When my husband (Duncan) first proposed the idea of me taking our states carry class, I was kind of unsure. My husband has a carry permit and has always carried as a law enforcement officer or citizen when we are out, so I felt I had no need for one. I also thought that I did not know enough about guns to pass the class. I did not think I would feel safe without him by my side at the range. But, the truth of the matter is, 95% of the time I’m out with my kids without my husband. I did have every reason to be carrying myself. Who’s going to protect me or my kids? I needed to step up and take on that responsibility.
In my state we have a carry permit. The carry permit allows you to either open carry or conceal carry your firearm. Also, by obtaining your carry permit it covers you to transport rifles with ammunition in your vehicle.
I took the class at one of my local gun stores, Blue Line Gun Store. The facility, classroom and range are all very clean and nice. The instructor JJ was a lot of fun. I think he did a great job by making the class material upbeat and making us laugh. I didn’t feel like I was sitting in a class room for hours, even though I was. For me, most of the class information I already knew and a lot of it was just common sense. I have been lucky enough to have a firearms instructor and armorer as a personal trainer for the last 12 years.
We reviewed the parts, features, and actions of different types of handguns as well as how to clean and store firearms. I did tune out a bit during the cleaning portion. I figured, my husband is super anal when it comes to his guns and would be right there the whole time I was cleaning them. Then we went over malfunctions. But, not the specifics of how to clear that malfunction, except keeping the firearm pointed down range, raise your hand and wait for assistance. Next was the proper two handed grip, breathing control, sight alignment, trigger control and follow-through. There was nothing about how to make your firearm ready to shoot. This class is a very basic class that does not teach you how to shoot. You should already know the basics of your firearm’s operation, how to manipulate and shoot your firearm. Finally there was a 20 minute video on the actual laws for carry in my state. At the end of the classroom instruction was the test. 40 questions total, 20 T/F and 20 Multiple choice.
I missed two questions on sight alignment, asked two different ways.
1. When establishing sight alignment, you should focus and concentrate on:
a. the target
b. the rear sight
c. the front sight
d. all of the above
2. When establishing sight alignment, you should focus and concentrate on the front sight.
T or F
I answered D (all of the above) and False. My thinking was yes you look at the front sight but you also need to be looking at your target and the rear sights. Well I missed the focus and concentrate part of the question. The correct answer is that you need to focus and concentrate on the front sight. Well now I know.
For the written test you need 70% to pass. 40 questions at 2.5 points each means you can miss 12 questions out of 40 and still pass. Most of the questions were easy and common sense, (i.e.) should you store your gun in your child’s toy box? Umm NO!
Don’t feel intimidated by the test or material given it was very easy to understand. Again this is a very basic class.
This was the portion I was the most nervous about. I had never been to the range without my husband right next to me, giving me instructions, directions and loading my magazines. He did load 45 rounds in the magazines the night before, so I was feeling a little better about the loading magazine part. Until I got to the range and found out that I would have to down load my magazines to 10 rounds. I had my husband’s Glock 19 (9mm) with four 15 round magazines.
The instructor was very clear with his instructions and what he expected of us on the range. It made things very simple.
A little bit of side information for you. Starting on April 1, 2013 my state changed the shooting requirements to pass the test. The target was changed from a B27 (24″x 45″ 50 yard) to a B29 (11 1/2″x 22″ 50 Feet). The distance was changed from 3, 7, 15 yards to 3, 5, 7 yards and the rounds for qualification were changed from 48 rounds to 50 rounds. For the rounds to count they could not be outside the 7 ring. To pass you need 70%. Each shot is worth 2 points, so you can have 15 rounds outside of the 7 ring.
All during the classroom portion I was feeling pretty good as I knew all the information. Other students even asked me questions during the breaks. I was thinking, yeah I got this! Now the pressure, if I fail my husband is going to be ticked that I wasted money, time and most importantly, I would not be able to write a successful article about my carry class.
My first 20 rounds were all inside the 8 ring. I was feeling better knowing that I had manipulated, loaded, fired and stayed on target all on my own. I did it with no instructor at my side, no husband telling me what to do, just me using my past training and experience. I passed the shooting portion with only three rounds outside of the 7 ring, a 96% score.
I was disappointed that I didn’t do better. My husband feels that I did outstanding. I would have hit an average sized male with all rounds at all the distances.
I was surprised that the class didn’t go over how to properly conceal, carry or store your firearm for easy access and proper use. I was surprised that the actual law portion was only 20 minutes. Four of those minutes they talked about the effects of drugs and alcohol use on your body. The deadly force section left many in the class still needing clarification. If I had had no previous firearms training I would not have been prepared to shoot a 50 round qualification. The first thing the instructor said was “This is a very basic class, it does not teach you how to shoot. You should already know the basics of gun operation and how to shoot.”
I was happy to see that in my class of 18 there were 8 females taking the class. I asked a couple of them for their reasons for wanting to go through the class. Most wanted it for protection, others had specific reasons for wanting to carry. They lived alone or walked to their car alone at night. One of the older gentlemen in the class said, “I’m surprised there are so many women at this class, I guess it’s the new women’s right stuff”. My favorite response was from a woman who said “because I can!” I loved her answer, shouldn’t all women have that response? It is about our protection or our protecting our children. It’s about our right as a woman to be able to defend ourselves and not rely on a man to be there for us. It’s about confidence and empowerment. It’s about walking to our car alone and not being afraid. It’s about our right as an American to carry a firearm.
If there are any women out there, that are still intimidated by taking the class, please don’t be! I know you can do it and I know that you will feel awesome after it is done. You will have such a sense of accomplishment and feeling of knowing that you can do anything, no matter how intimidating it might be.