids are threatened” (and you are not fully proficient), this article is for YOU.

In a crisis, you will NOT rise to your best — you will sink to your lowest level of competency. THAT IS A FACT.

So, don’t go cheap on training. You are just hoping to be lucky. Dangerous game of Russian roulette…

By the way, training is available from beginner to advanced operator level. The skills, traits and practices that make an instructor great at one level do NOT necessarily make them great at another. You see, beginners are the HARDEST to train. That is why most carry permit classes out there require only a few shots. If you can get out of there without shooting yourself or the instructor, then you pass. In Florida, only ONE shot is required. ONE! And still, some charlatans try to get away with non-firearms shooting (illegal). Many classes do 5, 10 or at the most 15 rounds. I ran into a 30 round course. He is getting there. 50 rounds is the standard that we adhere to. EVERY STUDENT. EVERY TIME.

Women might want to consider a women’s only class. That is personal preference and I cannot say that all women should be in a women’s class, but they can choose. As a major instructor in the area, we offer women’s classes taught by our female Women’s Programming instructor. The perspective is a bit different than the regular (co-ed) class, and nobody need feel intimidated or uninformed.

When choosing a carry permit class, here are a few considerations:

Are the instructors properly certified with at least one of: NRA, USCCA, or FL “K”? (these are what the State of Florida requires)

Do the instructors have seasoned and varied experience? For example, we have 14 instructor certifications on our staff, former police, active armed security and security agency management, with more than 30 years combined experience.

Is the classroom time interactive or just videos, or worse yet, online? We are hands-on with guns, interactive, encourage questions, and get to know our students a bit before they go live on the range.

Does the classroom portion cover safety, gun functions, ammunition types, self-defense strategies, shooting fundamentals and FL law? That’s why you’re taking the class, right?

Does the classroom portion require that you be able to function your gun (if you have one) to able to shoot it at the range, or to be able to shoot the loaner gun(s) you like from the classroom? In other words, those who cannot function their own gun cannot pass. We can provide alternative guns to use, but the student must be able to function them.

Is there live range training with actual firearms? How many rounds? Is it individual or group shooting? All of our training is individual, and sometimes two instructors on one student.

Do they refuse to accommodate dangerous practices like masking and social distancing? (no credible instructor advocates not being able to clearly see/hear students and vice versa, and/or staying 6ft from shooters)

Do they acknowledge that there are more than one acceptable technique for stance, grip, presentation, etc.? Or do they just tell you that their way is the right and only way? We develop technique based on the student’s current skill level and how it can be improved.

If you are price-shopping carry permit classes, you are being penny-wise and pound-foolish. If you think having a permit with minimal training is enough, you probably should not have a gun.

While you are at it, do NOT buy a gun for the class! Wait until after the class to choose your gun. We offer an option to try our guns and we supply the ammo, and we are dealers so we can help you get the gun that works best for you (rather than the one the gun store salesguy or your brother-in-law says to get).

If your instructor is flippant about lethal force and uses language like “blow away”, “waste”, “cap” or others, they are not good instructors — flat out — regardless of how well they may personally shoot. You do not want that kind of attitude infecting your thinking.

Take time to do your research. Look at class pictures. Do you see “hands-on” with guns in the classroom? Do you see individual instruction on the range? Take choosing a carry permit class at least as seriously as choosing where to eat dinner.

Don’t be surprised if you must pay in full to register. This is a sign that there actually is a seat and live range time assigned to you, which goes unfilled if you are not there.

Finally, go to your class with a mind-set of learning life-saving skills. Keep your concentration on safe handling and doing exactly what the instructor says to do. Make every shot count. And have fun!