According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the number of concealed carry holders increased 29% from 6.9 million people in 2010 to 9 million people in 2012. Whatever the reason or motivation, more and more people are making the decision to become a concealed carry permit holder. Making a decision to become a concealed carry permit holder is a big decision and can often be met with a lot of questions and possibly uneasiness, especially for those who may be new to the gun industry. Every state is different in their requirements and how they issue, but most states require a person to demonstrate competence with a firearm before they will issue a concealed carry permit.
One of the most common ways to do this is by taking a class. This may be a safety course, law enforcement or training course; whatever it is, they usually vary in curriculum and length. It may be appealing to take the shortest course and complete the minimum requirements, but most experts in the industry suggest against this.
Especially for those who are new to firearms and the gun industry, a concealed carry course can be a great introduction and foundation to understanding proper gun etiquette and conduct. A longer course can provide more range time and more instruction about state laws and regulations. An in-depth knowledge of state laws and the responsibilities associated with concealed carry can prevent costly fines and other issues that result in being ignorant about concealed carry laws. Many suggest thinking about why you want to get a concealed carry permit, and then finding the course that will help you achieve your objective.
It is also recommended that additional training be completed after the concealed carry course is over. When it comes to firearms, there is no such thing as too much practice. Many shooting ranges offer concealed carry courses along with other courses designed to enhance firearms proficiency. These ranges also offer special events and promotions such as Ladies Night where women can shoot at a discounted rate, or receive additional instruction from a Range Safety Officer.
Whatever the level of shooting expertise, taking time to choose a concealed carry course that matches your objectives and ideals will help to increase firearm proficiency and safety.
Other Things to Consider When Thinking about Concealed Carry:
Keep your firearms clean and operational. It is recommended to clean your firearm after each shooting session and check for any worn or broken parts.
Keep firearms out of reach of children (or anyone else that should not have access to them).
Tactical training is highly recommended. Look for courses in your area and sign up.
Let it be known to very few people that you concealed carry.
As citizens rush to obtain their Illinois Concealed Carry License (CCL) many unwarily fall victim to instructors failing to properly administer the state mandated training requirements.
The Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) and the Illinois State Police have received numerous complaints that ISP “approved instructors” are taking shortcuts, skipping required training elements or simply signing off on CCL certifications without presenting any course material at all!
As one of the Senior State of Illinois Certified Master Firearms Instructors I feel obligated to take point addressing these issues to not only alert citizens of CCL instructor fraud, but also contribute to the education of ISP approved CCL firearms instructors state-wide.
Getting your Illinois Concealed Carry License
When people ask me “What’s the best way to find a reliable CCL instructor?” here’s the advice I give them: Take your time, do your research and don’t rush at the first open slot in a class. It’s better to find an instructor you are confident in and wait your turn to train with him / her.
When you find an instructor on the Internet that interests you, make sure that person is listed as an approved instructor on the Illinois State Police website. If they are not listed on the approved instructor list, but are offering Illinois CCL classes, then it’s a scam!
What is the instructor’s background?
Do the instructors have their credentials available for you to review on their website? If they don’t have their credentials posted on their website, ask them to provide you with a copy of their Professional Vita. If they decline to show you their Professional Vita, I’d seriously question considering them as the person you want to complete your CCL training with.
Keep in mind that the person you select to certify you for your CCL is the person that is required to retain your training records and will be one of the witnesses that will be subpoenaed to court to testify on your behalf. The selection process to secure your personal defense experts starts BEFORE you use deadly force, and begins with the person you select to certify you for your CCL!
When reviewing an instructor’s credentials, you also want to look at the instructor’s experience. Are you selecting a person that specializes in personal defense training? Can they demonstrate the length of their experience on this subject? Will that person be able to provide expert testimony in court on your behalf based on their established experience? You may want to consider avoiding inexperienced instructors with no background so you don’t end up being their crash test dummies.
Get familiar with the Illinois CCL law
Go to the ISP website and download the Illinois CCL Law PDF. It’s a lengthy document (over 160 pages) so I’m recommending students to copy it to a thumb drive and take it to their local print shop and have them print it out. Have the print shop copy it double sided on 3-hole punched paper so you can keep it in a binder. This will allow you to highlight the important issues you need to remember and make notes where needed.
Read the law and become familiar with it prior to attending your CCL certification course. Write down questions on topics you don’t understand and have them ready to ask the instructors as they cover those topics. You are not going to become intimate with this law over a 16-hour course. Ultimately, it will be up to you to know and understand the law.
Review the list of topics the Illinois CCL law requires you to learn
Go to the ISP website and download the Concealed Carry License Firearms Curriculum Approval PDF. This form outlines the curriculum elements that eachinstructor is required to present to their students in their classes by State law.
Print this form out and bring it with you to class and check off each element as the instructor presents them to ensure the instructor covers all of the elements you are required to learn.
Should the instructor miss any of the required elements that are listed on the Curriculum Approval form or fails to cover them in detail, make sure you ask questions about those elements until you are satisfied that you understand them.
If an instructor deliberately skips any of the elements they are required to teach or refuses to address your questions about elements they have failed to cover, then you HAVE NOT been properly trained as required by State law.
If this happens, I recommend that you immediately withdraw from the class, request that your tuition be refunded and find an instructor on the ISP website that is going to present the course materials correctly.
If you are the victim of ANY instructor transgressions described in this article, you should be aware that the Illinois State Police has investigators assigned to investigate these violations! Any ISP sustained complaints will result in that instructor’s ISP approval ID number being revoked and their name removed from the approved instructor list.
Tips for ISP Approved CCL Firearms Instructors
First and foremost, congratulations if you made the ISP approved instructors list. While many of you have worked very hard to become certified and registered to teach Illinois CCL courses, it is important to know that the bulk of the instructor transgressions that have been reported to the ISP have been committed by a very small percentage of approved instructors.
With that being said, here are some tips that can help you provide the most professional CCL training courses to your students.
Know the law and protect your students
There is A LOT of responsibility in teaching this program. As an instructor, you have to know the Illinois CCL law beyond a “working knowledge”. Instructors need to be able to understand the law at a level where they should not only be able to teach it, but also be able to explain what they presented as an expert during testimony at depositions and in a court of law.
An instructor must be able to demonstrate knowledge of the Illinois CCL law beyond the familiarization offered to students. If an instructor fails to demonstrate accurate knowledge of the law during testimony, how can the instructor testify (demonstrate) that his / her students were trained correctly?
If a student claims that they did what they were trained to do and it’s proven during depositions and / or court testimony that the instructor did not train the student correctly, the student is at fault for not understanding the law!
In turn, as soon as the student is found liable for punitive damages (or possibly criminally convicted) that student is going to file a vicarious liability lawsuit against the instructor for failure to train (i.e. improper training).
There are many cases that have influenced law enforcement training policy changes along these lines where police officers sued their agency and fellow officers for these very same reasons.
Instructors are responsible for EVERY student they certify! If one of your students is involved in a CCL related use of deadly force incident (good or bad) you can bet that the instructor that certified them is going to be subpoenaed to testify in that case.
Be thorough in your presentation and cover all CCL elements
Shortcuts are not an option, so don’t skip material or leave anything out. Present the Illinois CCL curriculum as required. Your students are relying on you to be the expert on this. Earn your students trust and give them the confidence that you have their back and they can rely on you if their case ends up in court.
So many instructors are bent on presenting their CCL programs at the minimum standards! If you read the ISP curriculum requirements, you will see that the ISP leaves the discretion up to the instructors to exceed those standards.
This means you can increase the number of training hours to include enhanced course elements; more dry-practice drills, more live-fire drills, extended lectures on combat mindset, situational awareness, conflict resolution, etc.
You don’t need to turn this into a 20 or 30 hour course, but to add another 1 or 2 hours onto your program to make sure your students have everything they need is just another way of showing how professional you are at what you do and that you care about your students safety and wellbeing.
Take pride in the program you present and your students will be proud to have trained with you!
Continue to build your instructor credentials
“As instructors, we are committed to serving our students. We serve our students by striving for excellence in training and being the best we can at what we do. We become the best by constantly training hard and seeking perfection in every task we complete. These are the traits that make us unique.”
– John Krupa III, Chicago Police Department, IALEFI Conference 2007
Whether you’re a brand new NRA Basic Pistol Instructor or you’ve been teaching for the last 20 years, you never stop training! The firearms training industry is constantly evolving and requires us to keep up with training trends and continuous maintenance of our skill-set.
Attend as many training courses as you can. Study what other instructors are doing and see how you can apply new training concepts to your Illinois CCL course. The more diverse your training background is the stronger presence you will have as a professional trainer and expert witness.
Join professional instructor associations such as the International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI) and the International Law Enforcement Educators & Trainers Association (ILEETA). Attend annual training conferences and network with your fellow instructors.
In the end, your instructor skills will only be as good as you allow them to be. Don’t let yourself fall into a comfort zone where you start thinking “I know everything I need to know about shooting and teaching”. So many instructors fall into this pit and many never make it out.
Where is the Illinois CCL program headed?
Ultimately, the Illinois CCL program will only be as good as we want it to be. If we allow incompetent instructors to breed incompetent CCL students the potential exists to generate negative case law that could result in stricter CCL restrictions or rescinding the Illinois CCL law altogether.
We have an obligation and responsibility to work together to protect this right that we have worked so hard to establish in Illinois. Let’s train smart, train safe and carry responsibly.
As always – stay safe.
About John Krupa III
John is a police officer with the Orland Hills Police Dept. (IL) and has over 23 years of experience in law enforcement. He has previously served as a patrol officer, rapid response officer, FTO and firearms instructor with the Chicago Police Dept. He is a recipient of the Award of Valor, Silver Star for Bravery and Distinguished Service Award for his actions in the line of duty. He is a certified Master Firearms Instructor from PTI and graduate firearms instructor from the Secret Service Academy, FBI, DEA and FLETC. He holds the rating of Distinguished Weapons Expert with the Department of Homeland Security and has presented numerous courses at training conferences across the country including ASLET, IALEFI, and ILEETA. John can be reached at – email@example.com
For more information about training courses offered by John Krupa, visit his website at www.TeamSpartan.com
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Action Target as a company.
As Illinois becomes the 50th state to allow the concealed carry of firearms, one shooting range a half hour out of Chicago is preparing for the influx of new shooters and turning heads in the process.
GAT Guns of East Dundee, Ill., recently added a monumental 39 new indoor lanes to its existing 24 making it one of the largest indoor shooting ranges in the country and the go-to destination for shooters near and far.
The new ranges, which were designed and installed by Action Target, include 50-yard and 75-yard bays with 14 lanes each as well as a 50-foot long tactical training range with 11 lanes. There is also a large classroom to accommodate the thousands of concealed carry permit applicants expected to come through the doors when the new law goes into effect on January 5.
“We foresaw a need for a full service training facility in the area,” GAT Guns General Manager Randy Potter said. “There’s nobody else around here that can take care of customers from A to Z as completely as we can. We have the training classes, the firearms inventory, the accessories, and now we have one of the most advanced firearms training facilities in the country.”
With the new Illinois concealed carry law requiring 16 hours of training (including live fire training on a shooting range), GAT Guns provides the ideal venue.
“Customers are blown away by the quality of the ranges,” Potter said. “The technology on our ranges allows shooters to control every aspect of their training. It’s an entirely new shooting experience.”
GAT Guns, which was founded in 1979, is already known as the Illinois headquarters of all things firearms with more than 6,000 guns in stock on any given day and 2,500 unique pieces on display.
“We consistently have folks from 150 miles south of here to the Wisconsin border and even as far west as the Mississippi River,” Potter said. “I attribute that to us being as unique as we are in size and scope as well as our commitment to professional customer service.”
GAT Guns originally began in nearby Hanover Park and moved to the current location in 1989 where owner Greg A. Tropino (and thus the acronym “GAT”) bought an old restaurant and retrofitted it into the two-story gun supercenter it is today.
“Greg’s told me in the past that when he originally bought the building, he had no idea what he was going to put upstairs in the original footprint,” Potter said. “We’ve outgrown that by 10 times now.”
With 63 total lanes and shooting bays located on both floors, GAT Guns has quickly become one of the most talked about ranges in the country. It’s even attracted the attention of R. Lee “The Gunny” Ermey from Glock who spent a day there in May to promote the range and sign autographs.
“We had over 1,200 people wait to meet The Gunny that day he was here. It was a very fun event,” Potter said.
Even more than entertainment and retail, however, the mission of GAT Guns is to provide a central location for firearms education and quality training.
Training courses provided at the range currently include NRA First Steps, women only classes taught by women instructors, five phases of tactical pistol, five phases of tactical carbine, introductory handgun, practical holster and soon, Illinois concealed carry classes.
The new shooting bays recently opened up to the public and are also available for law enforcement qualification as well.
PROVO, Utah – March 7, 2013 – Panteao Productions announced that Action Target is now the video production company’s official target provider. Beginning immediately, all videos featuring firearms training on steel targets will exclusively feature Action Target products.
As the industry leader in instructional firearms videos, Panteao Productions needed a dependable target that could hold up to intense use while functioning safely. Panteao chose Action Target after putting several companies’ products to the test with its rigorous training courses.
“After using steel targets from different companies over the last two years, we found Action Target to produce the strongest and best designed targets on the market,” president and CEO of Panteao Productions Fernando Coelho said. “Today, all the steel we use on our video shoots is exclusively from Action Target.”
Panteao Productions currently has 45 instructional videos on everything from the combat mindset to the fundamentals of everyday carry taught by professional firearms trainers and military veterans. Panteao even provides an instructional video on how to capture shooting events on film taught by industry photographer Yamil Sued.
“We’re thrilled to be working with a company like Panteao Productions,” director of Action Target’s portable target division Chad Burdette said. “The range and level of training they provide is unmatched. We have admired their work for a long time, and I think there are some great things we can do together in the future.”
Panteao Production’s instructional line called Make Ready with the Experts, which often uses steel targets for training scenarios, is available for purchase online in DVD format or through a monthly subscription which allows unlimited video streaming on a computer or mobile device.
As an official product provider of Panteao Productions, Action Target’s logo will be featured on the back of Panteao DVD cases and on its website as a sponsor.
About Action Target Inc.
Action Target Inc. is a privately owned business headquartered in Provo, Utah. As the world leader in shooting range technology with more than 4,000 products and 40 patents for the systems it designs and manufacturers, Action Target has installed thousands of shooting ranges across the United States and in 25 other countries around the world. Action Target also designs systems and conducts firearms training for law enforcement and various military divisions. For more information on Action Target, visit www.ActionTarget.com. To learn more about Action Target products or to purchase items online, visit www.ShopActionTarget.com.
About Panteao Productions, LLC
Panteao Productions is a video production company based out of South Carolina that produces instructional videos from the top firearms instructors in the world. For more information about Panteao, visit www.PanteaoProductions.com. You can find Panteao on both Twitter and Facebook.