Speaking of processes, let’s walk through the process of qualifying for a concealed carry permit in a classroom environment.
- You go to the classroom. Because most (if not all) concealed carry classes are led by people who learned to teach the NRA way and are located in areas where a negligent discharge would be a very, very bad thing, there is no ammo alllowed the classroom. Your gun will remain in its case, usually at the front of the room, until it’s time from the optional dry fire practice to work on grip.
- You learn about laws and stuff, and have some guidance on when you can and cannot legally shoot someone.
- If your instructor includes it in his/her curriculum, you go up to a table at the front of the room and, under your instructor’s watchful eye, you get a few seconds of instruction on grip, stance, breathing and trigger press (because NRA, that’s why). Maybe it’s with your unloaded gun, maybe it’s with the instructor’s blue gun.
- If needed for your permit, you go to the range, where you shoot X number of rounds to attain Y score (or not) at Z distance which proves you can shoot a gun. Yay you.
Question: At any time during this process did you actually try to carry a firearm on your person? There was a brief glimpse of what it’s like to hold a gun and shoot a gun, but was there anything about what it’s like to carry a gun?
Isn’t that the whole point of this exercise?
There are obvious safety reasons why instructors don’t want guns on hips of absolute newbies in the classroom, loaded or not, and I think those rules should stay in place because they work quite well. However, they also cut people off from the ultimate goal of a CCW class, which is not qualifying someone for a permit, but rather, getting them to carry a defensive sidearm. After all, what good is a permit* to do something if you don’t actually do it?
Just as an instructor uses blue guns to simulate holding a real gun in your hands, why not use a simulator to mimic carrying a gun around with you all the time?
At this point, trainers are going to scream “That’s insane, I can’t afford a dozen blue guns and holsters!,” and they’re right, it’s stupid to buy that amount of gear for this task. However, what we are simulating is the weight and awkwardness of carrying a gun, not the gun itself. Blue guns simulate how a gun feels in the hand, what’s needed, however, is something super-cheap and safe that simulates the weight of gun on your hip.
If you want to get people used to carrying a heavy weight on their hip, why not start with… having them carry around a heavy weight on their hip? A Glock 19 with a full load of ammo weighs about 29 ounces. A 16 ounce bottle of soda weighs a little under 18 ounces. Team that bottle of pop** with one of these, and you have a completely safe way of introducing the added weight and inconvenience of carrying a gun on their hips for about the same price as a couple of boxes of ammo. When your students come into the classroom, hand them a soda (or a bottle of water) and a belt clip. Have them carry around the soda on their hip the entire class. Get them used to having something heavy on their waist for extended periods of time. For 99.9% of your students, this will be their first introduction into the reality of what it feels like to carry a gun all the time.
Why do this? Because people who carry their guns tend to see the need for more training on how to properly use their gun more than people who just get a piece of paper and ignore their guns, that’s why. If you want a revenue stream that goes beyond “turn’n’burn” CCW classes, you need to start thinking about ways to turn your students into lifelong learners who see you as a trusted source of information, not just someone who cashed the check for their CCW class.
* Save the discussion about permitting a human right for another time. We’re talking about the process as it is, not how it should be.
** For our northern and/or Canadian friends.