Today I finally went to get a CCW class-something that has been on my list for quite some time. Been on my bucket list for about 2 years now. One of the first things I did when we moved to Texas, was to drive to a pretty cool gun shop close in our neighborhood called GunGearToGo. I had been driving to and from my new workplace and saw their signs and was very glad to know they were really close by.
I talked with the folks there-really just to confirm previous research cause I still could not believe it-and they told me I can buy a firearm and all I needed was a TX state drivers license (we had just moved from NYC so this was suuuuper awesome to hear that regular people can protect themselves). I also asked about how to take classes so that I can carry concealed. They did not hold classes for it, but it still was great to awaken to this new culture where it is socially acceptable to be armed.
-Just a small disclaimer. We had moved to Texas from New York city-where it was impossible for me to acquire a CCW. It was highly difficult for me to acquire a handgun permit to keep at home. It was a completely different perspective there-one which I did not appreciate-so we were glad to be in Texas and experience first hand this new freedom. I still smile to myself regularly today, realizing the things we experience in TX that we could not back in NYC.
It took me a while to finally be able to take the CCW classes. Actually now the correct term is LTC (License To Carry) as TX allows the same license for concealed and open carry. My main hindrance has been the financial means to go thru with it. I found a way to save money for the handgun months ago. To do the class and have money for the application, I sold an DSLR camera lens I have not used in awhile. I sold it on ebay for approx $300.
I found the LTC class online from RifleGear here in Plano and it was at an amazing price of $49.99. Everywhere else I saw previously was at around $80 or so. I checked with my wife if the family had any commitments on our weekend schedule and signed up for the Saturday class.
The website noted to be there at 8am. The shooting portion was going to be at the Frisco Gun Club at 7am. I planned to get the class that morning and confirm which day to do my 7am shooting class. I had errands to do that night and so I had to cram checking my gear on the same Friday night. May need to run to Walmart for ear protection gear.
Around 5pm or so I got a call to inform me of a minor 30min. adjustment on the schedule. Scratched my head and realized that we were actually shooting at the same morning-7am before the written class(gulp) I was thinking of being nervous because I had not shot in years, the most recent one was about 2 months ago and this was really to have my aunt experience shooting in a range.
I asked myself would I even pass the shooting test? I did not have flexibility to adjust so I just jumped in with both feet. I will do my best and hope to compensate on the fly.
The next morning I freaked out when I turned of my alarm and saw it was 6:45am. I rushed around the house to grab my gear and clothes and whatever else was listed on my notification email from Riflegear. As I was frantically looking for my eyeglasses I glanced the stove top clock-it said 5:45am…it was time to pause and check myself. I had to have my wits around me today. have to be mentally present 100%. I got to cook breakfast pancakes for me and my wife, found my eyeglasses and drove off with 30mins. to get there.
I got to the Frisco Gun Club-man this place is amazing. totally out of my paygrade, but not intimidating. Our instructor was named Dave. We met outside and as soon as everyone arrived we walked into the building. (we did end up having some folks not show up). We used the VIP range (woot!) this place was decked out. It felt like you entered a mountain cabin VIP hunting club.
Dave gave us clear and concise instructions. There were no surprises and we were well aware of what to expect. I snagged/borrowed one of their available ear muffs (cause I never got to Walmart to buy ear plugs that Friday night). I decided I would be in the first group to shoot. I had seen an example of the qualification test on Youtube and it was straighforward and simple.
The first thing to do was to unbox your gun and put them on the table provided. Same with ammo. Eye and ear protection on. They will inform you when to load. They will tell you how many to load and to shoot, and when to fire. I can follow them basic commands.
I shot the entire box of ammo they had us bring (50 rounds). I had good groupings as well. Most of the shots were up close-I think about half my box of bullets were shot at close range.
My enemy for today
Somehow, I had enough clarity to stand properly and was adjusting my thumbs to hold the gun better (based on a video I saw of Tim Ferris training with Taran Butler). When I started I was standing flat footed and was not paying attention to my body. I had not shot in a long time and I have not formed good habits on some pretty basic things. I even had enough mental bandwidth to take some photos thinking I could post these on the blog. I thought about asking for my target as a souvenire-but turns out that would not be a good idea. Our instructor informed us that they do not publish your score, as it had been at one point used by lawyers against a CHL holder. The argument was that he had a good score, he could have shot to disable instead of killing so why didn’t he? Amazing how society is.
Some of the other shooters in the venue (not in the same class as I went to) but we had about the same set of tasks
We were told we passed-and we can proceed to the classroom portion in the RifleGear store in Plano. Here I learned a lot about CHL that is just hard to condense if you are reading about it on forums and blogs. It’s just hard for me right now to find a good resource that is specific to my level and area. This made it easier. For $50 I had a great deal.
We learned that Collin County, TX where we were is actually one of the highest concentration of CHL holders in the country. There are a whole lot of misconceptions as well as to what you can and cannot shoot for. I am smart enough to not list them here should someone use it as a reference and end up shooting someone later on. I will defer to the TX DPS and your CHL instructor for those specifics. I am new at this and will not act as a resource on that topic.
I can tell you that the venue was pretty awesome. I wanted to buy a belt and a knife while I was there-both of these I have been needing for a while. But I had to restrain myself and just remember the items I did like at the store. I tell myself that I am working on getting my family out of debt and I need to lead this effort and not give in to any impulse purchases. If money was not an issue, I would love to go back there to buy some needs. They have a safe area for kids to sit and watch kid movies. It’s like a lounge area-I have been telling my wife that shops for ladies should have these for men. Seems like this gun store is more switched on than those big companies that sell ladies bags and stuff.
The class was from 9:30 am to 3:30pm. We went about 30 mins longer but we had real good stories and case studies. You got 30 mins for lunch and 2 other 10 min breaks in the afternoon. Dave is definitely a good resource and I plan to have my wife get her LTC class from them as well. (Just have to sell another camera lens to fund her class and application). It is a good idea to bring something to drink and snack on. Bring a pen and notebook. Not a lot of note taking needed to pass the test, its more for your own notes you want to check out later. Pay attention to the logic and reasoning for the laws. Remember some key info on the signage that will dictate if you cannot carry in a building. Remember what the Ego does to your judgemend and the stages of Parent, Child and Adult…It is a very straightforward test and if you pay attention you will pass.
We all passed. We got a few items wrong and we went back to review them so we all know the right answers. The test was done real quick.
At the end of it, I shook Dave’s hand and said it was a great class. I asked him if they have any training classes coming up as I would be interested. They don’t have any yet but they have a few on the works. When I get to those, I will share here as well.
It was a very positive experience for me. I am confident my wife will be pleased as well. I am looking forward to submitting my application forms to TX DPS and being able to finally carry for myself and my family’s protection.
I love moving to Texas.