Often times I shooters struggle with progression. Some don't know where to start, while others get stuck without a clear path forward. Classes and competition are a great way to help build skill, but those aren't always feasible to attend. If you've followed Primer Peak for any amount of time, you know we're a big fan of drills with time and accuracy standards. That said, some drills may be outside of your interest or skill level. To help those struggling, here are my top 5 drills and skills tests for the conceal carrier.
The Top 5 Drills and Skills Tests for Conceal Carry
Local Conceal Carry Qualification
Most conceal carry tests are incredibly easy. This is the standard set forth by your local government to get their blessing to carry a pistol outside the home. Due to this, these tests are expressly for self defense, not simple marksmanship.
Even in states that allow permitless carry, I recommend obtaining your conceal carry permit. Just a few benefits include reciprocity when traveling, proof of a clean background (at least at time of issuance) for any law enforcement interactions, and a pseudo rubber stamp from the government showing proficiency. Even if you opt not to partake in the permitting process, having evidence of clearing its marksmanship standard could be beneficial in the eyes of the law.
Contact your local regulating body, or an instructor who offers conceal carry courses. They should provide you with the course of fire so you can practice to your heart's content. Once you pass, sign and date the target, and take a photo for your records. It isn't a bad idea to occasionally revisit this, showing proficiency over time.
Use Your Head
When writing this piece, I got a lot of feedback on this specific stage. There are multiple places in the United States who have no government mandated marksmanship standard for carry permits. Some places simply require a background check, others have vague "training" requirements with no specific courses of fire. In these situations, I recommend obtaining some level of training, such as the NRA basic pistol course.
Another option is choosing a qualification course from another place that has similar politics and culture to your home. If you live in New York, you probably don't want to choose Texas, because of the implication. Or simply skip this step, and move onto the next stage of this list.
Additionally, some locations handle this process at different levels; some at the state, others at the county, city, and more. Simply go along with your regulating body. If it's the state or the municipality, it doesn't really matter. Just use your head, don't let terminology stop you from training.
Claude Werner's 5x5 was the first drill I began working on when seriously developing my shooting skill. Taking place at only five yards, it is deceptively simple. Despite this, I regularly see shooters fail the drill after initially scoffing it as easy pickings.
While this won't be testing your ability to hit more distant targets, its time and accuracy standard is tighter than what most shooters are familiar with. Regularly passing the 5x5 will put you well on your way to becoming a solid defensive marksman.
Hardwired Tactical Super Test
The Super Test is one of my favorite drills. Using only 30 rounds, with distances ranging from 5 to 15 yards, the Super Test covers the several bases with ease. No holster is required, so this is easily adaptable to more restrictive ranges.
If you can pass the Super Test, you're in a pretty good place as a conceal carrier. For those carrying pocket pistols and snub nose revolvers, the Super Snubby Test is a good alternative. Once you've got either of these drills on lockdown, add in a drawstroke for the "Advanced" version.
FBI 50 Round Pistol Qualification Course
The FBI qualification course is something that I think all conceal carriers should aspire to pass. This is a nationally recognized standard as set forth by the preeminent federal law enforcement agency in the country. As such, it is something easily understood and recognized by any governing body, juror, or layman who you may find scrutinizing your actions. With a recorded passing score, shooters can instantly provide a little bit of legitimacy to their skill, rather than trying to explain arbitrary plinking, or high speed Instagram drills.
Working skills from nearly contact distance out to 25 yards, the FBI qual provides well rounded standards for a variety of situations. Requiring only 50 rounds, it can easily be accomplished in a typical range session. While this is not the ultimate test of skill, the FBI qual is probably the most widely accepted standard you can choose from.
Rangemaster Firearms Instructor Qualification Course (2017)
The Rangemaster Firearms Instructor Qualification is a logical continuation of the FBI's qualification course. Using similar distances and skills, it features more demanding time and accuracy standards. This lets you have a fairly direct comparison to the federal standard, while kicking things up a notch.
Are there harder shooting tests than the Rangemaster Firearms Instructor Qualification? Absolutely, and they certainly have value. That being said, we're building a logical progression of skill here. This isn't an all-inclusive list, but a selection of drills and tests to create well rounded shooters, with reality based training.
Tom Givens has built this course of fire using data from analyzing citizen involved defensive shootings over several decades. It incorporates both problems typically faced in these scenarios, along with outliers occasionally encountered. The accuracy standard is demanding, and time is limited, just as it would be in the real world.
Wrapping Up the Top 5 Drills and Skills Tests for Conceal Carry
Hopefully this list provides you will a good baseline of progression. Testing a variety of skills, there's something here for just about everyone. Of course these are not the be-all-end-all of shooting skill. We have an entire roster of drills we've covered over the past several years to help spice up your range time, with more on the way. Even if you've passed a drill lower on the list in the past, come back to them from time to time to check your progress. Maybe you'll find an area that is lacking with your current regimen.
Support My Work
If you made it this far, thanks for reading! Writing isn't my full-time profession, and nearly everything I do comes out of my own pocket. Between ammunition, tuition, range fees and more, expenses add up fast. If you like what I have to offer, consider making a donation to my Patreon.
Every bit helps bring more work like this to you, and contributes to shortened timelines or more in-depth work on my part. You'll also have more direct access to me, offering suggestions for future projects, looking behind the scenes, and getting early access to some content. You can find my Patreon >>HERE<<